Combine sunshine, St. Patrick’s Day and a stunning cast of street rods, classics and custom machines, and you’ve got the makings of an awesome automotive weekend. The 9th Spring Nationals at WestWorld in Scottsdale was all that and more, bringing three days of automotive excitement to the Valley of the Sun.
The second Goodguys event of the season was a sun-drenched success, bringing thousands of fine rides to the WestWorld grounds. Scottsdale is almost like a second home for Goodguys, with scores of regulars bringing their rods and customs out for some early-season fun. It was great to welcome new friends into the mix, as well, as the new 1987-and-earlier cutoff brought in fresh next-generation rides to keep the weekend party lively. We saw plenty of late-’70s and ’80s Camaros and Firebirds, plus a strong contingent of squarebody Chevy and GMC pickups. A new wave of enthusiasts is getting a taste for the Goodguys experience – and they’re lovin’ it!
Mike and Randy Way of All Ways Hot Rods stayed busy on Saturday selecting the Builder’s Choice Top 10 award winners from a sea of worthy iron. As we’ve come to expect, their picks were spot on. Among the dozens of other awards given out were finalists for four of our prestigious Top 12 awards. The Custom Rod of the Year finalist spot went to Mike Swanson’s stunning ’61 Impala convertible, while Alex Short took the Truck of the Year Late finalist spot with his radical ’68 C10. When it came to muscle, John Givard took home the Muscle Machine of the Year finalist spot with his ’67 Mustang built by American Legends, while Charley Lillard’s full-bodied ’66 Pontiac Bonneville earned the Muscle Car of the Year finalist nod. The Goolsby Customs YoungGuys Award, meanwhile, pitted Nate Kulpa’s ’62 Austin pickup, against Joseph Pratt’s ’64 El Camino. Nate’s tiny Austin came out on top when the social media votes were counted.
The AutoCross course at WestWorld was going full throttle all weekend long, as racers carved corners and dodged cones to race into the Spring Shootout presented by Prestone. A Shootout field of 16 was established by Saturday afternoon, with the ladder-style bracket kicking off at 3:30. The action from there was fast and furious, with the smooth and consistent Scott Fraser driving Bruce Cambern’s genuine ’66 Cobra to the win with a blistering 43.672-second pass. Fraser beat Robby Unser in the Team Speedway ’67 Camaro, who ran his best lap in the final round with a 43.542, but kicked a cone that gave him a two-second penalty. Unser did win an invitation to the finals. Other winners included Gregg Biddlingmeier in Street Machine in his ’87 Mustang (46.224); Richard Trujillo driving Pat Sheely’s ’62 Ranchero in the Truck class (47.292); and Tom Hull driving his ’36 Pontiac sedan to the win in the Hot Rod class (53.598). The All American Sunday winner was Ryan Tregasket in a 2002 Z06 Corvette (48.440).
Beyond the trophies and racing, there was a full weekend of excitement that included three rounds of the popular Nitro Thunderfest, a Burnout Contest making plenty of smoke and noise, kids activities, live music, a massive swap meet and Cars 4 Sale Corral, special parking areas and much more. It was like spring break for hot rodders, and a springboard into the rest of the Goodguys season. We hope you’ll enjoy this look back at our fun weekend in the sun.