Huw Evans
October 1, 2006
Photos By: Francis Butler

16th Annual Buckeye State NationalsNorwalk Raceway Park, Norwalk, OH
July 7 - 9, 2006
After escaping the rain showers in Virginia, the Fun Ford clan headed north and west to Norwalk, OH to take residence at one of the finest dragstrip facilities in the US of A. And luckily for us, by July 7th, the wet weather had decided to move off, leaving us with a forecast that was hot and sunny, but also thanks to the close proximity of Lake Erie, a serious amount of humidity. Cars, especially ones that go very fast in a straight line, don't generally like heat and humidity very much, but still, our contingent of hardy racers did their very best despite the conditions.

Starting off with the quickest and arguably the loudest cars, we got down to the deeds with the Probe Industries Pro class. Two drivers really came to mind at the Buckeye Nats this year - David Schorr and Erica Ortiz. Schorr continues his assault on the class championship this year and at Norwalk, he further asserted his presence. He put down a 6.688 in qualifying to nail the number one spot, then on race day, made steady progression to the final round. Ortiz meanwhile, had been putting up a fight of her own and in the process, set a few records in Ohio. She became the first female driver to complete a full round of racing and then became the first to ever make it to a final. Here the old-school Fox T-bird-based car gave Schorr and his mountain motor ZX2 machine a serious challenge. Erica gave it all it was worth, launching the big T-bird and powering down the track to a best-ever 6.88. However, Schorr was just that little big quicker, crossing the line in 6.77 seconds. Still it was a fantastic performance from Ortiz.

Dan the 'Desert Eagle' Millen made the trip around Lake Erie for some quartermile thrashing at Norwalk. Cale Aronson was also in action, returning to Street Outlaw with a carburetted setup on his Kaase powered S197 'Boss 698.' In qualifying, Millen set the best time, with a 6.989 at 207.15 mph! Hot on his tail was Tim Lynch, behind the wheel of Shane Barber's striking yellow New Edge car, with Aronson landing the number 3 spot. Out of the gate in Eliminations, Millen took out fourth place qualifier Brian Keller, when he blasted out a 7.105 to the '81 Fairmont driver's 7.94. On the other side, the twin-turbo terror Lynch got by Aronson, so that meant it was a final round grudge match between Dan and Tim. Lynch as usual, wasn't taking any prisoners and got the one up on Millen coming out of the hole, with a .044 light against Dan's .128. He started pulling away, but by the 300 foot mark, Millen had closed the gap and then began to pull ahead. Dan crossed the line in 6.989 seconds, Lynch in 7.150. A nail-biter, right to the end.

In Drag Radial there was only one car and it belonged to Chris Little. With a new turbocharged combination, Little only made one pass and it was an impressive 7.76.

Moving on to Street Renegade, points leader Ronnie Wilson decided to take time off. Oh he was at the event, but driving his black GT was Gina Wilson, which caused our photographer and I'm sure many others to do a double take. It took Gina a little while to get the hang of the Renegade car, but she got better with each run. Minnesotan Dan Schoneck appeared to be the main contender in the class and indeed bagged the pole with a very quick 7.784. However once Wilson got the hang of Ronnie's car - she started making serious progress, taking her to the final against the hard-charging Schoneck. Here, Dan's orange beast started having problems and got slower and slower, leaving Gina to cruise on by to victory lane with a 8.712.