Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another Successful Run in the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour

Jerry Dixey and crew just completed the 3rd leg of the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour, and the Vintage Air Tour is now behind them. Kicking off in Midland, TX at the Commemorative Air Force Museum, the tour was able to view vintage combat planes, artifacts and memorabilia commemorating the wars our country has fought in. After touring the facility and lunch, everyone was off towards Amarillo to meet Bill & Mark Warrick at the Soncy Road Body Shop. For the last 45 years Bill has been creating restored masterpieces out of anything from street rods to motorcycles, and his son Mark recently joined the business to lend his own expertise.

Just West of Amarillo, Jerry and crew stopped at the Cadillac Ranch where six Cadillacs are buried nose first in the ground. With no sign, explanation or anything else describing how or why they are there, the Cadillac Ranch leaves the guessing of how they came to be there up to those who visit. Dixey described this spot as a ‘mecca’ for car buffs around the world.

The next destination was Durango, CO to a tour stop the crew had been looking forward to all week. After boarding a narrow gauge railroad and making a three-hour trip up a mountain, they were let off in the old mining town of Silverton. After beautiful scenery, lunch, and some shopping the train took them back down the mountain and Jerry declared the Durango to Silverton Train Ride a must-do for anyone’s bucket list.

After being the guests of honor at a local car show, the tour headed onward to Pueblo, CO for the final destination of the Vintage Air Tour leg: the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals event. The crew turned many heads as they rolled in with about 60 vehicles with Dixey leading the way, and a great time was had by all.

Next up for the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour is the Factory Five Racing Tour, kicking off July 10 in Wareham, MA. The week will bring many stops to various rod shops, before the tour lands at the Syracuse Nationals street rod event in Syracuse, NY. There is still time to join any of the remaining tours. If interested you can learn more at or request an application from

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top Truck Challenge Winners

The 2010 Top Truck Challenge recently wrapped up in Hollister, CA and found the two trucks worthy of being crowned the Top Truck of 2010 in their respective classes. After a week of putting their rigs through organized chaos, Mike Karwath and Jason Gray proved to be the mightiest of them all.

Jason Gray (top right) took top honors in the Truck Class with his 1975 Chevy Blazer and earned himself a little extra respect for competing and winning on 46’ tires compared to the 54’ majority. A consistent runner, Jason used his driving skills to offset the effect of having smaller tires to complete the competition. In the trouble spots that stopped his momentum, he weighed his options and found the best one before proceeding. This paid off with him being the only driver to make it up through the Tank Trap, made even more impressive by the extra challenges he faced throughout the week.

Mike Karwath was also an impressive force throughout the entire challenge, and led his 2009 Tube Chassis YJ to victory in the Buggy class. He finished in the top three of every event, and set a record in the Tank Trap by completing it in just 3 minutes, 54 seconds. The Hill Climb was a tough proving ground this year, with drivers needing to know when to ease up and when to floor it while steering wherever they could. Mike showed that he knew when to hold the line and when to push the limits, and as a result he managed to establish himself as a heavy hitter in this years’ competition. His rig was coined ‘Bulletproof’ by AMSOIL Technical Product Manager Len Groom after suffering no equipment failures all week.

The 2010 Top Truck Challenge was again a success, with record setting runs in the Hill Climb and Mini-Rubicon during the entire week’s worth of action. AMSOIL is proud to be the Sponsor and lubricant for such a grueling event, and congratulates all competitors for their part in making the challenge as exciting as it was. See for yourself how the event played out when the upcoming DVD is released, as well as ongoing coverage at

Monday, June 21, 2010

Next Stop for the NSRA Nationals: Pueblo, CO

The 26th Annual NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals will be kicking off Friday, June 25th in Pueblo, CO. The region’s largest automotive & collector car event is expected to draw upwards of 1,900 autos 30 years and older to be on display for the entire weekend. In addition to the automotive spectacles of all makes and models, there is plenty to do all weekend long with various attractions in place for the entire family. A vintage auto parts swap meet, Women’s World area with arts & crafts, and live entertainment all come together to create a jam-packed weekend of fun for anyone in attendance.

Don’t miss the special Streets of Rods exhibit on Saturday, June 26th. An area set aside for featured vehicles, this years’ Streets of Rods will include the following categories to be on display...

Returning Categories
29 & Below: Featuring all street rods owned and operated by participants 29 years of age and younger.
Pavement Pounders: More than just show cars-these vehicles hit the road and generate actual street & highway mileage.

New to the 2010 Rocky Mountain Nationals
Tri-Five Drive: 1955-1957 Chevrolet automobiles only.
BeBOP Boulevard: Open to all Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac street rods.
Low Lid Lane: Any rod with a chopped top is invited to park here.

Rounding out the weekend are various SuperPrize drawings worth over $78,000.00 and the NSRA Sunday Sweep$take$, which hands out three $3,000.00 checks to event participants. If you are in the Pueblo, CO be sure you don’t miss your chance to see over $50 million worth of vintage automobiles all in one place.

What: Rocky Mountain Street Rod Nationals
Where: Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo
When: June 25-27, 2010

Fri: 8:30AM-5:00PM
Sat: 8:00AM-5:00PM
Sun 8:30AM-3:00PM

Adults $14.00
Children 6-12 $5.00
5 &Under Free
Discounts available for seniors 60 years of age and older and military personnel.

Friday, June 18, 2010

AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour Update: Woody’s Hot Rodz Tour

Jerry Dixey and crew recently wrapped up the 2nd tour leg of the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour after a week of travel through 5 different states. This tour started at the NSRA Mid-America Nationals in Springfield, MO, where the Roadster caused quite a stir among those in attendance. After a weekend of good weather, it was off towards Fenton, MO with visits to some private car collections along the way to their next destination: Woody’s Hot Rodz in Bright, IN. Woody’s built last years’ road tour car and is slated to build the 2011 vehicle as well. From there it was onward to Ohio, with a quick stop in Kentucky to visit C Cook Enterprises. (Cook Enterprises is the Official Metal Shaper and Engine Detailer of this year’s road tour vehicle.) After a nice drive through Amish country and a stop at Jeg’s Motorsports for a tour, they landed in Plain City, OH where they rested and geared up for the next day’s departure.

The following day brought the tour to the AMA Motorcycle Museum in Pickerington, OH, where they had the opportunity to see a wide range of motorcycles and memorabilia on display. Most street rodders are interested in all types of vehicles, not just rods, so this was a welcome change of pace over the course of the tour. After additional stops at various supporting companies throughout Pennsylvania, the crew arrived in York just in time for the start of the NSRA Street Rod Nationals East. This is the first year this event was opened up to extended model year vehicles, and everyone was curious as to what the response would be. Turns out, extending the eligible years made for a bigger event than ever before. Total registration was 3,847, an increase of over 400 cars from last year.

The completion of this tour wrapped up the second of the season. After two weeks off, Jerry will tomorrow begin the Vintage Air Tour from San Antonio to the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals West in Pueblo, CO. There's still time to join any of the remaining 5 tours. If you're interested please request a form from or by calling 715-399-6557. Don’t miss the opportunity to hit the open road and experience the AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour for yourself.

Have fun, Road Tourians!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Mastermind Behind the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour Vehicle

Zane Cullen has been a car aficionado since his early days as a teenager wrenching away in a local body shop in California. With a keen eye and attention to detail, Zane has spent most of his life building custom cars and hot rods while perfecting his craft. His first success came in the form of a VW bug that won national ISCA honors, which was the first of many awards to come. Within the last 20 years, Zane and crew entered 25 cars that were produced by him into competition in the Grand National Roadster Show.

16 years ago Zane opened the doors to his car building business Creative Concepts. Starting off in a small space in rural California with just one other employee, Zane worked hard to establish his reputation as a premier builder in the custom/street rodder scene. Since those early days, Creative Concepts underwent a name change to Cotati Speed Shop and moved to a 12,000 square foot facility in Santa Rosa. Zane’s business has grown to 10 employees, including his wife Stephanie who maintains the administrative aspects of the business. It includes a body shop, two paint booths, full metal fabrication area and retail space. They specialize in hot rods, customs, restorations, and provide all types of repair and maintenance on specialty automobiles.

Most recently, Zane was given the distinct honor of building the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour vehicle. The custom built ’27 Roadster is leading the way for a series of tours across the US this summer, and turns heads no matter where it goes. In addition to having his latest project make headlines, Zane keeps busy with the ability to produce up to 12 projects at any given time. He is the recipient of many awards, including:
2003 Al Slonaker Award
2006 Al Slonaker Award
2003 GNRS Builder of the Year Award
Two-time winner of the Dick Bertolucci Award at the Sacramento Autorama
2004 Goodguys “Trendsetter of the Year” awarded at the SEMA show.
2005 Builder of the Year at the prestigious Fresno Autorama

Zane’s personal philosophy and work ethic are summed up in the old drag racing adage: Never Lift! While maintaining their successful business, he and wife Stephanie still manage to find time for school and sporting events that their son and daughter are involved in. AMSOIL is pleased to be associated with such a talented builder and businessman, and we look forward to keeping up with his future endeavors.

Captions: Rare photos inside the Cotati Speed Shop, taken December 24, 2009. Many of the builds are from important private collectors. Photo on left is the AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour '27 Roadster in its early stages.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Laconia Bike Week Kicks Off This Weekend

Each year thousands of bikers descend upon New Hampshire, all headed to Weirs Beach to attend the legendary Laconia Bike Week. 2010 marks the 87th anniversary of this exciting event, which is the oldest and 3rd largest rally of its kind in North America. AMSOIL has signed on as the Official Oil of Laconia Bike Week, firmly establishing its solid reputation with all three major motorcycle events held each year in the US.

The week of June 12-20 is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to scenic New Hampshire for a jam-packed week of events and activities. Live music, great food, and thousands of bikes on the scene culminate to form the experience that is Laconia. With a variety of events happening each day, there's never a dull moment to be had the entire week.

The AMSOIL presence in this huge market ensures bikers know their options when it comes to maintaining their rides. As the Official Oil of Laconia, Sturgis and Daytona Bike Weeks, it’s only a matter of time before the AMSOIL movement reaches every biker in the country.

Top Truck Challenge Takes No Prisoners

As mentioned earlier this week, the 2010 Top Truck Challenge in Hollister Hills, CA is underway and is showing no mercy to this year’s competitors. We just got a report from Len Groom, the AMSOIL Technical Product Manager who is witnessing the action live, and the week has been full of both triumphs and tribulations for all of the competitors.

Wednesday’s challenge was the Obstacle Course, which ended up swiftly claiming three vehicles. Obstacle designer Dan Black said he had “no idea one little shelf would claim so many vehicles”. Ryan Knoche in his Samurai Buggy was the first one to be taken down after coming down hard on the shelf and breaking the front driveshaft. Still, he was able to finish the course with only his two-wheel drive to carry him through. Up next was Darren Sinkey in his red Bronco, where the dreaded shelf also caught him up and broke a tie rod end. He ended up with just one wheel to steer while the other one dragged along uselessly. He gave it a valiant effort, but ended up having to be extracted with a bulldozer.

The last victim turned out to be innovative enough to turn the tables on the obstacle course. Roger King in his truck named Elmo (top right) ended up breaking the steering knuckle on a 2.5 ton Rockwell axle--not an easy feat. It wasn’t enough to take him out since he still had rear steering, and in a Top Truck Challenge first Roger flipped his truck around and finished the obstacle course backwards.

The Hill Climb event was described as ‘totally insane’ this year, with two rollovers in the first 100 feet. While the Hill Climb doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, at these angles it is near-impossible to clear. Add some good surprises such as curves, loose dirt and deep holes and it becomes a Top Truck Challenge Hill Climb. The Mini-Rubicon was next, a course of treacherous pile of boulders that the competitors must make it through. Judge Toby Lavender described the Mini-Rubicon event as impassable this year, but was soon proved wrong by Leo Keuther in his ‘Fat Girl’ buggy. Given 20 minutes to navigate through the course, Keuther set a course record and completed it in just 57 seconds. Those are amazing results in a challenge of this magnitude.

Today is the final day of the Top Truck Challenge, and the last event is the dreaded Tank Trap. A ¼ mile valley that climbs 195 feet in elevation from start to finish, nature assists in making this course as perilous as it is. A natural canyon and slippery rock waterfalls all bordered by sheer rock walls create an already immensely challenging course. However, the TTC makes it even more difficult by adding some massively deep holes and filling them with water, just to make it a little more interesting. The intense nature of this final challenge results in double points for those that complete it.

This event is something you have to see to believe. The 2010 Top Truck Challenge is being filmed for an upcoming DVD release, so you won’t miss a moment of the action. Coverage will also be in future issues of Four Wheeler Magazine, at and here in the AMSOIL Promotions blog.
Click images to enlarge.
For more coverage of this year's Top Truck Challenge, visit Four Wheeler Magazine dot com.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Top Truck Challenge Now Underway in Hollister Hills

Some might say that only one event is worthy enough to crown the Ultimate Top Truck in the country, and that is the 2010 Top Truck Challenge. AMSOIL is once again a proud sponsor for the 2010 event, now in progress in Hollister Hills, CA. 10 rigs have been selected by readers of Four Wheeler Magazine to compete for the win, and a fresh crop of competitors is gearing up to take the title from 2009 winner David Green. To recap, the challenge pits competitors in a series of grueling events with apt titles such as the Frame Twister, Mud Pit and Tank Trap. Not for the faint of heart, this challenge can take down the mightiest trucks in the country while keeping the drivers on their toes throughout the entire week. Whoever completes these challenges in the best time (or in some cases, at all) will be crowned the winner of this year’s event and will take home supreme bragging rights. For an idea of what the competitors are in for, check out our 2009 blog recap with some quotes from past competitors that sum up the challenge nicely.

While the event just got underway on today, AMSOIL is keeping up with the latest happenings by way of Technical Product Manager Len Groom who is on hand to witness the action. AMSOIL is installed in all the competing trucks, ensuring their fluids are up to par with the challenges they face. Check back for updates this week for all the dirt on what went down.

Top right: The traditional line-up, ten competitors and two alternates, in their blaze orange t-shirts and unblemished machines.
Left: Jose Quichoco came all the way from Guam to become a contender in this year's Challenge.
Below: Over a BBQ at the Challenger's Camp, editor Doug McCoullough briefs the drivers on the week to come. Monday went well. All competitors arrived with minimal problems.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Have You Hugged A Tornado Lately?

Here’s something that has to make your heart race. Last week we wrote about tornado chaser Tim Samaras and his avid pursuit of tornado cells across the flatlands. Over the weekend we received two very impressive photos, up close and personal, captured in Campo, Colorado.

Tornadoes are one of the most feared forces in nature. Samaras and his team on the TWISTEX project are dedicated to researching these powerfully destructive winds in an effort to anticipate their movements and help save lives.

Winds of 110 miles per hour are typical, but velocities up to 300 miles per hour have been measured. The most familiar image of a tornado is a wedge or stovepipe about the width of a football field or two that reaches from cloud to earth, kicking up debris as it cuts its swath. But some tornadoes are as wide as a mile across and very destructive.

Because the TWISTEX Team does so much travelling during their two months of tornado chasing, they rely on the extended service life of AMSOIL synthetic motor oils and drive train fluids to reduce their downtime for maintenance and oil changes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

37th Street Rod Nationals East Headed to York, PA

The National Street Rod Association descended on York, PA for the 37th Street Rod Nationals East Plus event. This will be the 30th year the NSRA has chosen York as their host city for this event and over 3,800 street rods are expected to be on display throughout the weekend.

As with all NSRA National events, the weekend offers something to do for the entire family. Vintage swap meet, Women’s World, live entertainment and much more will appeal to people of all ages. As a special attraction, there will also be a Model Car Contest courtesy of the Central PA Model Car Club. Open to the public, spectators are free to submit their own model masterpieces or just examine the entries while meeting the members and builders. On Sunday, a “Circle of Winners” awards ceremony will be held in the grandstands where the top street rods will be recognized.

If you are in the York, PA be sure you don’t miss your chance at attending. It’s these kind of events that summer memories are made of, so get out and bring the family to the 37th Street Rod Nationals East Plus.

York Expo Center
York, PA

Friday June 4-Sunday June 6

Friday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Sunday 8:30 AM-2:00 PM

Adults $14.00
Children (6-12) $5
5 & under Free

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not in Kansas Anymore: TWISTEX Field Operations Update

Tim Samaras of TWISTEX has been providing daily updates of his travels all over the plains in search of tornado activity. While some days are fruitless and turn up little or no results, they have been lucky to be in the right place at the right time recently. While on the road in Bowdle, South Dakota on May 22, they were able to deploy a new weather instrument in the path of a tornado and ended up encountering a violent twister that took down towers and caused heavy damage to several farm houses. On this day alone they watched 3+ tornadoes, making this one of the more successful days. Two days later on May 24, the crew encountered as many as 9 tornadoes near Bison, SD. The team attempted more deployments, but the results have not been evaluated yet.

The next leg of their mission started out in Denver on May 31st, with the TWISTEX team headed to Wichita while taking the long way through Colorado. It was a day of low expectations of nothing more than intercepting some hail, but their detour paid off. They managed to witness a very ‘photogenic’ tornado just south of Campo, CO that lasted about 15 minutes. With circulation persisting for 45+ minutes after that, they managed to encounter 2-3 more tornadoes as the supercell and tornado drifted SW into Oklahoma before calling it a day. These are the moments when all of the hard work pays off and keeps them moving onward to the next potential tornado hot spot.

At this rate, TWISTEX will have lots of footage and data to evaluate in the coming weeks. They are being covered by Discovery Channel’s hit show ‘Storm Chasers’ so watch for episodes featuring their expedition in the near future. AMSOIL is happy to give Tim & crew peace of mind that their convoy of AMSOIL-lubed vehicles has what it takes to complete this journey. We will be keeping up with them for the remainder of their mission and wish them success as they work to better understand tornado activity.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Run of the AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour is a Wrap

The 2010 AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour kicked off on May 15 as Jerry Dixey and crew made their way to the 20th Cruisin’ Ocean City Car Show in Ocean City, MD. Leading the road tourians in a custom-built ’27 Roadster Pickup, Jerry has planned a series of summer tours around the country for any street rodder who wants to come along for the ride.

The first tour of the summer kicked off with a send-off party at Southern Rods & Parts in Greer, SC. Tour participants and about 50 local hot rodders turned out to witness the official unveiling of the 2010 Road Tour 27XL Roadster Pick-up that is leading this years’ tour. As the Roadster was revealed, it was clear how much attention to detail Zane & crew at Cotati Speed Shop had put into every aspect and the crowd was rightfully impressed.

The first stop on the tour was highly anticipated, as the Road Tour participants were one of the first groups to see the new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. The museum displays and exhibits illustrate the rise of the racing industry, and was coined a must-see for any car enthusiast in the Charlotte area. The next day brought stops to various companies with ties to the street rodder industry, including a visit to Dale Earnhardt Inc. just outside of Mooresville NC. The facility serves as a tribute to what many consider to be the best race car driver in history, Dale Earnhardt Sr, and displays a collection of special interest vehicles, trophies and memorabilia detailing the legends life. The tour then headed north for more stops at various museums and facilities before landing at the site of the Wright Bros. famous first-ever plane flight in North Carolina. The memorial park site includes recreations of the original camp, as well as a runway in the sand that could be viewed from the hill overlooking the site. The tour had a good time standing in a place of American history and seeing where the aviation industry started.

From there, the tour headed to the US Naval Air Station Oceana, home to the Navy’s jet fighter strike force. While there, the crew got a chance to have lunch with the airmen and women who fight to keep our country safe. Afterwards they were given the opportunity to see some of the planes that played a large part in the history of Naval Aviation.

After a couple more stops along the way, the Road Tour landed in Ocean City to a sea of street rods, customs and muscle cars. The 20th Cruisin’ Ocean City was the best one yet in the opinions of many, and the ’27 Roadster was a popular exhibit that everyone wanted to see. The Road Tour crew also drew the attention of celebrity Henry Winkler (a.k.a. the Fonz), who spent some time in the Road Tour tent throughout the weekend and even posed for a picture with the Road Tourians. Overall, the first leg of the 2010 AMSOIL Street Rod Tour was a great success and signals the start of many more to come throughout the summer. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, don’t miss this opportunity to join any of the remaining tour legs if you are able. The tour never fails to yield a lifetime of unforgettable experiences and good times.

Illustration courtesy Street Rodder magazine.