The 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance has struck again at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota. We witnessed more tire smoking action at the F.A.S.T. burnout contest; chose the winners for our Editor’s Choice Awards; continued testing cars for the Real Street Eliminator presented by FRAM, QA1 and Lucas Oil; and rooted for teams competing in the COMP Cams Engine Duel contest. The fairgrounds were overflowing with a variety of classic muscle, custom late models, and unique trucks. The turnout was by far the best in years, and we’re excited to see the hobby expanding to younger generations that accompanied parents on Saturday.
Be sure to read the full recap of days 1, 2, and 3 of the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance:
Lucas Oil Dyno Challenge
Our first stop of day 2 was at the Lucas Oil Dyno Challenge. We arrived around 8:15 am as the sun was still rising and before the crowd had fully entered the fairgrounds. As we approached the dyno a bright yellow Viper was taking to the rollers; after two passes the supercharged, late-model Mopar posted under 300 hp due to mechanical problems. It was anti-climactic to say the least. A couple cars later an '87 GNX, owned by Jim Schmittinger, 40, of Slinger, WI, backed onto the ramps and laid down an impressive 959 hp with 877 lb-ft with one pass on the rollers. The twin turbocharged aluminum 3.8L sports 3.25:1 gears out back. We didn’t get many details about the Buick, when asked to pop the hood Schmittinger politely said “no, I do a lot of street racing.” With confidence, the Real Street Eliminator participant quickly hopped in his car and headed for the QA1 Autocross challenge at the grandstands. The autocross and launch box are the other two, of three, tests that must be completed in order to compete in the weekend-long event.
QA1 Autocross and FRAM Launch Box
The second stop of our day was at the grandstands where we witnessed the QA1 Autocross and FRAM Launch Box, both were popular throughout the day. Those who registered for the CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals or participated in the Real Street Eliminator were admitted to the all-day event for free. The line of cars continued to grow late into the afternoon, and the bleachers filled with spectators as word got out of the infield action. Thankfully we saw no accidents, just good fun and stiff competition. Everyone attempted to break the weekend’s best time of 29.05 seconds set by Jeremy Fohrenkamm in his ’76 Triumph. The course was dry and lent itself to the opportunity of speed, however, we saw no one break the Triumph’s time. Though none broke the record, it appeared everyone had a blast driving as fast as possible through the cones. Hopefully Sunday we’ll see a lap time faster than 29.05.
REVELL Make ‘n’ Take
Photo by John McGann
As we continued cruising the fairgrounds in a golf cart, we came upon the free REVELL Make ‘n’ Take event at the Progress Center. Families packed the building, assembling model cars to take home as souvenirs. It was nice to see children interacting and enjoying their time at the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals presented by Chevrolet Performance. It just goes to show, the Nationals are fun for ALL ages.
COMP Cams Engine Duel
Twice the COMP Cams Engine Duel commenced at the COMP booth near the main stage. We headed to the competition for the 3 o’clock match-up between two, two-person teams. The first set of builders to assemble a small block Chevy engine and run it for one minute won a set of Snap On tools and COMP Cams gift cards. For the first 30 minutes the two teams, Team F.A.S.T. and Team COMP Cams, duked it out, but in the end a much younger Team F.A.S.T. pulled away with a 31.40 minute victory. Team COMP Cams continued past 37 minutes when the clock was stopped prematurely. The winning team proudly displayed their prizes for the audience, grinning for photos and enjoying the moment. Meanwhile in the background, the two older gentlemen from COMP rebuilt a possible mistake. There’s another contest Sunday at 11:00am, at the same booth, maybe Team COMP Cams can take another stab at the challenge.
Chevrolet Performance Hosts an Autograph Session with Courtney Hansen and Linda Vaughn
Long lines formed at the Chevrolet Performance booth throughout the day as crowds lined the tent to meet Courtney Hansen and Linda Vaughn. Those who patiently waited were awarded with a free autographed poster and cellphone pictures with both ladies. They signed custom notes to fans, answered lots of questions and shared laughs. They’ll be back signing posters, or any other merchandise you bring, at 10:30-noon and 1:30pm-3:00pm on Sunday. Get in line, snag a signature, and be sure to get a smile from both ladies – they’re definitely worth the time.
Pro Builder Shootout
Voting continued on day 3 as the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals Pro Builder Shootout is determined by the general audience. Five Pro Builders are competing for your vote near the Main Stage. Pioneer and Mach 1 Audio are holding electronic voting, so continue the democracy as Sunday, day 3, is the last day to get your favorite car in the running. There are a variety of ways to vote, in case you can’t make it to the stage by noon, check out all the ways to vote HERE.
Lots of vendors had tents, tables, trailers, and displays available for viewing throughout the fairgrounds on Saturday. With well over 40 different companies showing products, it was almost impossible to avoid the great merchandise throughout the event. Customers asked questions with professionals, learned about products for future purchases, and got the chance to views cars displaying parts in action. If you’re on the fence about buying parts from big names like Painless, MSD, Mickey Thompson, or any other auto manufactures, take a walk around Sunday and be sure to get your questions answered. You’re sure to find what it is you’re looking for.
Editor’s Choice Awards
We were stoked to hand out our awards Saturday during the 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals Editor’s Choice Awards. Douglas Glad, Editor-in-chief of CAR CRAFT Magazine, took to the main stage this evening; he announced 7 winners and praised each builder on the quality and craftsmanship of their vehicles. If you get the chance, take a peek at the cars Sunday before they leave the fairgrounds. Here are a list of the winner and the categories they won:
- Best of Show – ’55 Chevy – Owned by Gary Kollofski and built by Dale Pelvit
- Best 1969 Camaro – Owned by Troy Emmans and raced by his 16-year-old daughter
- Best Chevrolet – ’69 Nova – Bob Marvin
- Best Pro Street – ’79 Mercury Capri – Mike Dietzen
- Best Paint – Bill Wojcik – ’81 Monte Carlo
- Best Pro Touring – “Damion” – Pontiac Tempest
- Innovation Award – Jeff Jarzynski – ’89 Chevy pickup
- Best BOP – Pontiac Tempest
F.A.S.T Burnout Challenge
This evening F.A.S.T. held the second burnout competition of the weekend at the grandstands. The seats were packed; some spectators stood along the rails, while others occupied entrances at both sides of the infield. The crowd cheered for each driver, some burnouts received louder praise than others. Compared to day 1’s competition, there was much more carnage and even more contestants. The vehicles ranged from 3rd-gen F-bodies to a rat rod. One car worth mentioning was a panel van with no roof, in its place was a stripper pole standing proud as the owner stood on the pedal, spun the tires, and pumped-up the crowd with his hands. A burnout worth remembering was a pickup that blew a tire and sent it 30 feet backwards. The crowd cheered for a minute straight as the truck limped off the steel plate, which was covered in a thick coating of smoldering rubber. The winner of the contest went to Nick Hirsch and his ’71 Chevy C-10 equipped with dual flame throwers on either side. The pickup started burning rubber quickly and never let up. The cloud rose to heights no other burnout could match, it was certainly a sight to be seen. Don’t miss the last 2013 CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals F.A.S.T. Burnout contest Sunday, July 21st at 12:30pm.
Though lightning may not strike twice, the nationals will defy nature by striking a third time. The event kicks off its final day Sunday, July 21st, bringing an end to the signature event of the summer. On day 3 the Pro Builder Shootout winner will be announced, Real Street Eliminator determined, Miss CAR CRAFT Summer Nationals crowned, and a third burnout champion chosen. Don’t miss the weekend finale, it’s sure to be a busy day with the same great Lucas Oil dyno challenge, QA1 autocross, FRAM launch box, Chevrolet Performance autograph signing with Courtney Hansen and Linda Vaughn, a bustling vendor marketplace, and the awesome family fun zone. Be sure to bring the whole crew to the fairgrounds, we wouldn’t want you to miss the excitement. See you Sunday!