CONCORD, N.C. – The intense rivalry that defined drag racing in the early 1970s for millions of young fans will be remembered during the 50th Anniversary of the Funny Car exhibit at the April 7-10 Pennzoil AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Rivals Don “Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen did not invent the Funny Car, but they and their Plymouths did more than any other competitors to put the sport on every little kid’s radar. No one in drag racing had managed to open the checkbooks of mainstream companies on a national level until Prudhomme and McEwen convinced the Mattel toy maker to promote its Hot Wheels miniature car line through the cleverly promoted rivalry.
Click here for more details on one of drag racing’s most storied rivalries.
The Pennzoil AutoFair’s Nationwide Insurance Classic Car Showcase Pavilion will host an exhibit of cars from the early years of Funny Car development, representing legendary drivers such as McEwen, Prudhomme, Richard Petty, Bruce Larson, Dick Brannon, “Jungle Jim” Liberman and Hubert Platt, to name a few.
Prudhomme and Larson will sign autographs for fans in the Nationwide Insurance Classic Car Showcase Pavilion Friday and Saturday during the Pennzoil AutoFair from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4 p.m. each day. Current NHRA drivers Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett will also make appearances Saturday in the manufacturers’ midway. Hagan will sign autographs in the Pennzoil booth from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and again from 1:30 until 2 p.m. Pritchett will make an appearance in the Tommy Pike Customs booth from 11 a.m. to noon.
The Pennzoil AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 10,000 vendor spaces offering an array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Kids can participate in face-painting, bounce houses and other games and entertainment in the Play Zone.
Hours for the April 7-10 Pennzoil AutoFair are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.
Admission is $11 per day for adults, and children 13 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Call 1-800-455-FANS (3267), or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.