Wild Street in St. Louis had a number of drivers eyeing up the trophy, including veteran Nick Yarber. However, things didn't go quite according to plan for Mr, Y; for although he caught a bye in the first round on Sunday, he couldn't quite match the allconquering progress of Mike Keenan who ended up bagging the quickest ET (7.568), fastest top speed (193.16 mph!) And the class win, when he beat out Mr Olsen with a deal sealing 8.741, against Olson's 9.695.
Over in the truck ranks, we had the Pro and Street Lightning classes to contend with. The fastest guys in Pro were running in the 8s and Oklahomans Justin Embrey and Jerry Skinner, both packing 370 cube motors in their first gen Lightnings put in some stellar times all weekend. However, this is another class were the key to ultimate victory lies in consistency, and Frank Formato, seemingly came out of nowhere, to challenge Skinner in the final. Frank, thanks to some steady driving behind the wheel of his '01 Lightning, came through when Jerry fouled at the tree. Formato's winning ET was a 11.160, his dial-in, a 10.89. When it came to Street Lightning it was the number 3 qualifier, Royal Palm Beach, FL resident Kevin Mac- Donald who bagged the class win. Dialedin with an 11.76; macdonald was bang on the money in round one with an 11.766 and then ran an 11.946 in the final against Jarret Bencie.
Modular Street, saw Michigan's Paul Svinicki, win the title when he put number 1 qualifier Mike Capitano on the trailer. Paul's brand-new '06 Mustang sported a 5.4 Triton motor and powered him to a 9.968 in the final (his dial-in was a 9.93 in case you're wondering).
In the Cobra and Diesel Challenge Classes we had some interesting developments. In the Snake class, Randy Wickenhauser with his blown '03 proved most consistent - he had a 10.88 dial-in and ticked off a low 11-second pass, a very high 10 second pass (against James 'Rat Fink' Rose) and then a winning 11.008 in the final against Ken Tingle.
In the Diesel truck ranks, Kinetic's Tim Olsen, behind the wheel of a brand new '06 Dualie was declared the winner, when he got the better of Al Cantrell. Olsen managed a .036 reaction time and 15.32 second ET, that on a 15.09 dial-in. Congratulations Tim, good on ya!
The above highlights just some of the intense racing that went on at GIR that weekend. Adjacent to the track on the far side, was a sizeable car show featuring in excess of 200 plus vehicles. There were Fords of all types, from classic '60s Mustangs, T-birds, Cougars, stock and modi- fied. One car that really caught our eyes was that belonging to Springfield, IL's George Lambert. At first glance it appeared to be a nice early Fox hatch with a set of rims. On closer inspection we realized it was actually a 2003 Cobra masquerading as its 1980 namesake. The drivetrain, dash, suspension, electronics - everything save for the sheetmetal was late-model supercharged snake. And he drives it everywhere. Very neat. We also had a chance to catch up with some old friends, make some new ones, and generally have a good time, the getting there notwithstanding.
It can often be very difficult to really sum up in a few paragraphs what the World Ford Challenge is actually like, but what we can say is that after having been to this one, we are looking forward to the next. And if you haven't been to one of these events, mark your calendars, because next year's is the 10th running of the WFC and a very special occasion. George Gonzalezs and his staff put on one impressive, well organized and fun event and if you're into Ford and Ford powered vehicles of any persuasion, you owe it to yourself to be there. As far as we're concerned our plans for the '07 event are already in place. We'll see you then.