The 20th Annual Pontiac Uprising brought out some of the quickest Pontiacs in the Midwest.
For two decades, Pontiac owners and racers from across the Midwest have come together one Saturday in early October, rain or shine, for the Pontiac Uprising in Wichita, Kansas. This year-the event's milestone 20th anniversary-the drag racing was fierce, the car show action was hot, and the attendance held its own despite the below-freezing windchill, proving that the Pontiac hobby still rallies together.
On Friday, October 9, 2009, participants gathered before the official start of the show for a tech session, presented by Remy International and entitled "Electricity 101: How Does it All Happen?" Remy Director of Training Dennis Tobin, Gandt-Thomas and Associates' Victor Bennett, and Jobbers Automotive Warehouse-Bumper to Bumper representative Sam Zimmerman discussed topics ranging from the invention of the first electric starter motor in 1912 to today's automobile electrical systems, modern starters and alternators, voltage drags, and other trouble-shooting tips.
The show kicked off in high gear on Saturday, October 10, with two side-by-side events at Kansas International Dragway in Maize. On the dragstrip, 77 Pontiac race cars and their drivers were grouped into five categories for a day of competitive bracket racing, and the lure of more than $5,000 in cash and prize payouts. Meanwhile, adjacent to the track action, an all-Pontiac car show allowed 44 Ponchos from '58-'09 to display their Pontiac pride, with trophies and plaques awarded at the end of the day.
HPP freelancer Julie Anderson was onsite during the event and asked racers, car show participants, and spectators to share their stories:
Tim Forshee of Wichita, Kansas, has been attending the event the last five or six years, with his '73 Firebird. "I enjoy the adrenaline and the competition that comes from drag racing," he says.
Husband and wife Duane and Jennifer Ray are from Cleveland, Missouri, and have attended the show for more than 10 years. This year he raced a '63 Pontiac LeMans. "It's a four-speed car," he says. "I've been hooked on Pontiacs since my first car, a '71 Firebird." His wife, Jennifer, brought her '68 Firebird to the strip. "My husband got me into racing. I like to drive fast," she says.
Father and son Russ and Brian Engman came up to the event from Muskogee, Oklahoma, with their Pontiacs, accompanied by friend Patrick Carr. Russ was showing a '72 Firebird Formula, which he has owned about 10 years as a second owner. "It's complete with a 700-plus 535ci Butler Performance motor," he says. "My dad was a Pontiac man and so am I."
Russ is passing the tradition down to his son, Brian, who brought his '72 Grand Prix to the car show. His other son has a '75 Trans Am, which Patrick displayed on his behalf.
According to Tom Wilhite, who founded the event with Mike Cooper in 1989, "When we started the show, I didn't really think that far ahead, but I'd hoped it would catch on and remain something people would look forward to. People tell me they love it and really enjoy coming to it. If it wasn't for all the positive feedback, the show wouldn't have made it to its 20th year."
The 21st Annual Pontiac Uprising will be held October 2, 2011, at the Kansas International Dragway in Wichita, Kansas. For more information, contact Tom Wilhite at (316) 788-0514.
Showgoers braved 35-degree weather to get a look at their favorite Pontiacs, including GTO
Best of Show went to this Starlight Black '65 GTO convertible owned by Tony Mirrione.
Two rows of classic Ponchos show off 30-plus years of Pontiac passion.