Early on, overcast skies threatened to wash out the 2003 Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals (www.pontiacnationals.com) in Norwalk, Ohio. News of severe storms all around Norwalk, unfortunately kept a few would-be attendees from showing during the 3-day weekend extravaganza. Little did they know the weather at Norwalk Raceway Park was actually gorgeous for the better part of the event and there was no rain. So for the 428 Pontiac race cars, 372 show cars, 112 swap meet vendors, and over 8,500 spectators who risked getting wet, the payoff was a beautiful weekend of racing, showing, catching up with old friends, and making new ones.
For those of you who were unable to make it, you missed out on an exciting event that is put on by Super Duty Promotions each year. To help keep the blues and potential of cold sickness at bay incase the weather did take a turn for the worst, the title sponsor Ames Performance had a golf cart roaming the fields and dispensing weather-appropriate drinks and snacks (warm-up coffee and donuts and cool-down iced-tea, juice, and cookies). Additionally, what can only be described as a "limousine golf cart" was enlisted to carry weary attendees anywhere on the premises from the race pits to the show field. As if that were not generous enough, Steve Ames arranged a Performance Buffet for the drag racers, swap meet, and show participants where he gave out gifts and cash-entry fee reimbursements. He also had a drawing for luxury suite tickets.
On the show side, the entries were varied and many Pontiac camps were represented from the Firehawk Association of America and the Comp T/A club to the Cleveland Fiero club and Oakland Club not to mention POCI was set up on the Midway. This amid many pristine stock and modified Pontiacs of all years from Oaklands to the latest Pontiac-GMC production vehicles (the latter courtesy of another event sponsor Bill Klaus Pontiac-GMC) and Pontiac Motor Division's very own priceless concept/show cars.
There were also some notable nostalgia race cars on display like Merle Green's '66 "Tin Indian" Knafel GTO, Bill Blair's "Packer Pontiac" '62 Catalina, and the '61 Batwing SD-equipped race car of Bob Harrop, which is owned by Don White. Even Ted Robb's '61 Batwing SD-equipped Catalina was there.
Other nostagia cars actually participated in the racing like Dave Johnson's '63 Tempest "White Warrior," Rick Johnson's '62 Catalina "No Sponsor," Steve and Marti Snyder's '62 Catalina "Snyder Surprise," and '64 LeMans "Snyder Surprise II." There was also Ted Robb's '62 Catalina SD-389 and a '63 Tempest with "Royal" lettering tearing it up on the track.
Racing action was intense with low e.t.'s and wheelstands aplenty. The Indian Adventures Test and Tune got everybody revved up on Friday in preparation for the weekend filled with bracket races, the Kauffman Racing Equipment Quick 16, and the Jim Butler Performance Big Dog Frantic Four heads-up race, not to mention the exhibition runs. Ken Kull's Hemi-powered '33 Willys pickup squared off against Big Al Chernik '41 Willys coupe, which also packed a Chrysler Hemi for some grudge-match action. Nay Russo's '63 Catalina SD 421 clone made exhibition passes too as did the Bag Boys with their '63 "Grocery Getter" wagon. Of course Arnie Beswick was not there, having been injured in a race car fire a few weeks before. As a tribute to Arnie, the "Grocery Getter" performed some nearly track-long burnouts and made a few passes alone.
As discussed in "Full Throttle" in the January 2004 issue, Arnie was in everyone's thoughts. Though there were several collections taking place, the more notable efforts were Rex Bumgarner's collection for Arnie that gave anyone the opportunity to sign a commemorative T-shirt for a small donation; the fund established by POCI; the Bag Boys (Mike Garblik and Eric Larsen) efforts; and Pontiac Racing PR consultant, Jennifer Chestnut (who under the direction of Fred Simmonds, manager of Drag Racing-GM Racing, raffled off a race helmet autographed by numerous Pontiac professional drivers whose race team even kicked in donations). Super Duty Promotions paid Arnie his usual exhibition fee, even though he could not attend, to aid the cause.
As has been tradition, on Sunday Fred Simmonds brought Warren Johnson, Mark Pawuk, Jim Yates, and Greg Anderson out to give Pontiac fans a treat as the Pro-Stocks match raced to the roar of the crowd.
Final-round action in the Jim Butler Frantic Four pitted Mike Copper's JBP-powered '63 Tempest against Bill Mellot's KRE-powered '97 Firebird with the Bird taking the win and the $1,000 prize. Bill ran a 7.185 e.t. at 193.90 mph to Cooper's .479 red light and 7.464 e.t. at 177.16 mph that netted him $500 for runner up. The first round winner got $100.
In the hotly contested KRE Quick 16, after a few of the door slammers couldn't make their lane calls, the alternates were brought in and after working their way through the pack, it was Dave Wallace and Glen Sedig in the Final. Wallace in his dragster took the $1,000 prize running 8.519 at 148.92 mph on a 8.50 dial-in to Glenn Sedig's JPB-engined '69 GP posting an 8.912 e.t. at 149.93 mph on an 8.78 dial-in to take home $500 for runner up. Semi-final winners got $200, Quarter-final winners received $100 and First round winners $50.
There was plenty of money to be won in the bracket classes as well and the action was just as wild. Those results and payouts can be found in the winners list.
DCI Motorsports sponsored the Quickest Musclecar E.T. Challenge where participants drove on public roads for 1 hour and then filled up with regular gas and returned to the track to make 3 passes with the lowest average e.t. declared the winner. In this event, Mike Davis and his '66 GTO garnered the $500 First prize.
The best of the best squared off in the King of the Hill race. Clark Depas who had won the Modified class on Saturday and Dave Wallace, the KRE Quick 16 winner, worked though a field of class winners to a showdown in which Depas clipped the win light running an 11.032 on an 11.02 dial-in to Wallace's breakout of 8.476 on an 8.50 dial.
While all of this racing was going on, there were plenty of show goers in the Manufacturer's Midway and in the swapmeet area checking out the wares of the vendors. There were lots of items that should be on any Pontiac lovers must-have lists from engine and resto parts to sun-shading hats and T-shirts.
The talk of the event productwise was engine parts. Kauffman Racing's new cast-aluminum street heads drew a lot of attention when Jeff and Mark set up a booth on the pit side to show off a prototype (full story in HPP February 2004). Also, they were running a set of full-race billet aluminum heads on Bill Mellot's Bird, which as you read, did very well in competition.
Jim Butler Performance had their prototype aluminum block (full story in HPP November 2003) on display on the show side along with the an aluminum repro intake manifold that had the show goers anxious for their release.
Lastly, DCI Motorsports had its booth on the pit side showing off its aluminum race heads that flow 400 cfm on the intake side. HPP had the full story on those in the October 2003 issue.
Like we said, there was plenty to see and do for Pontiac lovers young at heart at the 2003 Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals. Don't miss out on the action for 2004.
Check out our Web site, highperformancepontiac.com for more photos on the 2003 event and mark your calendars for, August 6-8, 2004. For more information contact Pete or Andi at 419-663-7383 or visit their Web site at www.pontiacnationals.com.
Kauffman Racing Equipment...
Kauffman Racing Equipment had their new Pontiac cast-aluminum heads on display on the pit side and were running a set of prototype billet heads in Bill Mellott's '97 Firebird. The 2,600-pound Top Sportsman racer put its 522 cubes of Pontiac power to good use posting its best pass at 7.10 at 198 mph.
Bet you can't guess who showed...
Bet you can't guess who showed up to the Pontiac Nationals?
Nothing says speed and beauty...
Nothing says speed and beauty like red hot Pontiacs. . .new or old.
The "Grocery Getter" Tempest...
The "Grocery Getter" Tempest and the Bag Boys paying tribute and getting a whole lot more than groceries while performing Arnie's signature loooong burnout.
Inside the Spotts Performance...
Inside the Spotts Performance 428 dragster (bored .068 with stock crank, 7H1 heads, 671 blower) according to Paul Spotts, "On the first pass the taller slicks caused a wheel stand that carried me towards the wall. After some wheelie bar and tire pressure adjustments and about 10 percent nitro, we qualified #1 in the Quick 16 race. I went my best mph--183.07!! Round one was a loss from a .497 redlight."
A GTO or two may have shown...
A GTO or two may have shown up.
Did someone say Mustang m...
Did someone say Mustang mauler??
Warren Johnson and friends...
Warren Johnson and friends brought out some of the General's horses to play! Surprise, "The Professor" had the best run of the Pro-Stocks with the low elapsed time of 6.880 and fastest mph -201.43.
Whooooooaaa mama!! This Bird...
Whooooooaaa mama!! This Bird thinks it can really fly!
Arnie Beswick was in everyone's...
Arnie Beswick was in everyone's thoughts. Keeping the spirit of family and friends alive, Pontiac style, everyone got on board to show appreciation for Arnie in a more practical expression to the tune of $15,000-plus to help offset medical expenses.
Now that's a launch! Check...
Now that's a launch! Check out the rear quarter behind the tire.
Pontiac-GMC brought out the...
Pontiac-GMC brought out the silver GXP concepts for a glimpse into the not so distant Pontiac production future.
A row of Firehawks strutting...
A row of Firehawks strutting their feathers.
Last stop! HPP was there in...
Last stop! HPP was there in full force and the enthusiastic crowd responded with the magazine selling a record breaking number of subscriptions! Thanks!
HPP's Editor's Choice award...
HPP's Editor's Choice award show car winner, Pete Hanway, and his winning '63 GP. Pete is an alumna from HPP's West Virginia Pavement Pounder's Shootout series.
HPP's Editor's Choice award...
HPP's Editor's Choice award race car winner, Ava Thompson and her winning '66 GTO. Ava and her GTO were featured in the March 2004 issue.
|2003 Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals Show Winners|
|Ames Best In Class|
|Full-Size||Ardyn Dempsey ||'65 2 + 2 |
|Grand Prix||Dale & Aurora Krasienko||'62 Grand Prix|
|GTO/Judge||Ray De Crescenzo||'70 GTO Judge |
|Firebird / Trans Am||Brian Nosker||'75 Trans Am |
|Open||Nicole Miller||'64 LeMans Conv.|
|Editor's Choice Awards||High Performance Pontiac|| |
|Show Car||Pete Hanway||'63 Grand Prix|
|Race Car||Ava Thompson||'66 GTO|
|Long Distance||Thomas Turner||Firehawk Formula|
|O-2||Oakland '16-32|| |
|1st||John & Candy Armstrong ||'26 2 Door Coach|
|2nd||Bob & Jill Rank||'29 Six Sedan|
|P-O||Pontiac Pre-War|| |
|1st||Jim Barnhart||'39 Quality Six|
|P-1||Pontiac Post-War-'54|| |
|1st||Scott Pavolka||'50 Silver Streak 4-Door|
|P-2||Pontiac '55-60|| |
|1st||James "Junebug" Harrelson ||'57 2 Door Star Chief|
|2nd||Bud Scott||'57 Bonneville |
|3rd||Mark Figurella||'60 Bonneville|
|P-3||Pontiac '61-65|| |
|1st||Larry Gentile|| '65 Bonneville |
|2nd||Wally Schilkowski|| '65 2+2|
|3rd||Thomas Pabin|| '63 Catalina|
|P-4||Pontiac '66-70|| |
|1st||Kenneth Kucia||'66 Bonneville Conv.|
|2nd||Chris Winston||'67 Bonneville Conv.|
|3rd||Matt Schilkowski||'66 2+2|
|P-5||Pontiac '71-Current|| |
|1st||Jeff Glasgo||'81 Bonneville |
|2nd||Jay Bucklew||'71 Catalina Conv.|
|3rd||Dorman Scott||'96 Bonneville|
|GP-1||Grand Prix '62-68|| |
|2nd||Larry & Barb Aller||'65|
|GP-2||Grand Prix '69-72|| |
|3rd||Chris & Tracie Avenmarg||'71|
|GP-3||Grand Prix '73-77|| |
|GP-4||Grand Prix '78-Current|| |
|1st||James Semon Sr.||'04 GTP|
|2nd||John Price||'00 GTP Pace Car|
|3rd||Cindy Preston||'86 GP|
|F-1||Fiero Coupe / SE|| |
|1st||Bruce Bender||'86 SE|
|2nd||George Johnson||'85 SE|
|3rd||Kerry Mcmasters||'88 SE|
|F-2||Fiero GT|| |
|2nd||Randy & Bren Leiby||'87|
|FB-1||Firebird '67-69|| |
|1st||Teri McCauley||'69 |
|2nd||George Farley||'69 Conv.|
|3rd||Gary Plowman||'67 Conv.|
|FB-2||Firebird '70 1/2 To '81|| |
|FB-4||Firebird '93-Current Incl Formula|| |
|1st||Brian Nosker||'98 Formula|
|2nd||Chuck Miller||'00 Convertible|
|3rd||Cyndi Rickard||'94 Formula|
|TA-1||Trans Am '69-74|| |
|TA-2||Trans Am '75-81|| |
|2nd||Mike & Laurie Leggio||'81|
|TA-3||Trans Am '82-92|| |
|TA-4 ||Trans Am '93-Current Incl GTA|| |
|1st||Jack & Debra Soulidis||'00|
|2nd||Paula & Doug Bousley||'93|
|3rd||Richard & Beverly Hediger||'02|
|FH ||Firehawk||Split Into 3 Classes|
|FH-A||Firehawk '93-99|| |
|1st||Chad Harvey||'94 T/A|
|2nd||Gina Masters||'96 Formula|
|3rd||Gene Lease||'93 T/A|
|FH-B||Firehawk '00-01|| |
|1st||Bill Daffron||'01 T/A|
|2nd||Darrell Flannery||'01 T/A|
|3rd||Dan Meginnis||'01 T/A|
|FH-C||Firehawk '02|| |
|1st||Ron & Chong Schriner||'02 T/A|
|2nd||Rj & Sherry Evens||'02 T/A|
|3rd||Darrell Anderson||'02 T/A|
|FX||All Factory Show Or Experimental Cars|| |
|1st||Don White||'61 Catalina SD |
|GT-1||GTO '64-65|| |
|2nd||William & Joan Hash||'65|
|GT-2||GTO '66 -67|| |
|1st||Ken Swint||'66 Convertible|
|2nd||Dale & Lisa Brenstuhl||'66 |
|3rd||Chuck & Dianne Mcdanell||'67|
|Gt-3 ||GTO '68 -70|| |
|2nd ||Bill Taylor||'70|
|GT-4||GTO '71-74|| |
|2nd ||Rich Barnett||'71|
|3rd||"William Fry, Jr"||'74|
|JD||Judges All|| |
|1st ||John Kryta||'69|
|2nd ||Jack Scott||'69|
|3rd||Paul & Sharon Booth||'69|
|LM||Late Model Compact & Fwd '71-Current|| |
|1st||Bill Markowski||'03 Aztek|
|2nd||David & Bobbi Luken||'03 Aztek|
|SP||Tempest / Le Mans '61 -77|| |
|1st||Larry McCauley||'73 Grand Am|
|2nd ||Edwin & Vickie Wolf||'67 LeMans Coupe|
|3rd||Pete Rust||'77 Can Am|
|ST-2||Street GTO/LeMans/Tempest ||Split Into 4 Classes|
|ST-2a||LeMans/ Tempest/ T-37 Thru '77|| |
|1st||George Mcguire||'66 LeMans|
|2nd||Mike & Donna Ireton||'71 T-37|
|3rd||Andy Balog||'67 LeMans|
|ST-2b||GTO '64 -65|| |
|ST-2c||GTO '66-67|| |
|1st||Roger & Judy Maczura||'66|
|ST-2d||GTO & Judge '68-74|| |
|2nd||Paul & Laura Freese||'68|
|3rd||Ben Arnst||'70 Judge|
|ST-3||Street Firebird / Trans Am ||Split Into 2 Classes|
|ST-3a||Firebird / Trans Am '67 -83|| |
|1st||Jerry Brushaber||'73 Firebird|
|2nd||Jay Koch||'68 Firebird|
|3rd||Josh McDonald||'68 Firebird|
|ST-3b||Firebird / Trans Am '89-02|| |
|1st||Wayne Siminski||'01 T/A|
|2nd||Kevin Callahan||'99 T/A 30th Anniversary|
|3rd||Kris Borisevic||'02 T/A|
|ST-4||Street Grand Prix|| |
|2nd||Brent & Babe Dyer||'97 GTX|
|3rd||Chris Mercadante||'00 GTP|
|ST-5||Street Pontiac Open|| |
|1st||George Pavell, Iv ||'03 Vibe GT|
|2nd||Robert Karall||'88 Fiero GT|
|3rd||Scott Swisher||'85 Fiero SE|
|C-1||Custom '09 -69|| |
|1st||Fred & Sharon Mazzoni||'67 GTO|
|2nd||Mike Marsico||'65 GTO|
|3rd||Duane Hoffert||'57 Chieftain|
|C-2||Custom '70 To Current|| |
|1st||David Dammeyer||'85 T/A|
|2nd||Dave Servey||'96 T/A|
|3rd||Dan Powell||'95 T/A|
|2003 Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals Race Winners|
|King of the Hill Pontiac at Norwalk|
|Clark Depas ||11.02||.529||11.032||113.15||'67 GTO|
|KRE Quick 16|
|(W) Dave Wallace ||8.50||.564||8.519||148.92||Dragster|
|(R/U) Glenn Sedig ||8.78||.509||8.912||149.93||'69 Grand Prix|
|KRE Quick 16 Qualifying Door cars|
|1. Scott Rex ||8.140 ||167.18|| || ||'92 T/A|
|2. John Gaydosh ||8.179 ||166.33|| || ||'97 T/A|
|3. John Welter ||8.183 ||164.49|| || ||'02 Firebird|
|4. Mark Pickett ||8.207 ||165.50|| || ||'02 Firebird|
|5. Glenn Sedig ||8.718 ||151.19|| || ||'69 GP|
|6. George Zimnicky ||8.756 ||153.14|| || ||'74 GTO|
|7. Jim Gnadt ||8.896 ||152.24|| || ||'70 GTO|
|8. Dennis McDonald ||8.925 ||145.56|| || ||'62 Catalina|
|9. Jim Zeek ||8.938 ||153.72|| || ||'92 Firebird|
|10. Jack Pumphrey, III ||8.980 ||148.30|| || ||'65 GTO|
|1. Jeff Kauffman ||7.821 ||169.81|| || ||'00 Red|
|2. Paul Spotts ||7.862 ||181.13|| || ||N/A|
|3. Marty Haracz ||7.995 ||164.85|| || ||'94 Red|
|4. John Wallace ||8.355 ||158.43|| || ||'95 Red|
|5. Dave Wallace ||8.472 ||154.39|| || ||'97 red|
|6. Tim Haefs ||8.473 ||155.90|| || ||'94 Red|
|7. Gary Ferguson ||8.705 ||152.66|| || ||'23 Altered|
|8. Steven Hammitte ||9.498 ||137.65|| || ||'93 Red|
|JBP Big Dog Frantic Four|
|(W) Bill Mellott ||.612 ||7.185||193.90|| ||'97 Firebird|
|(R/U) Mike Cooper ||.479||7.464||177.16|| ||'63 Tempest|
|JBP Big Dog Frantic Four Qualifiers|
|Bill Mellott ||7.11||197|| || ||'97 Firebird|
|Mike Cooper ||7.54||177|| || ||'63 Tempest|
|Bill Krech||7.56||182|| || ||'99 Pro-Stock T/A|
|Jim Yanowski ||N/A||N/A|| || ||Fourth-Gen Firebird |
|Saturday Race Results|
|Top Class Payout, Win $750, RU $300, Semi $100, Qtr $50|
|(W) George Zimnicky||8.78||.523||8.796||153.33||'74 GT0|
|(R/U) John Lafever||9.38 ||.469||9.395||140.65||'89 Firebird|
|Modified Class Payout, Win $750, RU $300, Semi $125, Qtr $75, 8ths $50, 16ths $30|
|(W) Clark Depas||10.88||.538||10.932||122.31||'67 GTO|
|(R/U) Jon Gunter ||9.90||N/A||9.924||132.33||'65 GTO|
|Stock Class Payout Win $400, RU $150, Semi $50, Qtr $25|
|(W) Michael McCarty||10.84 ||.573 ||10.861||116.54||'65 GTO|
|(R/U) Todd Gabbard||12.75 ||.557 ||12.839||101.78||'65 LeMans|
|FWD Class Payout Win $400, RU $150, Semi $50, Qtr $25|
|(W) Travis Buettner||14.60||.613 ||14.668||93.56||'02 Grand Prix GTP|
|(R/U) John Ortman||13.80 ||.793 ||13.649||100.58||'00 Grand Prix GTX |
|Top Class Payout, Win $750, R/U $300, Semi $100, Qtr $50|
|(W) Ron Baisdon ||9.85 ||.510||9.841||134.10||'77 Astre|
|(R/U) Ray Hout ||9.54 ||.490 ||9.534||140.80||'79 Firebird|
|Modified Class Payout, Win $750, RU $300, Semi $125, Qtr $75, 8ths $50, 16ths $30|
|(W) John Hill||11.25||.524 ||11.273||115.13||'79 Trans Am|
|(R/U) Scott Esterle||10.96 ||.582 ||11.044||118.85||'67 Firebird|
|Stock Class Payout Win $400, RU $150, Semi $50, Qtr $25|
|(W) Jeff Sapper ||11.15 ||.543 ||11.438||111.07||'98 Trans Am|
|(R/U) Mike Davis ||11.48 ||.711 ||11.685||113.75||'66 GTO|
|Intense Racing FWD Class Payout Win $400, RU $150, Semi $50, Qtr $25|
|(W) Jason The Kid Bierer ||12.68 ||.631 ||12.649||112.08||'91 Grand Am|
|(R/U) Paul Dotson ||16.35 ||.610 ||16.313||78.67||'00 Grand Am GT|
|DCI Motorsports Quickest Musclecar E.T. Challenge|
|Winner Mike Davis|| || || || ||'66 GTO|