Johnson City Press: Bristol Motor Speedway to host Hot Rod Power Tour in June
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Bristol Motor Speedway to host Hot Rod Power Tour in June

Jeff Birchfield • Updated May 10, 2019 at 7:54 PM

BRISTOL — Drew Hierwater could barely contain himself when he heard the HOT ROD Power Tour was coming to Bristol Motor Speedway.

The veteran motorsports photographer from Kingsport read about the tour for years in HOT ROD magazine and knew he had to participate once it was coming to the Tri-Cities on Monday, June 10. The HOT ROD Power Tour, driven by Continental Tire, is a seven-day, seven-city journey over 1,300 miles. Overall, it is expected to bring together over 6,000 vehicles of all makes and models of hot rods, street rods, custom trucks and performance vehicles — plus 100,000-plus spectators.

The BMS stop features the opportunity to take laps around the legendary NASCAR track and racing on the drag strip. It’s a free event for spectators and $30 to participate. It’s $90 to be part of the whole tour.

For Hierwater, the HOT ROD Power Tour is the perfect place to showcase his 1928 Ford roadster kit car.

“Unfortunately, I can’t do the entire tour, but the fact I can participate in one day is exciting,” Hierwater said. “It’s why I built this car, to participate in big days like that. You’ll have every shape, form, color and style of car. You’ll see pristine cars, show cars, late model cars, Camaros, Corvettes, ’32 Fords, street rods, you’ll see everything. It’s one of the biggest events in the country.”

The HOT ROD Power Tour, driven by Continental Tire, comes to BMS on Monday, June 10 from noon to 7 p.m. It is the third stop on the tour which begins June 8 at Charlotte’s ZMax Dragway and then goes to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the tour and the first time it’s visited BMS since 2009, although Bristol Dragway was part of the 2018 tour.

A colorful midway of mobile display rigs from over 50 performance manufacturers.

“How often do you get to drive your car on a NASCAR track? You get to drive on the steep bank, which is something you never do on the road,” said Jacob Davis, digital director for HOT ROD magazine. “We promote you can bring whatever you want. We get about 60 percent classic cars and 40 percent modern. If you have an old car, please bring that.”

Davis is passionate about the tour. He got his job at HOT ROD after winning a burnout contest on the Power Tour in a 1972 AMC Hornet station wagon.

Chevrolet Performance is one of the sponsors of the event, but it features cars of every vintage and nameplate. It includes Hierwater’s machine, which he and friends built in California in the winter of 2004-05.

“It’s styled after the cars in the ’40s and ’50s they raced in the dry lakes in California,” Hierwater said. “It’s got a flathead Ford V-8 (engine) and a nine-inch Ford rear end.

“I’m not even touching the ground right now thinking about being part of the tour at Bristol Motor Speedway. I’m not sure about getting too high on the banks because the oil might get away from the pickup, but I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

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