McNally: Thunder rumbling in Inverness

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I would like to tell you about a great car cruise-in event that happens right in our back yards, although many people are not aware of it. It is called “Friday Night Thunder” and it is held the third Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. in Courthouse Square in historic downtown Inverness.
“Friday Night Thunder” is held the third Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. in Courthouse Square in historic downtown Inverness. FILE

This event was started over three years ago by the City of Inverness to promote the downtown area and to provide local car enthusiasts with an organized gathering spot each month. The city attempted to run the event for about a year without any help from local car clubs.

When the officers of the Citrus MOPARS car club heard that the Inverness representatives were looking for help with this cruise-in, they offered to run the event for them, beginning in July 2011.

The number of cars attending this monthly cruise-in varies depending on the weather but, on a good night, there can be as many as 80 or more gorgeous cars and trucks there. All years, makes and models of cars and trucks are welcome to join the fun and spectators are also welcome browse and admire the vehicles.

We recently have had more than 100 vehicles at this event and the City of Inverness is promoting it on their website at under the Recreation and Leisure tab then under Events.

Citrus MOPARS also provides 50s, 60s and 70s music and runs a 50/50 drawing.

Another fun activity provided by the club at Friday Night Thunder is Valve Cover Racing. The race cars are made using actual valve covers from engines by attaching four wheels and any other items as long as the total weight is less the 10 pounds. No motors or propulsion of any kind can be used on the race cars and they can be painted and/or decorated any way the owner prefers. Each car gets three runs down a track and the one that goes the farthest distance, wins the race.

The wooden track used for the races was built by one of the Citrus MOPARS club members, Gene Raby, who has quite a skill in working with wood. He has built many things including a beautiful full size replica of an old-time service station gas pump which is now in my garage.

He is currently working on creating a number of exterior wooden body parts for a 1935 Ford pick-up truck he is building. Gene is also the Treasurer of the MOPAR club.

So be sure to come out for the fun and great cars at Friday Night Thunder the third Friday each month in downtown Inverness.

Upcoming events:

May 23: All American Muscle Night cruise-in at Arby’s on U.S. 19 in Crystal River at 6 p.m.

Ken McNally is a car enthusiast from Citrus County and his Car Corner columns appear twice each month in the Hernando Today. Email him at or call him at 352-341-1165