The 2005 American Car World Nationals

Shakespeare County Raceway
14th & 15th May 2005

Pictures and words by Richard Stirling

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The American Car World meeting at Shakespeare County Raceway over the weekend of  14th & 15 May was a great success. The weather was simply smashing – bright sunshine, not humid and relatively cool air – I love this time of year.

Taking centre stage at the meeting were the Outlaw Anglias, with the championship contenders vying for position and aiming for that elusive 7 second pass. Paul Wright gave notice during the week that he was going to be “be stamping down on anti-social behavior in the Outlaw Anglia ranks. The recent rise of "Hooliganism" (Mark Pointer) & the threat of "Gas Attacks" (Paul Hensher) will come to an end !”. Paul sounded a little like the American wrestler “The Rock” just then, but I’m sure he had his tongue in his cheek! The Outlaw Anglia racing would be fast and furious, that was for sure. Paul went on to crack his personal 7 second barrier with a run of 7.814 seconds at 175.97 mph, but was eliminated from competition a little later by a mystery misfire just as they were about to run. Much cursing was later heard when two plug leads were found to be the wrong way round… D’oh!

The Wild Bunch were also in attendance this weekend and the ever consistent reigning champion Tony Smith was back with his ‘Cunning Plan’ Mini van. He was up against a whole bunch of other entrants eager to put their finger prints on the trophy.  

I was only able to get over to SCR on Sunday and was disappointed to come across some sad happenings in the pits as I went for an early roam around. Debbie Hancox was substituting for her Dad Bob in his Ford Prefect with a view to joining ranks with the Outlaw Anglias for the weekend. Unfortunately, she was involved in a top-end accident on Saturday, in which the Prefect rolled over. Thank goodness she is okay, which is more than can be said for the car.

The Surrey Muscle car club was also in attendance and I must say that I was most impressed with their selection of heavy metal. There were a couple of Oldsmobile 442’s which were making a bid for the skies and running very nicely indeed. I have a real soft spot for Olds 442’s, as I can clearly recall the American TV Advertisement as a youngster: “(Lady holds up 4 fingers) 4 Barrel Carburetor, (4 Fingers) 4 on the floor stick-shift and (Two fingers) Dual Exhaust”.

As I wondered around the pits, I came across the superb Dodge Challenger of Cath and Tig Napier. I enjoyed a super cup of tea there (thanks guys!) and took the opportunity of taking a closer look at this 528ci monster. Over the weekend, it had been ‘all over the place’ down track, but I must confess that the runs I saw were preceded by supremely smoky burnout and stout, straight launches. What will it go like with the rumored mountain motor squeezed under the hood (next year), who alone knows.

I’m a great fan of monthly street/strip magazines such as American Car World (Street Machine) and Custom Car. Custom Car’s drag racing contributor is the decorated photo-journalist Mark Gredsinski and he is routinely seen at most meetings at SCR and Santa Pod. When I arrived on Sunday, Mark was nowhere to be seen and I just thought he had other plans for the day. Well, it turned out it was the day that had other plans for him! Mark set off for the track in the morning only to discover that his normal route by public transport was scuppered and that his only means of getting to the track was to ride his trusty pushbike the entire 40-odd mile journey!! He deserves a gold medal for pure determination! A willing volunteer did offer to avoid any increase in the saddle sores department with a lift home at the end of the meeting.

Steve Pateman brought his street legal Calibra to SCR to have a go at the £500 for the fastest street legal car competition that was being posted by the organisers, this weekend. He arrived on his trailer fairly late in the morning, made a pass at 8.74 seconds at 172mph and collected his £500. Good work if you can get it.

Johnny Hall of B & J Nostalgia fame, was also in attendance with his superb nitro slingshot dragster. The team were determined to get a ‘full pull’ pass down the track to explore the potential of the superb setup. I really enjoyed the two runs on Sunday, though the first was aborted after losing fire after a sizzlingly long burnout. No harm was done and after another huge burnout, Johnny launched the slingshot to the heavens and kept his boot in all the way down, even though there was lots of wobbliness at the top end of the strip and Johnny took out the end markers. It certainly sounded and looked like it would have been a low 7 second pass if it had stayed in lane. I was a little disappointed after I saw the pictures I took of Johnny’s launch. They  were stupidly taken straight into the sun (D’oh!) and consequently have far too much contrast. Never mind.

Have a look at the picture gallery and you can judge for yourself.

I would like to thank Lee Child, Jerry Cookson, Tracy and everyone at Shakespeare County Raceway for their continued support.

Thank you for reading this report. If you would like to have a look at the picture gallery, please click here otherwise, thanks for visiting and we look forward to seeing you again soon.


Soundbyte 1 - Frank Griffin's Mental burnout - all over the place!

Soundbyte 2 - Johnny Halls Nostalgia Dragster

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