DU QUOIN — The national celebration of horsepower returns to the historic Du Quoin State Fairgrounds this weekend.

Hundreds of vintage hot rods, street machines and modern muscle cars from across the country will fill the venue for the 33rd annual General Tire Street Machine Nationals.

Matthew Louck, vice-president of marketing and communications of Family Events, which puts on the event, said he expects this year to be the largest event in Du Quoin since the show returned in 2013.

“2013 began as a possible one-time reunion and it has turned into an annual event among the largest muscle car shows in the nation,” Louck said. “This was possible due to slight growth each year and a passionate group of enthusiasts that understand the history and know what it’s like when that passion is taken away.”

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 24, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 26. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $15 and children under 10 are admitted for free with a paid adult. Tickets can also be purchased ahead of time online at https://www.showclix.com/event/street-machine-nationals-d.

All makes, models and years of street machines, street rods, trucks and sport utility vehicles are invited to participate. Registration is $60 for any vehicle at the event gates or online at streetmachinenationals.net/registration.

Visitors can expect to see some one-of-a-kind vehicles on display. There will be more than 40 pro-judged awards handed out on Sunday.

Enthusiasts can visit the performance marketplace to shop for the latest parts, catch a burnout competition and watch the Miss Street Machine contest.

There will be a special event taking place on Saturday, as a Guinness World Record will be attempted for "Most Pro Street and Street Machines for the world's largest parade cruise of its kind."

The record-setting attempt is open to all registered participants and will begin at noon with Pro Street vehicles. They will line up to kick off the special two-mile cruise around the fairgrounds in an attempt to set a record. At 1:30 p.m. the cruise route parade will continue with all Street Machine show cars welcome to take part in the world record attempt with an expanded route.

Also new this year will be a two-class (full size and mini weld) demolition derby at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Kids aged 3 to 9 can get in on the derby fun with a special Power Wheels class demo derby.

In 1977, the Street Machine Nationals debuted at Indianapolis. The show came to Du Quoin for the first time in 1986, where it was held for 13 consecutive years until 1998.

The once-controversial event made its return to Southern Illinois in 2013 and a three-year contract was signed in October 2014, keeping the show in Du Quoin through 2017. The "Nats" is widely known, and is one of the most popular car shows in the country.

“There were a lot of naysayers upon the return of the Street Machine Nationals to Du Quoin, and we expect, and are currently on pace, to beat last year's car count of 2,814,” Louck said. “This event means something and it a great source of pride for everyone involved.”

Illinois State Police only noted 24 citations written at last year’s Street Machine Nationals: nine for speeding and seven for illegal squealing/screeching of tires. There were no DUI arrests and no criminal arrests reported.

For more information and a schedule of the all the weekend’s events visit www.streetmachinenationals.net/StreetMachineNationalsDuQuoin

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Shawn Anglin is a sports clerk for The Southern Illinoisan. He also blogs about cars at thesouthern.com/blogs/idlethoughts.

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