Hot Rod power Tour part 2

As we’re driving towards Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois I notice there’s hundreds of people lined up all sitting on the side of the road with lawn chairs and coolers.
They say it’s like this at every stop… people come out just to watch the cars drive by.
The Hot Rod Power Tour is that cool.
There’s a line of cars waiting to get in that’s gotta be a mile long, but we’re in a Hot Rod Power Tour Official Vehicle.
We head straight to the front where we were promptly greeted by an officer of the law.
Once he saw the Hot Rod Power Tour Official Vehicle stickers emblazoned on the side of our Chevy Suburban his face changed from a frown to a big smile and he let us through.
The Power of the Hot Rod Power Tour.
The Hot Rod Power Tour is billed as the biggest cruise night in the world.
And it lives up to the billing and then some.
I can say with all certainty it’s the coolest rolling car-cruise in the world.
If you don’t believe me, come on down and see it for yourself.
I’ve been around some pretty heavy duty machinery lately so here’s what stood out to me:
I fell in love with the Jimmy Johnson Corvette when I first saw it unveiled at SEMA back in 2015.
I’ve got a thing for C3 Corvettes and this one is done right.
It’s a graphite silver 1971 Corvette and it was built for 6-time NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson.
It may look like a regular ’71 Corvette, but it’s not.
That’s part of the beauty of it.
It’s got a crate LT1, and it’s riding on C6 Corvette suspension.
It’s basically a C6 with an alcantara interior, Dakota Digital gauges, a direct injected LT1 with a 6-speed manual wrapped up in a 1971 body.
The thing is sick and they’re drove it the entire way!
IMG_3500
After I met the guys at Chevy Performance I told ‘em I wanted a ride in the Corvette.
Yeah, yeah.. Sure, sure…
Then there was Blasphemi…
Not only am I a host but I’m also a fan.
I asked for and received a subscription to Hot Rod Magazine for my birthday present when I was in the 4th grade.
And I’ve been reading it ever since.
I’d been watching Finnegan and Frieburger build Blasphemi over that past few years.
Blasphemi is a black 55 Chevy gasser built by Mike Finnegan for Roadkill.
It’s got a 530 cubic inch HEMI living under the fiberglass tilt front end, a Tremec 6-speed manual and it even has a gold sparkly steering wheel.
I’d seen it in the magazines and on Roadkill, but I’d never seen it in person.
…it’s sick!!
As I was walking over to the motor-coach, there it was in all of its sinister matte black glory.
After grabbing a sandwich I saw Mike Finnegan standing there talking to someone.
I walked up, introduced myself and told him I had a 55 Chevy 210 wagon and that I loved Blasphemi.
Then I asked him: “Would you mind if I sat in it?”
“Go ahead and drive it. You can’t hurt it.” He said.
To be honest – he scared me.
I was the new guy on the Power Tour, and I didn’t want to be “that guy.”
So I politely declined driving it and I just sat in it for some pictures.
I opened the door and had to crawl thru the roll cage to get in.
When I sat down I saw that there’s no carpet and no radio.
I looked for the ignition just in case I wanted to start it up.
But the spot that usually has a ignition key was an empty hole.
When I looked around the cockpit I noticed there were a bunch of switches mounted up on the roll cage.
Now I was really intimidated.
And he used to drive it back and forth to work from Orange County up to El Segundo every day.
Talk about hard-core!
After I got out I texted my buddy Hector about sitting in Blasphemi.
He’s never gonna let me live it down that I was too scared to drive it.
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On the other side of the cool spectrum is the Ring Brothers Winnebago dubbed the “Happy Camper.”
They bought the thing at a Barrett Jackson auction back in 2014 and they’ve made it into a hot rod party machine.
It started life as a 1971 Winnebago Brave with a Dodge 318 engine.
Now it’s got a supercharged 408ci Wegner Automotive LS with almost 900 hp, a 4L80 transmission and a Dana 80 rear axle with 4.11 gears.
Oh yeah, it’s got a TV’s, a pizza oven, BBQ grill, popcorn machine, a full bar and they say it can go from 0-60 in 3 seconds flat! 
It’s even got a little Honda Trail 50 strapped to the front.
The thing is nuts!
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And I got to see another Ring Brother creation up close and personal: The Grinch Camaro.
It’s a split-pea soup Green 1970 split bumper Camaro with a 603hp Wegner Motorsports LS3 and Bowler Tremec 5-speed hooked up to a built GM 12-Bolt.
And in typical Ring Brothers fashion, the attention to detail is incredible.
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We were all a part of history on the Hot Rod Power Tour 2015 as we  recaptured the Guinness Book of World Records record for Worlds Biggest Burnout at the Memphis International Raceway in Memphis, Tennessee.
It’s was pretty cool.
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As I was perusing the grounds in Gulfport, Mississippi I stopped by and said hi to the Pilot Transport guys.
The Roadkill van was parked in front with the Draguar and Blasphemi.
The red van was usually parked next to the MSD rig, so I told the guys at Pilot, if they needed any help moving it over to the MSD rig, I’d be more than happy to be of service.
I didn’t expect them to say ok.
It had just participated in breaking the record for the world’s biggest burnout the day before and the rear quarters were covered in black tire rubber.
I got in, fired it up, dropped it into drive and let my foot off the brake.
I didn’t even get 50 feet from where it was parked when I heard a big clunk and then a whole lotta grinding.
When I went around back I found that the passenger side rear shock mount had broken off.
Great! I just broke the Roadkill van…
The guys from Pilot just laughed at me.
After we pulled off the old shock, I was on my way over to the MSD rig to park the big red beast.
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I called my buddies back home to gloat.
They asked if drove Blasphemi.
I told them to shut up.
As I’m checking out of the hotel on the last day, Big John from Chevrolet Performance taps me on the shoulder and says: “You wanna ride in the Vette over to the venue?”
Giddy up!
When we walked out to the parking lot, there it was… just sitting there, parked next to a trailer.
This work of automotive art had been sitting out in the open in a parking lot all night long.
It was still covered in morning dew from the humidity.
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John unlocked it, we got in and he fired it up.
The LT1 came to life and settled into a nice quiet rumble.
John slid the Tremec TR-6060 into first and we rolled out following Craig in the lead Suburban.
Not only was I a part of the Hot Rod power Tour family, I was now a part of the Chevrolet Performance living parade of automotive art.
It was very exciting.
The Vette rode like a dream: the looks of a vintage car with the performance of a modern C6 Corvette.
I had talked my way into a ride in a SEMA show car all while hosting the Hot Rod Power Tour.
I was living the hot rodders dream.
The cars are what bring us all together.
Their gleaming chrome, lumpy cams, and sticky sweet exhaust…
And as amazing as the cars may be, they pale in comparison to the friendships formed.
To me that’s what the Hot Rod Power Tour is all about anyways.
Making new friends who share our passion.
A buddy of mine always says: “The one thing you can’t teach in life is passion.”
He’s right.
And in the end, it’s not about who’s got the most horsepower – although horsepower is important – it’s about who’s riding shotgun with you.
I’m thankful for all the new friends I met on the Hot Rod Power Tour.
Here’s to more new friends on the Hot Rod Power Tour 2016.
#HRPT16

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