Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 25th Summit Racing Nationals Presented by PPG

Goodguys celebrated a quarter century of supersized Good Times this weekend in Columbus as the 25th Summit Racing Nationals Presented by PPG took over the Ohio Expo Center! Just think about that for a minute – 25 years of the coolest cars and trucks, the best enthusiasts in the hobby, and the fun times that can only come when Goodguys brings them all together.

We call this The Big One for a reason, as the overall size, scope, and stature of this event makes it one of the largest hot rod parties anywhere. We’re talking thousands of rods, customs, muscle cars, classics, trucks, and more showing off and cruising throughout the grounds all weekend long. It’s hard to beat the variety and volume of incredible iron you see in Columbus!

As part of Goodguys’ 40th anniversary season, we hosted a spectacular special display inside Kasich Hall showcasing more than 50 Goodguys Top 12 Of the Year winners. It was a room full of game-changing, trendsetting cars and trucks that help chronicle the past two decades of hot rodding styles. And it was amazing to see how great all these cars and trucks still look today.

We weren’t just looking back this weekend, though. We also celebrated the best of this year’s fresh builds with our PPG Street Machine of the Year and Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year competitions. These two coveted Top 12 Awards always attract the nation’s most elite builders and shops and the coolest new rides. Both were hard-fought categories, with more than 20 street machines and more than a dozen street rods. During a special Saturday evening awards ceremony, Jon Hall’s ’27 T roadster, built by Greening Auto Company, was crowned the Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year, while Danny Shaffer’s ’67 Mustang, built by Ironworks Speed & Custom, took home the PPG Street Machine of the Year title.

Beyond those elite honors, there were also two sets of Builder’s Choice Top 10 awards selected in Columbus. The first was chosen by our friends at Roadster Shop, who have the honor of making picks here each year.

And we returned to tradition in 2023 by having a second set of Builder’s Choice Top 10s chosen by our 2022 Goodguys Trendsetter, Will Posey of Big Oak Garage.

The winning extended to dozens of other awards and picks made throughout the weekend. Among those were finalists for several regional Top 12 awards. This included John and Jennifer Fairleigh’s ’69 COPO Camaro as the Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year finalist; Cody Walls’ ’49 Buick as the Fuel Curve Custom of the Year finalist; and Dave Gonzales’s ’66 Chevy C10 as the Dakota Digital Truck of the Year Late finalist. Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop earned the Chevrolet Performance GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year finalist spot for their freshly debuted ’32 Ford coupe, and ZRodz & Customs claimed the Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year finalist nod for Zach Ingram’s ’71 Camaro. The Goodguys Feature Pick went to a restored historic custom car – Jim Bobowski’s chopped, sectioned, and channeled ’36 Ford coupe, which was originally built by Jimmy Summers in 1940!

In addition to fierce competition for car show awards, the Summit Racing Nationals always sees some of the most intense action of the Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series. This year was no exception, as dozens of racers took to the track chasing class victories and a chance to race in Saturday’s rain-delayed Forgeline Buckeye Shootout. There were double-up class-and-shootout victories almost across the board, except in the Speedtech Performance PRO-X class where Jared Leisinger claimed the class win, but bother Josh won the shootout victory. In the rest of the classes it was all double-ups as Chris Smith claimed the Summit Racing PRO class in his ’70 Camaro, Chris Mulberry winning the Forgeline Street Machine class in his ’73 Corvette, Ryan Mathews claiming the Sports Car class in his ’94 Corvette, and Rob MacGregor topping the No Limit Engineering Truck class in Bill Holt’s ’86 Chevy pickup. Beth Conaway won the FiTech Challenger class racing a ’87 Corvette, and the All American Sunday class and shootout were won by Mark Golovin in his 2001 Camaro.

Powerful machines of a different sort prowled the grounds all weekend as the Pro Street Roll Out sponsored by Lokar attracted dozens of straight-line street machines with massive rear tires, skinny fronts, blowers, wheelie bars, and all the other accoutrements of the classic Pro Street era. It was a ground-pounding good time!

In a weekend full of highlights, two more came in the form of Goodguys Grand Prize Giveaway vehicles. First, on Saturday evening, our friends at Streamline Custom Designs unveiled the 2023/2024 giveaway car – an outstanding Deuce five-window coupe built using top shelf components from throughout the hot rod industry. Then, on Sunday afternoon, we finally gave away the Roadster Shop-built ’88 Chevy pickup that’s been cruising events and impressing crowds for the past year. The winner – Dennis Whinnery – was beyond thrilled and shared the excitement with his wife, Ashley, and their two boys. Dennis plans to drive the truck back home to Texas this week.

Yes, it was a weekend full of action and activity. Each day included a full schedule of fun happenings, from the multiple Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions, to a fantastic Burnout Competition on Saturday, a massive swap meet all weekend, live music, Saturday Specialty Parking Areas, an Indoor Car Show, hundreds of vendors to shop and visit with, a fantastic New Product Competition display, plus nightly parties at both host hotels and lots of cruising all three days. It’s little wonder why we call this The Big One – it really is a big event! Thanks to all of you who came out to make it one of the biggest and best events yet!

Photos by Damon Lee, Todd Ryden, 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.