|Updated: 6/15/2012 6:27 pm
||Published: 6/15/2012 6:03 pm
Fast cars - rare and expensive fast cars - have taken Tulsa by storm. Shelby Mustang enthusiasts from across the country and the world have rumbled into town in their muscle cars for the 38th Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals.
It's like paradise for speed freaks.
Mike Stacy is an architect and lives in Owasso. But he also like to drive fast...very fast.
"I grew up with hotrods and fast cars," Stacy said. "My dad was into hotrods and I grew up around them. It's kind of just always been a passion."
He says this is the best car event he's ever been to.
"It's a very big deal for Tulsa," he said.
Stacy was one of hundreds of Shelby owners and enthusiasts who took to the race track at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Hallett Friday. Shelby Mustangs of all eras and designs tore through the track, tipping speedometers over 100mph.
Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals director Jim Wicks said the event doesn't just bring fast cars to Tulsa, though.
"We probably have got to be pushing $3 million with the economic impact with the hotels and the meals and the gasoline," Wicks said.
He said the event has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
"Thirty-eight years ago I had a picnic, and we had about 16 cars and 30 people," Wicks said. "And today we still do the same picnic, it just got a little bit longer."
John Luft, president of Shelby American, said the reason the event has been so good for Tulsa is because Tulsa has been so good to the event and those who come to town for it.
"The City of Tulsa, they roll out the red carpet," Luft said. "You know, sometimes we'll do events in bigger cities, and often we're one of many big events in their cities. But Tulsa, they go out of their way to make us feel welcome."
That welcome has made quite an impression on big shots in the auto industry like Henry Ford III.
"This is actually my first year here, and it's a blast.," Ford said.
Ford has been impressed with Oklahoma in general, as well.
"I've got to admit it's beautiful," he said. It's really pretty. This is my first time to Oklahoma and I love it. Go Thunder."
Carol Shelby, the man behind the brand often credited with starting the American muscle car revolution, passed away a month ago. To honor him Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett made a proclamation declaring June 15 as Carol Shelby Day in Tulsa.