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2015 Hot Rod Power Tour


The Hot Rod Power Tour is billed as the world’s largest road trip. The 2015 Power Tour has been off and running, hitting seven cities in seven days chasing the Mississippi River south from Wisconsin to Louisiana. The 21st running of the Power Tour features thousands of cars from all over America and beyond. This year that tour, with sponsorship from Chevrolet Performance and Continental Tire, ran June 6-13, starting in Madison, Wisconsin, and ending in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Any car or truck owner who wanted to join the tour is welcomed. Any year, make or model vehicle is accepted. Gearheads can join in at any point along the way. However, the exclusive Long Haul Gang includes the people who take the entire Power Tour route along with the staff of Hot Rod.

Each cruise night expects to see 1,000 to 3,000 local cars that have shown up to visit the Power Tour cars. Manufacturers set up a colorful midway of mobile display rigs from more than 50 performance manufacturers and aftermarket specialists. You can view the latest innovations and get expert advice. Specialty makers show off their latest parts and cars, there’s autograph sessions with celebrities, giveaways at the main stage, and photo shoots with Hot Rod magazine and hotrod.com.

The schedule includes drag racing fun runs at Gateway Motorsports Park and Memphis International Raceway. Past cruise night experiences have included autocrosses, bands, drive-in movies, or special prize giveaways.

We caught up with the Power Tour at its Champaign, Illinois, stopover after the first full day of road-tripping. This tour stop was rather uniquely located at Parkland College that features one of Illinois largest automotive training centers, the Parkhill Applied Technology Center. It’s the home of Illinois only motorsports training program and features the latest in chassis and engine dynamometers. Among the many courses of study offered are Automotive, Ford ASSET, Industrial Technology, Welding, and Collision Repair!

Following a kick-off party the day before in Madison, Wisconsin, about 3,500 cars were on the scene at the Parkland.

Noteworthy is that the Hot Rod Power Tour brings significant impact to the economies of each of its tour stops.  Hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars will play host to tour participants who are relaxed and enjoying the lifestyle of the ultimate hot rodding journey. Nearby residents, young and old alike, were taking in the car show that came to their town.

And the show never stopped. On my drive north after my visit in Champaign, the I-57 Interstate was a rolling car show with cruisers heading south making my drive home a feast for the eyes.

Photos by Larry Nutson

Larry Nutson
Larry Nutson
Larry Nutson is an auto industry veteran, a mechanical engineer by education and an automobile enthusiast at heart. His diverse automotive career includes a youthful stint in semi-pro drag racing, twenty-five years working for Volkswagen of America, three years of Chevrolet strategy planning at Campbell-Ewald Advertising, and a position as founding member of the Detroit-based Individual Communicators Network (ICN). He is a past chairperson of the SAE International Public Affairs Committee, has provided public relations services for SAE Congress and Formula SAE and was a consultant and sponsorship representative for the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit. Larry is the Chicago Bureau Chief for The Auto Channel and resides in Chicago.
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