What's the weather report from Ford Nationals?

A Happy Father's Day! Feels like you want to go down the track with him.

Race results included.

NORWALK, Ohio – Hey weatherman, it's not rain. That's a Ford cloud hanging over the McCleod NMRA Ford Nationals June 14-16, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

We could tell because every time they prepped the track, the cloud lifted.

Ford lovers filled the Park with fabulous race cars, and their hearty, generous smokey burnouts created the cloud followed by win lights all weekend.

Was that partly to honor McCleod Clutches for sponsoring the event?

Anyway, only one smokey burnout photo turned out okay because in the other photos, all you could see was smoke: No car, no kidding!

We're grateful the lone survivor captured Phil Hines, Lebanon, Ohio in his brassy 2001 Mustang with a Ford 423 engine working the track for his AFCO Street Outlaw victory!

That heads-up pony delivered a low elapsed time of 7.301 seconds; while John Urist, Albuquerque, N.M. slammed a top speed of 195 mph in his 1993 Mustang.

Grove Scott's 1984 Mustang.Through the weekend the Edelbrock Renegade class sizzled the track every pass, trying to catch class leader Adam Arndt, Orefield, Pa., who finessed his 1988 Mustang with a Ford 310 engine to a number 1 qualifying position, a low elapsed time of 8.365 and a top speed of 163 mph.

But Adam Arndt's round one eliminations break at the starting line flipped the win to Tim Matherly, Winder, Ga., in a 2010 Mustang with a Ford 281 cu. in. engine.

In the final round, Brian Mitchell, Chadds Ford, Pa., plied his 2004 Cobra to an Edelbrock Renegade victory over Grove Scott, Albion, Ind., who seemed to take the scenic route on a Sunday afternoon in his 1984 Mustang.

The new Granatelli 5.0 L Shootout set Chris Cruz, Hammonton, N.J. in a 2011 Mustang on a chase from the tree, but Nelson Whilock, Wilmington, Del. roared away for the win in his 2013 Mustang.

Nelson Whilock logged a 0.080-second reaction time and 8.517-second elapsed time at 161 mph, compared with Chris Cruz's package at a 0.111-second reaction time, 8.862-second elapsed time and 160 mph.

Strange Coyote Stock dumped drama on the mix in the final round as number 5 qualifier Joe Marini, Clinton, Md., kicked his 2011 Mustang hard off the tree with a 0.014-second reaction time to go for a hole shot against number 1 qualifier Shane Stymeist, Waynesboro, Pa., launching a 1990 Mustang in 0.060 seconds.

But Shane Stymeist won the long run in the lanes, besting Joe Marini by 0.139 seconds for a package at 0.093 seconds faster for the Strange Coyote Stock win.

Bob Cochran, Columbus, Ohio staged an F1 flatbed.Nitto Factory Stock sifted number 1 qualifier Matt Amrine, Batavia, Ohio in a 1998 Mustang to the top, ending with a final round elapsed time gem of 10.945 seconds over 11.338 seconds by Matthew Williams, Long Branch, N.J. In a 1985 Mustang.

Celebrating 25 years of publishing, Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords magazine sponsored a first All-female True Street and an eight-car Female Quick Shootout presented by Royal Purple.

Donna Million, Manchester, Tenn. mashed a 1991 Mustang off the tree in 0.359 seconds and down the lane in 8.896 seconds at 157 mph for the win over Tracy Keller, San Antonio, Texas in a 2012 Cobra Jet with a 0.713-second reaction time, a 10.202-second elapsed time and 139 mph.

A red-light gift decided Exedy Modular Muscle, and Reggie Burnette Jr., Holly Springs, N.C., benefited from the generosity of Gary Parker, Villa Roca, Ga.

Flex-a-lite Open Comp proves anything can happen in drag racing.

Number 10 qualifier James Johnson Jr., Inkster, Mich., tooled the track in a 1992 Mustang GT with a win light in his lane on a red-light by -0.003 seconds by number 13 qualifier Woody Pack, Independence, Va. in a 1966 Mustang.

Reggie Burnette Jr.'s 2000 Mustang won Exedy Modular Muscle.Ya gotta love Detroit Locker Truck, and Johnny Lightning's 8.55-second, 156 mph, 1999 Lightning. My little Dakota broke just thinking about it.

In the final round number 7 qualifier Steve Martin, Dorchester, Ontario, Canada hauled home the Detroit Locker Truck win on a package 0.042 seconds better than number 6 qualifier Robert Chuhran, Wixom, Mich.

Larry Firestone took care of business in Roush Super Stang, bagging the number 1 qualifying position as well as the event win.

In the final round, Larry Firestone, Leesburg, Ind. nudged his 2008 Mustang up to the line next to a 2013 Mustang of number 4 qualifier Diallo Walcott, Baltimore, Md., but the 2013 broke.

For bracket racing, Aeromotive Fast Ford pitted a 2004 LPW dragsterFathers' Day with Grandpa. against a 1988 Mustang. The dragster won, this time.

Ronald Mendenhall, Blistolville, Ohio presented a red-light gift at the tree by -0.011 seconds to Josh Rietschg, Indiana, Pa. in the dragster.

Aeromotive Quick Ford staged a final round between Gary Sterley, North Olmsted, Ohio in a 1989 Mustang and Terry Crippen, North Ridgeville, Ohio in a 1973 Pinto wagon. Terry Crippen broke out by 0.001 second, sticking the win light in Gary Serley's lane.

Finessing the dial.Aeromotive Street Ford lined up the final round fun with a 2003 Mach I Mustang with a Ford 281 engine against a 1984 Mustang with a Ford 351 engine. Who would you root for?

In this contest, Mark Colombini, Orient, Ohio and his Mach I lost the battle at the tree by a ten-times margin: 0.231 seconds to 0.032 seconds for Don Kinney, Scotts, Mich. and his 1984 Mustang.

At the finish line, Mark Colombini crossed on his 11.81 dial with a five; Don Kinney broke out by 0.024 second, sealing the win for Mark Colombini and the Mach I.

Aeromotive Nostalgia Ford gathered some sweet honey race cars: Mach I, Mustangs, Fairlanes and a Thunderbolt.

The final round served double trouble: Two 1966 Mustangs slammed the tree and both crossed the finish at 116 mph, deciding the contest on a double breakout.

Gary Johnson accepted the win light, breaking out by 0.002 second compared with Shane Priddy, LaCarne, Ohio, who broke out by 0.080 second.

For RACE RESULTS from the McLeod Steve Fleming, Wellington, Ohio with his 1955 F100.NMRA Ford Nationals June 14-16, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, click on: Fabulous Ford weekend!

Ford Nationals families enjoyed together time between races on Fathers' Day at Summit Motorsports Park, buying gifts and treats at the track.

Matt Keiser, Cambridge City, Ind. works as a manufacturing engineer at Autocar, in Hagerstown, Ind. Autocar builds class 8 trucks that become street sweepers and garbage trucks.

While Matt's wife, Charla Keiser, shopped at Quarter Mile Clothing Company, Matt and their son, Adam, eight, waited outside. Their family rounds out with Adam's older brother, Garrett, 12.

Matt Keiser raced a bright red 1969 Mercury Cougar in Aeromotive Quick Ford, usually notching 14.5s.

“It's a street car,” Matt Keiser said. “We love coming here. We have been ford racers for a long, long time. We were so excited to come back here.”

Keiser together time.On Saturday Matt's father, Duane Keiser, Hagerstown, Ind. won the 14-second category in True Street in a bright red 1997 Mustang Cobra convertible.

“My uncle and cousin are here with me today, Melvin and Mike Moistner, from Cambridge City as well,” Matt Keiser said. “Melvin and my mom are brother and sister. We live close to each other. We play together. We vacation together. These are our vacations.”

Jim and Luke Lombardi, Centerburg, Ohio shared father and son time together on a bench while Luke's mom, Kathy Lombardi, shopped.

“This is kind of a first celebrating Father's Day at the races,” Jim Lombardi said. “We brought her car.”

On Saturday Kathy Lombardi competed in the All-female Shootout; and on Sunday, the Aeromotive Street Ford class in a blue 2001 Mustang with a 4.6 L. engine.

“I've been racing street cars for 20 years,” Kathy Lombardi said, adding her home track is National Trails. “I'm here with my dad, Richard Colombini. He's racing a 2012 GT Mustang. Yesterday he was in True Street. He's bracket racing today.”

“I've been racing 57 years,” said Richard Colombini, Westerville, Ohio, adding he found Fathers' Day at the track enjoyable. “I love it. It's a family deal and we're all here.”

In fact Richard Colombini, Kathy Lombardi, and Kathy's brother, Mark Colombini, Orient, Ohio mashed gas in Aeromotive Street Ford together, though not against each other this time.

Mark ColombiniFathers' Day family fun at the Ford Nationals! won the race in a 2003 Mach I Mustang, with his fiance, Kathy Bennett, Orient, Ohio, by his side.

As the Colombinis posed for a family portrait in front of the Throttle Town Grille, Richard Colombini called to his friend, Gary Brewer, Tampa, Fla., whose 42 years of racing most recently included a 1970 Mustang Cobra.

“He's family whether he wants to be or not,” Richard Colombini said.

Norfolk and Southern family, that is.

“We worked on the railroad together,” Gary Brewer said. “We were roommates for eight to 10 years. Then they moved our home terminal to Sandusky. That was too far for me, so I left. He still commuted to Sandusky.

The Buffingtons shared Velvet Ice Cream favorite flavors.Win or lose, fathers and sons sampled Velvet Ice Cream all weekend in search of the best flavor at a pound for a buck.

For Andrew Buffington, 8, chocolate topped the list. His dad, Kermit Buffington, 42, a diesel mechanic from Trenton, Ga. the butter pecan cashew eased a rough day in Strange Coyote Stock heads up, racing a Bimini blue 1992 Mustang.

“I red-lighted,” Kermit Buffington said. “We had some problems this weekend, so we have to go back and regroup. We've only been doing this two years. We raced Factory Stock last year. We changed classes this year.

“I've raced all my life,” Kermit Buffington said. “I was carried to the track when I was little like him. My brothers-in-law raced.”

In the staging lanes, Geary Bates, Wintersville, Ohio lined up with Aeromotive Nostalgia Fords in a red 1967 Fairlane.

“I started racing in 1957, married in 1961. My wife, Mary Kay, put up with me for 52 years. I started back in racing in 2003,” Geary Bates said. “I figured I'd spent the grandkids' inheritance. It's an itch you can never scratch.

“I own Bates Amusement, headquartered in Wintersville,” Geary Bates said. “We supply amusement rides for most of the county fairs in Ohio. Now the kids are running it, so I have time to play.”

The life's work started with a knack for a wrench.

Back in the '50s I worked on an old farm with a guy who did pony rides,” Geary Bates said. “I was a kid with some mechanical ability. I fixed his tractors and trucks. He bought some rides.

“About 1965 I bought an amusement ride, a Rocko Plane,” Geary Bates said. “By 1975 I owned it all.

“And there's plenty left for the grandkids.”Geary Bates left business with the kids so he can play.

A bright yellow 1955 F100 zipped the lanes in Aeromotive Street Ford with Steve Fleming behind the wheel.

“It's bone stock except for the color,” said Steve Fleming, Wellington, Ohio. “My neighbor restored this back in 1982, and I couldn't let it leave the neighborhood.”

Back to back race cars in Flex-a-lite Open Comp held Jon Pickering: That is, father Jon H. Pickering in a 1970 Maverick, and son Jon M. Pickering in a 1998 Mustang. Staging with them was Jon H. Pickering's wife, Louise, who not long ago raced a blue Pinto in street classes.

“I'm 75,” Jon H. Pickering said. “I started when I was 16.”

After his first black 1940 Ford, Jon H. Pickering worked on performance.

“The 1940 Ford had a flat head,” Jon H. Pickering said. “Back then I didn't do any suping up. The one I raced the most was a 1950 Ford I raced 25 years. I had four or five engines in that.

“I've got a Maverick now, with a big block Ford 557 cu. in. engine,” Jon H. Pickering said. It's purple and orange with a stripe down the side.”

Staging in the same class posed the possibility of a Jon H. Pickering and Jon M. Pickering.father-son showdown on Fathers' Day.

“Well I hope not,” Jon H. Pickering said. “Not 'till the finals. We've run each other in the final round before.”

Dad won both times.

Among the vehicles in Detroit Locker Truck, Bob Cochran, Columbus, Ohio staged a sweet honey of an F-1 flatbed 1948 Ford, which is Ford candy apple red with a yellow grill area and orange flames on the front and varnished wood rails.

“That was the earliest truck series before F100s,” Bob Cochran said. “It's a flatbed. It was originally a flatbed when it came from the factory. Of course it had a flathead motor in it when it came from the factory. Now it's got a 520 cu. in. V-8.

“I've owned it for about 45 years,” Bob Cochran said. “Restored it in '85. Normally it runs 11.50s, but it's broke this weekend. The torque converter is shot. I didn't have time to get a new one, so I came anyway.”

About eight years ago, Bob Cochran retired from over-the-road truck driving.

“I used to haul stuff all over the country,” Bob Cochran said. “I mainly ran on the East Coast, everything east of St. Louis, driving all kinds of semis, pulled big trailers, pulled doubles. For over 35 years of driving truck, I drove just about everything. I logged over three million miles accident free.”

He picked up the 1948 F-1 from a family farm in Kentucky.

“My brother, Billy, found it in a field in the early '60s. He drug it home,” Bob Cochran said. “He put another motor in it. I went down and got it. Awhile later I went down to the same farm in Kentucky and got the wood. The wood is probably 100 years old on the bed.”

Don Bowles' hot rod.


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