WEST LEBANON, N.Y. -- Muscleheads this weekend will be seeking some good old American iron at Lebanon Valley Dragway.
The fall muscle car spectacular, Musclepalooza, returns Sunday, Sept. 2, with its judged car show and quarter-mile drags. Hemmings Muscle Machines has presented the all-muscle event twice a year, on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend, for years since shortly after the magazine's inception in 2003.
The dual nature of the event has proved successful according to Muscle Machines Editor Terry McGean. "Musclepalooza is essentially one event split down the middle, between a car show and a drag race." While some attendees come for one or the other, many participate in both.
Drag racing is bracket-style and open to all American muscle, but the big crowd-pleaser is the Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST) Shootout, featuring stock-appearing albeit highly tuned and modified muscle running head-to-head down the dragstrip with 10-second times.
"Altered wheelbase" drag machines from the 1960s are also routinely present and exhibiting wheel-stand demos.
A short distance across the New York border, the event draws local attendees. "We see a lot of people from our car nights" behind the Hemmings filling station in Bennington, Vt., McGean reports. In addition to a fair number from southern Vermont, Musclepalooza's radius now encompasses the greater New York metropolitan area and Massachusetts.
With a widening sphere of influence, the event routinely attracts rare and unique entrants. "It's interesting to see what turns out to the car show," said McGean. "Every time it seems like something new shows up. ... Part of the appeal is seeing those really rare cars."
While the finest restoration jobs earn the trophies, previous showstoppers have included genuine Yenko-tuned Camaros, Chrysler Hemi-equipped cars from the "glory days" of the Hemi 426 Elephant, and "wing cars" like the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
For Muscle Machines staff, the event allows the opportunity to co-mingle with readers as well as watch out for future feature cars. "You never know when your car will show up in the magazine" in post-event coverage, McGean said.
Overall a basic formula, the event "just works," he said.
"You're going to see an excellent selection of muscle cars, great variety, and great on-track action."
Musclepalooza 16 is set for this Sunday, Sept. 2, at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon. Gates open at 8 a.m., bracket racing begins at 10 a.m., and registration for the car show closes at noon. Spectator entry is $10 for adults, $2 for 6-12 year olds.
Rain date is Monday, Sept. 3. For more information visit www.hemmings.com or call 1-800-227-4373.