Text by Ron Bramlett
Photos by Ron Bramlett and Head-On Photos
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Again, we met at 6am for breakfast. This time we checked out of our rooms and headed to the track for the final day. I didn't know it then, but it would be an interesting day! We went to the drivers meeting and afterwards, started giving rides. I tell you, we burned up one of my credit cards putting gas in the cars to the point that they tried to call Cindy, who was back home. When they couldn't get her on the phone, they quit authorizing the sales and I had to go to another card! But, even that didn't stop us from running the cars. We got people in and got people out. It seemed that there was always someone ready for a ride although we did send the cars out without passengers a couple of times.
From the left, Dean, Steve, Cathy, Elizabeth and Race all wait for the food at the Saturday Night Banquet. Mike Camicia was the MC for the night and did a great job of keeping our mind off how hungry we were with lines like, "Women call it an oven but what do men call it? A paint baker!" Yes, he's right...
Sorry for the picture being so dark but against a black background it was the best I could do. Part of winning the big wheel is that you have to ride it. Gordon rode it and then got stuck in it! Well, he'll have it until next Mini Nats when someone else, hopefully, will win it!
A few minutes into the first run, a young man of 10 or so came up with his mother in tow and asked if we wanted to buy a raffle ticket. Of course, we asked what for. He explained that he had won a ride in the Flip Top Cobra and told us that he was re-raffling off his ride for a dollar a ticket. Bill bought one and so did a couple of others in our group. I got out my wallet and bought ten tickets. On each one, I wrote one of our names. Ron Sr., Ron Jr., Bill, Brian, etc. until all the tickets had a name on them. Later, Bill won the ride in the Flip top Cobra. I don't know if it was the ticket he bought or the one I put his name on; but he won the ride! It's just as well; most of us wouldn't have fit into the Flip Top and would have had to given the ride to Bill anyway!
Bill Faull, Mustangs Plus Store Manager, was lucky and won a ride in the Flip Top Cobra on Sunday afternoon. Here he is taking his ride with Brian and George in hot pursuit. That pursuit lasted just until the next straight part of the track!
Just before lunch, Adam took his #75 Bondurant Mustang out with Ron Jr. as a passenger. In just a couple of laps, Adam was sitting off the track on one of the access roads. The power steering had gone away. After the session was over, he limped the car back to the pits with a shredded serpentine belt. One of the other cars had dropped a muffler baffle, After the car in front of Adam hit it, he straddled it. It bounced up under the car and cut the belt which shredded completely in just a few turns.
We now had the job of going into Willows and finding an auto parts store open that had a serpentine belt that would fit Adam's hot rod. This did not happen as all the auto parts stores in Willows was closed. So, we went to WalMart on the chance that they might have one. They didn't. But, the staff there called all over the place for us and finally found one in Orland, about 20 miles North of Willows. So off we went! When we returned, we had the wrong belt. It was correct for the 2001 Mustang, but it was the wrong one because of all the changes made at Roush where the Boundurat Mustangs were built. So, we had to take the belt off of the #70 and take it with us to match it up with what they had in stock. It was lunch time when we left and they were going to run the Ladies Race at one o'clock.
The way I had it figured, we had plenty of time to get to Orland, get the belt if they had it in stock, get back to the track and put it on the car before the next session. Now, we all know that things don't always go the way you plan them, right? Well, in this case, it did! Adam and I were back at the track with the right belt, we put the belt back on the #70 and neither car missed a session! Of course if Dean and Steve hadn't helped us figure out exactly how the serpentine belt went back on the #70 and if Anna Lewellen hadn't blown up the engine in her Saleen Mustang during the Ladies Race, it would have been a different story! As a little side note here, if there's two people that I feel for, it's the Lewellen's. They put a lot of work into the Mini Nats and then blow up two engines! Talk about an expense weekend. Anyway, thanks to both of them for all their hard work and I hope they have better luck at Mini Nats XXVII.
It was on the next corner that Adam's power steering went away on the #75 Bondurant Mustang. At the time, he didn't realize that the object he had hit and that had banged around under the car had actually hit the serpentine belt, causing it to shred to pieces. In fact, if you look closely, you can see part of the belt under the #75 between the right front tire and left rear tire!
The Mustang Club of America had it's booth right there at the Mustangs Plus pits. MCA President Steve McCarley and National Board of Director member Elizabeth Cofer were present to answer all questions and sign up new members.
With this little bump in the road taken care of (considering what the Lewellen's went through!), we ran the cars the rest of the day until they kicked us off the track a little after 4pm. But, by that time, there was only a handful of cars wanting to run. So, we packed up and headed for home, another Mini Nats behind us. But, you know what? As we were packing to go home, we were all talking about going to Thunderhill in October for the fall event. Want to come and go with us?
- Ron Bramlett Sr.
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