Second Chattanooga Motorcar Festival Now in October 2021

Ken Zino of on the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival

Corky Coker, left, with Linda Vaughn and the 2019 Grand Marshal, Brian Redman, at the 2019 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival award ceremony.

Joseph “Corky” Coker has been named the Grand Marshal for the 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. At the inaugural event, in 2019, Coker was recognized as the Festival’s “Honored Collector.” The 2020 Festival, originally scheduled for October was postponed until Oct. 15-17, 2021, due to pandemic restrictions. The Festival will return this year with a “more dynamic schedule of fun events for car fans and families alike.” Racing star Brian Redman, the inaugural 2019 Grand Marshal, returns to as Grand Ambassador of the Festival.

Born in Athens, Tenn., Coker worked for his father Harold, who opened the Coker Tire Company in Chattanooga in 1958, sweeping floors and cleaning wide whitewalls. Having grown up on the family farm, Coker originally planned to become a veterinarian but soon discovered that he actually enjoyed working at the tire store. “I suddenly realized that selling hot-rod and Model A tires to these guys made them very happy,” he said. “I really got my head into it and started developing some ideas and goals of my own.”

In 1974 he assumed the leadership role in the Coker Family’s BFGoodrich tire dealership. Coker Tire grew into the largest supplier of collector-vehicle tires and wheels in the world. With distribution in over 50 countries and huge stocks of collector tires and wheels, the business became a collector hobby powerhouse, adding locations in other U.S. cities.

Coker sold the Coker Group in late 2018, but retained the Honest Charley Speed Shop, located in downtown Chattanooga.

Coker personally has received countless awards in the automotive and hobby world, is a leader in humanitarian efforts, and is an expert on car collecting, restoration and appraisals. He owns more than 180 vintage cars and motorcycles.

Active in the Chattanooga community, he serves on the board of directors of a number of local businesses and is the recipient of the 1995 Chattanooga Area Chamber Small Business Person of the Year award. He enjoys playing his five-string banjo and, most recently, studying blacksmithing. He and his wife Theresa have two children and two grandsons.

“I am very honored to have been selected to be the Grand Marshal of this fabulous event in our great city of Chattanooga,” said Coker. “I’m humbled to be following in the footsteps of a racing legend, Brian Redman. I look forward to working with Brian and the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival team to help elevate this second Festival in the hearts and minds of car fans and families alike.”

Chattanooga Motorcar Festival

Proceeds from the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival support neuroscience research through Fifty Plus Racing Foundation. Fifty Plus Racing Foundation has been raising funds since 2011 through a racing team called Highway to Help. This team was started by Byron DeFoor and Brian Johnson of AC/DC. They formed this team to participate in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. Johnson shared the passion for a cure for this disease because Malcolm Young of AC/DC, who started the band, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Malcolm passed away in 2017. Byron DeFoor is active in the nursing home industry and is very aware of the toll this disease takes on families across the nation, so the two have continued to raise money through Fifty Plus Racing Foundation. Approaching 10 years in Alzheimer’s and neuroscience support, Fifty Plus Racing Foundation partners with Chattanooga Motorcar Festival to bring that support to a local level and fund research that will help find a cure.

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3 Responses to Second Chattanooga Motorcar Festival Now in October 2021

  1. Alexis Bogo says:

    The 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival will have an all-new two-mile (approx.) race course in downtown Chattanooga to host wheel-to-wheel competition during its second festival on Oct. 15-17, 2021.

    “Development and oversight of the course design was conducted by a renowned motorsports track planning and execution company. Construction is currently underway. The track will be named the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend, in memory of the late Jim Pace.

    “The purpose-built street course will have eight turns winding through city streets and sections of private property, with its main entrance at Blue Goose Hollow Park. It will continue to expand in the coming years, with a longer version planned for 2022.

    “Events on the course during Friday and Saturday will include class races among a limited number of 12 competitors at a time. The new track replaces the Time Trials course used in 2019. Class designations may be found when registering at

    “The track entry is walkable to The Westin Hotel in West Village, home base of the festival. Offered this year are four 72-passenger open-air trams running between West Village and the track for those who wish to #GETINANDGO rather than walk.

    “From the racing events and nightly street festivities in the West Village, to the proximity to the Tennessee Aquarium, Children’s Discovery Museum, High Point Climbing, and other family-friendly attractions, there will be something for everyone within walking distance, creating a unique family-friendly experience in the heart of downtown Chattanooga.

    “We want our second ‘annual’ event to be a true motorcar festival that includes all four significant aspects – a concours d’elegance, a road rallye, a car auction and race-track competition,” said Alexis Bogo, event advisor. See

  2. Judy Stropus says:

    The late Jim Pace, an accomplished race-car driver and the Event Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the inaugural 2019 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, will be honored in a pre-race ceremony during this year’s Festival at the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend on Saturday, Oct. 16. The three-day Festival runs from Oct. 15-17, 2021.

    Named after the personable driver and coach who spent more than three decades competing successfully in a variety of series and cars, the Pace Grand Prix will celebrate the life of this respected racing veteran who passed away on Nov. 13, 2020, from COVID-19.

    The all-new purpose-built two-mile race course in downtown Chattanooga will be dedicated to Jim Pace’s memory. Notable supporters, industry leaders and friends will reflect on Pace’s contributions to the Festival and the sport. A number of other special events surrounding the celebration will be announced at a later date.

    “It is hard to imagine that, after living the perilous life of a race-car driver with all its dangers, a healthy man like Jim could be taken away by a virus called COVID-19,” said Festival founder Byron DeFoor, in a heartfelt statement in 2020. “We all feel that we wish we had more time, more instruction, more of life’s racing adventures with him.

    “We are privileged to have known him and worked with him, and this tribute is just a small gesture to honor the man whose Southern charm, talent and grace were unequalled.”

    Jim Pace was born in 1961 in Monticello, Mississippi, and his racing career began in the Barber Saab Pro Series in 1988. He soon moved to sports car racing and won the GTU class at the 1990 24 Hours of Daytona. Along with co-drivers Scott Sharp and Wayne Taylor, Pace drove the Riley & Scott Mk III to victory in the 1996 24 Hours of Daytona. Later that season he competed for the same team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After years of only driving at Daytona, Pace returned to regular drives in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class in 2007. In 2008 he drove a Porsche 911 for The Racer’s Group and in 2009 drove for Farnbacher Loles Racing.

    At one time in his young life, Pace had decided to become a doctor. He majored in pre-med at Mississippi State, then entered the University of Mississippi Medical School in 1983. After three years and three days into medical school, he decided that racing cars would be his life and career. Pace resided in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

    Events on the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend course during Friday and Saturday will include class races among a limited number of 12 competitors at a time. The new track replaces the Time Trials course used in 2019. Class designations may be found when registering at

    The 2021 Festival features the Concours d’Elegance, West Village Road Rallye, Mecum Auctions and The Pace Grand Prix at the Bend. Other family-friendly events will be scheduled and announced later. Additional information may be found at

    Judy Stropus represents the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival – editor

  3. AutoCrat says:

    Volkswagen of North America, Inc., and Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Company return as sponsors of the second Chattanooga Motorcar Festival on Oct. 15-17, 2021. The Festival will also be “powered” by EPB, which serves the greater Chattanooga area by providing energy and connectivity solutions. This year’s Festival, which was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic following a successful launch in 2019, will be officially known as the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival – hosted by Fifty Plus Foundation – presented by DeFoor Brothers – sponsored by Volkswagen and Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Company – powered by EPB. Volkswagen’s participation will again include the appearance of dynamic stunt driver Tanner Foust, who will make exhibition runs on the new two-mile race course, known as the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend, in a new Golf GTI. He will also be available for a meet-and-greet session and will take part in one of the panel discussions on Saturday. Also, on display will be the 21-window VW Microbus and the 1979 TVA Elektro-transporter, along with an Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, Taos and ID.4.

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