The thrash to get ready, the plane trips, and the drive across numerous states to Columbus, Ohio, are all part of the yearly routine. Still, as the second weekend in August approached, the staff of Mopar Muscle was just another group of people preparing to make it to the Nats. If you're talking to Mopar people, that means only one thing: the Mopar Nationals, which was in its 21st running in 2001. People come to this event for one reason and for many reasons. Regardless of whether you're there to see the show cars, drag race your toy, chase parts in the swap field, or cruise the night away up on Brice Road in Reynoldsburg, you're there because it's all Mopar... all the time.
We tried to take it all in. Even with a total of eight people doing nothing but covering the event for Mopar Muscle, that was impossible. It's just too big. Stunkard was going in 40 directions at once, realizing that being the editor at the event where a lot of subscribers and advertisers are in attendance can make someone insane. Randy Bolig, staff photographer Chuck James, and art director Bob Stuart were busy shooting drag cars and features for future use. Steve Dulcich and his sidekick, Marco X, hooked up with manufacturers and cruised the swap meet. Publisher Jerry Pitt tried to keep everyone in line and manage the planned Mopar Muscle-sponsored activities (including Young Guns, which will be covered in detail next month).
As always, the cars in the OEM, Survivor display, and show fields were impressive. How many people were awestruck by Matt Delaney's V10 Charger, or the restored, sunroof/radio-delete '70 Charger R/T of Jerry Hubble. Across the track, the cars in the Fun Field were a little more low-key in some regards, but it seemed like everywhere we turned, we had to check out one more.
Of course, there were also the cars for sale as well as the swap meet deals (that always seemed to already be in someone else's hands as they headed for the parking lot); we've heard from some vendors that this year's event was the best ever in terms of both sales and purchases. There was something to fit every need and budget. The full-tilt Manufacturers' Midway had virtually every player in the hot Mopar product business represented, not to mention a contingent of the latest Mopar show vehicles in the Road Show and great cars on display. Attendance was very solid due to the good weather, especially on Saturday, the show's biggest day.
Then there was Brice. Long ago, the police would get real uptight for the event; these days, their primary presence is to keep a lid on things. They won't put up with a lot of misconduct, but the action we saw was primarily directing traffic into ever-narrowing lanes until they had control of the road, which beats dogs and helicopters any day. Nevertheless, our fearless crew got there even earlier than the Man, and we've got photos of smoking tires to prove it.
On the dragstrip, the smell of nitromethane and high-octane fuel was the order of the day during the exhibition runs, while the bracket and special eliminators were full. The Dodge teams of Dean Skuza, Larry Morgan, and David Nickens (Alderman and Osborne) were out for exhibition runs, not to mention a full field of Nostalgia Super Stocks, Quick 16 cars, and hundreds of bracket machines. For those of a more jaded nature, the daily burnout contest offered whatever visceral thrills one didn't get in the evening by the hotel.
Not one of us saw it all, but together we're glad to bring you coverage of this year's spectacle in the Buckeye State. The year 2001 was a Mopar Odyssey, indeed.
2001 Best of Show-Car
'70 Charger R/T, 440 4V
2001 Young Guns Award Of Excellence Adam Rennecker Barry, IL '71 Challenger, 426 Hemi
The Exhibition Drags Once again, exhibition machinery ran the gamut from homebuilt blower
2001 Best Of Show-Truck
'91 Dodge Dakota, 440 6V
2001 Mopar Performance Most Popular Car Matt Delaney Shreveport, LA '68 Dodge Charger, V10
Brice Road The cruising action of the Mopar Nationals has been strong regardless of where
A few more memories from Brice Road-Mopar Nationals 2001