Hot Rod Power Tour arrives in Bristol

Hundreds of motor enthusiasts gathered at the Bristol Motor Speedway Monday, filling the parking lot and track with cars as new as last year and as old as decades, all with a singular passion for their vehicles that goes beyond mere tools.

The annual Hot Rod Power Tour kicked off Saturday, June 8, in Concord, N.C., and for the first time, participants made one of their seven stops in Bristol, Tenn.

In it, participants from around the country gather to tour the eastern U.S. to further their love of antique vehicles.

Tracey Dotson is from Iaeger, W.Va., and he last participated in the tour in 2015.

“We were going to be a long-hauler, but we did not make it,” Dotson said. “My truck blew up in Memphis, Tenn., so we were short.”

The seven-day, seven-stop tour is not only a traveling car show for motor enthusiasts but also a kind of endurance run for participants. Though drivers sometimes get to run laps on official race tracks like the Bristol Motor Speedway, they then have to modify their cars afterward so they can be street legal. With the total trip being over 1,000 miles, not every car makes it the full week.

“I finally got my truck back together, so we are going to do the whole tour this time, hopefully,” he said. “You take a few tools, plenty of clothes and a good credit card.”

Bristol is stop number three for Dotson, having previously started from Concord, N.C., Saturday and stopping at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia on Sunday.

This year is the first time the tour has landed in Bristol.

Dotson gave his brother the credit for getting him into the power tour in the first place.

“He has done it a couple of times before,” Dotson said. “I got interested in it, and I decided to try it myself.”

He said it was his passion for hot rods that kept him interested enough to continue participating in the tour.

“I have always been a fan of them,” he said. “I like looking at the history of the cars and enjoying the old cars and the trucks.”

Dotson is not the only fan. This tour alone brings in thousands of onlookers a year at each venue, filling the parking lot and center field. Even the rain seemed unable to temper the crowd’s enthusiasm during the event.

“I got to figure out how to get my truck on the track and get a picture taken so I have something to remember this by,” Dotson said.

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