Since the last time we talked to you, we paid a visit to Speedway Motors on the other side of Lincoln, where Speedy Bill and Joyce Smith hosted a Saturday night ice cream party and threw open the doors of the Smith Collection Museum. That place is amazing, and Americruise participants toured room after room loaded with automotive and racing memorabilia collected by Speedy Bill for more than 50 years. He's got everything from one-of-a-kind factory developmental engines to race cars, and a huge collection of antique automotive toys going back to the early 20th century.

Back at State Fair Park the participants are taking advantage of the chance to hook their engine to the dynomometer at the Dyno Challenge-where the dynamometer doesn't lie.

One thing we like about Americruise is the fact that the competition isn't limited to the hot rods and custom cars. We're talking about the Miss Americruise Contest held at the Main Stage right after lunch, which always draws a crowd. After all, a guy can't look at hot rods and custom cars all the time, can he?

Today's the day we start passing out the crate-load of trophies we brought to award participants in more than 50 categories. We've awards in all the favorite classes, such as Best Roadster, Best Coupe, Best Sedan, Paint & Graphics, Engine, and Interior, in addition to some fun show 'n' shine classes like Best Work In Progressive, Youngest Participant, and Best Personalized License Plate.

Of course, the two prizes we've been waiting to give away are Rod of the Year and Custom of the Year. We had a lot of fun putting the ten finalists through some challenging competition this weekend, but when the numbers were finally crunched, one rod and one custom stood ahead of the rest.

Rod & Custom's 2006 Rod of the Year is Jim Karls' 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster. Rod & Custom's 2006 Custom of the Year is Gary Kuck's 1960 Corvette. Look for an up close feature on each of these incredible cars in a future issue of R&C.

Thanks to everybody who made the trip to Lincoln for making the Rod & Custom Americruise return trip a huge success. We'll have a report on the East Coast and West Coast Americruise tours, and more coverage from Lincoln, in the January 2007 issue of R&C.

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