The veteran motorsports photographer from Kingsport read about the tour for years in Hot Rod magazine and knew he had to participate once it was coming to the Tri-Cities next month. The Hot Rod Power Tour, driven by Continental Tire, is a seven-day, seven-city journey of more than 1,300 miles. Overall, it is expected to bring together over 6,000 vehicles of all makes and models — hot rods, street rods, custom trucks and performance vehicles — plus 100,000-plus spectators.
The BMS stop features the opportunity to take laps around the legendary NASCAR track and race on the dragstrip. A free event for spectators, the cost is $30 to participate. The cost to do the entire tour is $90.
For Hierwater, the Hot Rod Power Tour is the perfect place to showcase his 1928 Ford roadster kit car.
“Unfortunately, I can’t do the entire tour, but the fact I can participate in one day is exciting,” Hierwater said. “It’s why I built this car, to participate in big days like that. You’ll have every shape, form, color and style of car. You’ll see pristine cars, show cars, late model cars, Camaros, Corvettes, ’32 Fords, street rods, you’ll see everything.
“It’s one of the biggest events in the country.”
The Hot Rod Power Tour visits BMS on Monday, June 10 from noon to 7 p.m. It is the third stop on the tour, which begins June 8 at Charlotte’s ZMax Dragway and then goes to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
It’s the 25th anniversary of the tour and the first time it’s visited BMS since 2009, although Bristol Dragway was part of the 2018 tour.
“How often do you get to drive your car on a NASCAR track? You get to drive on the steep bank, which is something you never do on the road,” said Jacob Davis, digital director for Hot Rod magazine. “We promote you can bring whatever you want. We get about 60 percent classic cars and 40 percent modern. If you have an old car, please bring that.”
Davis is passionate about the tour. He got his job at Hot Rod after winning a burnout contest on the Power Tour in a 1972 AMC Hornet station wagon.
Chevrolet Performance is one of the sponsors of the event, but it features cars of every vintage and nameplate. It includes Hierwater’s machine, which he and friends built in California in the winter of 2004-05.
“It’s styled after the cars in the ’40s and ’50s they raced in the dry lakes in California,” Hierwater said. “It’s got a flathead Ford V-8 (engine) and a 9-inch Ford rear end.
“I’m not even touching the ground right now thinking about being part of the tour at Bristol Motor Speedway. I’m not sure about getting too high on the banks because the oil might get away from the pickup, but I can’t wait to be a part of it.”