Goodguys should be in the record books at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. For almost two decades they’ve been coming to the heart of NASCAR country and putting on a highly successful automotive event at this gigantic complex without filling a single seat. That’s because, unlike other events taking place here, most of the action at the Goodguys Southeastern Nats takes place on the infield, where a field of more than 2,500 street rods, customs, classics, trucks, street machines, and muscle cars compete for attention and awards—including the 10 picks for the Builder’s Choice award selected by Kyle and Stacey Tucker of Detroit Speed, and 10 other selections for the 2012 Painless Performance/STREET RODDER Top 100.

The Southeastern Nats is one of Goodguys’ longest running shows on the East Coast. Every time we come here we’re reminded why. There’s a devotion to traditional hot rods and customs in this part of the country, and they build them with good taste and lots of attention to detail.

In addition to the stuff we enjoy at other Goodguys shows—three days of show ’n’ shine, extensive vendor participation, numerous special parking areas, and a great swap meet—the Southeastern Nats offers some unique opportunities for fun—and by that we mean driving. Participants who showed up for Thursday registration got to take part in a poker run making stops at several local rod shops before finishing at an open house at Fatman Fabrications. On Friday, Rent A Ride In A Rocketship provided a chance to take three laps around the Charlotte Motor Speedway as a passenger in a NASCAR trainer car. The Rookie Experience was available for those eager to actually drive a NASCAR race car for eight laps. Saturday and Sunday provided another rare driving experience when the 1-1/2-mile oval track was open to Goodguys participants. All weekend long, the Goodguys Autocross competition at the north paddock attracted participants eager to put their cars or trucks through the cones in a timed competition. We’re always impressed by the way some of the purpose-built cars perform—while secretly enjoying the occasional cone crunchers.

Of course the biggest attraction is the show cars. The variety and quality at the Southeastern Nationals is always high. Take a look at some of our favorites and see if you agree.