Corky Coker isn’t the only classic car personality who wants to take us for a ride. On Tuesday, Jan. 28, three-time NASCAR championship crew chief-turned-classic car restoration specialist Ray Evernham launches his new cable television show, AmericCarna.
While Coker searches backroads for old cars, Evernham takes a road trip through American car history and car culture, as the news release for the program puts it, “chasing down the cars that had a profound impact on shaping our national identity.”
Along the way, Evernham not only introduces us to those vehicles, but to the people associated with them. For example, the opening episode, “California Cool: The Iconic Woody Wagon” features interviews with Mike Love of the Beach Boys and with Laird Hamilton, the famous surfer.
“Over my career, I have visited every corner of the country and learned firsthand about America’s rich, diverse love affair with automobiles,” Evernham says in the news release. “Cars hold the key to many of America’s historical secrets, and I am proud to share my journey through barns, along coastlines, and inside racetracks and garages with viewers on Velocity this January.”
“The automobile is a quintessential part of the American experience – they’re synonymous with freedom, adventure,” adds Bob Scanlon, Velocity’s general manager. “Since the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line, cars have continually helped evolve our culture, and we’re honored to have a true godfather of American car culture, Ray Evernham, host AmeriCarna. The stories and characters featured are even more unforgettable than they cars themselves.”
The episode on the woody wagons debuts at 8 p.m. and will be followed at 8:30 by “Moonshiners and the 1940’s Ford,” in which Evernham explores the days when revenuers chased moonshiners out of the woods and onto NASCAR tracks.
Subsequent episodes are:
Feb. 4, 8 p.m.: “Marty Robbins Restoration,” a look a Marty Robbins’ ability to excel both at the Grand Ole Opry and on the high banks of Talladega.
Feb. 4, 8:30 p.m.: “Hot Rods and Dragsters,” featuring Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and the Snake and Mongoose Matchbox cars and childhood actor-turned-award-winning director Ron Howard on his movie about Formula One racing, Rush.
Feb. 11, 8 p.m.: “Buried Treasures,” with Evernham helping to uncover winning Daytona race cars from inside an old car hauler.
Feb. 18, 8 p.m.: “Indy Car Rescue,” which covers the restoration of a 1955 Indy 500 racer that had been parked atop an auto mechanic shop for more than 50 years.
Feb. 25, 8 p.m.: “Smokey’s Truck,” in which Evernham is on a mission to find the hauler truck used by famed (and “innovative”) stock car racing chief mechanic Smokey Yunick.
March 4, 8 p.m.: “The Vanderbilt Cup,” with Evernham learning about and sharing the tales of America’s first big auto races, which were staged on Long Island, N.Y.
March 11, 8 p.m.: “Ray’s Roots & the Yellow 303,” with Evernham rebuilding the famed 303 racer campaigned Fred Dmuchowski, a “New Jersey racing icon” who worked his regular job during the week and then raced for fun on weekends. It was Dmuchowski who inspired Evernham to pursue his career in motorsports.
To be announced (Season finale): “The Corvette,” the story of the Corvette that inspired Rick Hendrick to buy his first car and to launch his new car dealerships and racing teams. The episode also features singer Brad Paisley on how his Corvette influenced his music.