Its official, the 2013 CAR CRAFT Street Machine Nationals (SMN) presented by Chevrolet Performance, and hosted by Family Events, was an enormous success. The Du Quoin, Illinois, fairground was packed June 28 - 30 for the return of the SMN after 16 years. Though we’re not sure of the exact total of visitors this past weekend, we can tell you it easily reached 1,000 vehicles and twice that many spectators.
Day 1: Opening Day
As the event kicked-off Friday morning, day 1, we could tell it was going to be a great weekend. The fairgrounds were scattered with cars before noon and more filed in by the end of the day. The Performance Marketplace was booming with big names like Ridetech, QA1, Painless Performance, Chevrolet Performance, Comp Cams, and more. The Dyno Challenge was tucked away near the grandstands; by Friday afternoon many discovered where the dyno was and flocked to see cars compete for the most power.
Congregated near the main stage were the Legends of Pro Street, a collection of builders brought back with their wicked builds from the ‘80s and ‘90s. We roamed the field, admired their cars, and snapped a few photos of the historic rides. This collection was the icing on the cake for many spectators who remember the old days of the SMN.
Near the end of day 1, it was clear the 2013 CAR CRAFT Street Machine Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance focused on the past as well as the present. Car owners displayed vintage SMN memorabilia, reminisced of the days when the SMN was the pinnacle event of the year, and spoke highly of the return to Du Quoin. Part of the history behind the SMN was the rowdiness that ended the show’s run through the ‘90s. However, for this event the crowd seemed tame and respectful of the law enforcement on the premises.
It’s been a long time coming; [the SMN is] good for the area, and good for the economy.
“It’s been a long time coming; [the SMN is] good for the area, and good for the economy,” Ed Miller of Murphysboro, IL, said. “I’m glad to see it back. I think the crowd has evolved. Before, you had a lot of non-participants who were causing a lot of problems for the show itself. It was more congregated in downtown Du Quoin, and a lot of people didn’t like that. I think [the city] has done [its] best to alleviate that problem by not allowing people to cruise in Du Quoin. They’ve got a lot of stuff here in the evenings, so you can stay and enjoy the place. If everyone could behave themselves, you could end-up with a home here.”
Miller is 53-years-old and owns a ’69 fastback Mustang. The pony car has been in his possession for 37 years, his father bought the car for him as a sophomore in high school. The Mustang has a stock, rebuilt 302ci between the fenders, an Edelbrock Torker intake and C4 automatic transmission. Miller hopes to pass the tradition to his kids.
Miller says the Mustang will probably go to his son, who currently owns a ’95 SVT Ford Lightning pickup truck that Miller bought for him after winning the state wrestling championship. “The Lightning sits in the garage next to the Mustang,” Miller said. “I’m kinda the caretaker now that he’s heading to college.” His household has owned an ’89, ’95 and ’97 SHO Taurus, so it’s safe to say they’re a Ford family.
Day 2: Editor's Choice Awards
Saturday, day 2, was the big day. We arrived at the fairgrounds by 8am to photograph the cover for an upcoming Car Craft Magazine, and then proceeded to roam the fairgrounds to search for the Editor’s Choice Awards given to those with unique, well-built cars. The CAR CRAFT staff chooses the winners. There were many awards to be given, from Best of Show to the Innovation award. After many considerations, taking home the big trophy was Stan Hutchinson of St. Louis with his ’70 Chevelle.
Here were all the Editor’s Choice Award winners:
- Best of Show
Stan Hutchinson - 1970 Chevelle
- Best Ford
Scott Tiffany - 1967 Comet
- Best Brand X
Gary Groeteka - AMC Rebel
- Best Chevy
Adam Cox - 1954 Chevy
- Best Buick, Olds, Pontiac
Josh Lester - 1993 Olds Cutlass
- Best Paint
Louis Jackson - 1955 BelAir
- Best Pro Street
Stan Hutchinson - 1970 Chevelle
Troy Russell - 1962 BelAir
REVELL Maken 'N Take
We also stopped by the REVELL Make 'N Take event where children and their parents had the opportunity to build a FREE model car to take home. The model was a '60s Stingray Corvette, which we thought was nifty considering the new 2014 Corvette will be an all-new Stingray
The sun was out as the car show reached larger heights than expected. Food vendors were constantly busy, the registration tent was bustling all day, and spectators bought tickets to the show until the very end. Cars toured the perimeter of the fairgrounds non-stop, directed by signs and roped off areas. Some went for food, many enjoyed the sights and sounds of the fairgrounds, but others stopped off at the Dyno Challenge. There were many trucks, cars and Pro Street rides that hopped onto the rollers to give their best at the weekend’s highest horsepower number. The Dyno Challenge winner went to Jake and his 2005 Pontiac GTO 6.0L, pumping out 737 hp and 721 lb-ft of torque.
Dyno video by pedeanaut
As Saturday’s show came to an end around 7pm, we packed our gear and drove in a caravan North to Benton, IL, for our first ever 2013 CAR CRAFT Midnight Drags presented by Gear Vendors at the I-57 Dragstrip. As we arrived at the 1/8 mile track, we noticed a large crowd forming near the concession stand. The eatery never got a chance to rest as the drag race went late into the night; the line continued to form from 7pm to 2am. Spectators filled all three grandstands to capacity, onlookers brought lawn chairs or sat on tailgates. During our event, it was also “test and tune” night. Lots of locals showed-up to test their rides, but many were there to win the Midnight Drags. Fox body Mustangs were out in droves, but a variety of ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s Chevy, Ford and Mopar drag cars also took to the pavement for a shot at the $1,000.
Mitch Leidecker and his ’90 Mustang
As the 2013 CAR CRAFT Midnight Drags presented by Gear Vendors came to an end, the final match-up was between a 3rd gen Camaro and a Fox body Mustang. Both racers had endured four rounds and nearly 5 hours of racing before facing each other. The match-up was tight, but Mitch Leidecker and his ’90 Mustang squeaked out the win over Nick Droit's '92 Camaro. The 'Stang ran an impressive 5.796 sec pass against the F-body’s 5.937 sec trap time. Leidecker took home the grand prize and a custom jacket. Congratulations, Mitch!
Day 3: Burnout Contest
Sunday, day 3, was the final day of the 2013 CAR CRAFT Street Machine Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance. The show continued with the Legends of Pro Street, the Performance Marketplace, and Dyno Challenge. At noon, the grandstands filled to capacity for the 2013 CAR CRAFT Street Machine Nationals Burnout Contest. Seven contestants competed for the big trophy and 4 smaller awards. After burning lots of rubber, witnessing a blowout, and setting off the fire alarm (yes, the fire department did show-up), the winner was chosen: Clay Carrico from Red Bud, IL, and his red 1967 Chevrolet Camaro - stuffed with a 350ci motor - was deemed the SMN burnout winner.
Miss Street Machine Contest
Following the burnout competition, the crowd shifted towards the main stage where the 2013 CAR CRAFT Miss Street Machine Contest was being held. Five attractive women lined the stage, competing for a $500 cash prize. After answering questions, strutting their stuff, and showing their bikinis to the crowd, Miranda Smith, 21, of West Frankfort, Illinois, was crowned the winner. It may have been the hot pink, leopard print bikini that brought home the win, but we could be mistaken.
Throughout the weekend, the perfect weather made for a spectacular return to the Du Quoin, IL, fairgrounds. The crowd was well behaved as many brought their unique rides and the whole family. From street machines, to cruisers, the show had everything. We hope you take the time and enjoy the photo gallery below. We’ll see you at the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota July 19-21st!
Two girls cruised a late-model Challenger with big smiles during the SMN.
The police patrolled in force, but there were few incidents, if any.
Luminous clouds hung around all weekend, but the weather was perfect.
Les Schwenk is proud of his unique GTO. He brought it to the SMN back in the '80s, the car
Ed Miller has quite the collection of SMN swag. We approve!