Cruisin’ into town – hooversun.com gas pain in chest

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Hoover is the third stop on a seven-day, 1,300-mile tour that begins June 9 at the Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and winds its way through six Southern states before ending at the zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, on June 15.

The tour is organized by Hot Rod magazine and is expected to draw more than 6,000 classic, custom and high-performance vehicles and more than 100,000 spectators over the nine-day trip. Organizers expect 1,500 to 1,700 vehicles to cruise the entire tour, while thousands more will attend part of the journey or register to be on display at one of the seven stops, said Jonathan Mill, publisher and general manager for Hot Rod magazine.

Plus, the large parking lot at the Hoover Met has enough room for an autocross course, which lets people who register their vehicles for the event see how well they navigate through orange cones and tight curves at high speeds, racing against the clock.

The Hot Rod Power Tour also features colorful mobile displays from more than 50 high-performance manufacturers and aftermarket specialists who show off the latest innovations in car technology and custom design and give advice to car enthusiasts.

There also is a main stage with local musicians, celebrities, games, prizes and plenty of food vendors, Mill said. This year, one of the celebrities is Mike Finnegan, one of the hosts of the auto-themed internet show “Roadkill,” produced by Motor Trend and Hot Rod magazines.

There’s nothing like seeing more than 2,000 custom and high-performance vehicles in one place or riding down the road together, Mill said. When a bunch of them pull into a gas station at the same time, it’s like a step back in time, he said. “It’s a pretty cool way to experience the automotive industry.”

The Hot Rod Power Tour began in 1995 when the editors and staff at Hot Rod magazine invited readers to join them as they drove their own prized hot rods and custom cars on a cross-country trek from Los Angeles to a Power Fest event at the Norwalk Raceway in Norwalk, Ohio. Eight readers showed up to go the entire distance with them, and a couple dozen more vehicles drove the first leg of the trip, according to the magazine’s website.

“It’s really a great opportunity to come out and see some of the best performance cars as far as hot rods and current cars that have been modified,” Marks said. “It’s phenomenal the amount of cars there are to see out there — the modifications to them, the latest innovations in custom cars.”

He’s taking his 2015 C-7 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 on the shorter trek but doesn’t want to drive the entire 1,300-mile route in a Corvette, he said. Team Corvette Alabama probably will have about 25 vehicles on display together at the Hoover Met stop, he said.

The Hot Rod Power Tour drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 people in 2013 and 2015, said Erin Colbaugh, the city of Hoover’s events coordinator. Because the Hoover Met parking lot is being used for registered vehicles, guest parking will be at Hoover High School, with free shuttles to the Met parking lot, she said.

The gates are open from noon to 7 p.m. While admission to see the tour is free, people who want to register their vehicle for display can do so at hotrod.com for $45 ($50 after June 1). Registering for multi-day display at several sites or for the long haul costs $129 ($160 after June 1). For more information, go to hotrod.com and look under “Events.” Hot Rod Power Tour