Folks in the South sure love their cars and auto racing. An extension of that admiration is on display every fall at the Goodguys Southeastern Nationals, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (formerly Lowe's Motor Speedway) in North Carolina. Held on the infield of the 1.5-mile banked oval (where NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 is held each Memorial Day), hot rodders with vehicles made before 1973 gather to check out each other's cars, see what's new from the various manufacturers, cruise through a well-stocked swap meet, and maybe even get to drive around the famed track in either a race-prepped NASCAR trainer or their own car (albeit at much lower speeds!).

The event usually boasts drag races (held Friday night at the on-site quarter-mile dragstrip) but none were scheduled this year, and although some folks were disappointed, they were able to get their frustrations out at the Street Challenge AutoCross both Friday and Saturday. The Challenge is popular with both rodders and spectators alike, and cars of all descriptions, from Deuce roadsters to '60s Camaros, all compete against the clock, maneuvering their rides at speed around a closed-coned course on pavement. Knock over some cones and points are deducted from your overall time, and the competition (especially between racers in the manufacturer's class) gets pretty fierce.

But bar none the show 'n' shine is by far the most popular facet of the weekend, and that's because hundreds and hundreds of cars from all over the Eastern United States, from Florida to Maryland, attend the three-day gathering.

Finalists for the Goodguys Annual Kustom-, Muscle Machine-, Muscle Car-, and Truck-of-the-Year contests are picked here, too, as are another group of 10 winners of STREET RODDER's annual Top 100 program.

And though the quality of cars at this show often produces qualified contenders for those high-end awards, the "regular" cars (thousands of them) that spread out across the vast grass and parking areas are worthy of second and even third looks.

There were some crazy contraptions (one car in the shape of a 6-foot-wide pumpkin comes to mind), but there was also a healthy dose of traditional hot rods and mild customs. No one type of car stood out this year, though we did notice a fair amount of '50s-era Mercs as well as late-'50s trucks, which means there was a nice mix of cars from across the hot rodding spectrum-just the type of thing you'd hope for in a long weekend hosted by the Goodguys! For more photos from this event, go to