Firing Up

The Street Rod Nats is Far From Normal–Just How We Like It

By Nick Licata

After being holed up for the past year or so and only being able to attend a few local car cruises, it was refreshing to get back on the road and head out to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 52nd NSRA Street Rod Nationals this past August. Now, if you’ve not been to this event, do yourself a favor and put this one on your bolt bucket list. If you are not familiar, this is no longer just a street rod event but a mega car show that includes tons of great muscle cars. In fact, there are more muscle cars from the Chevy world here than any other brand. Yep, the massive Louisville Exposition Center is loaded with Camaros, Novas, Chevelles, Tri-Fives, and just about everything in between. And, in recent years, the NSRA has opened participant vehicles to ’92 and older, so if you are into later-model muscle cars, you’ll find those on the grounds as well.

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 It’s been a couple years since attending the Street Rod Nationals due to my taking a little time off from the magazine world and the fact that this stubborn Coronavirus going around put the brakes on most 2020 events.

This year’s NSRA Nationals was particularly special in that people were really looking forward to this event and getting back out with their hot rods and to check out the best vintage rides the Midwest has to offer. To some, getting back out to socialize with some like-minded hot rodders was just the ticket they needed to regain some sanity.

New for this event was a Cacklefest that featured four to five fuel dragsters and vintage Funny Cars loaded up on nitro. It sounds silly for anyone to watch a nostalgia fuel Funny Car sitting still while burning 90 percent nitro at idle, but a few wraps on the throttle was enough to get people within an earshot’s attention to make their way over and witness the spectacle in person. It just goes to show how much people appreciate the sound of big horsepower and the smell of nitro. 

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I’ve always appreciated the cars that come from all over the country and to those who put a little extra effort into their cars and displays. The 2021 event carried on the tradition, as we saw everything from skeletons in station wagons to an oversized Ratfink enjoying the show from the passenger seat of a blown big-block–powered Corvair. 

Will we be 100 percent back to normal by the 2022 NSRA Nationals? I hope not, because normal is defined as “conforming to the standard or the common type,” and that’s just not what this event is about. 

I’m looking forward to the 2022 NSRA Street Rod Nationals and all it has to offer, and I hope to see you there.

You in?

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