Isenberg's Charger 500 Revs Up Pennzoil AutoFair
A spectacular collection of classic cars, customs and hot rods filled Charlotte Motor Speedway's infield for the Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts, but Sunday's sun-lit spotlight shone brightest on Robert Isenberg's Best of Show-winning R4 Performance red 1969 Dodge Charger 500.
Isenberg, a native of Denver, North Carolina, bought the car from a friend in 1994 and restored it to showroom-like condition - including switching its paint from Petty blue to R4 red, an orange-red shade that adorned the Charger 500 when it was produced nearly 50 years ago. Isenberg's love of Charger 500s and his lifelong support of legendary NASCAR drivers Bobby Allison, Charlie Glotzbach and Buddy Baker drove him to restore the car - which was designed for NASCAR competition and which saw only 559 street versions produced in 1969.
"In 1978, my buddy in the Air Force said he had a chance to buy a Dodge Charger 500, he brought it home from the Air Force and I helped restore it before he decided to sell it in 1994," said Isenberg, who had Allison autograph the car's dash after he bought it. "This model of car was built to race in NASCAR, which is why it has an aero package on the front. I've had this car at AutoFair eight times and this is the first time it's won an award. It's great to win one."
A four-day spectacle of family-friendly fun and colorful cars against the backdrop of Charlotte's 1.5-mile superspeedway saw fans enjoy appearances by Street Outlaws: New Orleans star Kye Kelley, a Dodge ride-and-drive and a historic display honoring the storied history of the Dodge Viper. On Sunday, judges presented additional awards to:
- Best of Show Runner-up: Peter Ashby's red 1998 Toyota Supra
- Best of Show Second Runner-up: Bill Burnside's blue 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
- Bob Laidlein Award (Most Original): Brandon and Monica Nash's red 1963 ½ Ford Galaxie 500
- Best Paint: Allen King's Cabernet red 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS
- Mecklenburg Strelitz Award (Ladies' Choice): Paul Meyer's gypsy red 1955 Chevrolet Corvette
- Cabarrus Cup (Most Creative): Ray Rapuano's wineberry red 1957 Buick Century
- Concord Concours (Best Restoration): John Jancic's Hemi orange 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner
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