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The 2013 Car Craft Street Machine Nationals

Back To Du Quoin!

By , Photography by ,


Miss Street Machine Nationals

Like we do at the Summer Nationals, the bikini contest was held on the main stage near the Chevrolet Performance display. Five ladies entered the contest, and the judges picked Miranda Smith as winner. Runners-up were Ashlyne Page and Josette St. John.

In the Company of Legends

It started with forum posts and a full-court press instigated by James Smith with a Facebook page to bring back the Street Machine Nationals. There was enough interest that many people started thinking, let’s get the band back together. Source Interlink management and Family Events decided to take a chance, and the word quickly spread that Car Craft was going back to Du Quoin. But the only way it was going to be a hit was if all our friends showed up. And they did.

For those of us who lived those early Pro Street days, the 2013 Nationals was nothing less than 72 hours of fun that pulled old friends together. It was a great vibe to visit with Matt and Debbie Hay, drive Scott Sullivan’s 1955 Chevy again after 20-plus years, trade jokes with Rick Dobbertin and wife Mary, learn that Rich Gebhardt has built his 500th (!) chassis, listen to Billy Wooten stories, and hear some amazing tales from Rod and Tina Saboury that will soon be transcribed into a full feature story. Mark Grimes kept it alive with his ice-blue, suicide-door 1965 Chevelle, and Gary Buckles of Dayton brought his slammed, blue Camaro that still looks amazing. Seeing Bob Maynard again after all these years was also a treat. Wally Elder and Al Maynard weren’t able to make it, and you can tell them they missed a great party. Of course, we can’t forget the effort that Toby Brooks put into this, which centered around his self-published book called Sensory Overload, an incredibly well-researched work on the history of the Street Machine Nationals. Bret Voelkel brought out his Pro Street Mustang that has changed very little, and there were plenty of Troy Trepanier cars to represent his contribution to the Nationals.

Then, there was Rocky Robertson. He wasn’t going to show up. He thought he was too busy playing with boats and kicking back on the lake near his shop in Albers, Illinois, but good old peer pressure brought him around. Once he was back among his old pals, I think Rocky had the most fun of all of us. He brought his pink, injected V6 Buick right out of mothballs, and while it wasn’t ready to rumble, it wasn’t long before the talk turned to the now-familiar: "You know, it wouldn’t take much to make this run again..."

I watched Matt and Debbie a bit more closely than the rest. I wondered how they would feel, attending a show like this without a car. Matt and Debbie are without a doubt the most gracious of all our Pro Street friends, and I knew that showing up in a rental car would just not feel right. They had made a run at buying their old Thunderbird, but it hadn’t happened. At Du Quoin, Matt had on his game face throughout the weekend. Then, I received an email from him a day or so after the Nationals. He said Debbie announced, "We need a car!"

A wonderful woman, that Debbie Hay. But then, we already knew that.

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