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Doc Hudson to Make House Call at AutoFair
Visit the Food Lion AutoFair page.
Saturday, April 14 - "Tex" from the movie "CARS" autograph. Meet H.A. "Humpy Wheeler, the voice of "Tex" located in the Pavilion. Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
With more than 5,000 collector automobiles on display during the April 12-15 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway, it's a good idea to have an experienced physician who understands their mechanical needs. Doc Hudson, the 1951 Hudson Hornet from the hit animated feature "CARS," will be on hand for the four-day extravaganza should anyone experience vapor lock, cracked heads or creaking CV joints.
The animated Disney-Pixar film "CARS," which premiered at the speedway prior to last May's Coca-Cola 600, tells the story of race car Lightning McQueen, a rookie in the Piston Cup Racing Series who gets stranded in Radiator Springs on an abandoned stretch of old Route 66. Doc Hudson, serving as the town's judge, charges McQueen with vandalism after he accidentally destroys much of the main street, and orders him to perform community service to pay off the debt. Unknown to McQueen and the rest of Radiator Springs, the doctor/judge has a mysterious past-he is a former racing champion himself!
The "Fabulous" Hudson Hornets were nearly unbeatable in NASCAR's top series from 1951-'54, in spite of the fact they were powered by inline six-cylinder engines at a time when competition from Chevrolet, Ford and Oldsmobile had high-compression V-8s.
The "Super Six" powerplant Hudson took to the race track was a 308-cubic-inch beast, assembled from dealer-installed accessories such as a high-performance camshaft, bigger valves, a high-compression head, dual exhausts and "Twin H-Power" carburetors that boosted output to 220 horsepower.
This racing engine, when combined with Hudson's innovative, low-profile "step-down" body design, created a powerful sedan that could handle corners better than anything on the road in the early 1950s. In the skilled hands of drivers such as Tim and Fonty Flock, Herb Thomas, Marshall Teague, "Rebel" Frank Mundy and Dick Rathmann, Hornets racked up 12 NASCAR victories in 1951, 27 in '52, 22 in '53, 17 in '54 and a single victory at the start of the '55 season.
With 79 race wins and three NASCAR Manufacturer championships (1952,'53 and '54) to its credit, Hudson should have been making as much money as Detroit's Big Three automakers, but this was not the case. Although the public was impressed with the innovative company's quality and performance, Hudson's commitment to its futuristic unibody platform meant it could not introduce new models as quickly as if it were using the industry's more common body-on-frame design. Without planned obsolescence on its side, Hudson was forced to merge with Nash in 1954 to form American Motors. The last car to wear the Hudson nameplate was produced in 1957.
Bringing Doc Hudson to life required the skills of legendary race car builder Kevin Jeannette and the staff of Gunnar Racing. Starting as a mechanic at a Porsche repair shop in Southern California, Jeannette eventually turned his attention to racing and became a world leader in building, maintaining and restoring Porsche race cars.
To construct Doc Hudson, Jeannette and his crew began with an old NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series chassis and handcrafted a composite body that included the unique features of the animated character.
Among the long list of drivers who have wheeled Gunnar Racing cars through the years is veteran road racer and actor Paul Newman, who provided Doc's wise, stern voice for the movie. And it was Newman who literally brought Doc Hudson to life last May when he raced around Lowe's Motor Speedway in Jeannette's creation.
Other attractions scheduled for the Food Lion AutoFair include Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones' 2007 Cadillac ESV; 75 years of the '32 Ford "Deuce" coupe; an Evolution of the Stock Car exhibit; prized rides of NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart; and a pair of futuristic bubbletop show cars from the early 1960s. The Food Lion AutoFair, the world's largest automotive extravaganza, attracts more than 160,000 visitors and features 50 car club displays, more than 10,000 vendor spaces and a collector car auction conducted by Tom Mack. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5. For more information, contact the speedway events department at (704)455-3205 or visit here.