With a record turnout crowd of over 10,000 spectators, 1400 show cars, and 300 racers, the 2017 Ice Cream Cruise Presented by 1320Video and Stereo West proved to be one of the largest car shows to hit the Midwest yet again.
The history of the Ice Cream Cruise(ICC) dates back to 2005. It originally started as a small car show and cruise among about 50 people. The event started early in the night around 7pm as everyone gathered at a local Sonic Drive In to have a mini car show. After a while, everyone left Sonic to go for a nice casual 60-mile cruise through Omaha, Nebraska, eventually ending back where it began at Sonic.
In 2006, the 2nd annual Ice Cream Cruise drew in nearly 3 times the attendance as word spread of its success. Nearly 170 cars showed up at the local Sonic for one of the largest cruises in Omaha’s history at the time. Fast forward to 2008, the event had grown to over 1,200 cars and in 2009, Kyle Loftis and 1320Video took over event organization. Two years later in 2011, the final event on the streets of Omaha was such a huge turnout that it closed down local businesses from taking up so many spots in their parking lots. The police had to shut down the show, the cruise began an hour early, and when attendees returned to the car show parking lot, local police had closed down the entire street.
Loftis knew that going forward, there would have to be some changes and a new location. After months of planning, it was decided that the new meeting grounds for the ICC was Werner Park, the home of the Omaha Storm Chasers Baseball team. The ICC adopted a new format that was more family oriented and organized. This included multiple vendor spots, a DJ, VIP parking, admission to attend and an added race night at a local drag strip, I-29 Raceway. The event is non-profit and all proceeds are distributed to a different charity each year. The massive parking lot seemed to be the perfect fit, but by 2014, the event had outgrown the area yet again and it was back to the drawing board.
In 2015, the official home of the ICC moved to Raceway Park of the Midlands, in Glenwood, Iowa, just 20 minutes south of Omaha. With a 2.23-mile road course and a 1/8th-mile drag strip, this turned out to be the perfect spot for the growing attendance and want for racing. With the increased attendance, it was transformed into a 2-day event with the car show lined around the road course on the first day, and nothing but racing on the second day.
This year’s Ice Cream Cruise was one of the most anticipated events of the year due to the long-awaited race between 1320Video’s Cleetus McFarland and Kyle Loftis. Personally, I have been attending and volunteering at the Ice Cream Cruise since 2008, and this year I decided to see the event from the spectator point of view.
An estimated 1,400 cars and 10,000 spectators filled the road course for the car show on Saturday, with cars coming from all over the country. The weather called for rain most of the day Saturday, but it cleared up mid-afternoon just in time before the gates opened to spectators. By the time we arrived around 4:30 pm, the road course was filled with show cars, with more piling in by the minute and the spectator lot grew throughout the night. We followed the road course and walked the entire car show start to finish. From domestics to Imports and even a few trucks, exotics and bikes, the car show was filled with something for everyone. As the sun went down, the crowd moved over to the drag strip where they held a 16 car, invite-only “Not Much Prep” race to put on a show for the spectators.
With day one completed and over, it was time for a day full of racing on Sunday. Only 300 tech cards were sold to racers due to time restrictions and they were all sold out before the day started. After a brief drivers meeting, it was time to suit up and race. They utilized the long straightaway on the road course for the roll racing as the drag racers kept to the 1/8th mile. The awesome part about having two separate spots for racing, you can watch both roll racing and drag racing at the same time simultaneously for non-stop action. Both the staging lanes and the grand stands were packed all day long, the most we have ever seen at I-29 Raceway.
After a few hours of racing, it was finally time for the main event; Cleetus in his twin turbo gutted C5 Corvette aka “Leroy” and Kyle in his twin turbo “Unicorn” C5 Corvette Z06. Months of trash talking back and forth made for some amazing hype for the event. The first race happened over on the road course, a little side by side roll race action. Both cars spun hard off the line, but Cleetus stayed in it all the way down the track to take the first win of the night. They let the cars cool down and headed to the drag strip where Kyle came out on top and tied the race 1-1. They made two more passes down the drag strip, where they each took a win and decided to call it a tie for the night. They both agreed they would now need to find a quarter-mile drag strip in the near future to settle the tie-breaker.
The racing came to an end, and another successful Ice Cream Cruise is in the books. The entire car show and race day made for a perfect weekend that was very enjoyable for all ages. We will definitely be back next year, as this is one of our top events to attend.
“The Ice Cream Cruise is an event you have to experience in person to understand,” says Loftis. “It’s a show for ANY kind of car/bike and ANYONE to attend. For many in the surrounding Omaha area, it’s the big show everyone looks forward to. We found out this year just how dedicated ICC fans are when over 1400 show cars and 10,000 people showed up Saturday for the car show after a couple hours of rain! Newcomers to the ICC also find out during the event the secret that makes this event truly magical, the entire 1320Video crew paired with more volunteers from friends and track staff make this all possible. It takes 70-100 people to run this event each year. Thank you to everyone that came out to this year’s Ice Cream Cruise and helped us raise over $20,000 for the Muddy Paws Second Chance Rescue, Inc! It was an amazing time and we can’t wait until next year’s event!”
Drone shot by Will McDougle of 1320Video
Check out our full photo gallery from the event below!