Weekend Rewind! 2nd Goodguys Kentucky Nationals

As autumn settles in to most areas of the country, many people’s thoughts turn to hayrack rides and football games. For hot rodders, though, we know there are few precious weekends left in the cruising season, and there’s no better way to celebrate them than gathering with fellow gearheads. That’s exactly what we had in mind as we brought more than a thousand rods, customs, and classics together at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington this weekend for the second Goodguys Kentucky Nationals.

The first Kentucky Nationals showed plenty of promise last year, and we built on that groundwork with a bigger and better event this weekend. It’s a great time of year to be in Kentucky, with cooler temperatures and a hint of autumn color dotting the rolling hills. We got to soak in plenty of that beautiful scenery starting on Thursday with an enjoyable Hot Rod Cruise around the area, and then let the automotive colors take over Kentucky Horse Park for the past three days.

With weather ranging from overcast and warm to sunny and brisk, it was a great weekend to be out celebrating the fellowship of hot rodding. Late-season events always seem to have a more laid-back vibe and that definitely held true Lexington – people were relaxed and happy. Even Jesse and Jeff Greening, who were selecting the Builder’s Choice Top 10 for Greening Auto Company, had easy-going smiles on their faces as they made their choices. As always, the finished lineup looked incredible.

The Goodguys team made a few choice selections, as well, kicking off the 2020 Top 12 finalist list with John Jinnings’ ’72 F100 as finalist for LMC Truck of the Year Late and Gary Goodin’s ’69 Camaro Z28 as the Muscle Car of the Year finalist. The media team made two picks of its own, with Kevin Svarda’s Deuce roadster for the Gazette Pick and Todd Lawrence’s ’59 Chevy Apache as the Fuel Curve Pick.

One area of the facility that wasn’t relaxed was the AutoCross course. With season points leads on the line in several classes, racers were amped up and chompin’ at the bit to attack the course and qualify for Saturday’s Southern Shootout. The Leisinger brothers had a great weekend, with Jared taking first place in the PRO-X class and Josh picking up the PRO-X/PRO shootout win. The shootout victory added to Josh’s season points total lead. Jason Brady took the PRO class win in his familiar race Blazer, while Bill Graves Sr. powered his ’66 Corvette to both the Street Machine class win and first place in the Street Machine / Hot Rod / Truck shootout – a victory that gives him a commanding lead in the Street Machine season points race. Likewise, Pat McGinnis raced his Ranchero to the Truck class win, giving him an even stronger lead in season points standings. In the Hot Rod class, Sam Matchett wheeled his ’46 Studebaker sedan to a class win, moving himself into first place in the season standings. Danny Popp had a clean Sunday sweep, winning both the All American Sunday class and shootout in his 2004 Corvette.


We had plenty of other Goodguys fun in Lexington, including Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions, a smokin’ Burnout Competition, full swap meet, Saturday special parking areas, kids activities, an expansive vendor midway, and much more. The Kentucky hills were gleaming with polished paint and chrome, making for a cool, colorful hot rod weekend. We’ve got a good feeling that this event will continue growing as word gets out about it, so we’re anxious to see what number three brings next year. In the meantime, check out some of the incredible visuals from this year.

Photos by Steven Bunker & Todd Ryden

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.