BOOM! That explosion you hear isn’t early Independence Day fireworks, it’s the hot rod and custom faithful blowing open another amazing mid-summer weekend at the Goodguys Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals in Des Moines. It’s a tradition celebrating its 26th year, and if today was any indication, this will be one for the record books!

The boom earlier in the week was the sound of summer storms blowing through Iowa. Thankfully, Mother Nature got the really nasty stuff out of her system on Wednesday night, leaving us with a spectacular sunny summer Thursday for early registrations and a poker run around the greater Des Moines area. The host hotel parking lot began filling up Thursday night, as good tunes, cold drinks and cool cars brought the early arrivals together for a laid-back kickoff party that rocked until well past dark.

The action at the Iowa State Fairgrounds kicked off early this morning, as hardcore hot rodders lined up to get A-list spots on Grand Avenue and coveted spaces in the shade. The streets were jammed by mid-morning as participants shined up their rides, cruised the loop and settled in for a stellar weekend. This is truly where the Midwest’s best gather, with killer rides from throughout America’s heartland rolling in to show the rest of the country how it’s done.

It’s not all pomp and polish, though. Over at the Goodguys AutoCross, the Duel in Des Moines has the engines roaring, the tires squealing and the drivers grabbing handfuls of steering wheel as they dodge cones and carve corners in a quest for the quickest elapsed time. All the heavy hitters are here, duking it out for bragging rights and a big payoff.

Speaking of heavy hitters, we saw “Big Daddy” Don Garlits signing autographs in the massive vendor midway, where all the top aftermarket manufacturers and specialty shops are showcasing hot rodding’s latest and greatest wares. Couple that with a bustling swap meet, tasty fair food and the Nitro Thunderfest exhibition, and you’ve got a rod and custom affair like no other!

If all of this sounds great, then you definitely want to come join us on Saturday, when we’ll add a freestyle motocross stunt exhibition, Saturday night stage show and end-of-evening fireworks to the mix. It’s sure to be an explosive day – don’t miss it!