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Goodguys car show opens Friday at Pleasanton fairgrounds

West Coast Nationals in town through Sunday

The Goodguys will open the 30th West Coast Nationals show Friday for a three-day weekend run at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

One of the longest running events on the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association schedule, the West Coast Nationals features cool cars despite the heat and more than 10,000 people from around the Bay head to the show.

Presented by Flowmaster, the show features more than 3,000 hot rods, street rods, customs, muscle cars and trucks through 1972 from 20 states and a few other countries, including England and Australia.

The fairgrounds features acres of American-made-and-powered cars, some glistening with candy colors, allowing many show-goers to take steps back in time to when they owned and drove some of these classics.

A highlight of the event is the crowning of the Goodguys 2016 Flowmaster "America's Most Beautiful Street Rod." This prestigious award, part of the Top 12 awards for 2016, will be selected Saturday morning in the Builder's Choice area. To be eligible for this award, the vehicle must have been built or restored before 1949 and, most of all, "be beautiful," said Goodguys spokeswoman Betsy Bennett.

For car enthusiasts who need to do some shopping for a project, the fairgrounds' midway features multimillion-dollar custom big-rig tractor trailers filled with high-performance parts and accessories for budding hot rodders and do-it-yourselfers.

There are also three buildings of indoor commercial vendors, offering fans a chance to interact directly with manufacturers. Throw in a giant used car parts swap meet and car corral (a used-car gathering), and Goodguys has created a virtual auto-utopia.

Funny car champion and drag racing legend John Force will make a guest appearance from 10-11:30 a.m. and again from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, talking and signing autographs at the PPG booth. With 143 career wins under his belt, he is the leader and patriarch of John Force Racing. In addition, two of his cars will be on display.

Dave Kindig, a custom car builder from Utah and star of the TV show "Bitchin' Rides", is on-site all weekend to meet and greet fans and sign autographs. From hot rods, such as the show's "Tribute '32 Giveaway Car" to big bodied customs and cruisers, Kindig's vision and design have made him an international star.

The Goodguys show also features an indoor Cushman display, plus tether car racing, model racing cars that run on an internal combustion engine and are tethered to a pole. Unlike R/C cars, the driver has no remote control over speed or steering.

Also, drag-racing enthusiasts young and old can enjoy the "cackle" of the Nitro Thunderfest as it returns to this weekend's show. Watch as four front-motored, nitro-burning, vintage top fuel dragsters and funny cars fire up and roar to life.

Dragsters include the Ewell-Bell-Stecker-Olson front engine top fuel dragster, Roger Lee's "Master-Richter" front engine top fuel dragster, and the Goodguys "Speed Sport Special" top fuel roadster. Nitro Thunderfest times are 1 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Clock Tower.

There are fun things for the kids, too. A model car "make n' take" program sponsored by Revell sends youths home with their very own model kit. Plus, PPG is sponsoring a coloring contest, an arts-and-crafts booth and other games and activities.

Gates open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $20, and $6 for children 7-12. Alameda County Fairgrounds parking is $10. Retired or active military with their military ID card will receive $5 off the admission price.

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