There are only a few ways to properly kick off a weekend-long car show, touring a local performance parts manufacturer is one such way. Day 1 of the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance started at QA1’s headquarters located in Lakeville, Minnesota. The local manufacture is known for its suspension components produced for a variety of vehicles. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, QA1 gave patrons a tour of the premises, fed the crowd with free coffee and donuts, and wrapped up the event with a cruise to the St. Paul, MN State Fairgrounds.
Be sure to read the full recap of days 1, 2, and 3 of the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance:
The QA1 Tour and Cruise
The lawn behind the QA1 Lakeville plant was crammed with cars, 150 classic rides were pre-registered for the event. Picnic tables under trees gave visitors a place to enjoy the sunrise and to chow down on some breakfast. Many snagged a donut and coffee, and then lined up to take an exclusive tour through the American motorsport company.
CAR CRAFT was given a side tour with Melissa Scoles, the president of QA1; she showed us a behind the scenes look at how parts are made: from ball joint press-in sleeves, to the loop-end of a shock body – we were impressed with the quality that goes into each part. Take a look at the pictures below to see the custom engineering used in QA1’s composite lab, an in-house engineered filament winding machine used to assemble carbon fiber driveshafts. Expect the unique shafts to be introduced at SEMA later this year and on sale in the first quarter of 2014.
At the St. Paul, Minnesota State Fairgrounds
From Lakeville, Minnesota those who participated in QA1s open house cruised 40 minute north on Interstate 35 arriving at a preferred entrance to the Summer Nationals. At the general admission gate a long line of spectators waited to buy tickets to the 18th annual Nationals; inside, cars were packed on the grass in every direction.
“It looks pretty full, guys,” Ed Zinke the publisher of CAR CRAFT Magazine said in excitement as we arrived at the event. “It should be a good day.”
As we parked behind the main stage, the site of a bright blue, 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels edition poked out of the Chevrolet Performance tent. The booth is showcasing 10 unique vehicles this weekend, from a convertible COPO Camaro to a 1953 Suburban.
"We're excited to interact with out enthusiasts," Bob Phipps, Program Manager of Chevrolet Performance, said. "It's always nice to get out and hear about everyone's projects."
Autocross and Real Street Eliminator sponsored by FRAM and QA1
The QA1 autocross was a huge hit on the first day of the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals. Cars lined up to take a shot at turning corners, opening the throttle, and slamming on the brakes. A few cars spun out, while most stayed on the pavement. One guy’s truck came to a complete stop after his passenger door flew open. The fastest lap of the day went to Jeremy Fohrenkamm of Riverfalls, Wisconsin in a '1976 Triumph Spitfire pulling an impressive 29.05 second lap time. The Triumph sports an original 1.5L 4-cylinder; from the factory it had 56 hp, now it's churning 110 hp with internal modifications.
It was a great first day at the stop box; the competition is sure to heat up tomorrow, Saturday July 20th as day 2 of the CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals Presented by Chevrolet Performance gets under way.
Lucas Oil Dyno Challenge
The Lucas Oil dyno challenge was surrounded with spectators all day, the audience took turns guessing the horsepower numbers of cars as they back-up onto the rollers. When we visited the dyno, Larry Schalo, 58, of Andover, Minnesota had his 1969 Charger ready to roll. The 493 ci stroker with a six pack mixing fuel and air pumped out a whopping 433 hp. We were impressed.
With loads of vendors making an appearance this weekend, the midway action was in full force Friday afternoon. Products from over 40 different companies were on display and ready for an entire weekend of visitors. Definitely don’t be shy, come check out all there is to offer around the fairgrounds this weekend. There’s a lot to see: Race Coatings, Universal Parts, World Speed Shop, Automotive Speed Shop, Chris Alston’s Chassisworks, and more. Heck, if you need sunglasses New York Shades has you covered!
The COMP Cams Engine Duel Contest
During the weekend long car show, two teams are paired up each day, going head-to-head to assemble and engine and to start it first. The record is in the 25 minute range for the year, and today that time was nearly beaten. Sadly, when the event was almost over, the team that was ahead ran into a snag - their valves were set incorrectly. They quickly scrambled to lift the distributor, pull the plug wires, remove the valve covers, and correct the mistake. In the end, Ian Rabanus and Bob Whebbe squeaked out the win with a time of 34:46. Whebbe beat his brother, Tom Whebbe, and teammate Nick Wornett's time of 58:02. It was a close race, but Ian (a local high school auto tech teacher) and Bob came through. The 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals COMP Cams Engine Duel Contest will continue tomorrow at 11:00am and 3:00pm. The 3 o'clock competition is booked, but head over to the COMP Cams booth is you'd like to take a shot at winning a $250 gift card during the 11 o'clock face-off.
Pro Builders Shootout
This weekend we have the main event right in front of the main stage, it’s called the CAR CRAFT Pro Builders Shootout. This is an event where YOU are the judge. Stop by the Pioneer tent located directly in front of the stage to cast your ballot. There are five pro builders to choose from, Lakeside Rods and Rides; Muscle Car Restoration; Rad Rides by Troy; The Roadster Shop; and Schwartz Performance. Each has brought a custom build and wants YOUR vote. Who will be crowned the winner? It’s your choice. Read more about all the ways to vote, the cars that have been brought, and details about the builders HERE.
F.A.S.T. Burnout Contest
The 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals F.A.S.T. Burnout Competition was huge this evening. The grandstands were loud with cheers and the participants were all qualified to burn rubber. Each car marched up to the steel slab on the ground and proudly spun their tires. Each contestant tried to rally the crowd with fist thrusts and yells. In the end, it was Keith Simonet, 41, of Anoka, Minnesota that took home the victory with his '82 Pontiac Trans AM. Simonet blew his tire, then paraded the field with the rubber around his waist like a belt. The Pontiac is a derby car that he proudly admits has been in many accidents. Spewing chunks of rubber, a speaker grate and other miscellaneous parts, the Firebird was by far the burnout champion for day 1. Simonet says he'll be back Saturday and Sunday to win again, be sure to bring your ride if you'd like to take home the next trophy.
Miss CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals – Race Wear Contest
Ten girls showed up, but only one went home with the crown this evening. Ashley Cammela, 22, of Minneapolis, Minnesota was crowned the 2013 Miss CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals during the all-new extended hours titled "Friday Night Lights." The contest was the first installment, this round was the race wear contest. Girls trotted on stage, answered questions and showed their "stuff" to the crowd. The event drew lots of spectators, many of which took photos and videos with their phones. Sunday at 2:30pm will be the next Miss Summer Nationals contest, be sure to get to the main stage to see who wins - and what they wear!
Day 2 of the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals Presented by Chevrolet Performance will feature most of the same action as day 1, with even more great entertainment:
- COMP Cams Engine Duel
11:00am and 3:00pm at the COMP Cams booth
Teams compete to see who can build and fire an engine first
- Real Street Eliminator
8:00am-11:00am at the grandstands and dyno challenge
- Family Fun Zone
All day behind the Baldwin Park Stage
Bring your kids to enjoy activities for all ages
- Linda Vaughn and Courtney Hansen will be signing autographs
11:00am at the main stage
- FREE REVELL Make ‘n’ Take
1:00pm inside the Progress Center
Families get the chance to build a model car together
- Editor’s Choice Awards
4:00pm at the main stage
- The F.A.S.T. burnout contest
5:00pm at the grandstands
We hope you enjoyed your Friday, day 1, of the Summer Nationals; day 2 will be a blast, so don’t miss a minute of the day. See you tomorrow!