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HomeEventsDrag racing returns to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue

Drag racing returns to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue

Our weekly roundup of car show news and notes

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Woodward Avenue, the boulevard that runs from downtown Detroit to Wide Track Circle in Pontiac, Michigan, became famous — or perhaps infamous — back in the muscle car era when engineers from the Big Three automakers used the roadway to showcase their vehicles in stoplight drag racing exhibitions.

In recent years, Woodward has been the site of the Woodward Dream Cruise, a mid-August gathering of classic and collector cars that draws as many as 1-million spectators lining the streets. By the way, the official Dream Cruise has been expanded to two days for 2021, August 20 and 21.

As part of the 2021 Woodward Dream Cruise, those thrilling days of yesterday return with “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” on a closed section of the avenue in Pontiac. The event is scheduled for August 14, the Wednesday before the dream cruise.

“Our Brotherhood of Muscle spoke — screamed, actually — that they were ready for it to return, so we’re doing it,” Dodge brand chief executive Tim Kuniskis was quoted in the announcement. “Plus, this year we’re going to take it up a notch with a TV-versus-online build-and-race challenge. The ‘build rules’ are going to be really loose, so we should see some serious hardware being built to find out who’s faster: the TV or the Internet stars.”

In conjunction with the event on the avenue, Dodge will offer Challenger and Charter SRT Hellcat rides at the M1 Concourse skidpad. 

Festival of Speed approved as ‘pilot’ event

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a go, receiving official confirmation for its July 8-11 scheduling from Britain’s Events Research Program. 

“As a pilot, all people on site will need to agree to the conditions of entry set out by the Events Research Program in order to enjoy the event safely,” Goodwood House announced. “This will include either having had both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before the event, or proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test, which can be taken at home or at a recognized center free of charge, within 48 hours of the event.”

All present also must consent to the National Health Services test and trace program.

Beverly Hills rolling car show

Car show, Drag racing returns to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, ClassicCars.com Journal

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual Beverly Hills Concours d’Elegance was transformed this past weekend into the Beverly Hills Tour d’Elegance with 50 exotic and collectible vehicles cruising the community’s streets.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the turn-out for the first-ever Beverly Hills Tour d’Elegance,” event founder Bruce Meyer was quoted. “I would call the display of cars ‘show-stopping’ but for the first time in the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance’s 25-year history, the show was moving! 

“The Tour allowed us to find a socially distanced alternative to the much-loved concours and reconnect with the community after an incredibly trying year, all while supporting our local first responders.”

Among the rare vehicles taking part were a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, 1960 Maserati Typo 61 Birdcage, and the 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero concept. Also, the “Big Oly” Ford Bronco recently sold at auction, Jay Leno’s 1951 Hudson Hornet and the Beverly Hills Fire Department’s 1929 Ahrens-Fox truck.

Beaulieu hosts hot rods and customs

Car show, Drag racing returns to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, ClassicCars.com Journal

Father’s Day car shows were popular, with a hot rod and custom car gathering at the Beaulieu in England, where 4,000 people turned out at the National Motor Museum, which staged the show in conjunction with the Solent Renegades car club.

Best in Show honors went to Nigel Green for his 1931 Auburn special, which featured a hand-turned aluminum body and a 1915 aero engine connected to the rear wheels by a chain drive.

Caffeine and Octane joins Jacksonville relaunch

Monthly car shows in Jacksonville, Florida, are being revived with a boost from Atlanta-based Caffeine and Octane starting July 10, according to joint announcements from the Atlanta company and First Coast Car Culture founder Chris Brewer.

“It is an exciting time for Northeast Florida’s automotive community. July’s show feels like a long-awaited family reunion,” Brewer said. “Our goal is to create a safe, welcoming environment that allows enthusiasts to showcase their incredible vehicles. Partnering with Caffeine and Octane, the talented folks behind the nationally recognized monthly car show in Atlanta and the popular NBCSN television program, will bring Jacksonville’s event to the next level and beyond.”

Caffeine and Octane Jacksonville shows are scheduled for July 10, August 14 and September 11 at The Avenues Mall.

E-type Club celebrates car’s 60th

About 400 owners took their Jaguar E-types to the E-type Club’s celebration of the iconic car’s 60th anniversary at the Shelsley Walsh hill climb site in England. They were joined by 60 exhibitors and numerous fans of the car that even Enzo Ferrari called the most beautiful in the world.

Among the vehicles showcased were Lightweights, Low-Drags, the E2A Le Mans prototype (see video below of the car heading up the hill), the first two E-types to be raced, as well as the first reunion of all three of the cars the shared the Jaguar stand at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show.

The Mother Road and a Covid collection

Route66News.com reports that journalist Michael Sean Comerford used the coronavirus pandemic to bicycle the length of Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. Comerford’s bicycle carried a sign, “Tell Me a Story,” and he collected some amazing ones on videotape for his The Story Cycle YouTube channel, a book project and a documentary film.

“The idea came to me in a dream,” Comerford told Route 66. “I knew the time was perfect since I would be riding during some of the major milestones of the country’s portion of the pandemic, including crossing the 500,000 mark for deaths, the one-year anniversary of the CDC declaring it a pandemic and a record vaccine rollout that in May would see half the country vaccinated.” 

“Most people, Comerford says, were eager to talk, and he was impressed at how “articulate they were, how heartfelt their opinions.” 

He is respectful of even the most outlandish stories, such as that from a rancher who told of curing himself by taking a friend’s advice to drink a de-wormer used on cattle.

“It occurred to me that most people are not dying of Covid; they are living with Covid,” Comerford said. “They are adapting to a worldwide pandemic, as they have throughout human history and they are adapting in ways that are astonishing.” 

“I want them to see where these people are coming from and why they feel the way they feel,” said Comerford. “I want people to hear the inflection in their voice and see their eyes and know where they’re speaking from.”

Car show, Drag racing returns to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, ClassicCars.com Journal
Aaron Kaufman

Aaron Kaufman set for Carlisle GM Nationals

Carlisle Events says car-builder Aaron Kaufman of Gas Monkey Garage, Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman and Aaron Needs a Job will visit the GM Nationals on June 26. The General Motors-centric weekend runs June 25-26. Kaufman will arrive from Colorado where he’s been training to drive in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

Corvette panelists set for Philly Concours

“Corvette — America’s Sports Car” is the subject to be covered by a panel of experts July 17 during the Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Panelists include former Corvette racer Tony DeLorenzo of Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corvette fame; George Wintersteen, who owned and raced the ex-Penske Corvette Grand Sport coupe; Ed Welburn, former head of global design at General Motors; Lowell Paddock, former editor of Automobile Quarterly; museum owner Fred Simeone; with former Sebring track photographer Harry Hurst as moderator.

Pastrana, Subaru going to Goodwood

Racer and X Games star Travis Pastrana will take part in the Shootout at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July in the 2020 Subaru WRX STI redone into the 870Ps Subaru Impreza Gymkhana, festival organizers have announced.

The event will be the first official on-track competition for the car featured in a video of Pastrana racing through his hometown of Annapolis, Maryland.

Revival races announced for Goodwood

Goodwood also has announced the racing schedule for its 23rd Revival vintage racing weekend September 17-19. Among the changes, the former Goodwood Trophy event becomes the “Festival of Britain Trophy” competition and the Kinara Trophy event becomes the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy race. Also, a new event will be added — the John Whitmore Trophy race will be open to Mini Coopers.

Richard Rawlings, hypercars featured in UK

Gas Monkey Garage owner and star Richard Rawlings will be the featured guest when Petrolheadonism Live stages its inaugural “premier event” September 18-19 at Knebworth House in the UK. The event will be a showcase for hypercars, supercars and other valuable vehicles priced at more than £1 million. 

Organizers also note that the family-day car festival will feature more than 50 car clubs and member’s vehicles.

Extreme E changes venues but adds McLaren

Extreme E, the off-road racing series for electric-powered vehicles, has announced it is looking for new venues for races previously scheduled in South America but canceled because of ongoing outbreaks of the coronavirus there.

“We’ve been closely monitoring the situation regarding all Extreme E locations for 2021 and have chosen to make this pre-emptive decision on racing in South America this year,” series founder Alejandro Agag was quoted in the announcement. “As a new series embarking on our opening season, our priority is to deliver a five-race calendar of events which are safe and responsible for our global participants, partners and staff to travel to and attend.”

Even with the raced postponed, Agag said the organization will continue its support of conservation efforts in fragile environments on the South American continent. 

Meanwhile, McLaren Racing has announced plans to enter the Extreme E series in 2022 as part of the team’s program for sustainability and diversification.

“From the moment Extreme E was announced, we have been following the progress of the series closely,” said McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown. “Our attention was immediately drawn by the innovative format of this motorsport platform, in particular the ability it gives us to accelerate and boost our own overarching sustainability agenda, which shares the same priorities of decarbonization, waste reduction, diversity and equality.

“McLaren has always been at the forefront and never afraid to push new boundaries. This new venture is true to our roots of participating in a variety of categories, innovation and bravery. Extreme E is paving new ground in motorsport as a force for good in confronting some of the biggest challenges facing our world today and in the future.”

London Concours 2022 sets supercar focus

The recently completed London Concours has announced its dates for 2022 — June 7-9 — and a new focus on supercars.

“This year, 50 supercars joined a line-up of 100 concours cars, and the roster expands for 2022, along with a fully judged supercar concours,” concours officials said in a news release.

“The London Concours is built around content that our audience wants to see, and following visitor demand we expanded our 2021 event with the addition of a new Supercar Day,” said concours director Andrew Evans. “The response was so overwhelmingly positive that we have grand plans for 2022 to create the only judged supercar concours in the UK, expanding the content around the latest performance cars.”

2021 car show and concours calendar

The following are dates currently set (but subject to change) for a variety of concours d’elegance, car shows and driving tours scheduled during 2021:

June

19-27 – Great Race, Texas to South Carolina; 25-26 – Carlisle GM Nationals, Pennsylvania; Star City Motor Madness, Roanoke, Virginia; Congress of Motorcars, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 26 – Miles through Time, Clarkesville, Georgia; Community Car Show, Barrington, Illinois; 27 – Oldsmobiles & Orphans, Hickory Corners, Michigan; Simply Jaguar, Beaulieu, UK

July

1-3 – AACA Central Spring Nationals, Auburn, Indiana; 2-4 Goodguys Heartland Nationals, Iowa; 3-4 – Austin 7 Rally, Beaulieu, UK; 8-10, Iola Car Show, Wisconsin; 8-11, Goodwood Festival of Speed, UK; 9 – Collector Car Appreciation Day; 9-11 – Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, Pennsylvania; Goodguys, Columbus, Ohio; 10 – Steam Day, Seal Cove, Maine; DeutscheMarques, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 11 – Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Hickory Corners, Michigan; Simply Land Rover, Beaulieu, UK; 11-16 – AACA Vintage Tour, Lock Haven/Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; 16-17 – Horseless Carriage Club, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 16-18 – Street Machine Nationals, St. Paul, Minnesota; Hillsborough concours, California; 17 — Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance, Pennsylvania; Albaugh Classic Car Show, Ankeny, Iowa; Simply Vauxhall, Beaulieu, UK; 17-18 – Classic Nostalgia, Shelsley Walsh, UK; 18, The Great Car Show, Kansas City; Classics on Main Street, Forest Grove, Oregon; Simply Ford, Beaulieu, UK; Corvette Envy, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 21 – Woodward Dream Cruise, Michigan; 22-24 – AACA Grand Nationals, New Ulm, Minnesota; 23-25 – Concours d’Elegance of America, Michigan; Goodguys Pacific Northwest, Payallup, Washington; 24 – Mopars At the Red Barns, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 25 – Simply Japanese, Beaulieu, UK; Ultimate Truck Show, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 31 – Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional, Linconshire, UK.

August

1 – GM/Chevy Show, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 5-8 – Motor City Car Crawl, Detroit; 6 – Concours at Pasadera, Carmel Valley, California; 6-8 – Carlisle Truck Nationals, Pennsylvania; 7 – Red Barns Spectacular, Hickory Corners, Michigan; 7-8, Supercar weekend, Beaulieu, UK; 13 – The Quail, Carmel Valley, California; 14 – Lincoln Homecoming, Hickory Corners, Michigan; Concorso Italiano, Seaside, California; 13-15 – Goodguys Great Northwest Nationals, Spokane; 14-15 — AACA car show, Lindsay, Ontario; VW T(ransport) Chill, Beaulieu, UK: 15, Pebble Beach Concours, Monterey, California, 15 – Graham Walker Run (vintage motorcycles), Beaulieu, UK; 19 – EyesOn Design, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan; 20-22 – Goodguys Great American, York, Pennsylvania; 21 – Woodward Dream Cruise, northern Detroit suburbs; Back to the Bricks, Flint, Michigan; Relix Riot (hot rods and customs), Hickory Corners, Michigan; San Marino Motor Classic, Pasadena, California; 22 – Simply Mercedes, Beaulieu, UK; 24 – Import Showcase, Seal Cove, Maine; 26-28 – Corvettes at Carlisle, Pennsylvania; 27-29 – Goodguys WEst Coast, Pleasantom, California; 28 – Automobilia: Art & Design, Carmel, Indiana; 28-29 – Taste of Motorsports, Portland, Oregon; 29 – Pierce-Arrow Gathering, Hickory Corners, Michigan

Have an event to add? Email details to journal@classiccars.com.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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