Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 22nd Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals

Let’s hear it for the West Coast! Nobody does car culture like the gearheads in Southern California, and the hot rodders in this region served up a weekend of fantastic four-wheeled fun during the Goodguys 22nd Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals. We’re talking three days of springtime sun, cool cruisin’, and laid-back vibes on the left coast!

The Goodguys Good Times actually began earlier in the week as a select group of rodders and Goodguys staffers cruised down the coast on Destination Del Mar, a two-day road trip that took in some incredible sights and stops on a casual drive from Pleasanton to Del Mar.

By the time we arrived in SoCal the sun was beginning to emerge and would bless us with much-needed warmth and blue skies for three full days. The Del Mar Fairgrounds basked in the bright light and became the perfect setting for the first Goodguys Top 12 competition of the season – the contest for the 2023 Meguiar’s Street Rod D’Elegance trophy. The race was narrowed to a terrific Top Five on Saturday, with the final victor announced at the Sunday awards ceremony. And the winner is Lori Mabe and her stately ’34 Plymouth PE Deluxe Sedan built by Roseville Rod & Custom! Watch for a full feature on this beauty in the coming days.

There were many more awards to be won throughout the sunny beachside weekend. The Goodguys staff scoured the grounds to select picks and award winners in dozens of different categories. An elite group of those were selected for the Builder’s Choice Top 10, an esteemed lineup that showcased a fine variety of top-quality rides.

We also selected a full slate of finalists for regional Top 12 awards. The well-deserved recipients included: Bob Matranga’s ’70 Chevelle SS for the Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year finalist; Kevin Hart’s ’66 Chevelle for the Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year finalist; George and Angela Eliacostas’ ’60 Buick for the Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist; Johnny Rundle’s ’49 Mercury for the Fuel Curve Custom of the Year finalist; Greg Tidwell’s ’40 Ford pickup for the Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early finalist; and Howard Kendrick’s ’66 Chevy C10 for the Dakota Digital Truck of the Year Late finalist. The Goodguys media team tapped J.F. Launier’s Model A roadster for the Goodguys Feature Pick.

Over on the northwest portion of the event grounds, the awards were hard-won through tire-squealing, cone-dodging racing on the Goodguys CPP AutoCross course. A strong contingent of racers duked it out in class competition and in Saturday’s CPP Duel in Del Mar Shootout. When the dust settled, it was double-up victories across the board in all classes for class wins and the shootouts. Those top winners included Casey Cronin in the Speedtech Performance PRO-X class, Eric Sheely in the Summit Racing PRO class and the Forgeline Street Machine class, Eric’s dad Pat Sheely claiming the No Limit Engineering Truck class wins, Valerie Pichette winning the Sports Car class, and Jonathan Bickford getting the All American wins on Sunday. William Brown took home the FiTech Challenger class win.

Of course, being SoCal, there were plenty of enthusiasts who didn’t worry much about competition in any form – they just wanted to hang out, cruise, soak in some sun, and enjoy the laid-back vibes that come from spending time just a stone’s throw from the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean. This is really a fantastic setting for a car show, with a perfect cruising lane to keep the party moving, and plenty of space for specialty parking areas, including one of our favorites – the Good Wood courtyard full of woodies and wagons.

In fact, you could find interesting attractions no matter where you looked on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. There was an active indoor show, the PPG Lowrider Palace, and a hard-hitting lowrider hopping competition on Saturday afternoon. We also had multiple hits of our Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions, a smokin’ burnout display, and a fantastic variety of vendors both inside and out. A sizeable swap meet lined the north side of the facility, while kids’ activities, live music, and the model car Make ’N Take could be found elsewhere on the grounds. It was enough to keep any enthusiast busy for an extended weekend.

Del Mar marks the finale of our four-week season kickoff, but if these first events are any indication, we’re on pace for a spectacular 2023 event season. Goodguys is ready. Car enthusiasts are excited. And we can’t wait to bring the Good Times to an event near you soon! We’re going to take a breather for a few weeks, but we’ll be back in full force later this month as we head east for the 8th Griot’s Garage North Carolina Nationals in Raleigh. We hope to see you there, or at one of the many other Goodguys events this year!

Photos by Damon Lee, Steven Bunker & Terry Lysak

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.