Muscle Cars at the Strip or MATS is an annual event that started in 2006 by the Painter family and held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This years event was held from March 17-19, 2023. When arriving at the track around 11am Saturday, the parking area was well packed with a large attendance as expected.
MATS does not disappoint and offers a little something for everyone. The normal judged car show brought in hundreds of classic and modern muscle cars. There was also a show n shine area for those who didn’t want to be judged.
By far the show field was dominated by Mopar muscle both old and new. Which makes sense because when the show began in 2006 it was named Mopars at the Strip. The name was changed to in 2016 which, is a story all in itself.
Next to the show car field was the swap meet section and car corral. If you’re looking a certain part to finish your project or hunting for a new project, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Set up in the area between the show field and the grandstand was a vendor area. With support on vendor row coming from companies such as T-Mobile, Anderson Composites, and many other vendors. Local restoration shop, Counts Kustoms, were present with all the guys from the shop.
Dominating the vendor area was Dodge’s presence. Dodge and their performance division Direct Connection were onsite in force with the Dodge Thrill ride course having a steady stream of riders all day long.
Also set up was the Demon Drag Race simulator, both were free to sign up for. Under a big white tent were some hand picked display cars which included Don Carlton’s Motown Missile and the original Direct Connection Challenger of Paul Rossi who was on hand to take pictures and sign autographs.
The drag racing action was hot all weekend, with Friday night brining the “Battle of the Brands”. This race puts the big three (Chrysler, Ford and GM) in shootouts within their own brand first. Then taking the winners from each brand to race against each other. In the end Mopar was on top in both traditional and modern classes.
Saturday the winds were blowing which made things a bit dicey at the top end of the track for some cars. Sunday’s racing eliminations were cut short around 2:30 when rain showers moved over the track and time ran out before temps dropped too low to finish elimination runs. The race purse was divided among the racers left in field which most had gotten to quarter final rounds.
For those that would rather hug corners in their car, the autocross track at the far end of the strip was the place you wanted to be. Rob Byrd and the Racing Byrds crew were busy all day keeping the cars rolling through the course.
The field was made up of not only purpose built cars but bone stock vehicles, such as a 1973 Duster that nearly dragged the rockers as it went around the tight curves. Fastest time and trophy went to a 1970 Camaro that ran the course in just under 40 seconds.
Muscle Cars at the Strip has a little bit of everything to keep attention all day or weekend with show cars to race cars to a starting line wedding and live music. If you live on the west coast or plan on being in the Las Vegas area usually around the 3rd weekend in March, be sure and check out this show, you will not be disappointed.