We had our cake and ate it too last weekend at Westworld in Scottsdale! Perfect warm weather with temps in the upper 80s, beautiful rods, customs, trucks and muscle cars, a bustling midway and a stacked swap meet provided the perfect season starter as the 7th Spring Nationals delivered the good times!
Throw in the furious AutoCross on the west side pavement and it made for a complete weekend experience. From Thursday’s kickoff cruise to Sunday’s awards ceremony, the pace was electric and charged with energy.
With both the polo field and upper paddocks filled with over 2,200 show cars, the show & shine action was nonstop. Serious special features added multiple layers to the Spring Nationals experience. Here’s some of what was going down at Westworld. There was a strong Nitro Thunderfest headlined by Jerry “The King” Ruth that also featured the original Mopar “Whine Maker” funny car and other nitro burning machines.
The Ridetech guys did a live install of their “Street Grip” suspension Friday – first running the car on stock suspension, doing the install all day Friday then re-AutoCrossing it Saturday. The result? How about a 7-second lap time differential! Also on track, the Austin Hatcher Foundation returned to offer fundraising ride-alongs to raise much needed funds for the fight against pediatric cancer. We love their cause and thank all those who participated!
Other activities included live music (for the first time ever at Westworld) and our first on-site video tribute to our late founder Gary Meadors was held inside the Montara building overlooking the show field. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to pay their respects!
Race wise, the AutoCross delivered with three big days of hi-winding action. Winners at the season opener included Scott Fraser (Pro and Duel transfer winner with a 106.001 lap), Adam Watkins in Street Machine with an 111.406, Speedtech Performance in the truck class with an 112.244, Ken Burk in Hot Rod with a 136.390 and Marshall Machado in All American Sunday with an 113.578.
Another fun highlight was being able to honor the Tucson Street Rod Association as the event’s featured car club. The TSRA was formed 44 years ago by a small group of dedicated car enthusiasts who hoped to encourage a local interest in street rods (1948 and older). Not only did they succeed, they have stood the test of time, sharing their rods and holding events since the early ‘70s! Over two dozen members brought out their rods and joined in on the fun. Our host club, Over the Hill Gang-Phoenix Chapter did their usual outstanding job of helping out at the event gates, special areas and planning Thursday’s hot rod tour!
The weekend was also a showcase for our first look at fresh builds, many of which were featured in Sunday’s winner’s circle! Tom Karp’s ’61 Buick grabbed the season’s first finalist award for Custom Rod of the Year, Utah’s Alan Miller in his ’70 Chevelle was the season’s first Muscle Machine of the Year finalist and Tom Anderson’s fresh ’56 Ford from Hot Rods & Hobbies grabbed the season’s first Truck of the Year-Late finalist. Mike and Randy Way selected some outstanding Builder’s Choice awards (including James Hetfield’s Aquarius and Wes Rydell’s ’40 Olds). Ontario, Canada’s Donnie and Brenda Hayes won Long Distance with their 1939 Canadian Ford. Of course the winner’s circle was filled with over 80 beauties!
Thanks to all who came, partied and partook in the fabulous season-opening festivities! We’ve refueled the show rig and are headed east to Ft. Worth for this weekend’s 6th Spring Lone Star Nationals at Texas Motor Speedway! See you there?
Click here for the 6th Spring Nationals award winners
Click here for 6th Spring Nationals AutoCross results
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