It’s hard to believe that the 2016 Hot Rod Power Tour was a month ago. But thanks to the Internet, it will live forever in participants’ Facebook posts, blogs, tweets, and Instagrams…and in the hearts of their iPhones.
Rutledge Wood is one of those people. He took two vehicles — a 1968 Camaro and a 2008 Toyota Tundra-turned-2016 TRD PRO Tundra — on the Tour. Rut’s pal Steve Allgood tagged along in a virtual clone of Rutledge’s Camaro. Dubbed the Evil Twin Camaros, both were driven by Tanner Foust in the movie Need for Speed.
Below are excerpts from Rutledge’s Big Power Tour Adventure in his very own words, plus some Tour pix and build photos of the Camaro and Tundra. You can read Rut’s entire tour blog, watch the videos, and browse through all his photos at www.TheRutledgeWood.com.
Big Power Tour Adventure Day 1: Sharpsburg, GA to Gonzales, LA
After a late night of wrenching, we were slow to get on the road for the start of the Hot Rod Power Tour 2016—like leaving at mid-afternoon slow. We drove straight through from home base, Kenwood Rod Shop in Sharpsburg, to Gonzales, LA, only stopping for gas and snacks. The ride was pretty uneventful except for a brake caliper on the Camaro that decided to stick. It was an easy fix, though.
Big Power Tour Adventure Day 2: Gonzales to Baytown, TX
We blasted out of Gonzales headed west with a bunch of other Power Tourites and a Tundra full of Continental Tire hats, koozies and other goodies that we handed out to folks who came to watch the Power Tour roll through their town.
We took the backroads as much as possible. We went through some off the radar Louisiana towns. In Jennings we ate at the Rocket Drive-Inn, a killer old-school drive-in. The Hot Rod Magazine crew rolled by while we were eating, and next thing you know, we were doing an impromptu photo shoot with the Evil Twin Camaros in front of an abandoned grain facility.
It started raining around Lake Charles and continued off and on until we hit Baytown. We were also hit with another gremlin on a buddy’s car, which had to go to Baytown on the back of a transporter. That delay meant we missed the Tour Stop at Royal Purple Raceway. Sigh.
Big Power Tour Adventure Day 3: Baytown to Austin, TX
After our troubles the previous two days, we decided to get on the road a little earlier this time to ensure we made it to the venue, the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) F1 track. We saw a sign for LaGrange and knew we had to go. You don’t visit Texas and just drive past LaGrange! (you’re welcome for the ZZ Top earworm).
Continental Tire and Petty’s Garage invited us to park one of the Evil Twin Camaros and the Tundra with their display rig at COTA. The Evil Twins were a big hit. Hot Rod Magazine even shot a piece where I walked their viewers through the builds and told the story of the cars.
At the end of the day, we witnessed a wedding right on the Hot Rod stage. They even had automotive themed vows, which were perfect.
Big Power Tour Adventure Day 4: Austin to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
We joined up with our friends from Odyssey Batteries, who brought along a SRT8 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and hit the road for Dallas.
Our first stop was to pick up Top Gear pal Adam Ferrara at his hotel in Austin. We then went to
Buc-ee’s, a gas station, grocery store, and Wal-Mart all rolled into one. It was glorious—I’ve never seen so much beef jerky in my life!
Today was all-interstate as we were hustling to get to No Limits, TX — home town of Texas Motor Speedway — to get everything set up for the Top Gear watch party that evening. When we got there, we did a short video with the Tundra on the track, then decided hell, might as well take a lap. The truck did great, but I think we made the stability control angry as it wouldn’t stop flashing.
That night we gathered ‘round with lots of friends and fans to watch Top Gear on Big Hoss, the world’s largest HDTV. It was a charity event to benefit the Speedway Children’s Charity. It was really special to see so many people sitting in their chairs and cars, watching and laughing right alongside us.
Big Power Tour Adventure Day 5: Dallas, to Oklahoma City, OK
It was time to hop back in the car and make our way to Oklahoma City. The first thing we saw was that the Roadkill guys, Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger, had infiltrated the Tundra and put stickers everywhere — and I mean everywhere. We were finding them the entire ride!
We rolled into the venue at Remington Park around 2:30 pm and got the vehicles placed on display with the Continental Tire/Petty’s Garage rig. I was sweating like a —well, you know— signing as many autographs and taking as many pictures as I possibly could. I also managed a walk around the venue space and the parking spots. The coolest thing about the Power Tour is that between the participants and the spectators from local towns, the parking lots turn into the world’s most amazing and eclectic car show.
Big Power Tour Adventure Day 6 : Oklahoma City to Sharpsburg, GA
As much fun as we had been having, we had to hit the road to head home after the Oklahoma City stop. The GPS said it would be a 13 hour ride. We stopped for lunch at a great spot in North Little Rock, AR. After filling our bellies and weighing our options, we decided to push through and make it home. Only took 15 hours!