This is it, the third day and final day of the Ford Nationals at Carlisle. After the hectic, completely full days that were Friday and Saturday, I wasn’t sure what to expect for the closing hours of the Ford Nationals at Carlisle.
When I got to the gates, I was shocked to see just how many people had left…and how many were still there, sticking it out all the way to the end. So without further ado, here is my last update from the 2011 Ford Nationals.
10 AM: Autocross
I was honestly surprised to see that the autocross event was held only on the last day of the show, though that didn’t mean there was any shortage of willing participants. By far the most plentiful autocross competitors were from the Merkur Club of America, which had a whooping 109 members register for this years show. And no less than a half-dozen of them took their two-decades old cars to the autocross to give it whatfor, pushing their old cars to the limits before driving them hundreds of miles home.
Of course the Merkurs were not alone, as numerous Mustangs from the last twenty years also joined in the cone-crushing action, and the Ford Focus was well represented too (despite being wrong-wheel drive.) Alas, the only classics I saw hit the autocross track were three race-bred Pintos, and I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to get any action shots. But I’m still pretty impressed with the Pinto’s performance this year.
11 PM: The Hall of Kings
Ok, so I actually went and toured the Hall of Kings, a tribute to the Shelby GT500KR, yesterday. But I had so much to cover that I decided to put this off until today. Now, if you want to talk about high-dollar, impeccably restored Mustangs, the Hall of Kings is the place for you.
Not only were there many authentic classic GT500KR’s from back in the day, but there were also dozens of the modern GT500KR’s hanging outside the main building. There were literally millions of dollars of Mustangs in just this one parking lot. Now, if I was the owner of one of these Mustangs, I’m not sure I’d want all these people poking around…and yet these guys just left their cars out for all to see, even with the skies constantly threatening more rain. Big ups to these guys, and make sure you stop by the Hall of Kings at next year’s event.
12 PM: The Winner’s Field
While most people come to a car show just to show off their automobile, there are of course prizes to be handed out too, and with over a hundred trophies up for grabs, the winner’s showfield was packed with the premiere representatives of each of their groups. Mustangs, Mercurys, Mark VII Lincolns, Marauders, and many, many more were all these, eagerly awaiting their well-earned awards.
It is a true testament to the diversity of the Ford owners crowd when you can have a Focus sandwiched in between a rusty Merkur and a Concours-worthy GT500KR. The winners show field made up a bulk of the remaining participants though, as many people hightailed it home either last night or early this morning. But there were still enough people left for the final event….
1 PM: The Awards Parade
This is what the whole weekend came down to; after spending the morning in the winners showfield, everybody got in their cars and lined up to receive their just awards. And while many winners had already packed up camp and went home, there was still a formidable parade of show winners left over to make their way to the grandstands, and an eager crowd waiting to greet them. It was a nice sendoff for the winners, and a great end to a great weekend.
That just about covers it folks. This was my first time at the Ford Nationals, but it sure won’t be my last. From the amazing cars to the amazing people, every vehicle and every person had a story to tell. But before I sign off, I’ve got one more mini-feature for you.
Carlisle Mini-Feature: “Nasty03” 2003 Ford Mustang
With all the hype surrounding the new 5.0 Mustangs, it could be easy to overlook the hundreds of SN95 Mustangs that showed up for the Ford Nationals. But Karen Baum’s 2003 Mustangs, which I found in the winners’ show field, stuck out to me not just because it is so clean looking, but because I overheard Karen talking to a fellow Mustang compatriot, and let me tell you, this chick knows her Mustangs. It could be because her first car was a Mustang, and she has owned at least eight of them (though this is her first stick-shift.)
Indeed, Karen has done all of the bolt-on modifications herself (though she needed help with the headers, and with those wide 4.6 liter DOHC engines, I can understand why.) Among the many mods are 4:10 gears from Ford Racing, Brembo slotted rotters, a catback exhaust system, 70mm throttle body, and a host of suspension upgrades as well. To date, her best run down the drag strip has been a 13.01…so close, yet so far away from 12’s.
And while there were plenty of Mustangs with outrageous, attention-grabbing paintjobs (like the bright green Fox-body I profiled yesterday), the subtle ghost flames on Karen’s Mustang, inside and out, along with the skeletal running horse emblem, are excellent additions to this beautiful Mustang. Her upbeat attitude, knowledge of wrenching, and impeccable care of her car make her a true Ford Mustang fan, though that could be said of everybody who made the journey to the Ford Nationals at Carlisle this weekend.
If you want to catch up on my Ford Nationals coverage from day one, click here.
If you want to catch up on my Ford Nationals coverage from day two, click here.