- Published on Monday, 05 August 2013 20:08
Rick Cole Jr. hailed as 2013 Chief of the Pontiacs!
NORWALK, Ohio – Send the smokey burnout signals across the land: Rick Cole Jr. reigns as the 2013 1-A Auto Chief of the Pontiacs!
Boom, pom, pom, pom. Boom, pom, pom, pom.
Rick Cole Jr., 33, LaGrange, Ohio, climbed through the ranks to win Super Duty Promotions Pro on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at the 22nd Annual Ames Performance Tri Power Pontiac Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
In the bid for 1-A Auto Chief of the Pontiacs, the Ames Performance Tri Power Pontiac Nationals races three classes each on Saturday and Sunday:
* Tin Indian Performance Street – Saturday winner, Michael McCarty, Davidsburg, Mich., 1963 LeMans; and Sunday, Joe Childs Jr., Bellville, Ohio, Firebird.
* Super Duty Promotions Pro – Saturday, Jason Fleenor, Port Clinton, Ohio, 1981 Firebird; and Sunday, Rick Cole Jr., LaGrange, Ohio, 1982 Firebird.
* allpontiac.com Super Pro – Saturday, Erik Wiegand, White Plains, Md., 1964 GTO; and Sunday, Ron Baisden Jr., Hilliard, Ohio, 1977 Trans Am.
Those six winners battled Sunday in a runoff for the 1-A Auto Chief of the Pontiacs title.
In the final round of the 1-A Auto Chief of the Pontiacs runoff, Rick Cole Jr. defeated by a margin of 0.009 second Ron Baisden Jr., 22, Hilliard, Ohio.
As a result, during the 2014 Pontiac Nationals, Rick Cole Jr. receives the highest racing honor with a parade through the pits, a starting line interview, and a custom leather jacket only awarded to a 1-A Auto Chief of the Pontiacs.
Rick Cole Jr. also celebrated a personal milestone on Saturday.
“How does this feel for a birthday present for you?” asked announcer Evan Bader in a Sunday Winner's Circle interview.
“Pretty good,” Rick Cole Jr. said, then took the Winner's Circle splash.
As an 11 year old, Rick Cole Jr. first climbed into a Junior Dragster. Also, he won the 2007 Chief of the Pontiacs in the same car, a 1982 Firebird, his ride for 17 years.
“It's the first door car out of the Juniors,” Rick Cole Jr. said. “I graduated from Juniors into that car. My other car is a '65 Nova. I race the Nova most of the time.”
Ron Baisden Jr., who on Saturday worked a 12-hour shift at a Honda parts supplier making lower dashboards and firewalls for Honda CRVs, said he raced all day on zero sleep, but he can handle it.
“This ain't my first rodeo,” Ron Baisden Jr. said, adding the yellow with orange-red flames 1977 Trans Am he's owned for four months logged an Indianapolis bracket finals win in 2003, too.
“My dad crashed his car in April at National Trails, so I gave him back mine, it was a 1977 LeMans,” Ron Baisden Jr. said. “It looked like a 'Smokey and the Bandit' cop car. It's electric current red. We took the motor out of the red car and put it in this car. I've only raced it nine times.”
In the Sunday final round of allpontiac.com Super Pro, Ron Baisden Jr. met a nemesis.
“I finally beat Lou Greco, and that's what matters,” Ron Baisden Jr. said. “He beat me three times in a row at this race. And he beat me at the Ten Grander.”
Meanwhile Lou Greco, Edinburg, Pa., piloted his black Advanced Auto Parts 1970 Judge to back to back final rounds in allpontiac.com Super Pro, finishing runner-up in both.
Ron Baisden Jr. said that since the tsunami in Japan, his manufacturing plant works mandatory 12-hour shifts on Saturdays, which road blocks his racing passion. Still, he tries to motor up to Summit Motorsports Park about three or four times a year.
“I want to come back to the Ten Grander,” Ron Baisden Jr. said, “and get another race car. I want to get my girlfriend racing. I'll get her a little Mustang. That's what she wants.”
In other Sunday track action, Sal Nuciflora, East Hampton, Conn., mashed his 2001 Firehawk 10th Anniversary to a Firehawk Shootout victory on a red light gift by Bradley Mentzer, Toledo, Ohio, in a 1995 Firehawk.
In the KRE Quick 16, John Hill, Southside, West Virginia, doubled up with a Quick 16 win as well as with Best Appearing Race Car honors in a black with orange flames 1952 Pontiac.
The '52 Pontiac's 541 cu. in. 1-A big block engine gives it some scoot, making about 1,000 horsepower on elapsed times hovering in the 8.25 second range and 160 mph, he said.
In the final round of the KRE Quick 16, John Hill received a red light gift from Eric Vogl, Timmins, Ontario, Canada, in a 1967 Firebird.
“I race every Saturday,” John Hill said. “If it isn't raining, I'm racing.”
The snazzy '52 Pontiac lines up in bracket races now.
“I bought it last September,” John Hill said. “This is the first year I ran it.”
A maintenance technician in an automotive parts plant, John Hill stoked his racing habit for decades.
“I had a '64 GTO about four years,” John Hill said. “Before that, a '67 Firebird for about five years; before that, I raced a '79 Trans Am for a long time, 14 or 15 years. I'm one of the speed junkies. I'm happy whenever I'm going fast.”
The Ames Performance Car Show attracted participants from as far away as East Wenatchee, Washington. Alan and Larry Witte won the longest distance with 2,408 miles, but also won first place in the Super Duty Authentic 1962 and 1963 Stock Appearing class with a 1963 Catalina SD Swiss Cheese hardtop.
Best of Class winners include:
* Firebird and Trans Am, Chris Sutter, North Royalton, Ohio, 1967 Firebird.
* Open, Bill Miller, Columbus, Ohio, 1964 LeMans convertible.
* Full Size, Kevin Haines, Brecksville, Ohio, 1965 Catalina Safari Wagon.
* GTO Judge, Denny and Pat Kloha, Clio, Mich., 1967 GTO.
* Grand Prix, John Hilson, Pittsburgh, Pa., 2002 Grand Prix 40th Anniversary.
Also, the Ames Performance Tri Power Pontiac Nationals attracts serious swappers.
Jeff Sherman and his son, Douglass Sherman, 15, Owosso, Mich., carted their swap meet wares three hours to set up shop in Jeff Sherman's 20th Pontiac Nationals.
“It's my hobby,” Jeff Sherman said. “I work full time for a Catholic Church in maintenance. When I was little we used to go to flea markets all the time. I loved them. When I was older, my dad used to bring me down here.
“I told my dad I was going to get a swap meet spot, and I did, and I sold everything I brought,” Jeff Sherman said. “I've been doing it ever since. I make it into a vacation to make it fun for him. We come down from Thursday to Monday. We're always the last to pack up.”
Even though Jeff Sherman owns a 1976 Trans Am and a 1966 Grand Prix, he doesn't race.
“I respect them,” Jeff Sherman said. “I love to watch them.”
As Douglass Sherman's 16th birthday nears, they're fixing up a plum mist 1967 Catalina with a black interior for him.
No way will the Catalina be Douglass's daily driver, he said. It's a fair weather, fun day car.
Recalling a stormy start to his sixth Pontiac Nationals, Douglass said next year he's coming back for his seventh.
“It's worth it, even when it rains.”
For RACE RESULTS from the 22nd Annual Ames Performance Tri Power Pontiac Nationals August 2-4, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, click on: This is the prowess!
Car show results can be found here.