Hot Rod Power Tour 2019 Day 2: Martinsville, VA

Day two of the Hot Rod Power Tour is the first driving day. We met up with friends at their hotel near zMax at 8:00am. They were working on minor repairs and tweaks. By 8:30am we were ready to hit the road. Excited about the drive and what the next venue would hold.

It didn’t take long before we had our first Power Tour traffic jam.

Then the rain started. Most of the drive was pretty gloomy when it wasn’t raining. It didn’t make the drive any less fun, but it did add another layer of caution.

At a food and gas stop in Burlington, NC we ran into Jacob Davis of Hot Rod Magazine. He was driving an El Camino commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Power Tour. He started his journey at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California and would finish at Norwalk, Ohio like the first Power Tour in 1995.

There were also several other tour participants. Gas stations look like small cars and coffee events.

We continued on to Martinsville Speedway where it had rained earlier in the day and more rain was in the forecast. We parked in wet grass and avoided the mud as best we could. I found a spot next to a 1966 Oldsmobile 442.

The venue was packed! There were cars as far as I could see.

There was a lineup of cars parked on the track. They were quite a sight to see when they began to leave.

At this point I spotted one of my favorite cars of the week. A 1972 Oldsmobile 442 convertible. The car was bright red with white side stripes and top. I loved the Forgeline wheels and protouring stance, but that is not what intrigued me most. The vehicle had LSA badges below the 442 emblems. I asked the owner Terry, about the car and he raised the hood to reveal a factory looking installation of an LSA motor complete with a/c compressor. He added that he is from Florida and air conditioning is a must. What a car!

What is the Hot Rod Power Tour without mechanical failure? My friend Aaron and his dad have completed the long haul several times. This year drove his 1959 Chevrolet Parkwood wagon. It has a cool patina, LS swap, and air ride. The perfect family hauler. Well, about 20 miles outside of Martinsville, a rear axle bearing broke, causing the axle to release. The wheels being tucked into the wheel well is the only thing that kept this failure from being worse.

The GM Mobile Medic team provided some assistance once the car was towed to the venue. Aaron had reached out to Boris of Street Machinery, who happened to know a shop owner near Virginia that specializes in 1958-1964 Chevrolet and happened to have parts cars. They got Aaron’s 59 together enough for a 45 minute ride on a flat bed and had it towed to 89 Speed Shop.

It had been a long day. We had a 30 minute drive to our hotel in Danville, VA and still needed to find something for dinner. When we arrived I discovered that we were at the host hotel. Meaning we were with the team from Hot Rod Magazine, various sponsors, and the Power Tour bus!

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