Weekend Rewind! Goodguys 11th FiTech Spring Nationals

The Valley of the Sun delivered more than just picture-perfect weather for the 11th running of the FiTech Spring Nationals at WestWorld this weekend, as rodders from all over converged on Scottsdale for some fun and familiar Goodguys Good Times!

Usually held annually in early-March, the Goodguys 11th FiTech Spring Nationals event was bumped to mid-April for 2021 and the date change didn’t seem to affect attendance. We surpassed 2,000 registered participants for the second event in a row this season as hot rods, muscle cars, classic trucks, and customs from all over the West and Southwest made their way to Arizona. It was obvious to see that many California-based rodders made the trek out of state for some showin’ and shinin’.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday with a Hot Rod Cruise around the north Phoenix region organized and hosted by longtime Goodguys Rodders Rep Ernie Oakes. We rolled out at 10am and visited Vintage Iron, Gateway Classic Cars, and Ramjet Speed Shop before ending the run at Baer Brakes. When the gates opened on Friday, we got a taste of what Saturday had in store as the WestWorld facility quickly filled up. Capping the night on Friday was a TGIF and Open House party at American Legends Hot Rods and Muscle Cars to check out some cool in-progress builds going on at their new facility.

Saturday was a boomin’ day with all the regular Goodguys activities taking place, including Goodguys CPP AutoCross racing, a tire-smokin’ burnout contest, three Nitro Thunderfest vintage racecars firing off twice during the day, a massive swap meet, indoor and outdoor industry vendors on display, special parking areas, a special showing of some Old Ford Crew Cab pickups, rockin’ live music, fun activities for the kids, and a lot of catching up with friends old and new.

Goodguys announced a new partnership with Chevrolet Performance this past Thursday and the new “Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year” competition, which made the Builder’s Choice parking area extra special this weekend. These two new awards are focused on the builders in the industry – one to a GM-bodied and powered vehicle, and the other to a non-GM bodied but GM-powered vehicle. The first two recipients of these awards are Weaver Customs with their ’65 GMC pickup and LT4 engine, and Hot Rods by Dean with a ’35 Ford pickup powered by a 350c.i. small-block Chevy engine.

Mike and Randy Way also made their rounds through the Builders Choice area on Saturday selecting their Top 10 picks for the weekend. The following vehicles below caught their attention and earned a bitchin’ custom-machined billet award from All Way’s Hot Rods.

Goodguys also handed out four Of The Year finalist picks for the Billet Specialties Muscle Car of the Year, Griot’s Garage Muscle Machine of the Year, LMC Truck of the Year Late, and Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year. Charley Lillard’s ’70 Mercury Cyclone added to the Muscle Car running, Steve Aguilar’s ‘71 Camaro Z/28 earned the Muscle Machine nod, Andrea Fappini’s ’65 GMC took home the Truck Late pick, and Fred DeFalco’s ’54 Buick mixed things up for the Custom Rod category.

The Goodguys media team had a thing for Pontiacs this weekend, selecting Barry Blomquist’s ‘65 Catalina 2+2 for the Goodguys Feature Pick and Penny and Richard Hammer’s ’65 Acadian for the Fuel Curve Pick. You’ll see more on these two rides when the June issue of the Gazette hits your mailboxes.

AutoCross racers heated up the asphalt all weekend on the CPP AutoCross track with over 70 drivers packing the pits. Claiming class wins were Robby Unser driving the Speedway Motors ’70 Camaro in the PRO-X class, Ryan Mathews behind the wheel of Bob Gawlik’s ’87 Corvette in PRO, Scot Spiewak’s ’87 Corvette in Forgeline Street Machine, Pat Sheely’s ’59 Apache in LMC Truck, and Tom Hull’s ’36 Pontiac in FiTech Challenger.

The Autometer Spring Shootout action mixed things up with some new drivers finding some winner’s hardware. Robby Unser doubled up in the PRO-X class, but from there it was all fresh faces including Eric Sheely in a ’72 Corvette winning the PRO class shootout, Tim Molzen’s ’63 Dart in Street Machine, and Mark Allen’s ’87 GMC Syclone pickup in the combined Truck/Challenger shootout. The Wilwood Disc Brakes All American Sunday class was captured by familiar AutoCross racer Brian Peters driving a 2019 Tesla Model 3 – the first EV vehicle to win in Goodguys AutoCross. Peters topped a number of formidable competitors, including C8 Corvettes and the Team Sheely Ford Focus racers.

We’re putting a cap on the FiTech Spring Nationals and will look forward to capping off the 2021 season when we come back to WestWorld for the 24th Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals presented by Barrett-Jackson on November 19-21. But until then we have a slew of events to hold across the country this season as we continue to bring the Goodguys Good Times to you. That’s it for us in Scottsdale and our Goodguys crew is headed east for North Carolina tomorrow as we prepare to kick off the 6th Griot’s Garage North Carolina Nationals in Raleigh next weekend.

Photos by Steven Bunker, Terry Lysak, John Jackson, and Todd Ryden

Associate Editor

A lifelong car kid, Steven grew up around drag strips – his name may sound familiar because his grandfather is Bob Bunker, a Pro Mod pioneer who piloted the “Folsom Flash” ’55 Chevy from the ’70s through the ’90s. Steven’s father, Bob Bunker Jr., heads up Bunker Motorsports and is a regular in the West Coast racing scene, building chassis and race cars for more than 30 years. With genetics like that, it’s no wonder Steven has a passion for both cars and motorsports. In addition to helping his father and honing his fabrication skills at Bunker Motorsports, Steven began shooting photos at the drag strip and capturing the action with his Canon camera. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When he's 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.