Track Ready – A Preview of Goodguys AutoCross for 2020
One of the most-anticipated aspects of hosting live events again this year will be the sights and sounds of Goodguys AutoCross racing! What we have seen transpire on the AutoCross course over the past decade is impressive to say the least. The advancement of the cars and the skill of the drivers has improved exponentially. The increased variety of performance parts available from the aftermarket for classic muscle cars and trucks is a direct correlation to those improvements, as many companies use Goodguys AutoCross tracks as proving grounds for new components.
As with any racing association, parity is key to maintaining fierce competition and Goodguys monitors their AutoCross rules throughout each year to keep the field as fair as possible. In 2019 Goodguys added a PRO-X class to separate the purpose-built AutoCross cars from the higher-end Street Machines running in the PRO class while enforcing tire width and minimum weight restrictions in all classes. There are fewer class rule changes for 2020, though there has been a restructuring for shootout events, points, and qualification for the season-ending Duel in the Desert.
The new shootout format will showcase five shootout ladders, each consisting of four vehicles. Those ladders will be broken down into PRO-X, PRO, Street Machine, a combined Truck & Hot Rod, and All American Sunday. The top four finishers in each class will make up each shootout ladder, the Truck & Hot Rod ladder will be compiled from the two quickest drivers from each of those classes. If a full ladder cannot be filled in any class, eligible cars from other classes will be inserted.
Earning a spot in the AutoCrosser of the Year Duel in the Desert event during the regular season will require drivers to compete in a minimum of five event shootouts with the same car that qualifies for the Duel in the Desert (not including: Sponsor Shootout, Duel in the Desert Shootout, or All-American Sunday).
All Goodguys AutoCross classes will also compete in a points system to determine the 2020 season class champions. Drivers will earn points based on how well they finish in their class at each event. Class points champions will be those with the highest combined points totals from their best five events during the 2020 season, along with any shootout points earned from those five events. At least three of those events must be Goodguys National events. If a points tie occurs, the class winner will be determined by the fastest qualifying time at the Duel in the Desert during the 2020 Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals.
More details on Goodguys AutoCross racing and a complete list of rules for the 2020 season can be found online at Good-Guys.com/AutoCross. As we prepare to kick off the season, though, we thought it would be a great time to take a closer look at each class and some of the contenders we expect to see this year.
The new-for-2019 PRO-X class was a hit last year and will continue to be a highlight in the 2020 season. More than 40 racers competed in the PRO-X class in 2019 but it was the Leisinger family sweeping the top three in the final points standings. Josh Leisinger was crowned the 2019 PRO-X Champion, brother Jared finished second, and their mother Karen rounded out the top three. We expect Scott Fraser to continue to be a big threat in 2020, considering his back-to-back AutoCrosser of the Year titles driving Bruce Cambern’s ’66 AC Cobra. Cousins Robby Unser and Al Unser Jr. driving the Speedway Motors machines are always threats, as well, as is Ryan Mathews, who made it to the final-round matchup with Fraser in the 2019 Duel in the Desert.
We can’t forget the West Coast competitors like Brian Hobaugh (a past AutoCrosser of the Year winner) or Mike Maier, who always goes deep into the shootout rounds. Danny Popp is always a front runner when he shows up, and Texan Mike Dusold has been making big changes to his twin-turbo LS-powered Camaro this offseason. There’s no love lost between these racers when the rubber meets the road and you can bet come Scottsdale in November, they will all be looking to de-crown Fraser in that wicked-fast Cobra.
2020 PRO-X Class Rules
- PRO-X Class vehicles must be 1987-or-older in appearance representing an American-made or American-powered production car
- PRO-X class consists of vehicles weighing less than 3000 pounds (less driver)
- Full tube chassis race cars allowed in this class
- Any front tire size over a 315mm
- Goodguys has the right to move any car to PRO-X as they see fit during the season
We witnessed some standout performances in the PRO class in 2019, starting with PRO Class Champion Corey Williams, followed by second place finisher Ron Scott Jr. These two drivers went head-to-head all season long and competed at the same six events – splitting who finished better than who at three times a piece. Williams’ 2019 championship run was secured by better finishes in the Saturday shootout events.
We’re looking at Williams and Scott to continue their battle in 2020, but with guys like Chris Smith, Jason Brady, Bob Bertelsen, Tom Kamman, David Carroll, Evan Daily, Brian Finch, Nick Relampagos, and more from coast-to-coast to give them a run for their money.
2020 PRO Class Rules
- PRO-Class vehicles must be 1987-or-older in appearance representing an American-made or American-powered production car
- All vehicles will run a minimum weight of 3000 pounds (less driver)
- Front tire sizes from 295mm to 315mm are allowed (Anything over moves to PRO-X)
- AutoCross sponsor cars must be house cars only or owned by a full-time employee of the sponsoring company, unless they exceed the limits of PRO and are moved to PRO-X.
- All PRO cars will be weighed to start the season. Goodguys may adjust the weight as needed for compact cars within this class. Goodguys will spot check weight during the season as needed.
- Goodguys has the right to move any car to PRO as they see fit during the season.
The Street Machine class is widely popular class since it’s the “entry level” class for novices looking to get into Goodguys AutoCross racing. During the course of the 2019 season more than 1,000 drivers entered the Street Machine category. That’s not to say the competition isn’t stiff in this class.
One of the tightest points battles we witnessed in 2019 came halfway through the season when Bill Graves Sr., Tim Molzen, and Chris Jacobs were battling for the top spot. It wasn’t until the Colorado Nationals in September when Graves set his focus on the 2019 Championship and began to extend his lead, winning in Colorado, Texas, and Kentucky before making the coast-to-coast haul from his North Carolina home to Pleasanton, California, to scoop up an additional 7 points and solidify the Street Machine Championship.
We’re not sure if Graves will have that dedication again in 2020, but we are keeping an eye on him to defend his title. We are also focused on Molzen and Jacobs to seek redemption in 2020. Other drivers to look out for are Ken Yeo, JB Boyer, and Dan Ballard who were right there in the final standings as Top 10 finishers in 2019!
2020 Street Machine Class Rules
- All vehicles must be 1950 to 1987 in appearance representing an American-made or American-powered production car
- At Goodguys Get-Together events, cars must be 1950 and newer, American-made, or American-powered
- All vehicles will run a minimum weight of 3200 pounds (less driver)
- Maximum front tire width is 285mm (Anything over moves to PRO if under 315mm or PRO-X if over 315mm)
- Goodguys may adjust the weight as needed for compact cars within this class
- AutoCross sponsor cars will not be able to run in SM, only PRO and PRO-X
Advancements in truck suspension technology has grown leaps and bounds in recent years and it shows when these haulers hit the AutoCross track. In 2020 we are paying close attention to Pat McGinnis as he is the reigning 2019 Truck class Champion driving his Ford Ranchero.
McGinnis had a breakout year in 2019 competing in six events, claiming class wins at three of them, and competing in three shootout events. But guys like Bill Kinsman, Brad Bedsaul, Dustin Reed, and Jeff Dunlap weren’t far behind once the dust had settled.
2020 Truck Class Rules
- Must be 1987-or-older American-made or American-powered at all National events, and all-year trucks American-made or
- American-powered at Pleasanton Get-Together events
- Any vehicle with a bed, panel trucks, deliveries, El Caminos and Rancheros will be in this class
- Minimum vehicle weight is 3500 pounds (less driver) (Anything under moves to PRO at 3200 or PRO-X if lighter)
- Goodguys may adjust the minimum weight as needed for compact trucks within this class
- Maximum front tire size is 305mm (Anything over moves to PRO if under 315mm or PRO-X if over 315mm)
- 1940 and older trucks are not required to run fenders, roof, or hood sides (must have roll bar if no roof)
- Fuel tanks do NOT have to be in stock location, but must be securely mounted
Most pre-’49 hot rods aren’t made for taking corners at speed but a handful do, and they showcase that on the track. Guys like Stan and Morgan Martin in their Model A, Christopher Haigler in his Factory Five roadster, Sam Matchett in his Studebaker sedan, and even Pat McGinnis’ and his Deuce roadster have all proven themselves on the AutoCross track as well as many others. We wouldn’t have a Hot Rod class if guys and gals didn’t want to race their hot rods!
Matchett is the defending 2019 Hot Rod Class Champion, which was his first AutoCross Championship and we’re sure that didn’t sit too well with Morgan Martin, who held the title the prior two seasons. Stan and Morgan Martin will likely be pressing hard in 2020 to get that title back to the great state of Texas.
2020 Hot Rod Class Rules
- All vehicles must be 1949-or-older cars in appearance representing an American-made or American-powered production car
- No trucks, deliveries, or panels allowed in the Hot Rod class
- Maximum front tire width is 275mm (Anything over moves to PRO if under 315mm or PRO-X if over 315mm)
- Highboys and roadsters are not required to run fenders or hood sides, but must run a hood top
- All roadsters must have a roll cage
All American Sunday
One of the biggest attractions to All American Sunday is the AutoCross track. Welcoming all years of American-made or American-powered vehicles, the AutoCross pits on Sunday are packed with the latest muscle cars from the Big Three. Add in LS-swapped imports, Teslas, supercharged Cadillacs, and more, and the action on Sunday is not to be missed!
The Sunday racing is just as close as it is the rest of the weekend and the four-car All American Sunday Shootout always delivers excitement. Guys like Cliff Elliott and Danny Popp found success on Sunday in 2019, with Popp claiming the 2019 All American Sunday Championship by 2 points over Elliott. Rob Machado, Chris Wheelock, Eric Sheeley, Dean Smith, and Mark Golovin were all within 15 points of the championship, proving just how close this title comes down in the end. It seems we have a new All American Sunday Champion each season and we’re excited to see who that is in 2020!
2020 All American Sunday Class Rules
- All American-made or American-powered 1988-and-newer cars and trucks will be in this class and can only run on Sundays at Nationals events
- Tread wear should be production equipped rate or 200 minimum. If less than production equipped or 200 treadwear, you will race in the Fun Run only
- Maximum tire size allowed is the largest production size tire for that model vehicle
- Car safety rules and general Goodguys AutoCross rules will be enforced for this day as well