Where there’s warm weather, terrific car-related gatherings are sure to be near. Whether you are on the east coast, west coast, or anywhere in between, there is likely a nationally recognized best-of-the-best type event somewhere within driving distance. And if you’re particularly ambitious, you can make a road trip out of hitting up multiple or even all the finest car events you can find in North America. Here’s a look at the 7 Must-Attend Car Events in the U.S.
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway, Indiana
When: May 27
It’s billed as “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Any other event given that much hype might provoke more than a grumble or two from observers. But when it’s a prestigious race that has been run for more than a century and pays big money to win, few can say it’s anything less than a really big deal.
This year will be the 102nd running of the Indy 500. Last year, Formula One racer Fernando Alonso received a lot of attention when he forwent running the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix to try his hand at Indy. This year Alonso won’t be running Indy. Danica Patrick, however, will likely garner her fair share of the spotlight as the 2018 Indy 500 is set to be her last race before she retires from racing.
Hot Rod Power Tour
Where: From Bowling Green, Kentucky to Charlotte, North Carolina
When: June 9-15
The Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour began in 1995 as a way for editors and contributors to drive their project cars and meet up with readers along the way. Twenty-three years later, the Power Tour is now one of the best-known enthusiast touring/driving events in the country.
This year, the magazine and its assembly of American performance car enthusiasts will travel through the Deep South. The drive will begin at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky and then pass through Tennessee to Alabama en route to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. It finally heads to Darlington Raceway in South Carolina before finishing at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Ready to hit the open road? We are!
Monterey Car Week & The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Where: Monterey, California and surrounding areas
When: August 17-26
Once a year, the gorgeous Central Coast of California becomes the center of national (and even international car culture). Monterey Car Week grew around the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which started in 1950 and has become the premier concours event in the world. Since many enthusiasts were in the area for the Pebble Beach show, other groups began having gatherings in the same area around the same time. As more and more events sprung up around Pebble Beach, it became known as “Car Week.”
Now there are dozens of car events in Monterey during August. Highlights include the Automobilia Monterey Expo, the Concours on the Avenue, many prestigious auto auctions, The Quail Motorsports Gathering, and, of course, the Pebble Beach Concours. It’s easy to see how this “Auto Week” lands on our must-attend car events list.
Woodward Dream Cruise
Where: Pontiac, Ferndale, and Detroit, Michigan
When: August 18
Woodward Avenue is one of the main streets that runs through Detroit. On the third Saturday of every August since 1994, tens of thousands of cars (mostly American hot rods and muscle cars) and hundreds of thousands of spectators (as many as 1 million in 2009) go to Woodward to cruise, check out the sweet rides, and celebrate car culture. It’s considered to be the largest one-day classic car event in the world and generates more than $50 million for the Metro Detroit economy.
Where: Effingham, Illinois
When: September 20-23
September marks the 25th edition of Corvette FunFest. The celebration of Chevrolet’s V8 sports car started as a customer appreciation event for Mid America Motorworks. Activites include a car show, drag races, entertainment, and educational car events. It’s grown to be the largest Corvette party in the world.
Rennsport Reunion VI
Where: Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, California
When: September 27-30
Rennsport is Porsche’s own celebration of its racing history that takes place every three years. The last event in 2015 attracted close to 60,000 enthusiasts. It entails vintage racing, a car show for attendees, vintage Porsche exhibits, and autograph sessions with Porsche legends.
Barrett Jackson Auction
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
When: September 27-29
Barrett Jackson is arguably the best-known classic car auction house in the world. And it got that reputation by being the venue that sold notable machines like the 1966 Batmobile, a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake,” and a rare GM Futureliner bus. Barrett Jackson’s Las Vegas auction is a combination of its original Scottsdale, Arizona auction with all the glitz and glam of Vegas. No wonder it wraps up our must-attend car events of 2018!