LIMA — Tim’s Motorsports Expo is expected to see more that 2,000 visitors over the weekend. The huge event grew from something that organizer Tim Nickles did just for fun.
Eleven years ago, Nickles began to build sprint car simulators and have a race in his basement at his home. There were about 20 racers the first year, but eventually the event outgrew that venue.
“This is what it has turned into,” Nickles said, as he looked around the building at the Allen County Fairgrounds, which was full of visitors. “It grew so big that I had to move it.”
After deciding to have the event at the fairgrounds, Nickles said people began to take an interest in what he was doing. They wanted to bring racing-related items for display. He said this gave the event an added dimension of entertainment building up to the big simulator race, the PPC Driver’s Mechanic Race, which will simulate 100 laps at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg.
“Now, it gets bigger and bigger every year,” Nickles said. “It has turned into a big event. There is a variety of things for everyone to do.”
Nickles said the first expo featured 48 cars, varying from motorcycles, sprint cars and even go-karts. Now in its fourth year, the event now attracts more than 100 cars each year. Many of those cars are owned by the people who will compete in the simulator race, which is today. Prizes vary for the event. Nickles said the prizes are provided from many different sponsors in the area. In addition, there will be musical entertainment, games and activities for children, a DJ and more. There are also representatives from local dirt tracks, such as Waynesfield, Lima and Rossburg.
“We want it to be a family event,” Nickles said. “Many people get the kids early from school on Friday just to come out here and set up. It is a fun time.”
Coming from a family with a long history in dirt track racing and having a passion for the sport, Nickles brought his dream to life by designing and building the simulators from actual sprint car chassis. The cars feature surround sound and force feedback steering for the best virtual racing experience. Networked together, the fleet of simulators brings dirt track racing to life as competitors go head to head racing for bragging rights as they cross the finish line.