Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 30th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals Presented by BASF

Thirty years! Goodguys has made a tradition of spending Independence Day weekend with thousands of our hot rod friends at the Iowa State Fairgrounds for three decades now and we celebrated the milestone this year with a blowout weekend at the 30th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals presented by BASF!

This is always one of the biggest Goodguys weekends of the summer and we broke records this year with nearly 5,000 registered vehicles cruising Grand Avenue and showing off all throughout the expansive fairgrounds facility. The weather was sunny and picture perfect all three days and the spectacle of candy paint, chrome, and rumbling V8 power attracted participants from all over the central United States. Add in a little patriotic spirit and our annual Saturday fireworks extravaganza, and it was a star-spangled hot rod weekend for the ages!

True to tradition, we had Roger Burman of Lakeside Rods & Rides on hand to select the Builder’s Choice Top 10. With so many fresh builds and top-quality rides on hand, Burman had his work cut out for him, but persevered with a strong lineup of amazing rides ranging from classic-styled resto rods to pro-touring street machines.

The awards love continued with a full slate of regional Top 12 Of The Year finalist winners. The finalist lineup included Rod Bryant’s ’50 Ford F1 for Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early; Jeff Andrews’ ’86 Chevy C10 for LMC Truck of the Year Late; David Jacobson’s ’68 Camaro for Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year; Dennis Albaugh’s ’69 Yenko Camaro for Billet Specialties Muscle Car of the Year; and Joe Nichols’ ’61 Impala for Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year.

Representatives from Chevrolet Performance were also on hand to help select the GM Iron and GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year finalist honors. The GM Iron went to Rad Rides by Troy for Wes and Vivian Rydell’s incredible ’41 Chevy Fleetline, while the GM Retro Iron honor went to Dave Lane at FastLane Rod Shop for Phil and Debbie Becker’s ’32 Ford Vicky.

The Goodguys media team got in on the action, too, selecting Jon Cumpton’s ’29 Model A roadster as the Goodguys Feature Pick, and Ken Stek’s ’57 Ford Ranch Wagon for the Fuel Curve Pick.

The Goodguys CPP AutoCross track was packed with nearly 100 competitors carving corners and dodging cones, all gunning for the fastest times and a chance to run in Saturday’s Duel in Des Moines Shootout presented by Optima Batteries. Josh Leisinger sealed up the PRO-X class, winning both the class and the shootout in his Summit Racing-sponsored ’64 Corvette, and Ron Scott Jr. pulled the same double-up trick in the PRO class in his ’63 Corvette. Chris Jacobs was another double-up winner, taking the Forgeline Street Machine class and shootout ladder in the CHRA ’87 Corvette, and Preston Folkstad did the same in his ’84 C10 in the LMC Truck class. Kyle Bohling rounded out the Saturday class winners, taking the FiTech Challenger class victory in his ’27 Track T. The Wilwood All American Sunday class was won by Brendan King in his 2015 Z06 Corvette, but Chad Gates came back to win the All-American Sunday Shootout in his 2018 Camaro SS.

There was enough noise and action all weekend long at the Iowa State Fairgrounds to remind you that this was Independence Day weekend, from the rockin’ Summit Racing Nitro Thunderfest, to the smokin’ Burnout Competition, to the Saturday night festivities filled with live music, twilight nitro blasts, and an amazing fireworks display. Add in an expansive swap meet, kids activities, a tremendous turnout of vendors, and of course, thousands of cool rides found around every corner of the grounds, and it was hard to imagine a better place for gearheads the past three days.

Independence Day is a time to reflect on our freedoms and to celebrate friends, family, and the happiness and fun we’re all fortunate to be able to pursue in this country. For hot rodders and car enthusiasts, a weekend of Cool Cars, Cool People, and Good Times is a great way to do this. Thanks to all of you who came out to enjoy this red, white, and vroom holiday weekend with us!

Photos by Damon Lee, John Jackson, Jason Lubken & 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.