Hot Rod Power Tour 2018 Recap
As most Power Tour fans already know, Power Tour always starts where it left off the previous year, which meant Power Tour was starting in our own hometown of Bowling Green, KY. Beech Bend Raceway played host to thousands of cars and even more high-octane fueled enthusiasts. While rain did its best to spoil all the fun late in the afternoon, there were plenty of passes made on the quarter mile drag strip and the same was true of the autocross set up inside the oval track. What better way to kick off the Power Tour than at a facility that has decades of NHRA drag racing history under its belt?
With day two in full swing Long Haulers were doing their best to stay cool and keep it pointed in the direction of the beautiful scenic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, located just three hours south of Bowling Green. While it was a bit difficult for everyone to fit in the venue, Chattanooga State Community College welcomed the pack of hot rodders. With plenty of outdoor activities and a laundry list of great places to eat, Chattanooga, which is home to Coker Tire, was a pleasant second stop on the journey.
Birmingham, AL was the destination spot for Long Haulers on day three. Another relatively short stint of road tripping brought everyone into the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, home of the SEC baseball tournament. While this particular venue didn't have a huge motorsports background, just down the road Barber Motorsports Park and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum was open to wet the whistle of anyone needing a motorcycle or sports car fix. The 2.3 mile, 17-turn track opened in 2003. When coupled with the museum located right next door housing a combination of historic racing cars and motorcycles totaling upwards of 1,500, motorsports fans are sure to lose hours on the clock while they dive into the rich racing history contained within the beautiful architecture of concrete, metal and glass.
Day four had Long Haulers headed to another famous motorsports installation in the south. Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA was the destination and the venue promised more drag racing and autocross for those that didn't think that driving their vehicles seven states in seven days was beating enough for their rides. Roadkill's Mike Finnegan was present which drew quite a crowd. The speedway had some of our Power Tour crew calling it the coolest venue of the entire trip, as looking in any direction there was something car related taking place. The big deal for day four participants was that drivers had the opportunity to pilot their own car around the speedway, albeit at a much lower rate of speed than Sprint cup cars.
NASCAR enthusiasts know Darlington Raceway as "The Lady in Black" or perhaps, more aptly put, "The Track Too Tough to Tame". Regardless of those titles, it was kind enough to host day five of the Power Tour. The raceway, steeped in NASCAR history was a great venue to experience another day on the tour. This venue had cars parking on the grass, and the venue was so well attended pit lane on the raceway had to open up for overflow parking.
The planned Long Hauler route headed to Raleigh, North Carolina, directly passed by Rockingham Speedway, another heralded track in the NASCAR realm, which is sadly no longer utilized. Rockingham saw its final race in 2004 and then closed the gate, which offered up an eery experience for hot rodders making their way past and on to PNC Arena. Raleigh was unique in that it served as the only stop where our Power Tour crew had to open the toolbox and work on their rides. Thankfully, it was an easy fix and they were ready to tackle day seven in no time at all.
As we all know, all good things must come to an end (well, until next year anyway). The final day of Hot Rod Power Tour 2018 culminated at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina only minutes away from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Power Tour has ended here before, back in 2013 if memory serves, but it is always great to revisit the area that is arguably Mecca for NASCAR fans. zMAX Dragway staging lanes were full of muscle cars, trucks, and other performance builds ready to take advantage of four lanes of quarter mile bliss, and a burnout box was setup to allow hot rodders to uncork their v8s and create clouds of tire smoke for active onlookers.
Hot Rod Power Tour 2018 was an absolute blast and it is easy to see why this event continues on year after year. Thanks to the Long Haulers that make this event possible as well as the staff at Hot Rod Magazine and Motor Trend for putting on another successful event.
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