The third annual Chattanooga Motorcar Festival Sponsored by Millennium Bank was a grand Scenic City celebration of Oktoberfest, a true “festival” with dynamic and exciting events for auto aficionados of all ages.
* Against a backdrop of pumpkins and hay bales on a drive-up podium in front of the Westin Hotel Chattanooga, the 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton, owned by Travis LaVine, won Best of Show in Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance. Approximately 125 judged and exhibition cars in 21 different classes were on display in West Village.
* At the second annual Pace Grand Prix at The Bend on Friday and Saturday, approximately 89 cars in seven groups of vintage, historic and some contemporary race cars competed on a purpose-built 2.75-mile race track that stretches along the Tennessee River. This year’s Grand Prix, named for Jim Pace, the former COO of the Festival who died in 2019, featured the debut of the Alley of the Greats, a loop through a skeleton of an old manufacturing building draped with banners commemorating racing legends.
* Other events over the three-day weekend included V8s in the Village, Gathering of the Greats–Ferrari Edition, Mecum Auction Chattanooga, RADwood, Concours d’Lemons, light shows, evening street parties, panel discussions, the winged cars of NASCAR, plus an array of racing and car collector celebrities that may never be seen together again in one place.
* Car Clubs were strongly represented, including some uniquely named ones such as Choo Choo Bimmers, Choo Choo Corvairs, Cruisin to End Alzheimer’s, Drive Electric Scenic City and the Soddy Daisy Mustang Club.
* Familiar names from auto racing and car collecting, such as Donnie Allison, Justin Bell, Wayne Carini, Corky Coker, Tom Cotter, Ray Evernham, Chip Foose, Ken Gross, Jeff Hammond, Tommy Kendall, Keith Martin, Brian Redman, Bill Rothermel, Lyn St. James, Mike Tillson and Linda Vaughn participated in panel discussions, interviews and presentations.
* Lyn St. James, the 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year served as Grand Marshal, racing champion Brian Redman was the Grand Ambassador, and local hero Corky Coker was Grand Marshal Emeritus.
* Former NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham curated a collection of NASCAR winged cars, and hosted a panel discussion with famed NASCAR racer Donnie Allison and another former crew chief and TV commentator, Jeff Hammond.
* NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek competed at the Pace Grand Prix in a NASCAR 2006 Toyota Camry, winning each of his group’s two feature races on Saturday.
* The Torque Show live-streamed more than 30 hours of coverage during the three-day weekend, which included the Canossa Rally Chattanooga, the racing action at the Grand Prix, the Concours d’Elegance awards presentation, and the Torque Show each day with Justin Bell and Tommy Kendall.
* “Well, it’s hard to believe it’s actually happening—that it’s already Sunday,” said Byron DeFoor, event founder on the morning of the event’s final day. “So many people helped us make it happen. I guess we put out thousands of bales of hay here on the track, and [brought in] tractor trailer loads of pumpkins. It feels good to be right here today and see all these people.
“The West Village area seven years ago was not a pretty place,” DeFoor continued. “This building behind us (the Westin) was abandoned. So to see the Motorcar Festival bring Chattanooga to the world stage is incredible and it touches my heart. It’s just hard to believe that it’s happened in seven years only.”
* Former NASCAR crew chief and TV commentator Jeff Hammond was effusive in his comments: “It is my first time [here]. I know about the history of Chattanooga, but I never realized the beauty here. It’s a big city, but it’s got a small town feel—I love all the people I’ve had the privilege of running into [and] I can’t wait to come back.
“It’s not a NASCAR race,” Hammond continued, “but at the same time, they race for pride at the Pace Grand Prix at The Bend. And when people are racing for pride, you get a different feel and sensation. The intermixing of the different brands and makes that are in each one of the groups is great. I’m a people watcher, so I’m watching what’s going on with the hometown folks. They say, ‘Wow, look at that. Do you hear that sound?’ It’s something I grew up with and it makes me smile, makes me feel good about the sport and profession that I chose because we’re still entertaining folks and we’re bringing people together.”
* For Pace GP race results, links to more of the Torque Show video coverage and more, click HERE.