Text by Ron Bramlett
Photos by Ron Bramlett and Head-On Photos
< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next >
Again at 6am, we met i the hotel dining area. Mine and Cindy's son in law, Adam Foster, had arrived the night before and came down for breakfast. We were back out at the track by 7am and ready for action!
You can all see Tim Riley's 1967 Restomod Fastback article in this issue of Restomod Magazine. Yes, it's a beautiful car that Tim has spent a lot of money on and won a lot of awards with. That includes the "Best Paint" award at the Mini Nats Car Show. But, that didn't stop Tim from bringing it out to the track and flogging it for two days! What can you say? Function and beauty!
Saturday was a special day as it was open track, the Vintage and Late Model Race and the Banquet that evening. In our pit area, we had 7 cars; the #70 Bondurant Mustang driven by Bill Faull and Brian Stemen, the #46 Cobra R driven by Steve McCarley from Atlanta, Georgia, the # 04 Blue Coupe driven by Ron Bramlett Jr. from Fort Wayne, Indiana, the #75 Bondurant Mustang driven by Adam Foster, the #904 Grabber Green Coupe driven by George Galoosis, the #44 Fastback driven by rand and Scott Revilar, and the #329 Bondurant Mustang driven by Dean Cofer. Our good friend, Tim Riley, brought his 1967 Restomod Mustang out to the track and decided to drive it. At first, I thought he only wanted to do the parade laps at lunch. But, I was surprised that he wanted to run the car on the track in the event! So, I teched Tim's Mustang and sent him to get everything set up so he could run the car in the Yellow group. He was going to put all the work the Restomod Shop had put into his Restomod Mustang to the ultimate test! At speed, on the track! Tim's Mustang made 8 track cars in the Mustangs Plus pits to gas, service and keep running. But, just think of all the rides we could give. Let's get it on!
A few of the Mustangs Plus next generation of open trackers! From left, Kaylie Stemen (6), Tyler Stemen (4), Keeley Silva (6), Michael Silva (4), and on Ron Jr.'s lap, Ronan Bramlett (2). I can remember when Ron Jr. was too young to drive so we made him and his brother, Richard, carry tires, gas and tools for us. Now we're doing it for them! Times do change, don't they?
Three generations at the racetrack. From the left, mine and Cindy's oldest son, Ron Jr., his son, 2 year old Ronan and Ron Bramlett Sr. Being at the track enjoying our Mustangs is great. Having them with us made the day even more special!
As I said before, our good friends, dean, Elizabeth Cofer and their son, Race were pitted with us. Elizabeth and her friend, Cathy, manned the MCA Booth. Bill and Brian sold parts and talked with Mustangs Plus customers. Dean and his friend, Steve, traded driving duties in the #329 Bondurant Mustang. Talk about a good time with family and friends! We ran all the cars the entire morning and all went well. That is, all except that the #46 Cobra R got a black flag for fuel leaking from the fuel cell during hard cornering. This would be a problem we would face all weekend. But, we found some lose bolts on the filler neck and made the repairs. Steve ran and George ran the Vintage Race practice session and afterwards, we made some tire pressure adjustments and put sticker tires on the rear of the Cobra R. With this, Steve felt that the car would be stuck to the track during the race. George felt that his Mustang was the best it could be and waited for the call to the line.
With the Vintage Race already started, the Late Model racers head for the green flag! Steve McCarley was an IMSA racer back in 1995 and actually raced against the #46 Jason Priestly Cobra R which he drove in this race. We won't tell you which manufacturer he drove for. Let's just say he's driving the right car now!
After lunch, the Vintage & Late Model Race was grided and paced. It was a split start, meaning that the Vintage cars started up front and a about a quarter of lap back, the Late Model Race was started. Gordon Gimble stared in the rear in his tube framed Trans Am Mustang. This is a rocket and he quickly cleared the first pack of cars. However, on about the second lap, a muffler and bracket fell off the car on the front straight, right in front of the start/finish line. Gordon ran over the bracket and a half lap later, had a flat tire and was out of the race. Kevin Sittner had run away from the Vintage field but came in after a couple of laps with no oil pressure. Another engine failure caused Joe Silva to have to drop out. Steve McCarly in the #46 Cobra R, ran well and had a great four or five lap duel with one of the Weinerdogs Late Model Mustangs. On the last lap, he ran out of front tire grip. I guess we should have put stickers on the front, too. George finished the race in style without any incidents. As all of you know, this type of racing is not door banging, tire burning mayhem. I'm not sure of everyones finishing positions but I do know that Don Plyman in his .70 Boss 302 finished in the number one position. Don, I think we're going to have to pump that motor and make sure it's legal! Everyone had a wonderful time watching the race and those that ran it put on quite a show! Thanks, everyone!
After turn 3 the cars started to sring out. Dave Murray leads Joe Silvia, Gordon Gimble, Steve McCarley and Mike Camicia. Dave would catch the front runners in the Vintage field, Joe would blow an engine, Gordon would have a flat tire and Steve and Mike would battle it out to the finish for third place in the Late Model Class. Mike won but not by much. It was great racing!
Don Plyman brought home the bacon with this 1970 Boss 302. He took the Vintage and overall win. However, Dave Murray in his white #9 was right there for the Late Model win and with another couple of laps, who knows what might have happened!
Steve McCarley brings the #46 Cobra R home to a 4th place finish in the Late Model class.
Despite fighting with a leaking rear main seal and slipping clutch, George finished the race and took the checkered flag in the #904.
Tim had no problem putting the pedal to the metal and did a little "agricultural driving", as we've come to call it. "Well, I guess I had better get some racing tires before October!", Tim told me. Don't feel bad, Tim. I've done the same thing with race tires. This is just what happens when you run out of track. Tim's car was a rocket hitting over 135 m.p.h down the front straight!
About 2:30pm, we saw a cloud of dust and noticed that Tim didn't come around the track when he was susposed to. Yep. The cloud of dust was Tim, running off the track at turn 15. This is a tough turn that you can get going way too fast for and end up doing exactly what Tim did. And, just so you don't get the wrong idea, Tim wasn't the only one who was off in turn 15 over the weekend. There was a Cobra, another Mustang, and almost, me. Sure made me pucker! That turn looks so easy but is really so hard! Especially if you're going too fast. Anyway, when Tim got back to the pits, he cleaned the car and was ready to go again! We were all very proud of him! It's like the old saying, if the horse bucks you off, get right back on an ride it again. Tim did! Later at the Banquet, I thought about nominating him for the Big Wheel award.You know. Tim wins the Best Paint Award at the car show and then spins it through the infield the next day. Now, you have to admit, that's kind of like mayonnaise on a hot dog; they just don't go together. He'd have been a shoe-in!
We left the track at 5pm and went back to the hotel and got showers. Then, we went to the Saturday Night Banquet and had a wonderful meal. Nor Cal really had a great buffet and the raffle prizes were great! The best one, as far as an item is concerned, was a new 42" plasma TV! The best as far as a car guy is concerned, was a ride in the Flip Top Cobra! While we didn't win these prizes, there is an additional story to tell about the Flip Top ride that happened on Sunday. Randy, Bill and Adam all won raffle prizes while Gordon Gimble won the Big Wheel award for running over his own muffler bracket that ended his race. All in all, it was a wonderful time but there was more! We got out of the banquet before dark so everyone who wanted to could go to the fire works display in the park! So, while most of our group went to see the fireworks in the park, Steve, Adam and I went back to my room and watched the Late Model Race on my laptop. If you go to the Mustangs Plus website at www.mustangsplus.com, you can ride along with Steve as he ran the race. Wow! This was a great day but I was ready to hit the sack. Just as I did, the fireworks started! Happy 4th of July, America!
Next: Day 4 - Sunday, July 5th, 2009 >