I was invited to bring the 71 car up to Darlington, SC for the 2019 NASCAR Hauler Parade. What? Oh hell yes! One problem. I don’t have a car hauler yet. What to do? Well, jump in a 1970’s NASCAR replica and drive 350 miles from Daytona to Darlington, SC to meet up with the rest of the Street Legal Stock Car group from Facebook. Had I lost my damn mind? Well anyway, the parade was on the 29th, so I headed out on the morning of the 28th. After a week of looking the car over and making it the best I could, packing up a bunch of tools, some spare parts, and a few qts of oil, off I went!
First gas stop, in somewhere Georgia. The car was running like a beast. No issues at all, not even the gas mileage was alarming. Yep, the trans still has a leak somewhere, but who the hell cares. A quick pit stop and I was back on the road. The weather was perfect and it wasn’t even that hot as long as I was moving. Did I need better ear plugs?
Second gas stop was just an hour south of Darlington in Santee, South Carolina. All was well. Added a qt of oil, filled the tank and took a much needed leg stretching walk around the car. Now… about those ear plugs! OMG I was going deaf! I was running about 85 for most of the second leg, which was turning near 4,000 rpm. Holy shit was this thing loud. I pressed on!
I rolled into Florence, SC with plenty of daylight left. Let me tell you, the Super 8 there is decent. Cheap, no frills, and did the trick for under $50 a night. That’s Preacher Franklin’s bad ass 17 car parked next to mine. and… I am deaf. My freaking ears were ringing so bad I could not even hear the TV in the motel room! The poor waitress at Quincy’s had to wonder while I was yelling at her! All I wanted after that meal was to go sit quietly in the motel room for a few hours!
Now let’s get on to the fun stuff! The next morning I was up, and Preacher and I headed out to get some ear plugs for the ride home! We grabbed our cars and headed over to the Florence Convention Center to meet up with the rest of the crew. Little did I know that the first part of the day would be reminiscent of the old race car days with swapping out a transmission right there in the parking lot! (Hey, at least it wasn’t MY transmission!) It was good to hang out with gear heads l like me. Guy who weren’t afraid to get dirty, and know their car like the back of their hand. JB had the trans swap done in a few hours. Now imagine… that far from home and a few phone calls and he had a new four speed and clutch ready to go. All from a fellow racer in SC!
Jim Boyle drove this thing from WAY up north, like Connecticut north. Now I don’t feel nearly as nuts for my part in this weekend! The trans swap was on, a little tune up on the #9 Ford Thunderbird belonging to Chad and we were off to lunch. We showed back up around three for the start of the big show. Please do not let anyone tell you that NASCAR is dead in the south!
(Photo Credit Thomas Blackstone)
NASCAR is certainly not dead in South Carolina. I am guessing I had 100 kids, and a handful of grown women crawling in and out of this car for photos over the hours we were set up on display. I mean, that’s what the heck I built this thing for any way! The towns of Florence and Darlington came together in a way that made me homesick for the Carolinas for a bit. No racism, no BS, just out and out NASCAR fans coming to see their favorite driver’s rigs and take in some cool race cars.
Photo Credit: Thomas Blackstone
I can’t even begin to accurately describe the amount of money sitting in this parking lot and what an honor it was to be asked to be a part of it. I am ready to do it again next year! ow we haven’t even got to talk about the parade yet!
Stay tuned for part 2 coming up soon!