Modified Mustangs & Fords
2011 Mid-America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals - Mustangs Run Free
On track or in the field, the Mid-America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals has something for every Mustang enthusiast
It has been 37 years since Jim Wicks first put together a simple meeting of Mustang enthusiasts in his backyard in Oklahoma City. As time marched on, so did the event, growing from a single day, to what has become a five-day event that covers everything a Ford and Mustang owner could want: road racing, dragstrip action, a cruise night, and a car show. This just isn’t any old car show, this is an all-Ford experience, where you can bring your car and enjoy it for what it was intended—speed.
For the uninitiated, this event is held in three locations throughout Northeastern Oklahoma in the middle of June. The first three days of the show take place mainly at Hallett Racing Circuit. This is a serious road course that is easy to learn for the novice, but challenging enough to keep the experienced driver on his/her toes.
Mustang Club of America past president Steve McCarley told us, “What is so great about this track is that it has all the elements of a great course: elevation changes, complex turns, and two nice straights—you can really get a workout driving this track.” We had a chance to take a few laps with Steve at the wheel and again with Steve guiding us along in the passenger seat; this is a really fun course that helps you hone your skills behind the wheel.
Ford Motor Company was on hand with the new Boss 302 and Boss 302 Laguna Seca, and a few lucky spectators were given a serious thrill ride around the track with Steve at the wheel. More than one passenger got out of the Boss with an ear-to-ear grin.
Thursday night at Mid-America means the big cruise. Starting at the host hotel (Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa), the more than 1/2-mile-long line of Mustangs, Shelbys, and Fords cruised to the downtown Tulsa Brady Arts district for a cruise-in. The entire length of the cruise was chaperoned by 30 or so police escorts, which closed off side roads so the caravan could bypass signal lights and stop signs. There is nothing quite as satisfying as running a light in a Shelby with a cop watching and waving as you speed by.
Shelby American had its latest offering, the GTS, which is the new entry-level Shelby. Starting life as a new V-6 Mustang, this post-title package is very close to what the original G.T. 350 was all about—taking a well-balanced car and upgrading the brakes, suspension, and looks. Driving this car around the track showed that the 305hp V-6, coupled with the new suspension, has the goods to be a really fun street car. With some track tires, this car would be tough to beat in its class.
On Saturday, the dragstrip opens up for some straight-line action. What is always interesting is that many of the same cars that spend three days on the track at Hallett also make the trip to Tulsa for a few quarter-mile blasts at Tulsa Raceway Park. There were even a few more “utilitarian” cars running the ’strip, like a Ford Fusion that ran in the Powderpuff class. Since this is a bracket race, you don’t have to have the fastest car, just a consistent one.
One more unique aspect of the Mid-America Ford and Team Shelby Nationals is the banquet. For just a few bucks, you can get a ticket for a great meal, door prizes, and a series of speeches from prominent members of the Ford and Mustang community. This year, Steve Ling, North American Car Marketing manager from Ford, gave the crowd a tour of what Ford has coming and where it is headed. Donald Farr, longtime editor of our sister publication, Mustang Monthly, was honored with the Mustang Lifetime Achievement Award, celebrating his long career as a Mustang enthusiast and journalist.
This event is unlike most other car shows. Instead of sitting around in a lawn chair, wiping trailer queens with a diaper, Mid-America encourages you to use your Ford, on the track, the ’strip, and cruising on the street. This is one Mustang event every enthusiast should experience at least once. Chances are you’ll be coming back for more. The 38th Mid-America event is scheduled for June 13-17, 2012. You can find more information at www.midamericafordmeet.com. Make your reservations now.
“The 38th Mid-America event is scheduled for June 13-17, 2012. You can find more information at www.midamericafordmeet.com. Make your reservations now.”