The 2010 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour kicked off at Southern Rods and Parts in Greer, South Carolina, with owner Tom Joseph and his crew throwing a party for a parking lot filled with 30 Cruise to Ocean City Tour participants and about 50 local hot rodders who turned out to join in the fun. Great weather and great barbecue helped the turnout, but the real reason most folks stopped by was to get the very first look at the '10 Road Tour Shadow Rods XL27 roadster pickup.

At 2 p.m., an Intercity Lines transporter backed onto the lot with one very important cargo. Five days earlier the crew at Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, California, had put the finishing touches on the Smeding Ford 427-powered roadster pickup and loaded it on the rig for the cross-country journey.

To say that the folks who were present at Southern Rods were impressed is a huge understatement. As soon as the blue bomber was lowered down from the transporter by Intercity Lines driver Maurice Sharp, all eyes were on the Road Tour roadster pickup. Zane Cullen and the Cotati craftsmen put an amazing amount of detail into the pickup, and it showed. Clay Cook from C. Cook Enterprises had personally traveled from his shop in Kentucky to Santa Rosa to hand fabricate the track nose and hood that makes the roadster so distinctive. The flawless blue PPG paint, the Rod Tops' top and interior with Wise Guys' seats helped complete the Shadow Rods XL27 body and frame package.

The Southern Rods and Parts staff put on a great party, complete with door prizes for the many folks in attendance. By about 5 p.m. it was time for the Cruise to Ocean City Road Tour to get rolling. It was a 90-minute drive to Concord, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte. The trip began with some major downpours along the way. The pickup handled the wet conditions flawlessly with the Coker Tires and Pete & Jakes chassis and suspension keeping everything on track. The Road Tour participants arrived at the hotel in Concord somewhat wet but enthusiastic about the week ahead.

Sunday started off with some very hot and humid weather conditions. At the first drivers' meeting of the week, we covered the details of the many activities that were planned along the way to the Cruisin' Ocean City event. Our first visit on Sunday morning was one of the most anticipated of the week. We were going to be one of the first groups to tour the newly opened NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte. The facility is fantastic. It includes displays and exhibits that relate to the history of stock car racing and the stories of the people who made the sport so colorful. The facility is filled with many interactive exhibits and famous cars of the past and present. It will quickly become a must-see stop on any car person's list if they are in the Charlotte area.

After a brief stop back at our hotel, we continued Sunday afternoon's activities with a short drive to Mooresville and a visit to the North Carolina Racing Hall of Fame, which contains some very interesting and significant vehicles and memorabilia from the rich history of racing in the state. One of the highlights was a chance to meet Don Miller, the former President of Penske Racing and the man many credit as the person who put the name Penske on the NASCAR map. Don was instrumental in the early NASCAR career of Rusty Wallace, among many others. He was on hand at the museum to sign copies of his new book, Miller's Time, which covers his long career in auto racing. One of the many vehicles on display in the museum was Don's famous yellow Mac Tools roadster in which he broke a number of land speed records on the salt at Bonneville.

Sunday evening was spent enjoying food and beverages at the nearby Quaker Steak and Lube.