Weekend Rewind! 29th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals presented by BASF

As we wrap up the 29th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals presented by BASF this weekend, we cannot help but reflect on the past two weeks leading up to the event and, more importantly, how well it all came together at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. For starters, a huge thank you goes out to the state of Iowa and the Iowa State Fairgrounds for allowing us to continue this Heartland tradition on Independence Day weekend by gathering cool cars and cool people for some good times.

heartland nationals

Secondly, we are truly thankful for the understanding and commitment to follow our newly implemented Goodguys Cares Health and Safety Guidelines by all of those in attendance. These additional health requirements and social distancing practices were essential for Goodguys to safely move forward with events in the 2020 season.

Just over 3,800 rides rolled in for an action-packed hot rod weekend, which was highlighted by the 2020 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year and PPG Street Machine of the Year titles being awarded during a Saturday evening awards ceremony that concluded with a massive fireworks display to celebrate the 4th of July. Earning those honors were Nathan Powell with his Goolsby Customs-built 1932 Ford Tudor claiming the Street Rod of the Year title and Chris McPhie’s 1969 Camaro built by Dutchboys Hotrods coming out on top for the Street Machine of the Year title. We’ll be diving deeper into both of these rides right here on Fuel Curve this coming Monday and Tuesday, so be sure to check back!

heartland nationals


We also selected a regional finalist for five other Goodguys Top 12 awards during the weekend. Those winners were Bradley Ranweiler’s 1963 Chevy Wagon (Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year), Craig Piggott’s 1976 Ford B-100 (LMC Truck of the Year Late), Gordon Prinster’s 1967 Ford Mustang (Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year), Reggie Kopecky’s 1967 Pontiac GTO (RaceDeck Muscle Car of the Year), and Ron Ernsberger’s 1936 Willys (Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early).

Our Goodguys media team also selected two rides to dive deeper into and feature in an upcoming issue of the Gazette. Those rides were Craig Piggott’s 1983 C20 Coachman getting the Fuel Curve Pick and Todd Markuson’s 1960 Studebaker Lark awarded the Goodguys Feature Pick – two way cool rides that we cant wait to show you more of!

Roger Burman with Lakeside Rods & Rides also combed through the event and selected his Top 10 Builder’s Choice awards of the weekend. In true Burman fashion, his selections ranged far and wide and covered all bases as he compiled his Top 10.

The action on the AutoCross track was non-stop and the packed pits on Friday were a strong indication of how the competition was going to shake up throughout the weekend. Winning their classes were Josh Leisinger (PRO-X), Tyler Gibson (PRO), Bill Graves (Street Machine), Josh Howe (Truck), Stan Martin (Hot Rod), and Josh Jones (All American Sunday & All American Shootout).

We also paired the four quickest cars in each class on elimination ladders for the Duel in Des Moines Shootouts presented by Speedway Motors held Saturday evening. Winning those shootouts were Josh Leisinger (PRO-X), Ron Scott Jr. (PRO), Chris Jacobs (Street Machine), and Josh Howe (Truck/Hot Rod).

The weekend was more than horsepower and hot rods. There was a good showing of industry vendors, a packed Swap Meet, Saturday night Nitro Thunderfest with vintage dragsters spewing flames from their zoomie headers, a Goodgals Gallery featuring homemade artifacts, a Model Car Show, and a sea of Red, White and Blue on display commemorating our American Independence!

Here’s a quick look back of some of the cool sights we saw this weekend at the 29th Heartland Nationals!

Photos by Damon Lee, John Jackson & Terry Lysak

Associate Editor

Steven is the grandson to the legendary Bob Bunker who piloted the green "Folsom Flash" 1955 Chevy from the 70's through the 90's. As a dragstrip kid, Steven started his automotive journalism path by photographing drag racing events and also building drag cars while working in his fathers shop. Since joining our team, Steven has grown leaps and bounds journalistically. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When Steven is not on the road covering events, he spends his downtime out on the water fishing, building his 1962 Chevy Nova, or cruising his 1987 GMC Suburban.

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