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Syracuse Nationals host SPEED, ‘American Pickers’ stars

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The 14th annual Syracuse Nationals will run July 19 to 21 at the New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, and will feature appearances by “American Pickers” stars and a Pinstripers’ auction to benefit CNY Ronald McDonald House.

The three-day automotive extravaganza, sponsored by Fastrac Markets and Ford Tri-State Dealer Group, has become a tradition for thousands of classic car and truck owners and their families from all over the country and Canada. The event is open to hot rods, muscle cars, classics and customs vehicles manufactured in 1980 and before.

In 2012, the Syracuse Nationals reported the largest turnout since the founding of the annual car show with more than 400 vendors, more than 650 campers and 7,700 cars on display. Since 2000, the show has donated $622,644 to charity, and this year it hopes to reach the $700,000 mark.

A new element at this year’s show is “SSBC Performance Brake Systems Autocross.”

The hightlights of this year’s event:

n Owners with vehicles registered in the Syracuse Nationals and a valid license will be able to test their skills on an autocross course. Stars from SPEED’s hit television show “R U Faster than a Redneck,” Brian Finch, Bill Howell, JB Granger and Yancy Johns, will be running the autocross course and handing out advice to drivers.

nMike Wolfe and Danielle Colby-Cushman, stars of “American Pickers,” the reality-television show on the History Channel that centers on “picking” antiques and collectibles around the country to sell, will appear this year. Wolfe, who is the spokesperson for American Vintage Hard Tea, will meet fans and sign autographs in the Center of Progress Building from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 19. Colby-Cushman will be available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

n The Horticulture Building will be turned into a “Gasoline Alley” this year, displaying more than 30 vintage race cars, including asphalt and dirt oval, drag racing, road course and grand prix varieties. There will also be two race car simulators for attendees to try.

nThe first “Back-Yard Build-Off” will feature a car build-off involving three experienced auto builders, each with a $4,500 budget.

The three builders will unveil their creations at 10 a.m. Friday, July 19, in the Beef Barn near Gate 10. The winner will be decided by popular vote and will be announced on Sunday, July 21.

nOne car owner at the 2013 Syracuse Nationals will receive the fourth annual Winfield Award. The prestigious award for automotive excellence will be presented by master car customizer and builder Gene Winfield. The winner will receive a custom trophy, jacket and $10,000. The five runners-up will each receive a custom trophy, jacket and $1,000 each.

n Inside the Horticulture Building, pinstripe and airbrush artists at the pinstripers’ panel jam, known as “Artie’s Party,” work almost around the clock during the Syracuse Nationals to hand- paint original automotive artwork on items of all kinds, from vehicle panels to skateboards to mailboxes.

The one-of-a-kind items are then auctioned throughout the weekend, with this year’s proceeds benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York. Last year “Artie’s Party” raised more than $77,000 for the charity.

“We’re proud that Syracuse Nationals is not only known as a car show but as an event that supports local organizations,” Syracuse Nationals founder and director Bob O’Connor said in a press release. “We’re so fortunate to be able to give back to the community each year, and through the hard work and help of thousands of Nationals participants, car club volunteers, exhibitors and sponsors, we’ve been able to ensure that we’ll make a difference for an organization in our area.”

Other features at this year’s Syracuse Nationals are:

n More than 350 automotive-related vendors and manufacturers, a Women’s World, consisting of more than 50 non-automotive-related vendors and exhibitors in the Art & Home Center and the Syracuse Mini Nationals, a model car contest, in the Center of Progress Building’s North Wing. All models must be registered by 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20. Prizes will be awarded Sunday, July 21, at noon.

n A custom-built vehicle giveaway at the end of the Syracuse Nationals. This year’s giveaway vehicle is the Wintec Roadster built by Tucci Hotrods of Marcy.

n American Muscle Sunday on July 21. Owners with vehicles newer than 1980 will be allowed to display their specialty cars or trucks at the fairgrounds that day. Only specialty American-made performance vehicles newer than 1980 will be allowed to register. Registration will take place at Gate 7 from 7 to 11 a.m. on July 21.

n Seventeen bands performing throughout the weekend on three stages.

Advance-sale discount tickets for the Syracuse Nationals are available now through July 18 at participating Fastrac markets. One-day adult tickets cost $17 at the gate or $12 in advance. Children’s tickets (ages 6 to 12) are $8 at the gate, or $6 in advance. Children 5 and under receive free admission. Parking is free at the event.

For more information on the 2013 Syracuse Nationals, a schedule of events or to register a vehicle, call 800-753-3978 or go to www.syracusenationals.com.

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