Text by Ron Bramlett
Photos by Ron Bramlett and Head-On Photos
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At 6am, we met for breakfast in the lobby of our hotel. Brian Stemen, Mustangs Plus' Sales Manager, had arrived with his family late Thursday night. You see, his boss, one of those real slave drivers of a boss I've been told, made him work all day so he couldn't leave for the track until after he got off of work. So, he slept in, not much, but a little on Friday morning. The rest of us were out at the track by 7am and the first one's in. Friday was going to be a terrific day! Open track driving in the morning and the car show in the afternoon!
After Brian got to the track, we got the #70 Bondurant Mustang teched and ready for action. Steve McCarley drove the #46 1995 Cobra R ISMA Mustang. This Cobra R was owned and raced by actor Jason Priestley and has a lot of cool race history at tracks all over the USA and Canada. Ron Jr. drove his #04 1966 Mustang Coupe to the Thunderhill, changed tires, ran the crap out of it all weekend. Then he changed back to his street tires and drove it the 125 miles back home to Morada. Mine and Cindy's home, that is. Remember, Ron Jr. and Susan live in Indiana. He gets to drive his Mustang 3 to 4 times a year when they come visit. Pretty smart, huh? We know he and Susan will come always come home, if not to see us, then to drive his Mustang!
George Galoosis brought the #904 Mustang Coupe to run and last but not least, Bill Faull and I shared the driving duties on the #70 Bondurant Mustang. We all had a wonderful time! The only drawback was that since this was technically a Friday Test Day at Thunderhill, there were no passengers allowed. But. this didn't stop us from having a great time out on the track!
The open track started around 9am and finished at noon. Since there were only 2 run groups that were approximately 20 minutes each, there was a lot of track time! With the exception of a blown motor by Dave Lewellen of Weinerdog fame, the morning was pretty uneventful. We ran until noon and then waited for the racecar parade into town from Thunderhill for the car show and BBQ in the park. The day was just about to get even better! We lined up for the drive into town and here came Dean and Race Cofer with their #329 Bondurant Mustang. Our group was growing and growing!
After the morning track sessions, we all lined up for the police escort into town. This included street cars and racecars that are never supposed to be driven on the street! What a cool idea!
At 2pm, the California High Patrol and Willows Police Department led a string of loud, noisy racecars from the race track onto the highway for the 7 mile drive into town. It was a fun 7 miles as I rode in with Ron Jr. in his #04 Mustang Coupe. Ah, a little father & son time together. I really enjoyed that. Since Ron and Susan moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, we don't get that time together very often so I really enjoyed it.
Once we got into town, the Willows Police had a policeman at every intersection waving us through as they held traffic. At some places, people lined the street to see the cars. Shops and small business had people come out to see what all the noise was about. It was really cool! As we approached the park, people got out of the public swimming pool and stood with their faces up against the chain link fence watching the cars go by. They yelled at us and loved it when someone would stick the clutch in and rev-up the engine!
Our police escort into town was cool! I rode into town with Ron Jr. in his Mustang. The Flip Top Cobra was the first car and we were the 5th. We could hear it all the way into town, it was so loud! But, it was music to our ears. It was a very cool experience!
As the cars filled the show field, we headed for the tables under the trees to relax and get out of the 90 degree heat. The kids all went and played in the sand box, on the swings or went swimming in the pool. We voted for our favorite cars and the awards were handed out before we left. Nor Cal has it down pat!
We placed the cars on the grass and got a table for our group. Brian's son and daughter, Tyler and Kylee, fell asleep in the back seat of the #70 Bondurant Mustang on the way in. They were draped over the roll bar in awkward positions but still asleep! Shortly after Brian parked the car, they were wide awake again, ready to play in the park and go swimming in the pool. We spent the rest of the day with our families, some of which went swimming, some of which ate too much and all of which had a great time.
Since this was a car show, there were trophies. Four to be exact. Tim Riley brought his 1967 Restomod Mustang to Mini Nats (see the article on Tim's Restomod Mustang in this issue) and was awarded the trophy for Best Paint at the show. Since Tim's Restomod Mustang was built at The Restomod Shop, Tim's win made all of feel proud, too. Tim's entire family came to Mini Nats and had a wonderful time. More on Tim later as there's much more to tell! Much more!
Mustangs Plus Parts Manager Brian Stemen and his wife, Carolyne, drove the #70 Bondurant Mustang to the show. Their children, Tyler and Kylee, fell asleep with their arms and legs tangled up in the roll bar! I wish I could fall asleep that easily!
At 7pm, the CHP and Willows Police again blocked off the streets and escorted all of us back to the track. After putting everything away for the night, we all headed back into town. All of the kids were beat. Steve, Bill, George and I went to the Nor Cal Hospitality Room at the host hotel to hang out for awhile. We tried to talk Nor Cal into applying for a Mustang Club of America charter but I have my doubts it did any good. About 9pm, we headed back to our hotel and crashed. All in all, it was a great day, great people and a lot of fun! Thanks to all who made it possible!
Next: Day 3 - Saturday, July 4th, 2009 >