Since 1999 Steve Barcak of Pontiac Heaven has put on a first class event at the Speedworld Motorplex, just outside Phoenix, Arizona. According to Steve, "Pontiac Heaven Drags & More is a series of events hosted by myself with the help of volunteers and sponsors that was conceived to establish an annual Pontiac-powered event in the Southwest."
It is open to anything that is Pontiac powered--corporate-powered Pontiacs, however, are not included, hence the '81 cut-off date. "My being true to the faith, I have made these events unique in that they are the only ones exclusively for true Pontiac-powered vehicles, Steve shared. "We are not concerned with what kind vehicle you bring out, just as long as it has a real Pontiac engine. 'Real Pontiac' meaning that it was built by Pontiac from 1955-81 (or earlier)."
This year's Pontiac Heaven VI got off to a somewhat slow start due to record rainfall in the Phoenix area in the days prior to the event. Forecasts that called for more rain kept attendance numbers lower than past years, but there was still plenty to see at the event that was not your typical Pontiac show and go.
Pontiac Heaven brought out some weird stuff and some exotic stuff. It seems that the participants have followed the lead of the event host. Steve has Pontiac-powered boats and a Pontiac-powered slingshot dragster, not to mention some Mickey Thompson Pontiac Hemi-headed engines and a list of other unique Pontiac items too numerous to mention here. Some participants presented their Pontiacs in like fashion with nostalgia replicar racers, blower-equipped Pontiac racers, a Pontiac-engined boat replete with a Trans Am screaming chicken up front, a Mazda truck with a Pontiac engine, and a race car that used to be a '69 Firebird but now we aren't sure what it is. Let's not forget a dragster and a '26 Oakland S/G Street Roadster. This was just the weird stuff. There was also a bevy of more traditional Pontiac racers and show cars.
Home to the event is the Speedworld Motorplex, a friendly, down home facility that kept everyone comfortable and the race program running smoothly. Even the track food was pretty good. As always, the racing competition was hot and heavy and the showcars sparkled.
As a special event within the event, Steve had planned to make a pass in his Top Fuel dragster. However, time constraints and a temperamental head gasket didn't allow for it. Still, it was great to see a crew wrenching on a Pontiac-powered slingshot and to hear and see it fire up on Saturday night at the big barbeque and Sunday during the Musclecar Heaven event.
Both days featured a Pontiac parade down the strip--Jim Wangers was a special guest and his Ponte Carlo and GeeTo Tiger competed. Sunday brought memorial passes for Steve's brother Joseph S. Barcak (Steve's nephew, Matt, drove Joe's '66 GTO) who passed away in 2003 and West Coast racer Jim Taylor's wife, Sandra, who also passed away. The weekend had been dedicated to the memory of both of them. Church services were held on Sunday morning by the Racers for Christ to kick off the Musclecar Heaven event.
Musclecar Heaven is also Barcak's creation and it draws muscelcars of '81-and-older vintage and varying brands to come to compete against the Pontiacs. The net result is two great days of racing and showing with the Pontiac-specific event on Saturday and a chance for the Pontiacs to see how they stack up against the rest of the world on Sunday. An added attraction for Sunday was passes made by Steve Cooke's jet car, The War Wagon. It's called a Halftrack and looks like a tank. The only Pontiac bracket winner for Sunday was Les Iden who took Bracket 4 in his '66 GTO.
For the weekend, $2,200 in trophies were awarded and about $4,000 cash total was paid out to winning racers.
Of course, all this would not be possible without a support staff of volunteers including Steve's girlfriend Suzan and sponsors Brooks Racing, DGI Performance, Network Alignment, Mark's Performance Engines and Musclecar Garage. Associate sponsors were Al-co Electric, Sounds Like Music, Trans Am and Muscle Auto Sales, Arizona Wholesale Engine Parts, Thumb Print Screeners, McGrew and Associates, Haskin Racing Engines, Specialty Automotive, Center City Printing. If you can make it to Arizona in April with your Pontiac, don't miss this (these) events. For information on Pontiac Heaven VII and Musclecar Heaven 3 events in 2005 contact Steve Barcak at email@example.com or check out the Web site at Pontiac heaven.org.
Here we see the Pure Oil Economy...
Here we see the Pure Oil Economy Run '64 GTO.
Dil Brandow's '66 GTO sports...
Dil Brandow's '66 GTO sports a big huffer. Look for a feature on this one in a future issue.
The staging lanes bristled...
The staging lanes bristled with Pontiac performance of all varieties as long as a Pure Pontiac engine was under the hood.
Ron Wise's '26 Oakland S/G...
Ron Wise's '26 Oakland S/G Street Roadster was a wild ride that smoked out the starting line with its burnout, pulled the wheels on launch, and must have been tons of fun on the top end with that short wheelbase. It was Runner-up in Bracket 1 on Sunday.
Ah yes, a 460-cube (stroked...
Ah yes, a 460-cube (stroked 389) blown and injected hemi-headed Pontiac...in a boat! This is just one of Steve's many exotic Pontiac projects.
Checkout the altered wheelbase...
Checkout the altered wheelbase on the wheelstander in the foreground. On the other side is Jim Thompson's '64 GTO that later went on to win Bracket 1 on Saturday.
Here Barcak's crew works on...
Here Barcak's crew works on his AA/F Dragster.
West Coast Nostalgia racers...
West Coast Nostalgia racers included this "Bill Barry" '63 Tempest replicar owned by Jon Anderson.
...and this "Bill Barry" '62...
...and this "Bill Barry" '62 Tempest replicar owned by Nick Anderson.
Even a Macho T/A was in a...
Even a Macho T/A was in attendance.
Hubbe's Performance fielded...
Hubbe's Performance fielded this very interesting machine that appeared to begin life as a '69 Firebird. It also took home the prize for the Gambler's Race on Sunday.
Do you know this man? He is...
Do you know this man? He is Jerry Young of "Jerry the Judge" fame. You'll learn more about him in a future issue.
Here's some dragster acti...
Here's some dragster action.
A wide variety of Pontiacs...
A wide variety of Pontiacs could be found on the show field.
Craig Hendrickson of H-O Racing...
Craig Hendrickson of H-O Racing fame is in the white T-shirt and hat holding court in front of his turbocharged '76 Esprit mule car that you read about in Tribal News in the last issue.
Pontiac Heaven staffers discuss...
Pontiac Heaven staffers discuss strategy behind a Pontiac-powered boat. Steve is in the white T-shirt facing the camera.
Even the ambulance at the...
Even the ambulance at the race track is a Pontiac. Though no longer in service this '68 does still run.
|Pontiac Heaven Drags & More VI|
|Saturday, April 3, 2004|
|Bracket 1 Winner ||Jim Thompson '64 GTO|
|Runner-Up||Jim Taylor '64 Tempest|
|Bracket 2 Winner||Rob Parcher '72 LeMans s/w|
|Bracket 3 Winner|| Bruce Meyer '69 GTO|
|Runner-Up||Gary Hairfeild '73 TA|
|Bracket 4 Winner||Brandan Summers '69 Firebird|
|Runner-Up||Bill Baker '69 GTO|
|Gambler Winner||Herbert Oloffson '69-00 Firebird|
|Runner-Up||David Beedy '69 GTO|
|Winner||Larry Crosby '65 GTO|
|Runner-Up Tie||Jim Zeivel '66 GTO|
| ||Shari Stults '67 GTO|
|Winner||Tom Burton '71 GTO|
|Runner-Up||Jerry Young '69 GTO|
|Winner||Mark Larkin '65 Tempest|
|Runner-Up||Rick Tucker '67 GTO|
|Winner||Pat Fykes '69 GTO|
|Runner-Up|| Bob Willoughby Jr '76 Grand Prix|
|Winner||Rich Rendino '67 GTO|
|Runner-Up||Mick Batson '67 GTO|
|Winner Tie||David Cauldwell '69 Firebird|
| ||Chris Hall '68 Firebird|
|Winner||Gary Sundberg '50 Catalina|
|Runner-Up||Jon Anderson '63 Tempest|
|Winner||Wally Tuttle Jr '74 Mazda pickup (428 powered)|
|Runner-Up||Wally Tuttle St '70 Beismeyer flat bottom w/ 455|
|Winner||Keith Collier '61 Tempest|
|Runner-Up||Mike Syzmanski '56 Chieftain|
|Winner||Steve Hoopingarner '68 LeMans|
|Runner-Up||Hector Virgin '72 Trans Am|
|Winner||Eric O'Hare '61 Catalina|
|Sponsored by Cactus GTOs|
|Winner||Jerry Young '69 GTO|
|2nd||Rich Rendino '67 GTO|
|3rd||Tom Burton '71 GTO|
|Al Wallace||'65 GTO|
|Dave Campbell||'69 LeMans|
|Les Iden||'66 GTO|