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It’s finally here. The return of the Hot Rod Power Tour. And like a fat kid on Christmas, I awoke with a craving for authentic Wisconsin cheese curds. While I would dispute this statement, now is not the time to think about food. We’ve got some kicking off to do. Let’s light this firecracker. Our drive to the kickoff party took us by some picturesque lakefront properties. I can see it now - eating cheese curds lakeside. That’s fancy living. Speaking of fancy, may I present the Commando 9000, our super, happy terrific mobile command center. This is a veritable rolling nerve center, otherwise known as our rented Yukon XL (because we like to stretch out on Tour). If you see us on the road, make sure to smile for the camera. And if the Yukon is a rocking, please come a knocking. Seriously, if it’s rocking, it’s only because our own Shane Christman is strangling me because I wouldn’t stop asking for cheese curds. Once we arrived at the Alliant Energy Center we spotted Hot Rod’s Thom Taylor snapping pics. For whatever reason, Thom didn’t train his lens on the big, ebony slice of awesome that is our rented Yukon XL. Some people have no taste. Once we got inside, I had work to do. Most of which involved sampling the finest cheese curds the Alliant Energy Center had to offer. And if Amy from accounting is reading this, I can assure you that this is very much a viable business expense. This year one of our rides is so choice - as in a 2014 Mothers Choice Award winner. We’re taking this 3dCarbon Mustang all the way to Baton Rouge. That’s all fine and dandy, so long as Hot Rod plans on handing out cheese curds to the long haulers. But the biggest Mothers news on Tour this year is the return of our beloved ’59 Sedan Delivery, fresh from a complete build by our friends at Rad Rides by Troy. The Magnuson supercharged LS under the hood is just one of the many, many treats on this ride. Troy and his team were even thoughtful enough to send us pictures of the work-in-progress and we paid it forward by posting them on our Facebook page here. The maiden voyage of our ’59 Version 2.0 will be part of Mom Tour 2015. Our own mom, Barbara Holloway (left) and Troy’s mom, Judy Trepanier will stretch the legs of our latest build on the Tour. Our own Forrest Tosie calls this pair Thelma and Louise. If that’s the case, Shane and I are going to need a bit more than our rented Yukon XL to keep pace. As always, Jonathan Stone and our Big Rig crew were on hand at the kickoff party with shirts, swag and plenty of our Mothers finest. In case you were wondering, this is part of the rock star treatment you can expect to receive when you join the Mothers posse on Tour. Keep going, fellahs, those posters aren’t going to roll themselves. You’re looking at eighteen wheels of finely polished steel right there. Forrest wanted me to remind everyone that the wheels are forged from one piece of 6061-T6 aluminum, but I’m going to ignore that comment because I’m a wordsmith, not a blacksmith and wheels of steel sounds so much better. Our friend Steen Gilbertson brought his stunning SS 572 Chevelle on Tour again, but from what we understand it’s suffering from a potential lifter problem. And if Mrs. Gilbertson is reading this, we’re sure it won’t cost too much to fix and won’t serve as yet another reason for Steen to sell this car. Did I also mention that he wanted me to tell you how much he loves you? Our friends from Rad Rides brought Nancy Ritzow’s 1956 Chrysler 300B, aka Passion. Troy and his team dropped in a Jessel Valve Train Innovation R5 Dodge engine with P7 heads and twin 70mm Precision turbos plumbed up to a custom Wilson manifold. The 20-inch custom Daytons hang on 2007 Viper suspension components and Charlie Hutton and Rad Rides applied the BASF Glasurit paint. Kevin Penne’s monster Malibu is about as old school as it gets. Check the injector stacks and side exit exhaust. Don’t even get me started on the thugged out Archie Bunker on the doors. Those were the days, Edith. Forrest was never the sort to resort to cheap ploys to gain views. Fortunately, my moral compass stopped working years ago. So I’ll just leave this shot of this Mustang in need of help at the Chevy Motor Medics area right here. In all seriousness, the Chevy Motor Medics have become a staple on Tour, ready, willing and able to help any Power Tourists in need of mechanical help, no matter the make or model. This is a good thing, because we’re gonna need help if my triple digit Rockford in our rented Yukon XL doesn’t go according to plan. Kicker Studebaker totally photobombed my pic of our NuLens packaging on the AutoZone rig. Shane just ordered two plates of barbeque, while Doug Evans says, “I like that status!” This is the voice of the Hot Rod Power Tour, Clarence Barnes and he’s either claiming his eastside roots or about to cut paper with scissors. This is the MSD Atomic van done in conjunction with our friends from Lingenfelter. Despite the Roadkill signage, this one looks like it will go the distance without any drama. Spoke too soon. David Freiburger touched it. It should break a land speed record, just before catching fire and rolling onto its roof. Excuse me, Inglese Fuel Injection System, can you move aside? I’m trying to get a good shot of my Comp Cams friend here. Business in the front, big time party in the back. American Racing has its positive offset game on lock. This is Kristian Mill, the 2015 Miss Hot Rod. Forrest tells me that she built her ’35 Ford herself and that’s her husband, Jonathan standing with her. Funny, I didn’t notice any of that. Remember, penmanship counts. Jet and Shark. Our own Jim Holloway helped layout the autocross course. If left to his own devices there would have been more fourth gear sweepers. We totally need something like this for our rented Yukon XL. Our boy from Kentucky brought his ’63 Nova on Tour again this year with some shine to match our Mothers Polish. For the record, I didn’t drink anything in that Mason jar. Twice. Dear Amy from Accounting, If I had one of these, our Power Tour coverage would be so much better. Here’s to Plan B! This six door International Harvester is boss… But it takes a back seat to this four-door ’57 Chevy. I’m sorry, that’s four doors – on each side! Yeah, eight-door Tri Five. I’m not going to choose; I’ll just say that the Z/28 and ZL1 are both having good butt days. Fin it to win it. I’ve been saving my corduroy bell-bottoms for just such an occasion. Every old Jag should be a Draguar. Larry Doerr built his beautiful ’67 Plymouth Satellite to be driven and he’s clocked 20,000 miles since May of 2013. I like your style, Larry. This guy looks like he got lost on his way home from Drag Week. On another note, I want to book him to DJ my kid’s birthday party. V8-powered Pro Street Supra smashes stereotypes and apparently time slips as well. Another wild mix-and-match was this Morris Minor with a Toyota 4A-GE four cylinder. Is it a Toyonor or a Morrota? Baja ‘Bird looks straight off the set of Fury Road. Our friends from Bones Fab took the bus all the way out from Southern California. Our friend, James Schiefer needed to break in his sexy 435hp ’67 Nova SS. What better way than with a 1,500-mile road trip. You see, the sipes are what make the tires street legal. He ought to be fine, as long as it doesn’t rain. What was I saying about the weather? Our own Forrest took the stage to do the weather with Clarence. Forrest brought his cheese head with him on stage, but sadly, no cheese curds. We took the scenic route back to our hotel after the kickoff party and we swung by this building. What a capital idea! In case you were wondering, that’s the capitol building. Get it? Thank you, I’ll be here all week. The 2015 Power Tour starts tomorrow. In the meantime click here to see even more pictures from the kickoff party!