Mustangs of the 2015 Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 4, Tuesday June 9 - St. Louis, IL to Memphis, TN
Today was the longest leg of the entire Power Tour, with a 311-mile drive from Gateway Raceway to Memphis International Raceway (MIR). In order to get to the venue at a decent hour, many of the Tour participants left early, like around 6:00 or 7:00 am, taking I-55 south and breaking off for two-lane country roads through such towns as Red Bud and Dyersburg. Thankfully there was no rain today, only sunny skies and open roads, though several construction zones slowed the Tour to a crawl in spots. Surprisingly, even though the thermometer was in the low-90s and the humidity was unreal, we didn’t see any overheating or other roadside misery, only smiling faces, hands waving out windows, and locals in their lawn chairs with signs saying “light ‘em up!” Maybe we did, but we’re not telling.
We neglected to mention our ride for Power Tour until now; Ford Motor Company loaned us a 2015 Mustang GT convertible, and today was perfect for top-down driving with the air conditioning on. It felt a little decadent to have the a/c on with the top down, but that combination created a most pleasant driving experience.
Your author has been to many, many drag races and other events at MIR but never have I seen cars not only filling the entire parking lot and grassy areas, but also lining the road course nearly all the way down to the end of the dragstrip. If you didn’t believe us before, this thing is HUGE and has to be seen to be believed. Nothing short of a drone at 1,000 feet (which we sadly don’t have) could show the magnitude of the cars here, so we didn’t even try with our handheld camera. Instead, we sought out a few Mustangs and talked to their owners to find out how everything’s going. We’ll be bringing you those throughout the rest of the week, kicking off with Rob Lemerande and his ’71 Mach 1.
Rob Lemerande, Cecil, WI
There are a lot of ’64-’70 Mustangs on Tour, but only a few of the ’71-’73 models, so we tracked down Rob Lemerande to get photos and the scoop on his ’71 Mach 1. The car is all stock, with a 4-barrel 351C, Toploader 4-speed, and Drag Pack rearend with 3.50:1 gears. Rob has had the car for 16 years and restored it about 10 years ago to stock trim and has driven it a bunch, but had the engine rebuilt and installed only a week before leaving on Power Tour, which is pretty brave, but he hasn’t had any issues at all, not even any overheating. We noticed that the car doesn’t have air conditioning, which must have been brutal in today’s heat, but Rob said he has no plans to add and aftermarket a/c kit to the car.
Prior to heading out for the Tour, Rob did some basic maintenance to the car, including repacking the wheel bearings, changing the axle seals and bearings, installing new U-joints in the driveshaft, updating the clutch, and changing all the fluids. He said, “Anything I could grease, clean, or fix I did, and I put in new belts and hoses.”
About the Power Tour, Rob said, “It’s my first time on the Tour and I’m doing it by myself, so it’s a little overwhelming. I’m used to going to smallish car shows of 100 or maybe 300 cars at the most, and when you pull into something with 3,000-5,000 cars, it’s a little different. And you do it six days in a row! But I’m figuring things out and everybody you talk to here is really helpful. If you need directions or help or a hand with something, it’s been good.”
We'll be doing daily updates throughout the week during the Hot Rod Power Tour, so be sure to check back for the latest!