Just imagine you’re sitting at the most famous intersection in motorsports — 16th and Georgetown in Indianapolis — with the top down on your classic early-model Ford roadster as the gleaming sun rises ahead. As the light turns from red to green, you motor ahead and take a left turn down into the tunnel under the grandstands between turns one and two. The period of darkness and the echoing rumble from the flathead V-8 gives way once again to the sunlight and the staggering view of the immense, hallowed grounds of the most storied piece of property in all of auto racing.
The hustle and bustle of plastic economy cars and minivans on the outside has become a virtual city of rods and customs, thousands of them, lining every nook and cranny of the Speedway infield. Goodguys officials wave you through the famed Gasoline Alley, where Unser, Andretti, Foyt, and a century of legends have rolled their iconic machines through on their way to racing immortality.
There, right where Formula One racers Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, and others once pitted, you find an empty spot to set up camp, within sight of the legendary yard of bricks that marks the start/finish line. Later, as the sun works its way westward, you fire up your prized ride and roll out onto pit road, where you’re joined by hundreds of fellow rodders on the 2.5-mile speedway. For those fleeting moments, you’re given the opportunity to cruise around the real estate reserved only for the greatest racers in the world.
This was the experience enjoyed by more then 2,500 rodding enthusiasts during the 2nd WIX Filters Goodguys Speedway Nationals as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway played host to the finest pre-’72 street rods, muscle cars, and customs in the world. Classic car enthusiasts traveled from near and far, with participants from California, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and nearly every state in the union to be a part of this special event at a location unlike any other.
This marked the second time the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has visited the famed Speedway after moving from the nearby Lucas Oil Speedway just down the road in Clermont. Not only was the setting perfect, but the weatherman pulled out all the stops to deliver a spectacular weekend for browsing the impressive collection of cars, perusing the manufacturers midway, scouring for parts at the swap meet, and checking out the tires-squeeling affair on the Autocross course.
There really was something for everyone at the Speedway Nationals, whether you preferred the show or the go – if you weren’t at Indy, you missed out. Fortunately, if you were unable to attend, the Rod Authority staff spent three days covering enough miles to wear out a pair of shoes to bring you every “happening” at Indy and a look at some of the very best machinery on the property.
Goodguys Speedway Nationals By The Numbers:
- More than 2,000 participants made laps around the Speedway
- Over 100 cars competed in the Autocross
- 2,500 cars checked in during the weekend
- Total weekend attendance topped 40,000
Sure, there’s eBay, Craigslist, and classifieds out there to find some of the rare or much-needed parts that your wife wishes you wouldn’t drag home for that street rod project you’re working on, but what better way to browse someone else’s excess (and perhaps even find a diamond in the rough) than to visit the Swap Meet at a Goodguys event?
Like at every Goodguys Rod & Custom Association event, vendors and dealers roll out their stock of parts (some in pristine condition and some in need of a little TLC) for the flocks of spectators to browse. As fellow rodding enthusiasts, making a sale of a more than half-century old part is about helping the next guy obtain that rare part he’s been looking for to help complete his project.
From engines and engine components, to trim pieces, interior pieces, wheels, and hood ornaments, you’ll find a little bit of everything in the swap meet area. And if you’re in the market for a complete car, you’ll find everything from ready-to-show rides to rusted-out barn finds in need of a lot of love from a new owner.
While the Swap Meet is the perfect place to find those original manufacturer parts that are no longer made, the vendor midway at the Speedway Nationals was a virtual who’s-who in the street rodding and muscle car industry providing brand new, late model components for your vehicle. Of course, it wasn’t all just car parts, as you could also find all sorts of automotive-themed apparel, home decor, and other essential items for every sort of car lover.
Show & Shine
The heart and soul of any Goodguys event is the Show & Shine, and with 2,500 rods and customs swarming the IMS infield, there was definitely something to whet the appetite of every gearhead. Trucks and cars, roadsters and muscle cars, Chevrolet, Ford, and Chryslers — the Speedway Nationals had it all, in every color and custom touch imaginable.
On Saturday, the biggest day of the event, the Goodguys staff reserved parts of the garage area and pit road for vehicles falling under certain criteria–Homebuilt Heaven for the do-it-yourselfer, ‘Ya Gotta’ Drive ‘Em for those cars that get plenty of love, to Mighty Muscle for ’55-72 machines, the Trick Truck Corral, Duece Doins, the Goodguys Builder’s Choice, and the YoungGuys.
Whether you trailered in a Best of Show contender or you were out showing your road warrior, the Show & Shine is an opportunity to wax up your wheels, kick back and chat with other like-minded rodders, or strap on your walking shoes and check out all that the rodding hobby has to offer. You really never know what you’ll come across, you might just find that needed inspiration for your next big project.
The Rodfather/Goodguys Road Tour
Another intriguing part of this year’s Speedway Nationals displayed prominently near the Speedway Pagoda was the Rodfather/Goodguys Road Tour, featuring well over 100 participants from the West coast who spent 18 days on the road as a traveling convoy to be a part of this year’s WIX Filters Speedway Nationals.
The Road Tour group, led by legendary rodder Andy Brizio and Goodguys founder Gary Meadors, departed the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and navigated nearly 2,000 miles to Indianapolis, making 3-4 stops each day as some well known auto industry playgrounds. According to some of the participants, the group covered several hundred miles each day and largely traveled as one on their trek across the country.
Brizio, known as the “Rodfather,” first ventured across the country in 1970 in his award-winning ’23 Ford T Bucket, and has made similar trips on some two dozen occasions. At 80 years of age, Brizio called this his final hurrah and assembled one final Road Tour. Within a day of its announcement, more than one hundred rodders had already committed to the trip.
The collection of Rodfather entries ran the gamut, containing some of the most immaculate machines to take part in the event. Of course, you had to excuse the bugs in the grille, as these spirited rodders did what every “car guy” should do — drive the heck out of their pride and joy.
One of the most entertaining parts of a Goodguys Rod & Custom show is the Autocross, where everyone from seasoned professionals driving purpose-built cars with late model suspensions to the rookie driver out for a Sunday drive, take part in the cone-scorching festivities.
The Autocross course, set up in a parking lot just south of the garage areas and not far from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, featured an interesting and exciting mix of corners and straights, with two tight, challenging corners that put the braking abilities to the test combined with a pair of wide, sweeping corners and two straightaways perfect for planting the metal to the floor.
All weekend long, competitors flogged their rides around the course to the delight of hundreds of interested spectators, applying every little trick in their playbook to trim hundredths and thousandths of a second off their personal best times. Of course, this gets pretty entertaining as the weekend wears on and the drivers get a little more brave, when the cones start to take a pounding as the drivers push ever-harder to reach the top of the leaderboard.
Although a healthy competition in the top-level PRO Class, the Autocross also features classes for racers who simply want to get out there to test their own driving abilities and see how hard they can push their cars and trucks. The best part is, as long as there’s still fuel in the tank and rubber to ride on, you can take as many timed laps around the course as you wish to better your time. It’s good, clean fun, and the only real risk you take is the embarrassment of dragging a few cones around underneath your car.
|PRO||Kyle Tucker-Detroit Speed||1969||Chevy||Camaro||36.14||11|
|PRO||Kyle Tucker-Detroit Speed||1966||Ford||Mustang||36.777|
|PRO||Phil Gerber-Roadster Shop||1970||Chevy||C-10||37.5||7|
|PRO||Stacy Tucker-Detroit Speed||1969||Chevy||Camaro||37.752||6|
|PRO||Mathew Butts-Detroit Speed||1966||Ford||Mustang||37.848||4|
Street Machine Class
|SM||Tom Farrington||1964||Chevy||Chevelle W||39.364|
|SM||Debbie Farrington||1964||Chevy||Chevelle W||41.115|
|TRK||Diz Demes||1972||Chevy||El Camino||39.855|
Under The Hood
In the Show and Shine, it’s as much about what’s under the hood as it’s about what’s on the outside. Of course, on a lot of the old roadsters, the engine is on the outside, and that means an even better look at the masterpieces that power these beautiful cars. Not to mention, it makes for some stellar photo-ops. But whether it was nestled between the fenders or three sheets to the wind out in the open, there were some beautifully crafted, stunning works of art on display in Indianapolis this year.
On Sunday afternoon, at approximately 2:22 (hey, at least it’s not easy to forget), after the Goodguys judges had painstakingly poured over the 2,500 entries that arrived for the Speedway Nationals all weekend long, awards in some 94 different categories were handed out to the very worthy winners.
Whether you brought a car or a truck, a rat rod or a resto-mod, a hard top or a convertible, original or custom, there was an award for it, meaning anyone that pours their heart and soul into their project has the chance to walk away with some hardware to honor their efforts. But win or lose, it’s all about keeping the hot rodding hobby alive and enjoying a weekend at one of the finest venues in the world with like-minded gearheads.
|Tanks Hot Rod of the Year – Winner||Tom||Gloy||Incline Village, NV||32 Ford|
|Tanks Hot Rod of the Year – Finalist||Keith||Hill||Bixby, OK||34 Ford|
|Tanks Hot Rod of the Year – Finalist||Tim||Kirby||Fountain Hills, AZ||33 Ford|
|Tanks Hot Rod of the Year – Finalist||Henry||Richards||Mansfield, OH||32 Ford|
|Tanks Hot Rod of the Year – Finalist||Larry||Christiansen||Arvada, CO||32 Ford|
|Hemmings Muscle Car of the Year Finalist||Syd||Swennes||Lafayette, CO||68 Camaro|
|Intro Custom Wheels Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist||Joe||Lewis||Crestwood, KY||56 Chevy|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Joe||Kamp||East Peoria, IL||32 Ford|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Jeff||Matauch||New Hudson, MI||54 Chevy|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Brad||Jarvis||Fairmont, IL||69 Camaro|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Danny & Beth||Johnson||Hurley, MS||62 Chevy|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Dominick||Farbo||Williamsville, KY||41 Willys|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Dennis||Quin||Washington, IL||39 Chevy|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Jack||Sorich||Louisville, KY||56 Ford F150|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Chad||Folkema||Door, MI||30 Ford|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Joe||Weibler||West Chicago, IL||57 Chevy|
|Rad Rides by Troy Builder’s Choice Awards||Brad||Kline||White, GA||50 Ford|
We’ll see you next year! Until then, feel free to bookmark this beautiful GALLERY and check back often for inspiration: