23rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Syracuse Nationals

Hopped-up Chevys Dominate the Weekend

By Chuck Vranas   –  Photography by the Author

There’s no better thrill than planning a road trip in your high-performance Chevy that will take you across the highways and byways of America, leading you to a large national event packed with like-minded car owners. From packing the trunk with your trip bits to rolling out of your driveway and topping off the tank with premium fuel, it’s the complete driving experience that makes it all come full circle. Regardless of whether your Bowtie is running the latest speed equipment to fuel a big-block, small-block, or LS, it’s all a blast, especially when setting a course to one of the biggest performance automotive fests in the Northeast, the 23rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Syracuse Nationals in Syracuse, New York.

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Arriving at the event you’ll find the expansive footprint of the New Your State Fairgrounds covering a massive 360 acres packed with an endless array of neat vintage buildings accented by perfectly paved roads for cruising and a wide assortment of state-fair-style eateries to check out when the call to refuel hits. As the event unfolds around you for the three-day get-together, the visually stunning grouping of muscle cars, classic trucks, hot rods, customs, and restos leaves you awestruck, thanks to plenty of vibrant candy colors fused with decadent chrome laid out across the venue. It’s all complemented by a vast array of both indoor and outdoor vendors showcasing plenty of industry-leading performance parts for your ride, select builders displaying their latest creations, and live music on multiple stages.

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Throughout the busy weekend there was plenty of cool stuff to check out, starting with the nominees for the Designer Dozen Awards, sponsored by Pfaff Designs and Pilot Transportation, where a select team of well-known automotive celebrity judges canvass the grounds to assemble 100 vehicles to compete for one of the very desirable awards (which has now been increased to 16 picks to cover even more build styles). There was also plenty of competition for the coveted Tucci Hot Rods Style & Design awards.

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To add a dose of wild thunder to the festivities, Nitro Row, sponsored by Streetside Classics, brought a wicked grouping of vintage Funny Cars and dragsters pumping plenty of nitro and methanol for all to enjoy at scheduled times daily. Add in a huge swap meet with a car corral, RC No-Prep Drags, and Sparky’s Rockabilly Round-Up setting a traditional hot rod vibe in an open-air pavilion packed with hard-core hot rods and customs accented by live music running well into the night, you can easily see there was plenty to experience.

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The Winfield Award, presented by legendary car customizer Gene Winfield and sponsored by Meguiar’s, featured strong competition with the Select Six on display to see which one would earn the big prize. This year’s award winner was the ’49 Buick, owned by Erin Yates. The Exposition Building also featured the Syracuse Signature Showcase as well as the Charity Brush Fest with many of the nation’s top pinstriping artists participating in a three-day panel jam auction benefitting Ronald McDonald House of Central New York.

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This is one event to add to your must-attend list for next year! For more details head to rightcoastcars.com.

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