About a month ago, Valvoline brought me out to Charlotte, N.C. for some NASCAR fun. The two-day stay started with a personal tour of the incredible Hendrick Motorsports facilities (no photos allowed) and Mr. Hendrick's personal car collection (again, no pictures allowed, but it was an absolutely unreal experience being surrounded by more than 200 cars, most of which were some part of Chevrolet history -- most of the cars were Corvettes and Camaros. The freakin' lobby had C7 Stingray serial No. 1 and 2 of both the coupe and convertible). Then we built an engine from the ground up with the help of the Hendrick master technicians. That was followed up with a trip to the zMAX drag strip.
Now, of course, this was tied to a Valvoline event. What was that event? It was for the Reinvention Project contest that Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson had going, a way for Valvoline to show off its new partnership with Hendrick Motorsports. Both Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. crafted a classic Chevy truck and tailored it to the exact modifications they wanted. Valvoline then set up online configurators, with which you could build different kinds of trucks, and had the public try to guess exactly what the NASCAR drivers went with.
So, what did they pick? Johnson went with a 1955 pickup, with a clearcoated blue patina, new rims, lowered suspension, and a hearty Chevy Corvette LS3 V8 inside the engine bay. Cool enough, it was actually a truck that was found on a farm down in Georgia. And Dale Jr. went with a bright orange 1974 Cheyenne Super 10 short bed Chevy. That truck also was lowered, has new rims, and has the same LS3 engine. The '74 was chosen, because, for those who don't know, that's the year Dale Jr. was born. Both trucks have GM 4L60 automatic transmissions in them, and both were absolutely beautiful in person. We had a sneak peek (and were even able to take rides in them - video coming soon) when we were down there, but the builds were made common knowledge this week.
Watch the two drivers reveal the trucks and see them putting the trucks to the test below, and don't forget to check out our quick interview with the two drivers on the set of these videos.
First they tried the trucks on an orange cone autocross course set up in the parking lot behind the zMAX Dragway:
And while they had the space and the camera crews out there (not to mention those enormous engines coupled with RWD trucks), they figured they might as well get a little smokey and do some burnouts too. As you'll see, it wasn't too difficult to get the tires spinning:
And to finish it all off, the winner was finally decided on the drag strip. OR WAS IT?