Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 34th Griot’s Garage Pacific Northwest Nationals

Party on, Puyallup! It was high time for a summer hot rod celebration in Washington and Goodguys brought the fuel-injected, four-wheeled Good Times to the state for the 34th Griot’s Garage Pacific Northwest Nationals! There were big smiles in SillyVille as three-days of nonstop cruisin’, showin’, shinin’, and hot rod happenings came to the Washington Fair Events Center.

The Pacific Northwest Nationals has always been one of the most laid-back, celebratory events on the Goodguys calendar and was back in peak form this year. The Canadian border was open once again, the weather was nearly perfect, and rodders from throughout the region and across the country pointed their rods, customs, classics, trucks, and cruisers toward Puyallup to celebrate one of the most storied events in the world of Goodguys.

Several dozen rodders got a head start on the party by cruising up the coast for a week on the Goodguys Hall of Fame Road Tour. The caravan wound its way from Santa Rosa, California up along the Pacific Ocean into Oregon before venturing inland for a couple of days and weaving its way back to Puyallup. We took in cool shops, fun stops, and fantastic collections along the way, making it a road trip to remember. Watch for a more in-depth recap soon.

We cruised into Friday morning nice and easy, with hot rods, customs, muscle cars, classics, and more slowly filling the Washington Fair Events Center grounds. There were countless cars and lots of smiles as good friends and great rides came together again. The action kept picking up through the afternoon as many participants headed for Pacific Raceways for the Friday Night Drags. From muscle cars and street machines, to hot rods and Nitro Funny Cars, it was a tire-smokin’, hard-launchin’, gear-shiftin’ night at the races that got the crowd amped up for the rest of the weekend!

Back in Puyallup on Saturday, Goodguys was happy to have Art Morrison and the team from Art Morrison Enterprises on hand to select this year’s Pacific Northwest Nationals Builder’s Choice Top Ten. The Morrison name has a long history in rodding and racing and everyone in the industry was happy to see Art back out and among the crowd. The Top Ten roster reinforced the quality, detail, and clean design Art recognizes after a lifetime in the aftermarket automotive realm.

The Goodguys team got in on the awards action, too. Beyond the dozens of picks and awards selected by the awards team, we had several standout selections. Bob Leenstra’s ultra-rare ’71 ‘Cuda was chosen as the Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year finalist, while Russ Moen’s ’66 Chevy C10 got the Fuel Curve Pick and Don Richardson’s freshly finished ’32 Ford roadster earned the Goodguys Feature Pick. Richardson doubled up with the Chevrolet Performance GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year finalist spot for his roadster built at Richardson’s Custom Auto Body. The GM Iron Builder of the Year honor was earned by young up-and-comer Josh Sanders, whose Sanders Street Rods shop built Mike Chaufer’s standout ’59 Corvette.

Of course, no Puyallup party is complete without a full schedule of Goodguys hot rod happenings, and we had plenty of those on tap. There was live music entertainment, great fair food, multiple Nitro Thunderfest exhibitions, a fantastic Burnout Competition, the traditional Pinstripers’ Brush Bash, scores of vendors, an active swap meet, a huge model car show, kids activities, and much, much more to enjoy.

And the cruising. So much cruising! Fantastic cruise lanes kept the engines running and tires turning all three days and well into the evening Friday and Saturday. After 34 years, we’ve learned that Pacific Northwest Nationals participants love to keep the cruising action going well into the night! And who can blame them? When the Goodguys Good Times are this fun, it’s only natural to keep them going as late and as long as possible! We can’t wait to come back again in 2023 for what is sure to be an even bigger party to celebrate 35 years of hot rod fun in Washington!

Photos by Damon Lee, Todd Ryden & 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.