Goodguys 19th Annual Southeastern Nationals Invades Charlotte

If you live in the south and are a car enthusiast, chances are you have been to Charlotte Motor Speedway for one of the NASCAR events held there throughout the year. Literally hundred of thousands of fans flock every May and October to the speedway for the Cup events. There’s another event in October that might rival the popularity of the NASCAR events, the annual Goodguys Southeastern Nationals.

You never know what you are going to see when you attend a Goodguys show.

Every October Charlotte Motor Speedway is flooded by some of the most rare rides and powerful hot rods one will ever see. They all converged at the speedway recently for the 19th annual Southeastern Nationals, which was held on the last weekend in October.

The event is coordinated and conducted by Goodguys Rod and Custom Association, the world’s largest rod and custom association with membership exceeding 70,000 world wide.

Founded in 1983, they hold over 20 events across the united states, events are either two, three, or four day extravaganza’s which can attract over 100,000 auto enthusiasts per event.

The three day event at Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off on Friday, although apparently mother nature didn’t get the memo as patrons and visitors to the show were greeted by extremely cold temperatures and wet weather.

It was pretty comical to see people flock to the speedway in their rides only to be so cold that they spent the majority of Friday in their rides as they waited for the temperatures to warm up.

Some of the rides were featuring a little of added flare with the event falling so close to Halloween.

It was pretty comical to see people flock to the speedway in their rides only to be so cold that they spent the majority of Friday in their rides as they waited for the temperatures to warm up.

Despite the cold weather, the truck corral was very popular throughout the weekend.


Being a Goodguy member comes with its advantages:

Goodguys association members receive the monthly Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette, a 250-page full color, super sized and entertaining look at Goodguys events, hot rod heroes, hot rod companies, hot cars and their owners, hot rod classifieds and all the latest news on what did, what is, and what’s gonna happen in the world of hot rodding! Members also receive the full-color “Goodtimes Yearbook” – a full color coffee table book style which chronicles the entire event season with stunning photography. A membership card, plus discounts for event participants are also valuable perks of Goodguys membership.

When you first step on the grounds of Charlotte motor speedway for the Southeastern Nationals, it becomes very clear – This is way more than just a car show. Stepping on the backstretch you see hundreds of unique rides as far as the eye can see, when you glance to your left you see the swap meet that is going on, beyond that the autocross course is lined up with cars turning laps.

Not to mention both garage areas are filled with vendors, and live music that plays throughout the weekend. Three days may not be enough to see everything on hand.

The event featured a busy schedule, but it gave fans in attendance plenty of things to experience while attending the event. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Poker run to NASCAR shops
  • Kick off party at Fatman Fabrication.
  • Goodguys Autocross
  • Richard Petty Driving Experiences – Drive or rent a ride
  • Friday Party at Detroit Speed
  • Nostalgia entertainment – live music from Sound Investment
  • Model making for kids
  • Cruise the Charlotte Motor Speedway in your ride

The goal of the Goodguys events is to provide car owners and enthusiasts alike with family oriented events where the main objective is to have fun with automobiles.

Needless to say there is no better place to be in the south this weekend if you were a car guy or gal. Everywhere you looked you were guaranteed to see something really special.

The southeastern nationals are definitely a family affair. The goal of the Goodguys events is to provide car owners and enthusiasts alike with family oriented events where the main objective is to have fun with automobiles.

The Goodguys events provide enthusiasts with so many different activities, this is especially true at the southeastern nationals. “This year I went all out and came down early for the show,” said winner of the Autocross truck category in his ’72 Chevrolet El Camino, Diz Demes. “I drove my ride from Chicago last year, but this year I came down at the beginning of the week to tour all the NASCAR shops, and really spend a lot of time in this area.”

Over 2,000 Classics Packed Into Charlotte

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. 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 here the story associated with each.

But if you go do some digging within the infield you’ll find some awesome rides that for whatever reason didn’t get the love that we felt they deserved from the judges.

On the weekend the rides that have been chosen by the Goodguys staff line up on the pit road of the speedway for everyone to see. Enthusiasts and car guys like us were able to walk right up, talk with the owner, and get closer to some of these rare rides than we probably will ever be able to again.

Here's a perfect example at the variety of cars we saw at Charlotte: On one side we have a '72 Gremlin, then when we turned around there sat a beautifully restored '59 Corvette

One of the meanest trucks at the southeastern nationals had to be this '59 Studebaker owned by Greg Porter of Greenville, South Carolina.

One thing that really surprised us was just how many of these rides were driven to the event from across the country.

“This is my daily driver, I drive it to and from work almost every day,” said Ken Pennington, owner of a customized ’53 Studebaker. “I’ve had the car for over 30 years, and it actually gets decent gas mileage, so why not?”

We can’t forget the muscle cars either, they were out in full force. Here were some of our favorites from the southeastern nationals:

The '59 Studebaker had received a very beefy 383 blown small block Chevrolet, and some custom features.

One of the things that really surprised us, was just how many people actually drive their immaculate rides to and from the Southeastern Nationals.

The new massive TV screen on the backstretch showcased all the hot rides throughout the weekend.

Brian Clements 1955 Plymouth - Cool Cruiser award winner

Billy Moose's from Troutman, NC, showcased his '62 Chevrolet Bel Air that produced an amazing 1015hp.

This small block Chevrolet was found in Bruce Paul's '68 Camaro SS, that came with a 'customized' license plate.

Fans of first generation Camaros had plenty to look at!

With all of the turbo'ed LS conversions out there, it was refreshing to stumble upon Tim Bowe's '66 Chevelle that featured a twin-turbo small block.

Eddie Lutz'a Twin Turbo '66 Nova stopped us in our tracks.

Some of the custom interiors really showcased the builders skills.

It’s hard to keep track of all the awards given out, so here is a rundown of all the winners:

  • Hemming’s Muscle Car of the Year Finalist: Jerry Dennis – ’62 Impala
  • LMC Truck of the Year Late Finalist: Bob Kongelka ’56 Chevrolet Pickup
  • PPG Dream Car: Tom Coleman ’67 Corvette
  • Street Rod HQ Class Act: Sue Streetman ’54 Pontiac


  • Don Jackson – ’50 Chevrolet Deluxe
  • Frank Tetro ’32 Ford Roadster
  • Rick & Debbie Wedgeworth – ’64 Ford T-Bird
  • Greg Shreffler – ’32 Ford 5 Window
  • Mike Moore ’34 Plymouth
  • Jason Graham ’30 Model A Tudor
  • Keith Colby – ’28 Ford RPU
  • Howard Wagner – ’30 Ford Model A Roadster
  • Ted Debruhl – ’62 Chevrolet Impala
  • Steve Demarco ’30 Ford Sedan


  • Don Jackson – ’50 Chevrolet Deluxe
  • Frank Tetro – ’32 Ford Roadster
  • Tom Coleman – ’67 Chevrolet Corvette
  • Steve Demarco – ’30 Ford Sedan
  • Tommy Carver – ’49 Cadillac Fast Back
  • Dick McCain – ’29 Model A Roadster
  • Chuck Hanna – ’32 Ford
  • Larry & Cheryl Butler – ’33 Ford
  • Rick & Lynn Talbot – ’55 Plymouth Belvedere
  • Dick Bales ’62 Chevrolet Bel Air

Detroit Speed Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist: Jeff Cleary ’67 Chevrolet Corvette

Grundy’s Kuston of the Year Finalist: Harvey Bayshaw – ’56 Chevrolet

Inside the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series garages were rows of vendors with everything you needed to customize your ride.

Vendors and Tradeshow

One of the reasons that people flock to the Goodguys events is patrons are treated to a very large trade show during the three day extravaganza. The trade show not only features cars for sale or trade, but also vendors were on site selling products.

With all the customized and restored cars it’s a great way to meet people who might be going through the exact same project that you are currently working on and can offer some advice.

Parts and even rides could be found all weekend at the tradeshow

Inside the garage you could also lay your eyes upon some rare newer rides, like RCR Street Performance's new RC3 Camaro.

Did We Mention The Autocross Yet?

One of the most popular events all weekend was the Goodguys autocross that was happening in the center of the speedway. Cars would line up and tackle the course in hopes of being the fastest in their class. Trust us when we say, it was so hard to leave the autocross course!

Obviously we weren't the only one that found it hard to leave the autocross course.

Imagine seeing Corvettes, Chevelles, Impalas, Camaros, Mustangs, Roadsters,.. Well we could keep going on but you get the idea.. pushed to the limit, and sometimes beyond it, as you can tell by the pictures.

When it was all said in done on Sunday, over 50 vehicles and drivers were brave enough to tackle the tight course. They divided the competition up into four classes, and then added a fifth on Sunday with the Super Sunday that opened up the competition for any American made vehicle regardless of what year it was.

The most popular class was the street machine division that saw 23 vehicles take times. The fastest lap of the weekend would actually come from this class as Tom Farrington in his ’66 Chevelle would lay down a blistering 39.221.

Tom Ferrington would lay down the quickest lap of the weekend in his '66 Chevelle.

Jeff Cleary would do everything he could to catch Farrington, but would come up .2 short with his 39.475.

Not only would Cleary run the 2nd fastest time in the Street Machine division, he would also become a Detroit Speed Muscle Machine of the Year Finalist.

John Kundrat would bring home the third fastest time with a 39.595, but not before he had a small 'moment' in his '64 Chevrolet Corvette.

Complete Street Machine Results:

  1. Tom Farrington ’66 Chevrolet Chevelle 39.221
  2. Jeff Cleary ’67 Chevrolet Corvette 39.475
  3. John Kundrat ’64 Chevrolet Corvette 39.595
  4. Ken Edwards, Sr. ’66 Ford Mustang 40.517
  5. Bobby Fowler ’69 Chevrolet Camaro 41.248
  6. Brad Granger ’67 Chevrolet Camaro 41.517
  7. David Forry ’68 Chevrolet Camaro 41.908
  8. Kenny Edwards ’68 Chevrolet Camaro 42.021
  9. Steve Rivett ’68 Chevrolet Camaro 42.078
  10. Jim McDamiel ’68 Pontiac Firebird 42.151
  11. Brett Smith 71 ‘Chevrolet Camaro 42.232
  12. Bennie Dennis 67 ‘Chevrolet Camaro 42.703
  13. Marshall Machabo ’67 Chevrolet Corvette 42.9
  14. Matthew Bellamy ’71 Chevrolet Camaro 43.135
  15. Steve Moore 69 ‘Chevrolet Camaro 43.594
  16. Michelle Harvey ’68 Chevrolet Camaro 45.702
  17. Glenn Hughes ’66 Plymouth Belvedere 46.089
  18. Bill Compcticllo ’66 Ford Mustang GT 46.1
  19. Bill Baird ’67 MG-B 46.451
  20. Tim Bowe ’66 Chevrolet Chevelle 47.443
  21. Ray Bleau ’70 Chevrolet Camaro 48.775
  22. Don Figliozzi ’61 Buick Lesabre 49.149
  23. Jack Davis ’69 Chevrolet Chevelle 49.896

Always a fan favorite, the vendors division would feature some of the vendors in attendance most tuned rides. Ultimately it would be Jeff Schwartz of Schwartz Performance would take home top honors in his ’65 Pontiac Tempest with a lap of 39.364.

Jeff Schwartz of Schwartz Performance would take home top honors in his '65 Pontiac Tempest with a lap of 39.364. Even as cold as it was, you could still tell just how hard he was pushing the Tempest by the glowing brake disc.

Schwartz would run a lap almost a second faster than any other vendor.

Jason Brady would come home in 2nd place in his '66 Chevelle.

Complete vendor results:

  1. Jeff Schwartz ’65 Pontiac Tempest 39.364
  2. Jason Brady ’66 Chevrolet Chevelle 39.927
  3. Stacy Tucker ’63 Chevrolet Nova II 40.128
  4. Stacy Tucker ’65 Chevrolet Malibu 40.836
  5. Michael Manning ’69 Chevrolet Camaro 42.1
  6. Gordon McGilton ’67 Chevrolet Nova 42.759
  7. Tim McGilton ’71 Chevrolet Camaro 43.477

The street rod division would see a sweep of the top two spots by married couple Donny and Angela Friese. The Friese's would lay down two laps within a second of each others times in the '32 Ford roadster.

Street Rod Results:

  1. Donny Freise ’32 Ford roadster 39.739
  2. Angela Freise ’32 Ford roadster 40.724
  3. Russell Mc Laren ’32 Ford roadster 43.982
  4. Bob Cross ’32 Ford Coupe 44.52
  5. Mark Hughes ’38 Chevrolet 64.816
  6. Steven Farrar ’46 Willys Jeep

In the truck division, the fastest lap would go to Diz Demes with his pro-touring '72 El Camino.

The tuck division would showcase that they came to compete, laying down laps in the low 40 brackets.

Truck Results:

  1. Diz Demes ’72 Chevrolet El Camino 40.911
  2. Kevin Bapst ’68 Chevrolet C-10 40.958
  3. Dan Burnatte ’72 Chevrolet C-10 42.047
  4. Ben Jorritsma ’60 Chevrolet El Camino 43.388
  5. Allen Vallandingham ’67 Chevrolet C-10 45.143
  6. Jeff Lambe ’70 Chevrolet C-10 48.908

A big surprise on Sunday would be Ryan Mathews and his bone stock ’94 ‘Vette that would run within 4 tenths of a second of the fastest lap by running a 39.669. “It’s pretty incredible when you consider I only spent $9,000 on this car,” Mathews told us. “The only thing I’ve done to it is put a aftermarket tire on it, besides that it is completely stock.”

On Sunday when they opened the competition to any American made vehicle, Ryan Mathews turned some heads by almost laying down the fastest lap of the entire weekend with a bone stock '94 'Vette.

The Super Sunday activities would allow any American made vehicle take the course regardless of the year of the model.

One ride that was catching a lot of attention was Tommy Pike's throwback look on his 2010 Camaro SS.

Super Sunday Results:

  1. Ryan Mathews ’94 Chevrolet Corvette 39.669
  2. Tommy Pike ’10 Chevrolet Camaro 42.737
  3. Mike Ballard ’97 Chevrolet Camaro 42.931
  4. Buddy Bauchanan ’88 Pontiac TA 43.223
  5. Kris Frost ’12 Mustang 43.227
  6. Larry Burnette ’03 Chevrolet Corvette 44.013
  7. Darin Allen ’08 Chevrolet HHR 44.921
  8. Donald Rector ’10 Dodge Challenger 51.046

Unfortunately this has to be merely a taste of what it’s like to attend the Southeastern Nationals. With over 2,000 cars in attendance for the 2011 Goodguys Southeastern nationals, one article just simply doesn’t do it justice. You truly have to be here to experience it for yourself. If you can only make it to Charlotte Motor Speedway once in October, forget the NASCAR race where  you’ll only see 43 cars in one evening, but at Goodguys you’ll be treated to over 2,000! It’s definitely something worth seeing!

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About the author

John Gibson

John has been around dirt track racing his entire life. In fact, he was almost born at Monett Speedway in Monett, Missouri. He has raced everything on dirt and asphalt from karts, to Indy cars, to 650 horsepower stock cars in the USAR Pro Cup where he currently races.
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