Something for Car Enthusiasts of all Ages at the Food Lion AutoFair
The world's lowest street-legal car, an exhibit of cars from movies and television, a century of Chevrolet automobiles, the latest technology in bulletproof vehicles and a collection of rock-crawling trucks are just a few of the attractions scheduled for the Aug. 25-28 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Here is information on some of the feature Showcase Garage attractions, family-friendly activities, special appearances and unique events that make the Food Lion AutoFair the world’s largest automotive extravaganza.
The Flatmobile: Making its first trip to the United States, the Buckinghamshire, England-based Flatmobile will be the centerpiece of the Food Lion AutoFair’s Showcase Garage.
Built by Perry Watkins and modeled after the world-famous Batmobile from the 1966-’68 "Batman" television series, the Flatmobile measures 12 feet, 2 inches in length; 5 feet, 5 inches in width; and 19 inches to the top of its fenders. With 10-inch wheels, ground clearance on the Flatmobile is a claustrophobic 2 inches - about 1.5 inches lower than a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car – which means that a standard golf ball will barely roll beneath the car without interruption.
The Flatmobile features a flame-throwing jet engine and holds the title of world's lowest street-legal automobile, according to The Guinness Book of Records.
Movie/TV Cars: When musician and guitar maker Bob Dullam, of Kalamazoo, Mich., saw the 2005 movie “Batman Begins,” and its 2008 sequel, “The Dark Knight,” he desperately wanted to own the caped crusader’s new Batmobile. Dullam fired up his Mig welder, drill press and reciprocating saw and made the dream a reality. In a two-car garage without heat, air conditioning or adequate lighting, and with no prior experience working on cars, Dullam performed all research, development and fabrication himself.
He purchased and modified mechanical parts from race shops and created Tumbler’s Stealth bomber-like body from epoxy resin and fiberglass. Just like the Tumblers built for the movie, Dullam’s car is powered by a mid-mounted V-8 and rides on Hoosier racing tires in front and Super Swamper off-road rubber in back.
In addition to the Tumbler, feature vehicles in the Food Lion AutoFair movie/TV vehicle display include a replica Mystery Machine, inspired by the Scooby Doo cartoon, restored by Richard and Wendy Lombardo from Myrtle Beach, S.C.; a Batpod motorcycle from the movie "Batman Begins;" and a Light Cycle from the movie "Tron: Legacy."
Chevrolet’s 100th Anniversary: Founded on Nov. 3, 1911, by salesman William C. Durant and Fiat and Buick racer Louis Chevrolet, Chevrolet Motor Co., boasts lifetime North American sales of 180 million vehicles. Chevrolet is the cornerstone of General Motors, which was at one time the largest corporation on planet Earth.
One hundred years of Chevrolet models will be celebrated with a special display at the Food Lion AutoFair. Featured cars will showcase the company’s diverse vehicle lineup over the last century and will include, among other vehicles, a 1917 V8 owned by Brian Coffee of Bellbrook, Mich.; a 1954 3100 pickup owned by Bobby Smith, of Mocksville, N.C.; a 1955 Utility Sedan owned by Charlie Deitch, of Davidson, N.C.; a 1957 Bel Air owned by Bill and Judy Vickers, of Mt. Gilead, N.C.; a 1962 Impala SS owned by Jerry Dennis, of Concord, N.C., and a 2011 ZR1 Corvette owned by Angela Naff from Henry, Va.
Bulletproof Cars: A longtime manufacturer of armored vehicles will display its products during the Food Lion AutoFair. The Streit Group was founded in 1996 to provide armored cars for the cash-in-transit industry and quickly expanded into the specialized military and law enforcement markets. Streit (pronounced "straight"), conducts business in more than 100 countries and opened a facility in Charleston, S.C., in 2008. For the Food Lion AutoFair, the company is bringing a 2011 Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan and a 2011 Chevrolet Suburban that guards against shots fired from an armor-piercing rifle.
Rock Crawlers: “Rock crawler” is the generic term for any rig built to travel the type of boulder-strewn paths that would damage or destroy ordinary pickups or SUVs. Two Charlotte-area shops are bringing more than a dozen extreme-performance rock crawlers for the display. Matthews, N.C.-based Carolina Truggies has a reputation for building “the sickest rigs on the East Coast” since Alex Reed transformed his hobby/obsession into a business in 2006. Chris Marshall, of MarsFab Off Road in Harrisburg, N.C., was a well-known welder and fabricator for the four-wheel-drive community before he began specializing in turnkey machines. Each looks forward to introducing the Food Lion AutoFair crowd to this growing form of extreme recreation.
Catfish Races and More in the Powerade Play Zone: Catfish races, a petting zoo and much more await children in the Powerade Play Zone the Food Lion AutoFair. Kids can enjoy a petting zoo, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Van, pony rides, racing-themed inflatable slides, bounce houses, face painters, a family picnic area, kid-friendly concession stands and visits from Lugnut, the World’s Fastest Mascot. Kids can also check out Charlotte Motor Speedway’s own fire truck all weekend long and families can watch catfish races and sponsor a fish while raising money for Speedway Children’s Charities.
Lego Build Zone: In the Lego Build Zone, children will have a chance to construct small-scale Lego race cars and test them on an indoor track. Sessions will be held in the Media Center in the infield.
Sentinel Prime: On Sunday the Powerade Play Zone will receive a special visit from Sentinel Prime – one of the characters from the movie “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.” The fire-fighting vehicle is being brought to the Food Lion AutoFair by Rosenbauer America, the world's leading manufacturer of firefighting vehicles and equipment. Sentinel Prime is a Rosenbauer 6x6 Aircraft Rescue truck that plays a major character role in the “Transformers” movie as a predecessor to Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots.
Barbecue Sundae: In addition to the usual lunch foods of hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken, Food Lion AutoFair participants will discover a new favorite in the form of the “barbecue sundae:” layers of pulled pork, beans and coleslaw in a cup. Created by “Big” John Crane from Matthews, N.C., the barbecue sundaes will be available for $8 each at Big John’s concession stand near the infield Media Center.
NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series: From Friday through Sunday of the Food Lion AutoFair, zMAX Dragway will host the fifth of six NHRA Southeast Division races, with seven classes ranging from Comp Eliminator to Top Alcohol Funny Car and Top Alcohol Dragster.
Ray Evernham: Three-time championship-winning NASCAR crew chief, former NASCAR team owner and car enthusiast Ray Evernham will display a pair of his vintage race cars in the Showcase Garage, located in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage. The historic racers include a No. 21 Wood Brothers NASCAR Modified built in 1966 and the No. 99 Modified built by Geoffrey Bodine.
Wrestler Autographs: Impact Wrestling superstars Mickie James and Magnus will meet fans and sign autographs in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Auction Action: Dealer Auctions Inc., of Denver, N.C., will offer more than 200 classic automobiles during a two-day sale at the Food Lion AutoFair. Cars already pre-registered range from a 1937 Dodge sedan to American musclecars and Corvettes from the 1960s. 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 10 a.m. Bidders and consignors must either register through the Dealer Auctions website (www.dlrauctions.com) or in person at the event.
Cell Phones for Soldiers: Southeastern GM Toyz, one of 60-plus clubs displaying members’ cars on Saturday and Sunday of the Food Lion AutoFair, will be collecting used cell phones as part of a nationwide Cell Phones for Soldiers campaign. Since its founding six years ago by teen siblings Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, the program has provided more than 60 million minutes of free calling time to Americans serving overseas. Cell phone drop-off boxes will be located during the Food Lion AutoFair in the Showcase Garage and on Pit Road near the South Eastern GM Toyz car club display. For more information visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com or e-mail .
The Speedway Club: Charlotte Motor Speedway’s members-only dining experience above the track’s finish line will be open to Food Lion AutoFair attendees for lunch Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will be buffet-style on Friday and Saturday. Dinner will be served from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Legend Car and Bandolero Test Drives: AutoFair attendees will have a chance to test drive real race cars, the Legend Car and Bandolero, on the speedway’s 1/5-mile track behind the 1.5-mile oval. Legend Car drives will cost $75; Bandolero drives are $50.
Taste of Food Lion: Event sponsor Food Lion will return with its popular Taste of Food Lion sampling area next to the Manufacturers’ Midway. The display includes a cool-down tent.
Car Club Shows: At the heart of every good car show is an active car club, but when more than 60 clubs get together on the same weekend the result is one of the nation’s largest annual collector car events. Car clubs participating in the spring Food Lion AutoFair on Saturday and Sunday include Carolinas Chrysler, Ford Owners Association, Mid-Atlantic Olds, Queen City Corvette, Southern Scouts and Euros at the ’Fair.
Automotive Art: Famed automotive artists Dan McCrary, David Snyder, Michael Irvine and Roger Blanchard will have a mini-gallery in the Showcase Garage all four days of AutoFair.
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’s treasure, and 10,000 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 Series 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.
Camping: Great campsites are still available for the Food Lion AutoFair. Don’t have a recreational vehicle? Campers wanting all the amenities of home in the great outdoors can rent an RV or reserve a campsite by calling (704) 455-4445.
Awards Ceremony: The ceremony for car club awards and to determine the overall Best in Show at the Food Lion AutoFair will take place Sunday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m.
Hours for the Aug. 25-28 Food Lion AutoFair are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 per day for adults or $25 for a four-day pass; children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.