Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 23rd Southwest Nationals
The car guy cure for 2020’s cabin fever came to WestWorld of Scottsdale this weekend as the Goodguys 23rd Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals presented by Barrett-Jackson brought thousands of enthusiasts out to celebrate the joys of internal combustion, chrome plating, candy paint, and automotive camaraderie.
If any year needed a festive four-wheeled sendoff, 2020 was it. We’ve all felt the effects of this challenging time and the Goodguys community has been anxiously awaiting a chance to get out, cruise, and show off their rides. The Goodguys team spent the months leading up to this event working with WestWorld and the city of Scottsdale to stage a happening where everyone in attendance could have fun in a safe, responsible way. With a cap on attendance numbers and extra Goodguys Cares safety measures in place, we were able to make that happen.
While masks covered the mouths of those gathered at WestWorld, you could see the smile in their eyes and hear happiness in their voices as old friends and new acquaintances greeted each other and shared stories and laughs. Hot rod bonds are strong, and nobody was about to let a few guidelines get in the way of enjoying cars with fellow gearheads.
The Goodguys 2020 Top 7 took center stage on WestWorld’s upper level, lined up on RaceDeck flooring, shined up with goodies from Meguiar’s, and showcased behind Hot Rod Halo stanchions. These seven sweet rides highlighted the best the industry had to offer this year and did not disappoint with their amazing level of craftsmanship, style, and detail.
The one Top 7 winner left to be decided was the FAST AutoCrosser of the year, which is determined by winning Saturday’s 32-car Duel in the Desert. A strong showing of contenders came out to try to qualify for the 32-car field and Scott Fraser had a target on his back as he aimed to win a third year in a row driving Bruce Cambern’s ’66 Cobra. He had stiff competition from other consistent AutoCross champs, including Josh Leisinger, Robby Unser, Eric Sheely, Roger Burman, David Carroll, and Brian Peters, who met up with Scott in the final round driving Carroll’s LS-powered Datsun Z. Both racers saved their best runs for last, with Peters tearing off a 37.324-second lap. Fraser rose to the occasion, though, making a blistering 37.058-second run, the fastest lap of anyone whole weekend, to earn his third AutoCrosser of the Year title in a row.
There were many winners beyond the Top 7 and the AutoCross track. Dean Livermore of Hot Rods by Dean came out to make the Builder’s Choice Top 10 selection. It’s never an easy task, but Dean did a great job as always of selecting a cool contingent of rides representing a wide variety of the rodding spectrum.
The Goodguys awards team gave out plenty of hardware, too, making dozens of picks for weekend awards. A few honorable mentions among those were Warren Alvord’s ’52 Kurtis 500S sports roadster picking up the Goodguys Feature Pick, Warren Walcher’s ’67 Chevy pickup earning the Fuel Curve Pick, and Neil Anderson becoming a finalist for the 2021 RaceDeck Muscle Car of the Year with his 440-powered, Lemon Twist Yellow ’70 Plymouth Road Runner.
A spectacular Friday and Saturday filled with cars and fun spilled right into the Spectre Performance All American Sunday, where we welcomed all years of American-made and American-powered vehicles to give the weekend a fantastic finale. Fine rides of all years could be found throughout the WestWorld grounds, while the AutoCross course was kickin’ with late-model muscle. By early afternoon, Eric Sheely had claimed the All American Shootout win driving his 2017 Ford Focus ST while Scott Spiewak took the All American Sunday class win in his 2007 Corvette.
While the overall scope of the Southwest Nationals was scaled down a little this year, there was still plenty to keep gearheads entertained and engaged, from an expansive swap meet, to the Saturday special parking areas, to the bustling vendor midway and all the AutoCross action. It was a great way to send off this season with some positive vibes, and it gives us plenty of momentum and energy to start planning for America’s Favorite Car Shows once again in 2021!
Photos by Damon Lee, Steven Bunker, John Jackson, and Terry Lysak