Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 25th Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals

Goodguys wrapped up the 2022 season in spectacular style this weekend by cruising into the western sunset with countless friends and several thousand cool cars and trucks at the 25th Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona! If this finale was a referendum on the year, then we can say with certainty that it’s been a great one. We’ve had three fantastic days under blue skies and Arizona sun here at WestWorld and enough Goodguys Good Times to keep us smilin’ through the end of the year!

The fun began early with a laid-back Hot Rod Cruise on Thursday visiting a series of cool stops in the Phoenix area. We drooled over some of the fine rides available at Gateway Classic Cars, checked out the well-equipped shop at the Auto Restoration Club of Sun City West, and then visited the new and larger Martin Auto Museum. It was a lot of fun cruisin’ around the Valley of the Sun!

When the gates opened up Friday morning at WestWorld, the sun was already shining on the Goodguys 2022 Meguiar’s Top 12 Of The Year winners, which were proudly on display outside the vendor building. This winning lineup never disappoints, and it was especially cool to see the creativity, craftsmanship, style, and variety showcased among this year’s winners. They represent the best our hobby has to offer and a snapshot of where trends and build styles are going. Congratulations to all our winners!

Two of our Top 12 winners also earned big honors for the shops that built them. Big Oak Garage won the Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year honor for the ’61 Impala they built for Dan Duffy, and Hollywood Hot Rods claimed the GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year title for the Cadillac-powered ’32 Ford built for Pat Gauntt. Both builders were recognized Saturday afternoon during a special ceremony at the Chevrolet Performance booth.

There were more awards to be won through the weekend, with the Goodguys team scouring the grounds for standout rides in dozens of different categories. Perhaps the most coveted trophies were the Builder’s Choice Top 10 selected by Dean Livermore of Hot Rods by Dean. Dean has a great eye for clean style and attention to detail, and his Top 10 never disappoints. Check ’em out!

We also got a start on the 2023 Top 12 season by selecting Kevin DeWitte’s ’67 Z28 Camaro as a finalist for the Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year, plus finalists for the 2023 Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year. The GM Iron finalist was BBT Fabrications for John Spanos’s ’67 Chevelle, while the GM Retro Iron finalist was WW Speed & Customs for Rick Tuma’s ’65 F100.

Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series racers faced a new format for competition in Scottsdale this year, with five eight-car Duel in the Desert shootouts – one for each competitive class. With some racers already pre-qualified for the shootouts and others looking to race in based on qualifying times, it made for a frenetic Friday and fast Saturday morning of racing to get the shootout ladders established. When the Saturday shootouts were complete, the winners were Jared Leisinger in the Speedtech Performance PRO-X class; Eric Sheely in the Summit Racing PRO class; Ryan Mathews in the Gearstar Sports Car class; Bill Graves Sr. in the Forgeline Street Machine class; and Dustin Reed in the LMC Truck class. Tremec All American Action on Sunday resulted in Gunnison Jones topping the class and winning the shootout. Watch for a detailed AutoCross recap later this week on FuelCurve.com.

The AutoCross action peaked late Saturday afternoon with the all-new King of the Desert Shootout, which was made up if the eight fastest vehicles of the weekend, regardless of class. The ladder included qualifiers from the PRO-X class, the PRO class, the Sports Car class, and the Street Machine class. It came down to a familiar final round – brothers Jared and Josh Leisinger facing off in their Summit Racing-sponsored Corvettes. Josh claimed the win in an especially tight final lap, running a 33.232 to Jared’s 33.284 – a .052-second margin of victory!

All of the awards, accolades, and competition make for an eventful weekend, but there’s more – much more – to the Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals that make it a standout event. We’re talking thousands of incredible cars and trucks spread around the upper display lots and the lower polo field, dozens of vendors both inside and out, plus the largest swap meet of the season that’s always full of cool parts and great deals. The Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions are also some of the biggest and best of the season, and there’s always a good smoke show during the Burnout Competition. Add in some live music, kids’ fun, an expansive model car display, Meguiar’s All American Sunday, lots of cruisin’, plus the general good times of catching up with friends and fellow rodders, and you can see why this is such a special event.

As we watch the 2022 event season fade into the rearview mirror, Goodguys would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined us for this spectacular Southwest sendoff, and a big thumbs up to the participants all season long who made this such a great year. We couldn’t do it without all of you, and we truly appreciate your support. We hope you all enjoy the holidays and the offseason, and we look forward to seeing you for bigger and better Goodguys Good Times in 2023!

Photos by Damon Lee, Steven Bunker, Terry Lysak & John Jackson

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.