Inspired by the work ethic of his favorite NASCAR driver, Larry Cheffer claimed overall Best of Show honors for his 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the Food Lion AutoFair Awards Ceremony Sunday at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.

The Kankakee, Ill., body shop owner began restoring the jet-black car five years ago and put more than 3,500 hours into what became a labor of love.

"I wanted to quit working on the car so many times, but I thought about Dale Earnhardt and his never give up, do whatever it takes attitude," stated Cheffer. "I started rebuilding the car as a tribute to him, and then after his death, it became a memorial.

"My wife and I didn¿t celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary because we were trying to get the car finished for this trip to Charlotte. It's the first time I've ever shown the car and I'm just overwhelmed at the response to it.¿

Cheffer returns to Illinois with two additional pieces of hardware including the Lion Cup (Best Paint, as chosen by Food Lion representative Mark Miller) and a Best of Show trophy from the Southern Rods and Classics Club.

Another multiple award-winner, Bryant Owens of Hilton Head, S.C., captured the Mecklenburg Strelitz Award (Ladie's Choice) and National Woodie Club Best of Show for his 1946 pine-green Ford Woodie Wagon.

Other special award winners included Daniel Mansfield of Guysville, Ohio, who drove away in his 1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone with the Bob Laidlein Award (Most Original) and Paul Cochrane of Matthews who collected the Concord Concours Award (Best Restoration by Owner) for his 1969 Z-28 Camaro.

Even with 23 television screens, Jared Franklin's purple and grey 2002 Nissan Xterra still had plenty of room to carry the Cabarrus Cup (Most Creative) home to Lexington, S.C.

GoodGuys "Pick" Awards went to Bob Brown of King for his 1940 blue Ford Coupe and to Joe and Pat Bochnowicz of Sellersville, Pa., for their 1948 raspberry-colored Chevy pick-up truck.

In addition to these winners, each of the record 56 car clubs on display during the Food Lion AutoFair was judged individually, with a Best of Show picked for each club.

The fall installment of Food Lion AutoFair takes place Sept. 11-14 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in conjunction with the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway on Sept. 13. For information, call 1-800-455-FANS.