Spring Training – 2019 Spring Nationals Weekend Rewind

March in Scottsdale and Phoenix is known for spring training. Baseball teams from all over the country flock here to get warmed up (literally and figuratively) for the coming season. In much the same way, Goodguys has hosted the Spring Nationals for the past decade as a way to help rodders start off the season in the best way possible – cruisin’, showin’, shinin’, and hanging out with a couple thousand of your best hot rod friends.

The 10th Spring Nationals attracted gearheads from throughout the Southwest and beyond, with plenty of snowbirds and long-distance rodders joining in the fun. They were all rewarded with three days of picture-perfect temperatures and sunny skies at Westworld of Scottsdale, making it an ideal weekend to get that cool car out of its off-season slumber and out on the road again.

We kicked things off with a Hot Rod Cruise to local shops on Thursday, then hit the ground running on Friday, filling the facility with fine rides. Brothers Mike and Randy Way of All Ways Hot Rods spent part of their Saturday selecting a Builder’s Choice Top 10, knocking their picks out of the park, as always. The Goodguys crew was also busy selecting dozens of awards, including regional Top 12 Finalists – Bev and Terry Bryant’s ’60 Starliner for Custom Rod of the Year; Larry Christensen’s ’67 Camaro Pace Car for Muscle Car of the Year; Tony and Casey Arme’s ’68 Mustang for Muscle Machine of the Year; and Joe Yezzi’s ’76 GMC for Truck of the Year Late. The Gazette team even got in on the action, finding Greg and Cecilia Miller’s ’52 Chevy Suburban (with matching Palace camper) for the Fuel Curve Pick, and Doug Haifley’s ’60s-style ’26 T coupe for the Gazette Pick.

The AutoCross course on the west side of the main tent was action-packed all weekend, with dozens of competitors eager to get back into their groove for the season and vying to race their way into the Spring Shootout. There were many familiar names in the PRO and PRO-X shootout top four, including Robby Unser, Josh Leisinger, Tom Kamman, and Bob Gawlik. Kamman and Unser met in the final round, with Unser taking the win in the Team Speedway Camaro with a 40.513 to Kamman’s 41.795. The final four in the Street Machine, Truck, and Hot Rod shootout consisted of Tim Molzen, Mark Allen, Bill Kinsman, and Tom Hall. Molzen and Kinsman met in the final, with Molzen taking the win in his camouflage Dart with a 42.720-second run to Kinsman’s 46.452.

There was plenty of additional action throughout the Westworld grounds, with the Nitro Thunderfest firing off three times throughout the weekend, a smokin’ Burnout Competition on Saturday, live music, kids fun, a huge swap meet, late-model rides on All American Sunday Presented by Spectre Performance, and hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of cool wares. The combination of cool cars, great people, fantastic weather, and fun activities made it a spectacular hot rod weekend – three days of spring gearhead training that has us more than ready for the 2019 Goodguys season!


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.