By Brenda L. Holmes
The Goodguys 3rd Speedway Nationals arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday. More than 2,500 hot rods, customs, classics, muscle cars, and trucks through 1972 are featured at the event that runs through Sunday.
This is just the third year the event has taken place at IMS but it has a long history in Indy. It was at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg for more than 20 years.
“This is actually the 25th year we’ve had an event in the Indianapolis area,” said Betsy Bennett, who works in media relations for the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.
“This is the 30th anniversary for Goodguys doing productions like this,” she said. “It’s hard to beat coming to Indy. How can you beat coming to the racing capital of the world?"
Bennett is no stranger to Indianapolis, even though she lives in Portland, Oregon.
“I actually grew up in Brownsburg so I always remember this event at Indianapolis Raceway Park, which is Lucas Oil now,” she said. “I moved to Portland in 1991 to work for Goodguys.”
She said bringing the event to Indianapolis is special for her.
“I get to see my family and Indianapolis is a great city,” Bennett said. “The people here are awesome.”
Goodguys was founded by Gary Meadors in 1983. It's the largest hot rodding association with more than 10,000 active members worldwide. The Indianapolis event is always well attended.
“It’s centrally located so we see a lot of people here,” Bennett said. “I believe we have cars registered from 31 different states. Indianapolis really is a destination for anything to do with cars.”
She said her favorite part of a show is talking to the car owners and hearing their stories.
“These guys love their cars,” Bennett said. “A lot of them restore cars like they had when they were kids. Some of them have their original cars. Gary Meadors, the founder of Goodguys, has the ’48 Plymouth that he and his wife had their first date in.”
Brownsburg resident Ron Christ has been attending Goodguys for more than 20 years. This year he's registered with his 1953 Ford F100.
“I restored all of it myself with the exception of the paint,” Christ said.
The truck is painted blue and champaign.
“The champaign color has what they call pearl in it,” he said. “It really sparkles in the sun.”
Christ has lived in Brownsburg for nearly 40 years and before that lived between Avon and Danville.
“I’ve been around Hendricks County a lot of years,” he said. “I really enjoy coming to Goodguys because you have so much fun talking to the people. You get to meet people from all over the Midwest and see their different concepts for their hot rods.”
In the past, he has shown a 1932 Ford, ’28 Ford, ’72 Chevelle, and ’70 Corvette.
“My wife will only let me keep one at a time,” Christ said. “So I have to be willing to part with the one I have before I can start to work on a new one.”
Included in the Goodguys event at IMS is the Show & Shine, which is for 1972 and older vehicles. It's an opportunity to display vehicles for spectators and fellow hot rod enthusiasts.
“We also have the vendors, arts and crafts, model car show, and the Goodguys AutoCross,” Bennett said. “That’s all the noise you're hearing. It gets really loud. The spectators love it.”
The Goodguys AutoCross is the opportunity for registered participants to put their street rod, truck, or street machine through the paces. Participants get a chance to test their driving skills and see how the car handles in a performance situation.
Goodguys continues today and Sunday. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 22. All activities are at IMS.