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Northern Exposure '03

Car Craft's Summer Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota

Photography by The Car Craft Staff

It's probably safe to say that the Car Craft Summer Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota, has become an annual tradition. This was our ninth year traveling to the great, unfrozen north, and the show just continues to get stronger. This time around we logged a record 3,800 cars over the weekend, and plans are already in motion to raise the bar even higher next year.

The weather was definitely on our side for the '03 running of the Summer Nats. With clear skies and sun for most of the weekend, conditions were perfect for cruising and checking out killer iron. We were again astounded by the huge number of bitchin' rides that reside in an area known for bitter cold and chronic rust. Evidently, the Car Craft show draws lots of treasures from their secret garages, as many locals commented that there were scores of local cars on display that hadn't been seen previously.

We showed up at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds bright and early Friday morning expecting to find only show workers setting up, but there were already quite a few cars occupying strategic spaces on the main lanes of the fairgrounds. Some of the ground crew told us there were cars lined up and waiting at the gate when they showed up at dawn. By the afternoon, the show was going strong as we mingled with participants, bench racing and probing for information--the whys and hows of ownership, performance specs, plans for future upgrades, and so on. In doing so, we encountered quite a few interesting people with similarly interesting tales to tell. We've compiled some of them here in brief vignettes for your enjoyment.

Of course, there was plenty of excitement at the Castrol Syntec Dyno Challenge, particularly since we upped the ante by offering specially made jackets to the highest producers of rear-wheel power, both for naturally aspirated and for those running a power adder. We'll touch on the outcome here, but watch for a detailed account of some of the more impressive rides in an upcoming issue. Of course, what would the Nats be without a barrage of beautiful women decked out in as little as possible? The '03 Summer Nats bikini contest drew a healthy field of entrants and a huge crowd of spectators. This year's winner was actually a repeat performance by last year's Miss Car Craft Summer Nationals, Valerie Carpender of Forrest Lake, Minnesota, who looked even hotter than last year.

Special thanks goes to host club Jim Bemis and Friends for helping to organize and maintain this monster of an event. There's still some summer action left, and we'll be out again in force in Springfield, Missouri, for the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals in September (the 12th to the 14th).


Main: Flowmaster
Season: MAS Racing Products, MSD Ignition, Black Magic, Outlaw, Tires Plus, and Nitto Tires.

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