The No. 3 Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt was driving when he performed the legendary "pass in the grass;" a classic 1957 Chevrolet belonging to a 4-year-old pre-schooler; and Bumblebee and Ironhide from the hit movie "Transformers" will be among the featured attractions during the Sept. 13-16 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Owned by longtime General Motors engineer Bill Tower, of Plant City, Fla., the Chevrolet Monte Carlo Earnhardt drove to victory in the 1987 NASCAR all-star race will return to the track that hosted one of the most memorable moments in NASCAR history.

Tower rarely shows the blue-and-yellow No. 3, but says when he does it demonstrates the impact Earnhardt had on race fans.

"A lot of people actually start crying when they see it. They won't speak when they get around it-it's like a shrine to them," he said. "The car is really an eye opener because it brings out the true fans and shows what Dale was really all about."

While most kids his age are playing with Hot Wheels or Transformers, 4-year-old Steven Banks Jr., of Kannapolis, N.C., will be showing his 1957 Chevrolet at Food Lion AutoFair. The youngster's red-and-white Bel Air will be featured in a special display celebrating the 50th birthday of America's most popular classic car.

Banks, who goes by J.R., was fast enough to call dibs on the 50-year-old classic as soon as his grandfather, William Talford, pulled into the family's driveway. Talford told the family the two-door hardtop belonged to his grandson on the condition J.R. helps take care of it until he is old enough to drive it.

"My deal with J.R. benefits both of us," Talford explained. "He'll be old enough to drive the car when I'm getting too old to drive it. Part of the deal is that he has to give me a ride in it every now and then."

Bumblebee, a yellow 2009 Chevrolet Camaro, and Ironhide, a black GMC Topkick truck, from the hit movie "Transformers" will be among the "heavy metal" on display at AutoFair.

Toy maker Hasbro introduced the Japanese-born Transformers concept-good and evil fighting robots who disguise themselves as everyday objects-to United States and European stores in 1984. With a few twists, turns and clicks, each of the innovative figures converted from a toy car, truck or airplane into a fierce, humanoid-shaped battle machine.

In the latest addition to the Transformers mythology, the Autobots are represented by Bumblebee, Ironhide, Optimus Prime (in the form of a Peterbilt truck), Jazz (Pontiac Solstice), and Ratchet (Hummer H2). Bumblebee is the scout assigned to find and protect Allspark's keeper on Earth while Ironhide is the team's weapons specialist and most-experienced warrior.

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Other Food Lion AutoFair attractions include:

  • From Dale Jr.'s Collection: NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. will commemorate three past racing greats during Food Lion AutoFair by showing a trio of super-high-performance Chevrolets. On display from Earnhardt Jr.'s personal collection will be a street-legal replica of the Corvette C5-R the Earnhardt father-and-son team drove to a second-place finish in the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona; a 1973 Camaro Z-28 built as a modern homage to the SCCA Trans-Am racers of the early 1970s; and a limited-edition 2002 Camaro that honors legendary drag racer Dick Harrell.
  • John Cena to Sign Autographs: WWE superstar John Cena will greet fans and sign autographs Saturday, Sept. 15. Prior to the autograph session, Cena will be recognized as an Official AutoFair Aficionado and will receive a custom plaque honoring his passion for classic cars and his devotion to preserving automotive history. Cena will greet fans and sign autographs from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Winner's Circle. In addition, Cena's one-of-a-kind 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge will be among the featured attractions on display throughout the Sept. 13-16 automotive extravaganza.
  • Awesome Audis: Germany's reputation for cutting-edge automotive engineering is secure thanks to the new Audi R8 supercar and the 650-horsepower Audi R10 turbodiesel that has dominated the world's most prestigious sports car race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the past two years. Both of these sleek speed machines will be among the featured vehicles at Food Lion AutoFair.
  • Unsinkable Sport Utility Vehicle: With four-wheel-drive traction for land, a jet drive for water and two turbocharged engines, the unsinkable H2O EX will make its way to Food Lion AutoFair. Built around a biggest-in-class Ford Excursion, the EX features a turbocharged six-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 325 horsepower for road use and a 240-horse turbocharged Yanmar marine engine for the water. This beast of a travel machine tips the scales at 9,500 pounds-about twice the weight of a mid-size pickup truck-and measures eight feet in width and 19 feet in length.
  • Lap of Luxury: A collection of elegant British and American classic cars from Jaguar and Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg will represent the best of both sides of the Atlantic during the Sept. 13-16 Food Lion AutoFair. On display throughout the four-day automotive extravaganza will be a 1935 Auburn 851; a 1930 Duesenberg replica, a 1936 Cord 810, a 1950 Jaguar Mark V and a 1960 Jaguar Mark IX.
  • Marvelous Mercedes: A Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren will be among the featured vehicles in the Food Lion Pavilion. Inspired by the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, Mercedes' latest supercar was jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Automotive. It features a supercharged, all-aluminum 5.4-liter V-8 engine mated to semi-automatic transmission and is capable of a reported top speed of 207 mph. With a base sticker price of just over $400,000, the limited-production supercar features Gullwing doors, carbon-ceramic brake discs and a rear spoiler which automatically changes angle according to speed. Along with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Beck Imports, of Charlotte, will show a Mercedes SL65 and a Hyabusa motorcycle.
  • Hot Rod Heaven: His wild dream machines are among the best-kept secrets of the street rod crowd, but fabricator David Watkins will be in the national spotlight when five of his custom-built machines are featured at Food Lion AutoFair. In 1991, Watkins opened Watty's Speed & Fabrication next to his home in China Grove, N.C., and began building cars from the ground up for discriminating clients who wanted-and could afford-the very best materials and craftsmanship. One example Watkins will display is a 1953 Studebaker Champion he built in 2000. At first glance, it could be a stock Studebaker riding on modern wheels. A closer look reveals body panels either built from scratch or massaged into subtle new shapes, a 502-cubic-inch big-block V-8, heavy-duty four-speed manual transmission, modern Corvette suspension and brakes, and-tucked out of sight-a hand-built frame.
  • Military Might: The Protector, the latest wheeled combat vehicle from Protected Vehicles, Inc., will be on display at Food Lion AutoFair. The Protector offers advanced armor solutions to threats from both improvised explosive devices and the more devastating explosively formed penetrators. With a curb weight of only 14,000 pounds, company officials say The Protector provides improved safety in a lighter package than many of the vehicles currently being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Protected Vehicles, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Garth Barrett, a pioneer in blast and ballistic protection.
  • Car Club Spectacular: Fifty-three car clubs will bring nearly 2,000 show cars to Food Lion AutoFair on Saturday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 16, as part of an Antique Automobile Club of America regional meet.
  • Automotive Art: Famed automotive artists Dan McCrary, David Snyder and Roger Blanchard will have a mini-gallery in the Food Lion Pavilion.
  • Tom Mack's Auction @ AutoFair: A rare supercharged 1967 Shelby GT-350 and a pair of pristine Pontiac muscle cars are among the vehicles scheduled to be up for bid when Tom Mack Classics presents Auction @ AutoFair Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15. Also scheduled to cross the auction block are several vehicles from the private collection of Greenville, N.C., automobile dealer Brinkley Moore. The Friday portion of the auction will be held during the evening with activities starting at 4 p.m. The auction then resumes Saturday at noon. For consignment information or to obtain a complete list of auction cars, contact Tom Mack Classics at (803) 364-3322 or visit
  • Race Car Test Drives: Legends Car, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero race car test drives will be available Friday, Sept. 14; and Saturday, Sept. 15; on the paved one-fifth-mile oval located outside the Turn 3 tunnel. Ten-lap test drives cost $65 for a Legends Car, $50 for a Bandolero and $85 for a Thunder Roadster. Test drive details from (704) 455-3240.
  • Huge Car Corral: More than 1,500 vehicles available for sale or trade will circle the 1.5-mile superspeedway and the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will have an on-site office to process the paperwork.
  • Giant Flea Market: One person's junk is another person's treasure and 7,000 vendor spaces, located both inside and outside the speedway, will offer an extraordinary array of automotive parts and memorabilia.
  • Manufacturers' Midway: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup garage and its surrounding parking areas will be filled with manufacturers and distributors of aftermarket parts and accessories. From welding equipment to car care products, the Manufacturer's Midway is the ultimate shopping destination for automotive aficionados.

The Sept. 13-16 Food Lion AutoFair is the world's largest automotive extravaganza. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for Food Lion AutoFair can be purchased at the gates on event days. Admission is $10 per day for adults with children ages 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is $5.