VIP Sponsors


Charlotte Auto Fair Spring 2017


Words: Ellen Richardson


Some of the best of the best in the automotive world were named this weekend at the 2017 Pennzoil AutoFair, presented by Advance Auto Parts, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the closing ceremonies at one of the largest automotive events in the country, some of the most admirable pieces of automotive machinery were celebrated.

Hand selected among thousands of unique and exceptional pieces of automotive artwork, this year’s judges had a very difficult job on their hands to whittle the field down to just over 50 winners.

The most coveted Best of Show award was obtained by New Jersey native and current Concord, NC resident Brian De Pouli and his Botticelli Blue 1938 Buick Roadmaster.


Brian De Pouli celebrates his Best of Show win alongside his family at Charlotte Motor Speedway
(Photo Credit: Adam Fenwick, Charlotte Motor Speedway)


De Pouli’s Roadmaster – one of 411 produced – was originally bought by well-known New York poet Mary Ballard Duryee for $1,900. De Pouli’s father purchased this from Duryee in 1984 and gave it to his son as a graduation present. After 11 years of restoring the uniquely colored Buick, De Pouli began taking the car to shows.

“I’ve been coming to AutoFair since 1998 and I’ve been working on this for a long time,” said De Pouli. “I’ve seen a lot of my friends win Best of Show at the speedway and I never thought that I’d be (in the winner’s circle) too. … It means a lot to win this at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I’m very excited that my kids get to be a part of it. They’ve already claimed the trophy as their own. I don’t think it’s my trophy anymore.”

Along with De Pouli, more than 50 additional honorees were selected, including:


Dennis Cook celebrates his Best of Show Runner-up win at Charlotte Motor Speedway


  • Best of Show Runner-up: Dennis Cook’s Marina Blue 1966 Chevy II
  • Best of Show Second Runner-up: John Jancic ‘s yellow 1970 Dodge Coronet RT
  • Bob Laidlein Award (Most Original): Paul Haddock’s 1932 black Buick Victoria Coupe
  • Mecklenburg Strelitz Award (Ladies’ Choice): Anderson Pearson’s Lancaster Grey 1941 Buick Roadmaster
  • Cabarrus Cup (Most Creative): Gene Phillips’ 1951 silver Kaiser Henry J
  • Concord Concours (Best Restoration): Greg Spears’ beige 1970 Ford Ranger XLT


Dwight Bower celebrates his Best of Show Southeast GM Toys win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.


Dwight Bower was also a proud Best of Show winner in the Southeast GM Toys category for his 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS with all original parts, as well as a 327-engine capable of 300HP.

“My dad bought this car new in 1964. I bought it from him in 1995 and, after driving it for 10 years, I thought that it was time to restore it to its original glory,” said Bower. “After five years, I decided to start showing it off in various car shows and after 30+ shows it continues to pick up awards and accolades, including the second Best of Show award two-years running here at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”

Jeepers United club member Joanna Lucero was one of the only women to win a Best of Show off-road award for her built tough Jeep Wrangler Goldie.


Joanna Lucero proves that women love their toys too at Charlotte Motor Speedway.


“I fell in love with Jeeps when I was a Lance Corporal in the Marines,” said Lucero. “Ever since, I knew that I wanted to own my own work horse and rock crawler. My husband and I purchased Goldie about a year ago and worked on all of the modifications, including the salute to Wonder Woman paint job, together.”

Wonder Woman would be proud of Lucero, who was one of the only first-time Best of Show winners in attendance.



Along with Lucero, had its own Jeep to show off at the Auto Fair as it kicked off its latest giveaway of a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Sponsored by, this Jeep features a Fabtech 3" Trail II System with Stealth Shocks, Ultra Motorsports 17" Xtreme Satin Black Wheels, 35" General Grabber X3 Tires, Borla exhaust, Mile Marker winch, and Body Armor front & rear bumpers, safari rack, spare tire carrier and LED lights, all installed by the team at Crawford’s Service in Pittsfield, MA.

Along with this weekend’s Auto Fair, this powerful off-road vehicle will hit the road for a summer and fall of car shows, off-road races and expos, tractor-pulls and more, including the Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo, the Goodguys 18th PPG Nationals and SEMA. The giveaway will continue through March 31, 2018. Click HERE to enter and learn more.