Goodguys 22nd PPG Nationals Weekend Rewind!

Don’t you love it when an event actually lives up to its hype? The Goodguys 22nd PPG Nationals exceeded all expectations this weekend and brought the epicenter of the hot-rodding world to Columbus, Ohio, for three spectacular days of car-crazy fun in the sun. The weather was great, the cars were even better, and the gathered gearheads put the positive vibes into overdrive!

The buzz was building all week as rodders from around the country began converging on Columbus for the biggest Goodguys event of the season. While the Cruise to Columbus wound its way to Ohio from last weekend’s Heartland Nationals in Iowa, top builders from across the country were putting their finishing touches on cars for the annual PPG Street Machine of the Year and Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year competitions. On top of that, owners of more than 120 historic and significant ’69 Camaros were heading toward the Ohio Expo Center to take part in the Summer of ’69 – a 50th anniversary celebration of America’s favorite muscle car. From the Thursday poker run and kickoff parties, to the Sunday afternoon awards ceremony, it was a jam-packed, action-filled weekend!

The PPG Street Machine of the Year and Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year contests always take center stage in Columbus and brought out some serious contenders, with Top Fives in both categories that would have been worthy winners. When the envelopes were unsealed during Saturday afternoon’s special awards program, Phil and Deb Becker’s ’32 Ford Vicky – built by Dave Lane at Fast Lane Rod Shop – went home with the Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title. The PPG Street Machine of the Year title went to Jimmy Shaw’s incredible twin-turbo Maverick, built by Jesse Greening, which hit 200mph earlier this year in the Arkansas Mile land speed trials. Watch for features on both of these incredible Fords at in the next couple of days.

On top of these two prestigious honors, we had two sets of Builder’s Choice Top 10 picks – one from the Roadster Shop, and one from Detroit Speed. Don’t worry – there was plenty of worthy iron to fill up 20 slots. There were also dozens of picks and awards selected by the Goodguys staff, plus two PPG Dream Car awards – Diana Clise’s ’36 Ford roadster, and James Steele’s ’64 VW Double Cab – plus a Fuel Curve Pick with Zach Ingram’s ’71 Camaro. We also selected finalists for three other Top 12 Awards: Tim Schell’s ’69 COPO Camaro for Muscle Car of the Year; Rick Cox’s ’63 Corvette for Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year; and Ron Palermo’s ’65 C10 for LMC Truck of the Year Late.

The AutoCross track saw competition for awards based on performance, as the best corner-carving racers in the country weaved through the cones searching for the fastest line around the course. Our annual Sponsor Shootout offered some fun on Friday afternoon, with Ohio-based Danny Popp winning for sponsor Turn One. Danny is no stranger to the winner’s circle in Columbus and doubled up on Saturday, winning both the PRO-X Class and the PRO-X/PRO portion of the Shootout. Dan Ballard took all the marbles in the Street Machine, Truck, and Hot Rod Shootout – in addition to the Street Machine class win – while other class wins went to Brian Finch (PRO), Brad Bedsaul (Truck), and Pat McGinnis (Hot Rod). Danny Popp made it three for three on Sunday, winning the All-American Sunday Shootout behind the wheel of a late-model Corvette.

The biggest winner of the weekend, though, was Gene Moberly, whose key cranked over the Coyote engine in our ’69 GRT-100 Grand Prize Giveaway truck! Gene, who qualified as a finalist at our 2018 Kentucky Nationals, drew key number 13 out of the hat on Sunday afternoon, which proved to be the lucky digits for the truck. Sunday also saw the unveiling of our 2019/2020 Grand Prize Giveaway vehicle – a sleek silver ’67 Nova built by Designer Street Rods! Watch for more on this great ride in the coming weeks!

Over in Kasich Hall, we celebrated the Summer of ’69 with a stellar lineup of ’69 Camaros – more than 120 inside the building, and even more outside! We even had former employees of Chevrolet’s Norwood, Ohio, assembly plant on hand to share stories of building original Camaros back in the day, plus a huge party with cake, pomp and circumstance, and a proclamation from the Columbus Mayor’s office.

There was action and activity from one side of the Ohio Expo Center to the other all weekend long, from the swap meet and car corral in one corner, to an incredible vendor midway and indoor displays (including a New Product competition), to a wild and smoky burnout contest. Add in a few Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions, a Goodgals Gallery, kids activities, live music, great food, and nightly parties at the host hotels, and you had a Goodguys weekend that definitely lived up to its billing as the Big One.

Photos by Damon Lee, Steven Bunker, John Jackson, Terry Lysak, and Zach Miller

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.