Monday morning it was rise and shine on the Cruise to Ocean City Tour. After our morning driver's meeting we rolled out of our hotel in Concord, North Carolina under threatening skies. While most of the Road Tourians were used to the rain by now trying to keep the cars clean was getting pretty old. There was a lot to see and do today and we were not going to let some rain dampen our spirits.
The first stop of the morning was Steele Rubber Products in Lexington, North Carolina, just west of Mooresville. Steele Rubber Products is the Official Weatherstripping supplier for the Road Tour. In 1958 Lynn Steele needed some rubber gaskets and seal products for his 1931 Cadillac. As has been the case for so many companies in our hobby, Lynn could not find the parts he needed so he made them. The rest is history and Steele Rubber Products has become the leader in gaskets, seals and rubber products for the special interest vehicle market. We were greeted by the Steele Rubber Products staff when we arrived and Steele Rubber President Matt Agosta pulled the late Lynn Steele's 1931 Cadillac out to sit beside the Road Tour pickup. After some coffee and donuts we were given tours of the manufacturing facilities at Steele and we all got an education about the process that is involved in manufacturing rubber products. At the end of our visit Vice -President of Marketing Eric Saltrick made sure that everyone on the Tour received a goodie bag and the folks at Steele thanked us all for stopping.
Next up was a visit to what is hallowed ground for the NASCAR community and fans world wide. Dale Earnhardt Inc. is located just outside of Mooresville, North Carolina. It is a beautiful facility that now serves as a tribute to what many consider to be the greatest driver that ever competed in NASCAR. Our host was long time street rodder Henry Dana who has the enviable job of restoring and maintaining the late Dale Ernhardt Sr.'s collection of special interest vehicles. The building's interior is beautiful and contains the trophies and cars that tell the story of the Man in Black's amazing career. While we were at DEI some of the local street rodder's stopped by to say hello. Tom Busch brought his nostalgic 32 Ford five window that has all the right touches. Tom has relocated to North Carolina from Las Vegas since his two sons became involved in racing. Tom is Kyle and Kurt Busch's father and a very knowledgeable hot rodder. It was a very interesting visit at DEI.
About 45 minutes north is the town of Welcome, North Carolina and the home of Richard Childress Racing. We had been invited for a visit to the huge facility by head of equipment manufacturing at RCR, Rick Grimes. We were treated to a great lunch in the large meeting room at RCR and then got a chance to see the workshop area and saw an amazing line-up of race cars in various stages of repair and assembly. Some of the Road Tourians toured the RCR Museum while others did some shopping in the gift shop area. Thanks to everyone at RCR for a great afternoon visit to a very class operation.
It was on to Kernersville to check into the hotel before our trip to the C.A.R.S. facility in nearby Belews Creek, North Carolina. Jim Barber and the staff were ready when we arrived and Jim immediately took us on a tour of their huge facility. There is always dozens of builds going together at C.A.R.S and they range from the classics to very potent muscle cars with plenty of street rods in the mix too. After the tour we all sat down and enjoyed some of the best BBQ on the planet. It is always a pleasure to stop and see Jim Barber and the folks at Classic Auto Restoration Services. It had been a great day on the tour and the Road Tourians were exhausted.
Tuesday it was up and rolling by 8 AM. Were had been invited to tour the HPC Jet Hot Coating facility in Whitsett, NC We were greeted by Chairman/CEO Paul Clayton who personally gave us a tour of their facilty. It was interesting to see the process that goes into the high heat coatings that HPC/ Jet Hot is so famous for applying. Everyone received a souvenir Jet Hot hat and even the local TV station turned out to cover our visit.
From HPC it was on to Efland where we had been invited to enjoy a picnic lunch compliments of the Timeless Cruisers of Efland. What a great bunch of folks with a love of cars and a camaraderie that they enjoy sharing with other car enthusiasts. Thanks for the hospitality folks. What a nice way to spend some time on the road.
Nags Head was our destination for Tuesday evening and after a four hour drive we all made the trip in decent shape. The First Flight car club of Kitty Hawk has a local cruise on Tuesday evening in Kitty Hawk and they invited us to stop by and even put together goodie bags for all of us. They are another example of how great car folks can be and their hospitality was appreciated.
We are not done yet. Check back here as we make our way to Ocean City and the Cruisin Ocean City car show. But on our way we have a few more cool stops to make.