Elvis Presley's Daily Driver, Lawn Mower Racing, Automotive Anniversaries Highlight This Week's Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Food Lion AutoFair takes over Charlotte Motor Speedway this Thursday through Sunday, providing a plethora of activities for automotive enthusiasts and families. The four-day extravaganza will feature one of Elvis Presley’s daily drivers, lawn mower racing, the unveiling of “The Last HEMI,” a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Edelbrock, the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911 and more.
Elvis Presley Display: The highlight in the Showcase Pavilion is Elvis Presley’s 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II, delivered straight from Graceland. Elvis purchased the Continental Mark II in Miami with proceeds from one of his tours. He needed a new daily driver after fans wrote all over his other Lincoln with lipstick.
In addition to the Lincoln, the display will feature artifacts from his movie “Speedway,” which was partly filmed at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Artifacts include the original movie poster featuring Elvis and co-star Nancy Sinatra, the official script, the movie’s soundtrack album, a large illuminated sign that was used as a prop and Elvis’ navy suit from the movie.
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest: During the Food Lion AutoFair, fans can witness a preliminary round of an Elvis Presley Enterprises-sanctioned Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Held Friday and Saturday, contestants will compete to win $2,500, plus a spot in the semifinals for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest held during Elvis Week in Memphis, Tenn. in August.
The preliminary contest will be held at the stage by the Showcase Pavilion in the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Semifinals will be held Friday and Saturday, with finals scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. Celebrity judges for the final round of the contest on Saturday will be Danny “The Count” Koker from HISTORY’s “Counting Cars;” Vic Edelbrock Jr., chairman of the board for Edelbrock, LLC; Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc.; and Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Prior to the contest, Koker will sign autographs along with Kevin Mack, also from “Counting Cars.” The autograph session will take place from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in the Showcase Pavilion.
Lawn Mower Racing: Charlotte Motor Speedway will be on the “cutting edge” of American motorsports on Saturday and Sunday as the Food Lion AutoFair hosts the STA-BIL Lawn & Garden Mower Racing Series for two days of dirt-track racing on lawn mowers at speeds up to 60 mph.
“Lawn rangers” from across the country will compete in bladeless competition on a specially-made dirt track located at the 1/5-mile track behind Charlotte Motor Speedway. On-track action starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, with feature racing at 1:30 p.m., and continues at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 7, with feature racing at 12 p.m.
The Last HEMI: Mopar enthusiasts will rejoice during the Food Lion AutoFair as the last documented car to leave any Chrysler plant with a factory-installed 426 HEMI engine will make its first public appearance after restoration. The 1971 Dodge Charger, dubbed “The Last HEMI,” was restored by Mooresville, N.C.-based RKM Performance Center. The car will be unveiled to the public at 11 a.m. on Thursday as part of opening day of the Food Lion AutoFair.
This 1971 Charger is believed to be one of only 33 from 1971 with the HEMI/automatic transmission combination. Records show the car was built on June 18, 1971, a full two weeks later than the closest documented HEMI-equipped car.
75th Anniversary of Edelbrock: Vic Edelbrock Sr.’s original 1932 Ford Roadster will be the centerpiece of a special four-car display housed in the Showcase Pavilion at Charlotte Motor Speedway, honoring Edelbrock’s 75th anniversary. The car was his inspiration for designing and manufacturing the first Edelbrock intake manifold.
In addition to Edelbrock Sr.’s 1932 Ford Roadster, the display will also include a 1967 Chevy Chevelle SS, the original Hot Rod magazine Bolero Red 1967 Camaro SS 350 test car and a second 1932 Ford Roadster, which was featured on the TLC show, “Rides.”
Edelbrock Jr. will also be attending Food Lion AutoFair and will be available for autographs throughout the weekend. On Friday, April 5, he will sign autographs from 10 a.m. to noon at the Showcase Pavilion and from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Manufacturers’ Midway. On Saturday, April 6, he will be available to sign autographs from 10 a.m. to noon at the Manufacturers’ Midway.
50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911 and Charlotte Motor Speedway is celebrating with a special display in the Showcase Pavilion during the Food Lion AutoFair. The Porsche 911 holds the distinction of having been produced for more years than any other car model in history and took the company name to a higher lever when it was introduced in 1963.
The display will be highlighted by a 1994 Porsche 911 RS America, a 2012 Porsche 911 S and a 1967 Porsche 911 S Targa. It will feature other Porsche models, including a 1976 Porsche 930, a 1987 Porsche Carrera, a 1988 Porsche 930 “Slantnose” Cabriolet and a 2002 Porsche 966 Twin Turbo.
Most Muscle Display: Car enthusiasts are in for a special treat with the Most Muscle display located in the Showcase Pavilion during the Food Lion AutoFair. The American muscle car era spanned from about 1964 to 1970 and during that time, America’s auto makers created machines with some of the biggest and most powerful V8s available. This display will feature several iconic muscle cars including a 1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda, a 1969 Pontiac Trans Am, a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500, a 1970 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” Ram Air IV, a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 and many more.
Jailhouse Rock Café: Drawing inspiration from Elvis, Levy Restaurants has created a special menu called the Jailhouse Rock Café. The menu features many items, including a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich, Graceland Delight banana pudding topped with bacon and Blue Hawaii lemonade. The Jailhouse Rock Café menu will be available at a special location in the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway across from the media center. Pricing for these special menu items starts at just $3.
Kids’ Play Zone: During the Food Lion AutoFair, children and their families can have some fun in the Play Zone, complete with a petting zoo, face-painters, bounce houses, the popular Fan Van and an extreme air jumper. The Play Zone will be set up outside the pavilion in the infield of the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Play Zone hours will be from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free for children 13 and under at the Food Lion AutoFair.
Collector Car Auction: Dealer Auctions Inc., of Denver, N.C., will offer 200 classic automobiles during a two-day sale at the Food Lion AutoFair. The auction will be highlighted by three rare Shelby Ford Mustang Hertz-edition cars. The Dealer Auctions Inc. Collector Car Auction, which takes place on the speedway’s concourse, is open to the public and starts Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. Bidders and consignors must either register through the Dealer Auctions website (www.dlrauctions.com) or in person at the event.
Hagerty Insurance to Host Drag Racing Seminar: On Saturday, Hagerty Insurance will host a drag racing seminar at 10 a.m. in the media center located in the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Panelists include drag racing legends Bruce Larson, Buddy Martin, Jon Lundberg and Bob Doerrer. The panel will be moderated by Norman Mayersohn, a former drag racer and current deputy editor for The New York Times’ Automobiles section. The seminar is open to the first 100 people to register online at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1199840/Charlotte-Drag-Racing-Seminar-RSVP.
Whisky River Bar: For the first time at the Food Lion AutoFair, popular Charlotte night spot Whisky River will have a mobile bar for car enthusiasts to enjoy. Located in front of Victory Lane, Whisky River Bistro will serve soft drinks, beer and mixed drinks Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Legend Car and Bandolero Test Drives: Food Lion AutoFair attendees will have a chance to test drive real race cars, Legend Cars and Bandoleros, on the speedway’s 1/5-mile track behind the 1.5-mile oval. Bandolero drives are $50 and drivers must be 8 and older and Legend Car drives are $75 for ages 14 and older. Minors must be accompanied by an immediate family member.
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.
Car Club Shows: More than 50 car clubs will gather at the Food Lion AutoFair, creating one of the nation’s largest annual collector car events. Car clubs participating in the spring Food Lion AutoFair on Saturday and Sunday include Tach Twisters, Generations Corvette, Ford Owners Association, Buick Club of America, Horsepower Junkies, Carolina Muscle, Southern Rods and Classics and East Coast Cruisers.
Giant Flea Market: One person’s junk is another’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 Sprint 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 Manufacturers’ Midway is the ultimate shopping destination for automotive aficionados.
Awards Ceremony: The ceremony for car club awards will be take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Victory Circle.
Food Lion AutoFair tickets are $10 for adults and free for children 13 and under. A four-day pass is available for $30. The AutoFair will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
For tickets and additional information about the AutoFair or other events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Follow Charlotte Motor Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.