Norwalk Raceway Park in early August is nothing short of a full-tilt adrenaline rush if you're into Pontiacs. As you probably already know, it is the scene of the world's largest Pontiac event, the Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals, which is presented by Super Duty Promotions.
Every year, it seems, the event continues to grow and hold more excitement, more action, and of course, more Pontiacs than the year before. This tradition continued for 2005, with 957 cars registered, up 64 cars from the previous year. A total of 504 of them were race cars, a jump of slightly more than 100 cars from 2004.
Additionally, 10,000 spectators were in attendance, an increase of more than 500 people. A record-breaking 191 swap meet vendor spaces were used by 135 vendors, and 30 cars were for sale in the car corral.
"We tried a few new things this year, such as the addition of a non-judged Pontiacs on Parade class," said Super Duty Promotions President Pete Woodruff. "This gave people a chance to display their Pontiac in a more relaxed fashion, without feeling the need to compete with other owners. It seemed to go over very well."
He conquered...Arnie's back!
The show cars demonstrated that quantity and quality can go hand-in-hand. Several classes were split due to the large number of entries, particularly in the Street classes for Tempest/LeMans, GTOs, and Firebirds.
Overall, the level of quality remained as high as ever, with a wide array of vintage and late-model Pontiacs, classic Oaklands, and GMCs small and large. The number of late-model GTOs continued to grow from last year, and many clubs were represented in Norwalk as well.
Some Pontiacs of note on display on the midway included Jean Williams' '63 Union Park Tempest Wagon and '66 GTO hardtop--both of which are Scott Tiemann-restored, and Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick's nearly completed "Tameless Tiger II" '64 GTO. In honor of her late husband, Jean also instituted the Randy Williams Memorial Award, which recognizes excellence and perseverance in automotive restoration. The inaugural award went to Richard and Cindy Gabriel and their '67 GTO hardtop.
There were plenty of sky pilots on hand--both early- and late-model.
Nostalgia racers wowed the crowd as has been tradition at Norwalk.
Mark Kauffman won the Butler Performance Frantic 4.
Mike Cooper took the Frantic 4 runner-up spot in his '63 LeMans.
Rob "Zombie" Bruce put down against Lou Sgro's Mopar in six-second Funny Car exhibition co
Here's an ad for axle retention devices. The left rear wheel is back at the starting line
Speaking of Arnie Beswick, "The Farmer" was on hand, with his wife, Evelyn, keeping a watchful eye. Nevertheless, he slipped out long enough to make an exhibition pass behind the wheel of Wally Abela's "Mrs. B's Grocery Getter" replica and make perhaps the most anticipated return to the dragstrip in Pontiac racing history. This was his first run since the August 2, 2003, race car fire that nearly took his life.
Pontiac-GMC was once again at the APPN with their display trailer and a variety of new cars, including a Grand Prix GXP, a GTO, a G6 coupe, and a sleek Solstice roadster, which had showgoers completely captivated. Raceway Pontiac also displayed Pontiacs and GMC trucks nearby.