The 31st running of the Pacific Northwest Nationals presented by Griot’s Garage came to an end Sunday afternoon after over 72-hours of nonstop showing, cruisin’, and drag racing fun!
The weekend kicked off mid-week when eager rodders started rolling into Puyallup on Wednesday before taking over the town on Thursday. Well over 100 hot rods, muscle cars, customs and pickups trekked around town on Thursday’s poker run, which was well organized by our friends with the King’s Men Car Club of Tacoma.
The final stop on the Poker Run took us to the Griot’s Garage flagship retail store in the heart of Tacoma, which morphed into an exciting and well-attended first-time Kickoff Party for this event. We think we found a new Thursday night tradition here in the Northwest!
The Washington State Fairgrounds gates opened early Friday morning and put the event in high gear, quickly – more than 3,000 machines flooded the grounds, making parking a premium early in the day. Mother Nature was on our side all weekend with warm temperatures pushing 90 without a cloud in sight.
Friday night we rolled over to Pacific Raceways for our Friday Night Vintage Drags which was headlined by eight nitro-burning Funny Cars. These classic floppers were posting 5-second, 250mph runs on the scoreboards like it was nothing. The Funny Car Chicago-style race format put Bucky Austin’s Bardahl-backed ’69 Camaro with Bobby Cottrell behind the butterfly steering wheel against veteran drag racer Gary Densham in his “Teachers Pet” ’69 Camaro in the final round. Bragging rights would stay in the Pacific Northwest as Cottrell ran low elapsed time of the night in that final round posting a 5.703 ET at 250.37mph to claim the win.
Other big winners of the night included Greg Kent (’32 Pickup / Hot Rod 1), Steve Siefert (’67 Buick / Hot Rod 2), Makayla Quam (’67 Valiant / Street Machine 1), Gordon Rust (’69 Chevelle / Street Machine 2) and Dave Wakefield (’71 Chevelle / Comp Eliminator).
Saturday was a busy day back at the fairgrounds as the indoor car show was bustling with over 100 cars on display inside the Showplex, not to mention industry-leading manufacturers, a rockin’ pinstripers’ Brush Bash, and a fun kids zone with games, the model car show and Revell’s model car Make & Take program. The Nitro Thunderfest fired off two more times on Saturday to a packed crowd and the cruise line was moving all day and well into the night. Live music was blasting throughout the grounds, with the M80s and Blues Power Revue keeping the vibe jammin’ until the sun went down.
Art and Craig Morrison selected their Top 10 Builder’s Choice picks of the weekend, spreading the love to all genres of vehicles, while Bob Leenstra nabbed the MSD Muscle Car of the Year Finalist pick with his ’70 Ford Torino GT. Robert Torppa’s ’68 Firebird caught the eye of the folks at PPG as it was awarded their Dream Car pick and Neil Siermechesky’s bare steel ’31 Model A Roadster driven down from Canada was shot for the FuelCurve.com Feature Award.
Puyallup and the Pacific Northwest Nationals is an event we look forward to year after year. It happens to be the second-longest-running Goodguys event on our schedule, so it holds a special place in our hearts. The grounds, the people and the cars make this event unlike any other – the positive, happy vibe here is unbeatable and the all-day cruising well into the night is a highlight! One thing is for sure, these Northwest hot rodders know how to Hot Rod!