An early Chattanooga Cruise-In, circa 2015. Photo by Tommy Lee Byrd.
The Chattanooga Cruise-In began as an open house at Coker Tire’s downtown headquarters, but in recent years — thanks in part to the explosive growth of the area — a lack of space has limited the number of participants and spectators alike. This year’s Chattanooga Cruise-In, taking place on Saturday, March 30, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., sees a change to a more accommodating venue, namely Camp Jordan, located due south of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, airport.
In its downtown location, the event would typically draw more than 2,000 cars, trucks, and motorcycles, along with 10,000-plus visitors. Parking was a big limiting factor, something that Coker promises won’t be an issue at Camp Jordan. As in years past, the event is free for spectators and those showing vehicles, and given the new expanded space, there will be more commercial vendors and a larger area dedicated to the traditional swap meet, open to those selling used-car parts, collectibles, and memorabilia.
In years past, swap meet sellers were required to book space and pay in advance, but for 2019 swap meet vendors can pay the $40 fee the day of the show. Commercial vendors will also be on hand, located inside the Camp Jordan Arena, which will feature concessions and the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow engine building competition. The arena also houses indoor restrooms, as well as bleachers for those needing a break from a full day of walking.
For owners looking to do more than show their car, truck, or bike, Brainerd Motorsports Park, a 1/8-mile drag strip located just a few miles south in Ringgold, Georgia, will offer a $25 “run for fun,” allowing Cruise-In participants to make as many passes as they care to between established classes. For another $20 ($45 total), those with particularly fast cars are invited to compete in the “King of the Cruise-In” shootout, which pays a cash prize in addition to bragging rights.
Scheduled activities at the track that day also include a Pro Mod match race between Bill “Big Money” Clanton and Tim “Batman” Segars, along with a “Deep South Doorslammer 4.99” class. Those wishing to watch the racing action can buy wristbands at Camp Jordan, eliminating the need to stand in line at the track. The gates at Brainerd Motorsports Park open at 2:00 p.m., with the racing action firing up at 3:00 p.m.
Camp Jordan is located at 323 Camp Jordan Parkway in East Ridge, Tennessee, while Brainerd Motorsports Park is at 745 Scruggs Road in Ringgold, Georgia. For additional information on the 2019 Chattanooga Cruise-In, visit Coker Tire’s Facebook Events page or ChattanoogaCruise-In.com.
AUTHOR: Kurt Ernst