If you live in the Southeast and are visiting this website, then chances are you have been to Charlotte Motor Speedway for one of the NASCAR events held there throughout the year. Literally hundreds of thousands of fans flock every May and October to the infamous speedway for the Sprint Cup events. However, there’s another event in October that might rival the popularity of the NASCAR events, the annual Goodguys Southeastern Nationals.
The Southeastern Nats present a great family atmosphere… but try not to touch the rides without asking.
Every October Charlotte Motor Speedway is flooded by some of the most rare rides and powerful hot rods one will ever see. In its 19th year of existence, this year’s Southeastern Nationals might have been one of the best ever. Unlike last year that saw only one day of sunshine, the 2012 event saw warm temperatures and great weather, which translated into a very large car count and massive amounts of fans.
Hurricane Sandy spared the Carolina’s and wow did the fans come out in droves.
Founded in 1983, they hold over 20 events across the United States, that range from two, three, or four day extravaganzas which can attract over 100,000 auto enthusiasts per event.
The NASCAR roots in the south were seen throughout the entire weekend. Case in point, we stumbled upon the official Dodge Charger pace car for the 30th race ever at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The car has 105K original miles, and is owned by Steve Howard.
The 2012 edition of the Southeastern Nationals saw over 2,500 rides, and thousands of fans stream into the speedway.
If you’re a car guy and can’t make friends at a Goodguys event, than you’ve got issues. Everyone is so willing to tell you the story behind their rides and share in the great atmosphere. During Saturday and Sunday the best rides of the week are moved to pit road and fans are given the chance to mingle with the owners of each ride and hear the story associated with each.
But if you go do some digging within the infield you’ll find some awesome rides gathered as well, and while they might not be the top award winners, they are all special in their own right. The show presents a unique opportunity for young and old to see some of the southeast’s most classic and iconic rides.
You never know what you are going to see at the Southeastern Nationals, just like Ryan McKinney’s 1938 Ford.
On Friday you can scowwer the infield looking at all the rides in attendance.
However, over the weekend the award winning rides were moved to pit road for fans to get an up close look at the top rides.
Unique to Charlotte was the giant HD video screen that kept all the patrons up to speed on what was happening during the event.
Every ride had some type of story to tell.
Over 2,500 of the most classic and iconic rides were seen at the speedway, in what may of been the largest Southeastern Nationals yet.
The beauty of the event is the majority of the rides showcased are still being used today by the owners as daily drivers. A perfect example of this was Don Smith’s ’63 Corvette Stingray that he still drives on his 10 minute commute to and from work. The stingray had taken nearly 20 years of work to restore but Don isn’t shy about putting it on the street. “Well I don’t have any mufflers or cats on it so if I had to go much further I probably wouldn’t be driving it everyday,” Don told us, “It really is a very loud car.”
Don ended up winning the Cool Corvette award with his ’63 Stingray.
Some serious muscle was found under the hood of most rides.
No matter where you were at you couldn’t help but see some amazing rides.
Just a couple of the beautiful hotrods that were seen on Sunday on pit road.
Inside the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series garages were rows of vendors with everything you needed to customize your ride.
Closing Out Every Night With A Cruise
One of the advantages of showcasing your ride at the Southeastern Nationals is how the speedway closes out every night at the show. Each night the track crew clears the speedway and allows attendees to take their ride on one of the most famed speedways in all of motorsports – The 1.5 mile Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Every night the line of cars would grow and fans would line the pit road wall to see their favorite rides hit the 26 degree banking. The truth is most rides weren’t breaking 70mph, but we didn’t care. It still put these rides out on the pavement and everyone in attendance would watch in appreciation for what they were seeing. Where else can you see a ’32 Ford get passed by a brand new Camaro?
Plenty of Camaros young and old were seen on the track each night.
Both classic and modern rides scattered the speedway and some got a lot closer to each other than we ever thought we’d see.
Tommy Carver's 1949 Cadillac received the 2013 Grundy Kustom of the year finalist.
George Difebo’s 1940 Ford Pickup featured a supercharged small-block 421 and picked up the Hot Hauler award for the weekend.
2013 Hemmings Muscle Car of the Year Finalist
1970 Chevy Nova
2013 Intro Custom Wheels Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist
The line was never short to get your chance on the autocross. Over 700 laps were turned on the challenging course.
One of the most popular events at any Goodguys show is the autocross. What might seem like just a simple course in the parking lot of the infield, is actually one of the most revealing tests of any vehicle. The track is designed by the folks at Goodguys to be difficult to maneuver through, hit just one cone and suffer the time penalty.
Those orange cones will reveal the weakness of any ride. Whether it was a lack of traction, too much power, too much body roll, or sometimes even lack of practice behind the wheel, the course would find the weakness. This is why it was so difficult to leave the autocross course and cover the rest of the show, as we were on edge watching both novice and pro battle it out. The stands and fence were always lined with spectators and finding a good vantage point wasn’t always easy.
Sometimes it was the passengers having as much fun as the drivers.
Many found out just how difficult it could be to maintain traction on the tricky course.
Pete Fibbons struggling to put the power down coming to the finish of the course.
One big surprise on Sunday was just how fast Ryan Matthew’s bone stock ’94 corvette went around the course. It nearly set the entire weekend’s fastest time.
The weekend’s quickest time would be set by Mark Rife’s 1963 Corvette with a time of 34.179 seconds.
Complete Autocross Results
Pro Class 1. Jet Hot-Tim McGilton 1970 Camaro 35.167 2. Detroit Speed- Ryan Matthews 1963 Chevy II 35.331 3. Detroit Speed- Kyle Tucker 1963 Chevy II 35.796 4. Detroit Speed- Stacy Tucker 1963 Chevy II 36.158 5. Jet Hot- Cheryl Herrick 1969 Camaro 37.269
Street Rod 1. Russell McCaren 1932 Ford 38.887 2. Richard Clayton 1933 Ford 40.434 3. Randy Copeland 1948 Ford 44.351
Truck 1. Jim O’Neal 1970 El Camino 36.323 2. Brad Granger 1965 C-10 36.356 3. Dan Burnett 1972 C-10 37.122 4. Kevin Bapst 1968 C-10 37.165 5. Kevin Haskins 1970 C-10 41.209
Street Machine 1. Mark Rife 1963 Corvette 34.179 2. Billy Utley 1972 Nova 34.302 3. Larry Woo 1968 Camaro 35.052 4. John Kundrat 1964 Corvette 35.310 5. Tom Farrington 1966 Chevelle 35.334
Super Sunday 1. Ryan Mathews 1994 Corvette 34.626 2. Greg Stedman 2010 Challenger 36.537 3. James Smith 2011 Camaro 37.589 4. Garland Farris III 84 Mustang 37.976 5. Dan Burnett 2005 Corvette 38.631
If you missed the Southeastern Nationals this year, don’t fret. In 2013 the event will be celebrating it’s 20th year in existence, which you won’t want to miss!