Ultimate road trip
Buckle up: The largest road trip in the world is making a stop in Hoover this summer.
The seven-day, seven-city Hot Rod Power Tour will travel nearly 1,500 miles from Madison, Wis., to Baton Rouge, La., June 6 to 12. It will make a stop at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium June 10 from 12 to 7 p.m., rain or shine.
“Hoover is a great car town,” says Jeff Dahlin, publisher of Hot Rod magazine. “We were there in 2013, and it’s still one of the best stops we’ve had in the tour. We met a lot of people with incredible vehicles. Hoover just fits the bill on every point.”
They’re expecting 110,000 spectators in all and 5,000 to 6,000 cars at each stop. But, Hot Rod magazine’s event hasn’t always been this large.
“It started 21 years ago when our editors wanted to take a road trip with fun muscle cars,” Dahlin says. “They didn’t plan it as a big public thing.”
But some people got wind of the ride, and they ended up with about 70 drivers the first year.
“By the next year, we realized there were a lot of our readers and car fans around the nation that would love to be included in a trip like this,” Dahlin says. “We’ve grown each year, and now we’re the world’s largest traveling car show. It’s a title we’re proud of. You’d be hard-pressed to find something like this anywhere else in the world.”
The tour starts in the city it ended in the year before, so this year it will begin in Madison, Wis. Car enthusiasts who travel the full tour route are given the title “Long Haulers,” and they’re expecting as many as 2,000 of those. This exclusive group is honored with special parking passes, goodie bags and a Long Hauler award.
“Those who go all 1,500 miles are a really special breed,” Dahlin says.
Any type of hot rod is welcome, including classic and modern performance cars and trucks. There will be all makes and models of hot rods, street rods, custom trucks and muscle cars.
“We love seeing homebuilt creations,” he says. “It’s really a chance for use to meet the people we produce Hot Rod magazine for — it gives us inspiration all year.”
An event sponsor, Chevrolet will also bring a combination of concept and classic cars they’ve reworked with modern technology.
Chevrolet will also be on hand to help anyone whose hot rod breaks down on the way to the event. They’ll have their “Motor Medic” Silverado support vehicle, driving up and down the road near the Met looking for cars and drivers in need of assistance.
But, there will be more than just cars at the Hoover stop. The family-friendly event will have about 80 vendors and sponsors of the tour with giveaways, food, car parts and more. At the main stage, there will be musical entertainment and games.
There will also be celebrities like Ms. Hot Rod Kristian Mill at the event signing posters, and the Hot Rod staff will also be there. In the past, stars like Richard Petty have made appearances.
“People can come out and meet some of their heroes in the automotive world,” Dahlin says.
Participants can drive their cars through the Autocross course to see how they compare to others. Drivers can also test their cars’ horsepower in the Dyno Challenge.
“We’ll have a mobile system set up where they can bring their cars and see what kind of power they make with their engines,” he says.
In 2013, the Hot Rod Power Tour set a Guinness World Record with the most cars doing a burnout at one time, but it’s since been broken. They’re hoping to take back that title this year.
Dahlin says his favorite part about the tour is seeing the spectacle of it all. “A lot of us have been to car shows before, and it can start seeming the same,” he explains. “But when you’re on the Power Tour, it’s different. There’s nothing on this scale anyone’s ever seen before.”
Participants can register for one stop or the entire event at Hotrod.com. Pre-registration is $99 for multi-day and $45 for single-day participants. On-site registration is $125 for multi-day and $55 for a single-day entry.
June 6: Madison, Wis.
June 7: Champaign Ill.
June 8: Madison, Ill.
June 9: Memphis, Tenn.
June 10: Hoover, Ala.
June 11: Gulfport, Miss.
June 12: Baton Rouge, La.
* The Long Haulers ceremony will be June 13 in Baton Rouge.
Photos provided by Hot Rod magazine
[This article originally appeared in the June issue of Hoover’s Magazine. Pick up your free copy at one of these locations.]