Gone Racin' to the Muscle Car 1000
The Inaugural Muscle Car 1000 Tour began on October 4, from the Dunes at Newport Beach, and will end October 8, 2005, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The first day was spent at Irwindale Speedway, where the Tour operators rented the dragstrip for the participants. Stops included Santa Monica and Santa Barbara. Day two brought a leisurely tour through the Gold Coast Country of Santa Barbara County to Monterey, California. Day three saw the drivers make stops in Yountville, then on to St Helena in the Napa Valley. On the return leg, the drivers left Napa Valley on October 7, visiting the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, and ending the day at the famous Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo, California. The last day of the event, October 8, saw the rallyists driving the roads of the Gold Coast, and then stop for lunch in the Danish/American village of Solvang, in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. That night the trek ended at the Petersen Automotive Museum in West Los Angeles for a banquet and special tour of this famous facility.
The inspiration for this high-end tour belongs to Chris Hoskins and his friends. Chris is a very unusual and easygoing young man who simply likes to do things for others. While mountain climbing in the Himalayas, he was struck by the poverty of the people, children who were sometimes personally maimed by their parents to be better at begging, and decided to set up a Foundation (501-c) called Hunger Relief Organization (HERO). With steadfast friends, he organized golf tournaments, rallies and tours to raise money, then turns over the entire proceeds to relief organizations who have field offices to buy, ship and give food to those in need overseas. Some of those involved are Jan Kingaard, Mark Ontiveros, Hillary Nichols, Todd Tripp, Alex Dastmalchi, and his sister, Colleen Hoskins/Hobbs. They are all employed and none of them receive any salary. The reward comes from organizing these events and participating in them. The tour is new and only nine muscle cars were entered for the first time. The fee is $4950, but many were sponsored by corporations, including; Russo & Steele Auctioneers, the founding sponsor, and supporting sponsors, Car Man's Garage, Piloti Racing Shoes, Washington Mutual, Brakes "R" Us, Meguiar's Car Products, Premier Financial Services, DRIVE Magazine, and Hunger Relief Organization.
Drew Alcazar, who runs Russo & Steele Auctioneers, was there with his two Chihuahua's, Cheech and CC. They made a very effective alarm system for his very expensive muscle car. Russo & Steele hold auto auctions on the high end of the scale, from Pebble Beach, California, to Scottsdale, Arizona. They specialize in European Sports cars, Hot Rods, Customs and Muscle Cars. Drew said that he enjoys the tours and supports Hoskins in his fundraisers. Debbie Usery and Scott McPherson represented Car Man's Garage from Phoenix, Arizona. Scott will be the Copper State Rally Chairman in 2007-08. Greg Poirier was entering his first Tour, driving a '71 Plymouth Barricuda. He saw the Tour flyer at a Russo & Steele auction and decided to enter. Rob Brown is a Tour veteran, having entered the Copper State Classic, and the New England 1000. He has known Hoskins for 15 years and supports the fund raising efforts of his friend. He was there representing Washington Mutual and drove a '65 GTO. Stephanie Bemiss was entering her very first Tour. Mike Villani, Hollywood actor and voice for the Di-Tech Mortgage lending ads, was there to emcee the start at the Newport Beach Dunes. Newport Beach mayor, John Heffernan was on hand to give the mayorial greetings and speeches. Heffernan, a car buff in his own right, took lots of photos. The drivers then formed a long line of Muscle Cars and headed down the freeway to Irwindale Speedway where they had rented the facility for the day. Bob Klein and his staff inspected the cars, gave instructions and then let the drivers pair off against each other as they raced down the track, over and over again. The look on their faces was one of deep concern at first, but by the second and third runs these novices to drag racing were staging, then leaving on the third yellow, making great reaction times.