I think the 2017 Hot Rod Power Tour was the best one yet.
For me it was a combination of catching up with old friends and making new ones.
This year CB & I flew in a day early.
My buddy Rio took time out of his busy schedule as the Commander of the 303rd Fighter Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base to set up a private air show for us.
As we arrived the B-2 “Stealth Bomber” was just taking off making passes around the Base.
Rio had a meeting so he left us with one of his co-workers – “Yeti” who asked CB and me if we wanted to go out on the flight deck.
We walked down the stairs and out onto the tarmac and we were immediately face to face with an imposing 1969 B-52 Bomber.
Then I spotted a P-51 Mustang that I made a b-line for.
As I’m admiring the P-51 a “Zero” lands and comes rolling on over to us.
The “Hollywood Zero” is a T-56 Trainer painted to look like a Japanese Zero, and it’s been in a few movies and TV shows.
Then we heard a buzzing in the sky and saw a glint of sunlight reflect off of polished aluminum skin.
Doc was in the sky.
We were witness to a fully operational B-29 Superfortress – “Doc” – one of only two B-29’s that still fly today.
It was awesome!!
And it was leaking oil out of all four engines.
When I asked one of the flight crew, he just laughed and said: “If it ain’t leaking oil, it ain’t a radial engine.”
It was quiet for a bit after the B-29 landed, then, in the distance, we heard a big jet making its way towards us.
It was a B-1 Bomber.
We got up close and personal with a B-1 Bomber.
Rio got the call that the simulator was available for CB to play in.
So, as CB got to play in the flight simulator, I got a ride in Rio’s co-worker Cuda’s Lime Light Green 1970 440 6-pack ‘Cuda.
‘Cuda’s got more hours in an A-10 than anyone on the planet.
He’s gotta beautiful 70 426 Hemi ‘Cuda too, and he’s taking is freshly permitted 15 1/2 year old son on the Power Tour in their SRT Neon.
We’re lucky to have warriors like these defending our country so fools like me can write blogs about cars and such.
Our time with the guys at the 303rd was awesome and I want to personally thank you for your service, but CB & I had to leave.
We had to get to Arrowhead Stadium to host the biggest road-trip in the world: The Hot Rod Power Tour.
We arrived and were immediately greeted by none other than the ever elusive Preston Stone.
He’s the man behind a sweet black 67 Chevelle and the Ring Brother’s Pantera.
CB & I had to run off to the VIP dinner at Arrowhead Stadium where we caught up with “The Guys.”
These are the guys responsible for a lot of the content online and in the magazine.
They’re the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to get you the shot and the story.
Here’s to you guys!
And behind us is my ride for the week.
A fully-loaded 2017 Chevy Suburban with their new Brembo 6-piston mono-block caliper front brakes, a Borla exhaust system, Magnetic Ride Control and heated & ventilated seats.
The next morning the 2017 Hot Rod Power Tour officially started at Arrowhead Stadium.
The first day is always awesome, but the highlight of my day was when Chevrolet Performance came up on stage.
They pulled The #3 Indy 500 Pace-Car Corvette up in front of the stage and asked for four volunteers.
They gave the volunteers 10 minutes and asked them to draw the Corvette.
No one knew that Chevy had a ringer.
Up on the main stage drawing away as part of the contest was none other than Tom Peters – the designer of the C7 Corvette.
Then he answered questions about the Corvette for over half an hour.
It was awesome!!!
The next day in Newton Iowa as I was getting a lay of the land in a golf cart I stopped by Pilot Transport to see if they needed any help and to check out the sick 69 Camaro parked there.
And, as luck would have it, Brian asked me if I’d be so kind as to move General Mayhem.
If you don’t know what General Mayhem is, it’s a 1968 Dodge Charger with a modern Hellcat drivetrain, stripped out interior and a 250 shot of nitrous.
It’s a rowdy, angry beast.
Rolling out of Iowa we couldn’t help but stop in The World’s Largest Truck Stop.
And I couldn’t help but sit in a real life Tractor-Trailor Truck.
Hashtag: Living the dream.
The next morning in Davenport my boss says to me: “Hey Jeff, I’ve gotta job for you. Would you mind taking The Muscle Truck and putting some gas in it?”
Putting gas into The Muscle Truck was easy, getting that thing started again was a different story.
The transmission’s gotta be in just the right spot or it won’t start.
I got it refueled, started and returned to Pilot Transport.
Upon our return, Brian asked me if I’d do him a favor.
If I’m not too busy would I mind refueling General Mayhem too?
I drove the beast back and forth in a parking lot yesterday…
Today I’m getting let loose on public streets with it.
Before I took off Brian gave me fair warning.
“Be careful in this thing. It can get out of shape on you real quick.”
It is a violent, beautiful thing.
Davenport had some great rides.
I saw a couple of CTS-V wagons!
A couple of Viper ACRs
And even a killer Marlin
The next morning in Champaign, IL my boss asks me if I’d like to ride over to the venue in the Street Rodder 59 Impala.
Once we got over to the venue, he realized that he needed to pick up his golf cart.
I offered to drive the Impala back for him because that’s just the kinda guy I am.
And I get to hang out with cool guys like Mike Copeland and Jeff Schwartz.
One of the coolest members of The Long Haul Gang was this converted fire truck.
On the way out I spied the 1970 Camaro Chevrolet Performance built for SEMA a few years ago sitting out in the wild.
I dig that car!
It’s got an LT-4 under the hood attached to a 6-speed manual & a 12-bolt posi.
The next day at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois we got to take the golf cart down the drag strip.
I like that the AMC’s are out in force.
Not only was there a beautiful AMX Hornet with a twin-supercharged something in it.
But Jacob won the burnout contest in his Green AMC Hornet with a straight-6 an open diff and a lot of laughing gas.
It was truly a sight to behold when the little hornet beat the likes of a C7 Corvette and a Gen6 Camaro in the burnout contest.
Plus he’d driven it from LA up to San Francisco before heading out to Kansas City to start the Power Tour.
He put over 6000 miles on it in just over two weeks.
Way to go man!!
I showed up at Indianapolis Raceway Park and the first thing I saw was this beautiful Green & Cream 56 Nomad.
And just look under the hood.
Then I got distracted by John Force’s 10,000hp Nitro burning Funny Car.
And I got distracted again when John Force, Courtney Force and Robert Hight showed up to talk.
A little while after they left my boss shows up on stage unannounced.
He had the gall to ask if we had time to bring up Larry Dixon.
You mean three time NHRA Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon?!?
Heck yeah we’ve got time for Larry Dixon!!
The last day was in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
A special place if you like Corvettes.
They’ve been built there since 1981.
I knew we were ending the tour there this year, and I knew that was the last day they were giving tours before they were shutting the plant down for up to 18 months for renovations.
I made my reservation months in advance.
After touring the plant I got to the venue to discover that my buddies over at Lingenfelter were gonna let me play with their C6 ZR1 with just a little Lingenfelter magic in it.
The C6 ZR1 is a fantastic car.
I just love the LS-9.
And my boss asked if I’d like to bring the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible back to the hauler for him.
It was a Corvette day.
I’d seen more Black Rose Metallic Corvettes in one day than I had in all my years as a car-guy.
The 2017 Hot Rod Power Tour had come to an end.
The cars were awesome.
And it was great seeing all my Hot Rod friends.
I can’t wait until next year.
I think the 2017 Hot Rod Power Tour was the best one yet.