2003 Tri-Power Pontiac Event
Rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm at this inaugural Tri-Power Pontiac show and go
From the January, 2009 issue of High Performance Pontiac
Illustrators: Don Keefe
Organizing a new Pontiac national event is rough work. In addition to the normal logistical problems such as track rental, selecting a non-conflicting date, and securing sponsorship, one has to do a huge amount of promotional work, both on a local and national level.
Assuming that you has done all of your homework and everything comes together with a minimum of hassle, there is still a huge factor that is out of everyone's control--weather. No amount of preparation can completely counter a rainy weekend. Trying to survive the first year is a task usually so overwhelming that the second year doesn't always happen. Nevertheless, the relatively bumpy ride of a new event can present opportunities to expand the hobby. And from all indications, the Tri-Power Pontiac event held at Cordova Dragway in Cordova, Illinois, was one that rose above the weather and will be back again for more race and show action next year.
"The weather hammered us," said Pete Woodruff, President of Super Duty Promotions, the event organizer. "The Test and Tune program was cancelled Friday night due to rain, but we ran the full program for Saturday, minus the Quick 4 final. We did pay out first round money to those racers, though."
Nevertheless, the show was full of enthusiastic participants. A total of 76 race cars, 28 show cars, and 11 vendors for 17 swap meet spaces were in attendance, along with 600 spectators and a variety of manufacturers on the midway, including Jim Butler Performance, Indian Adventures, BOP Engineering and Tigermadness.com.
Representatives from Zimmerman Pontiac were also on hand with several new Pontiacs on display for show goers to check out. A bright orange '04 Grand Prix GTP with the Comp G package even made a pass down the drag strip.
Of course, the cars are the stars at any event. Though the rain forced the cancellation of the Sunday program, Saturday was as action packed as possible. Among the familiar faces at Cordova were Linda "The Pontiac Lady" Spidel and former HPP shootout participant Mike Dye and "The Pit Bull," his 12-second '97 GTP. Also on hand were HPP Editor's Choice winner Gene Scheer and his fabulous '69 Trans Am, as well as John Welter, whose brand new tube-framed '02 Trans Am blew everyone away with its blistering 7-second performance and its wild flip-flop paint scheme.
When it was all said and done, Maple Grove, Minnesota-native Aaron Milburn took top drag honors with his black and flamed '68 Firebird. Sharon Wilhite from Derby, Kansas, walked away with the win in Modified with her red '58 Chieftain, while Norm Weets of Clinton, Iowa, took home stock honors with his '88 Firebird. Second Chance went to Tony Schultz, of Genoa, Illinois, with his '68 GTO.
Tri-Power's show section had Pontiacs of nearly every shape and size on display, though it seemed that Firebirds made the largest percentage of entries. Fourth-Gen Birds were especially well represented, with Trans Ams, Firehawks and at least one Comp T/A owned by Dean Fait.
In addition to the normal bracket program, there were exhibitions from the Nostalgia Super Stock Association. Along with a variety of Super Duty Pontiacs, the NSSA brought out some very nice 409 Chevys, Max Wedge and Hemi Mopars, and even an old Sox & Martin Barracuda. Even the most hardcore Pontiac people seemed to enjoy the Brand X racers and they were warmly welcomed by fans.
Some very impressive performances were laid down in the exhibition rounds, including the low-7-second runs at over 190 mph by the legendary Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick and his "Tameless Tiger" '64 GTO. Mike Cooper of Eldorado, Kansas, made the trip with his son Chris and Mike's amazing '63 LeMans. With a full Jerry Bickel Pro Stock chassis, a carbon fiber body and a 14-71 blown, alky-slurping 505 JBP Pontiac V-8, Mike was deep in the 7s at over 190 mph, with 6-second passes likely in the near future.
It was Rodney Butler of Jim Butler Performance who had everyone talking. Rodney laid down two runs at over 200 mph at Cordova with his twin-turbo '65 GTO. The first was a 6.92 at 201 and was backed up with a 7.48 at 201.9 with Rodney lifting before the finish line to prevent losing control of the GTO. In an effort to get more power to the ground, Butler has since switched to a triple-disc clutch setup, which he believes will allow him to turn up the boost even more. With any luck, he'll be deep in the 6s before snowfall.
Though the exact date for next year's Cordova Tri-Power event has not yet been determined, it will likely be sometime in June. Those racers who were adversely affected by the rain this year should have already received their discount voucher for next year's show. Keep checking www.pontiacnationals.com and our own "Tribal News" for updates. See you in Cordova in 2004!
|Editor's Choice Awards|
|High Performance Pontiac||Gene Scheer, '69 Trans Am|
|Pontiac Enthusiast||John Collins, '56 Star Chief|
|GT-2 GTO '66-67|
|1st||Alan and Carbara Fanning, Fremont, NE |
|GT-3 GTO '68-70|
|1st||Mike Sheronick, DeMoines, IA|
|GP-4 Grand Prix '78-Current|
|1st||Dave and Denise Armstrong, Morton Grove, IL|
|1st||Darrell Anderson, Shawnee, KS|
|2nd||Virgil & Wendy Bunting, Littleton, CO|
|3rd||Scott Shumard, Sterling, IL|
|F-1 Fiero Coupe/SE|| |
|1st||Sandra Scheer, Hampton, IL|
|TA-1 Trans Am '69-74|
|1st||Gene Scheer, Moline, IL|
|TA-2 Trans Am '75-81|
|1st||Jon & Cindy Rice, Grand Rapids, MI|
|TA-3 Trans Am '82-92|
|1st||Rick Gonzalez, Schumburg, IL|
|2nd:||Gene Scheer, Moline, IL|
|3rd||Chad Starbuck, Fulton, IL|
|ST-1 Street Full Size Pontiacs|
|1st||John Colins, Elkhart, IN|
|2nd||David Herr, Rockford, IL|
|3rd||Bill & Mary Schwanz, Omaha, NE|
|ST-2 Street GTO/Judge/Tempest through '77|
|1st||B. Wayne Brewer, Arnold, MO|
|2nd||Rick Rachul, Mukwanago, WI|
|3rd||Mike Dreyer, Sycamore, IL|
|ST-3 Street Firebird/Trans Am|
|1st||Roger Grimsley, Grand Forks, ND|
|2nd||Dick & Brad Wray, East Moline, IL|
|3rd||Gary Firch, Albany, IL|
|C-1 Custom '09 -69|
|1st||Fred Mazzoni, Sturgis, MI|
|PRO Pro Street Vehicle|
|1st||Duane Ray, Overland Park, KS|
|2nd||"Liquidators," Vinton, IA|
|Race Winners (Saturday Only)|| |
|Top||Aaron Milton, Maple Grove, MN, '68 Firebird|
|Modified||Sharon Wilhite, Derby, KS, '58 Star Chief|
|Stock||Norm Weets, Clinton, IA, '88 Firebird|
|2nd Chance||Tony Schultz, Genoa, IL, '68 GTO|