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On the ground at Musclepalooza XXIX

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A tubbed 10-second Camaro in mid-pass. Photos by author and by Jake McBride.

If you live in the Northeast (or have relatives here), you know this to be true:  Last winter was a never-ending grind of bad weather and cold temps that carried over long into spring. When it became clear that the weather for last Sunday’s Musclepalooza XXIX would be clear (spectacular, even), the crowds, show cars and race cars descended en masse on Lebanon Valley Dragway in West Lebanon, New York.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396

This 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 convertible is owned by Mark Shea of Bennington, Vermont.


Ford F150 Lightning

The show is open to muscle trucks, too. This ’94 Ford F150 Lightning is owned by John Guiney of Braintree, Massachusetts.

We haven’t seen the official attendance count just yet, but we expect to see a record number of participants. By late morning, the show field was filled to capacity (and then some), forcing cars to park on the lawn in front of the track before additional space was made available inside. Heavy rains the night before saturated one of the parking areas, but by midday this was dry enough to use.

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Ernie and Pat Palchanes of West Lyden, New York, brought their 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.


1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Kenny Pascoe’s 1969 Camaro Z/28 took home our Favorite Chevy award.

As per usual, the cars on display were spectacular, running the gamut from hot rods to restomods to survivors and perfectly restored originals. A few stand-outs included the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona owned by Ernie and Pat Palchanes of West Lyden, New York (our second-favorite Dodge, after the 413 Max Wedge-powered 1962 Dart 440 owned by Michael and Beth Zagata of West Davenport, New York; the “Adam-12” AMC Matador police car owned (and raced) by Michael Spina of New City, New York; and the 65,000-mile, numbers-matching 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 owned by Kenny Pascoe of Poughkeepsie, New York.

1962 Dodge Dart

Beneath the hood of Michael and Beth Zagata’s 1962 Dart 440 lurks a 413 Max Wedge V-8.


This 1968 Pontiac GTO was our pick for Best in Show. Look for additional details in Wednesday’s Hemmings Daily.

Best in Show went to a 1968 Pontiac GTO with “Royal Bobcat” parts, owned by Paul Menin of Ashely Falls, Massachusetts. Look for further details on this car in Wednesday’s Hemmings Daily, as well as in an upcoming issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine.

Lincoln Continental Mk III

A 12-second Lincoln? Indeed.


Chevrolet Kingswood station wagon

Not impressed with the Lincoln? How about an 11-second Chevrolet Kingswood station wagon?


Ford Country Squire

How much air pressure was he running in those Hoosier slicks? We were afraid to ask.

The action on the strip was equally impressive. We never thought that a two-and-a-quarter-ton Lincoln Continental Mark III could run 12s at nearly 108 mph, until we witnessed it with our own eyes. We loved seeing a ’70 Chevy Kingswood and a ’67 Ford Country Squire making passes, too, proving that station wagons hauled more than kids and groceries back in the day. The Chevy was running in the 11-second class, and while the Ford was a tick slower, we admired the owner’s… fortitude. There couldn’t have been more than five pounds of air in his Hoosier slicks, and we have no idea how they stayed on his steel wheels.

By late morning, every available parking space was claimed.

While Musclepalooza XXX is still three months away, it’s never too early to begin planning. If you’re showing a car, it’s best to arrive early (as close to the 7:30 am gate opening time as possible), and the same holds true for those racing. Space fills up quickly, and when the parking areas are full, there’s nothing we (or Lebanon Valley Speedway) can do to accommodate more cars.

1962 Pontiac Catalina

We wondered how much of this ’62 Pontiac Catalina’s total mileage was added in 1/4 mile increments.

If you couldn’t attend last Sunday’s Musclepalooza, we’re hoping that the images above and below give a sense for what the event is all about.

1972 Ford Mustang