Hot rods rolling up to charity car show hosted by DuPage sheriff's office

With one exception, Rob Kaese Jr. and Mike Mashal will tell you anything you want to know about the eye-popping rides they're showing off Sunday at an inaugural car show sponsored by the DuPage County Sheriff's Office.

The gearheads are happy to chat about horsepower, modifications and their discipline when it comes to odometer readings (only less than 2,000 miles for Mashal's black 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk).

But Kaese and Mashal carefully choose their words when you ask them about the top speeds they've reached in their spiffed-up beauties. Maybe because sheriff's deputies are running the car show.

"Just say really fast," said Kaese, the proud owner of a first-edition, hemi orange 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

"I don't need my wife reading that," Mashal joked.

By the look of what's underneath the hood, you don't have to be a Lewis Hamilton fan to know the performance cars rolling up to the county complex in Wheaton Sunday are some of the fastest on the road. But beyond the thrill of inspecting hot rods, car enthusiasts will be supporting a cause championed by the sheriff's office this year: Special Olympics.

"Sheriff James Mendrick and the men and women of the DuPage County Sheriff's Office are proud to sponsor this event to support the amazing athletes of the Special Olympics," Lt. Brian Thompson said in a statement. "Law enforcement is about more than serving and protecting the communities we live in; it is also about giving back."

The car show is an extension of "Cop on Top" and other fundraisers organized by the sheriff's office to benefit Special Olympics, a charity that helps athletes with disabilities push past physical boundaries. That mission will have the suburban car community showing up en masse with the mint-conditioned automobiles they typically prefer to keep out of the elements.

About 200 to 300 entrants are expected to display their vintage police cars, muscle cars and exotic cars. In addition to the $20 participation fee for entrants, proceeds from the sales of T-shirts and tumblers also will go to Special Olympics.

Mashal signed up as the brother-in-law of a special-education teacher and a member of a tight-knit social network.

"A lot of these gentlemen, they do a lot of fundraising with the cars because cars attract people, and cars attract people of all ages, from children to senior citizens, so it becomes more of a buddy thing," said Mashal, who lives in unincorporated Winfield Township. "Me in particular, I have over 40 guys meeting me prior to the car showing Sunday, and we're all driving up there together."

Mashal and his buddies will depart from the Chicago Motor Cars dealership in West Chicago about 10 a.m., forming a procession of luxury. The group will include owners of a Lamborghini, Dodge Viper, Dodge Demon and "one or two McLarens," and Mashal's Trackhawk and charcoal gray 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

"Definitely speed always catches my eye," said Mashal, 40, who works for a private contractor in road construction.

Indeed, the Trackhawk SUV offers 707 horsepower, satisfying a need for speed for someone who grew up "loving American muscle." He now hopes to pass on the hobby to his three kids, Joseph, Isabella and Luciana, who help him wash and wax at least once a month.

Kaese, who lives in Algonquin, also traces his hobby to childhood, working on his dad's 1955 Chevy.

"So throughout the years, I just learned how to pick up a wrench and learned how to play with a car," said Kaese, who manages inventory at Able Barmilling & Manufacturing, Inc. in Wauconda.

Kaese's had fun with his supercharged Dodge Challenger, adding racing seat belts and a roll cage, among other modifications. But he's not yet satisfied.

"It could always go faster," he said. "Eventually I will make it faster."

But he probably won't tell you how fast he'll drive it.

"I just built it from being a stock car to a car I wanted it to be," says Rob Kaese of his supercharged Dodge Challenger. He's the co-founder of the Northern Illinois chapter of the Challenger Demons car club. Courtesy of Rob Kaese Jr.
Mike Mashal is hoping to pass on his love of cars to his three kids, Joseph, Isabella and Luciana. Mashal will display his Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at a Wheaton car show Sunday. Courtesy of Mike Mashal
Rob Kaese and his 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will be among 200 to 300 entrants expected for a car show at the DuPage County complex in Wheaton Sunday. Courtesy of Rob Kaese Jr.
Crowds at a Wheaton car show Sunday will be able to get a look at what's under the hood of a Dodge Challenger SRT8. Courtesy of Rob Kaese Jr.

If you go

What: DuPage County Sheriff's Office car show benefiting Special Olympics

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Parking lot at the south end of the DuPage County Administration Building, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton

General admission: Free

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