Virginia Motorsports Park Drag Racing and Car Show - PY Pontiacs In The Park
Chief Pontiac Productions and Virginia Motorsports Park celebrated their fourth year together with another fantastic three-day-long weekend of drag racing, car shows, and Pontiac camaraderie. Competitors came from all across the United States to show off their prized Ponchos and/or to engage in the excitement of competing on the dragstrip.
The event was hosted this year by GTO of Richmond, Old Dominion POCI chapter, and Performance Years returned as the title sponsor. Chief Pontiac Productions' Jim Zeek said, "The turnout was good and there were even more new people this year. Word of mouth and advertising has really helped us out."
There's more to this event than just the quarter-mile action and a car show, however. "The fun of PY Pontiacs in the Park is in its family atmosphere," Zeek explained. "There are a lot of people who enjoy coming every year because they like how the Zeek family treats them, and how the track treats them. We're all a big, happy family." Ron Henaghan, marketing director of Virginia Motorsports Park, agreed that Pontiac hobbyists are by far the friendliest group that attends the track's season of events
.PY Pontiacs in the Park opened on May 18, 2007, and ran through May 20, 2007. On Friday, May 18, a line formed a half-mile long outside Virginia Motorsports Park as Pontiac racers anticipated the 9 a.m. gate opening. By lunchtime, the pits were loaded 10 rows deep with Pontiacs from model year '60 to '06, all ready to take time shots in preparation for the two days of drag competition that tempted them with a total of $14,000 in cash prizes. Vendors began setting up on the manufacturers midway and some early-bird show participants staked out their spots.
Friday afternoon's festivities were cut short due to rain. Friday evening was beginning to look better, but saw two drag race competitions-VMP Street Wars and PY Pontiacs in the Park Chicago Style Shootout-cancelled.
Saturday's events were delayed by-you guessed it-morning rain. Thankfully, the weather finally relented and offered a more pleasing afternoon. At the staging lanes, lines of Pontiacs grew longer than VMP's NHRA-sanctioned quarter-mile strip, as racers were anxious to compete. According to Ron Henaghan, the racers and showgoers felt welcomed by the gracious track staff. He said, "General Motors and the Pontiac-GMC division has been our main sponsor since we opened the facility in 1993. So it's only appropriate that we have all these incredible Pontiacs out here using our state-of-the-art track and facility."
Three drag racing competitions were held on Saturday: Ponti-Action Racing Heavy, Super Pro, and Zeek Racing Street. A Saturday afternoon car show coincided with them and featured many well-detailed Pontiacs for a Top 20 format. The winners were chosen by popular vote. Classic GTOs were highest in attendance, followed by Fourth- and Second-Gen Firebirds. It was a great plan to have the car show in the pit area adjacent to the VMP racetrack spectator stands because it allowed fans to enjoy racing and car show activities within close proximity to each other.
Saturday night featured a BBQ dinner sponsored by Performance Years, which doubled as a meet-and-greet. The racers and their families and friends mingled in a friendly atmosphere as they enjoyed BBQ chicken dinners.
Sunday opened with time-trials for Zeek Racing Street, Super Pro, and Ponti-Action Racing Heavy. Then there was exhilarating exhibition racing from the Bag Boys' Grocery Getter Tempest wagon repli-racer. The crowd cheered as this recreated dragin' wagon did a half-track smoky burnout. Afternoon eliminations followed in the classes of Butler Fast 4, Ken's Quick 16, Zeek Racing Street, Ponti-Action Racing Heavy and Super Pro.
As Sunday's racing took place, a second car show featured points scoring and trophies for the winners.The grand prize on the race side of PY Pontiacs in the Park was King of the Hill, awarded to Jeff Verdi and his '68 Firebird. He was given a gift certificate good for a set of racing tires courtesy of Carolyn Ashbee of Goodyear Racing Tires and a large trophy to remember his weekend win. Jeff was quite busy as he also won Super Pro class in his other car, a '66 GTO, on Saturday. Two class wins in two different cars and a King of the Hill title in a single weekend are major achievements for Jeff and his crew.
Next year will be the fifth anniversary of PY Pontiacs in the Park. Jim Zeek said, "I really want to do something special to make next year stand out. For something that started out as a whim to become so successful and make it to its fifth year is quite a surprise." Next year's event is scheduled for May 2008, but the actual dates have not yet been announced. Visit for updates.
Sponsors Performance Years
Butler Performance
Ken's Speed and Machine
Ponti-Action Racing
DCI Motorsports
Gaydosh Performance
Haley Pontiac
Virginia Motorsports Park
Goodyear Racing Tires
PY Pontiacs in the Park WinnersSaturday May 19, 2007DriverCarR/ Super ProW-Jeff Verdi'66 GTO0.0129.919.901133.04RU-James Horton'66 Tempest-0.01110.4210.470124.97Ponti-Action Racing HeavyW- Rick Garden '69 Judge0.03910.3010.323127.38RU-James Emory'65 GTO0.0579.2111.77576.30Zeek Racing StreetW-Gene Droogan'68 Station Wagon0.17812.2912.252109.39RU-James Harris'99 Grand Prix-0.04712.6912.677105.65Sunday May 20, 2007Butler Performance Fast 4W-Scott Rex'97 Firebird0.079Heads Up9.70089.17RU-Jack Gaydosh '00 Firebird-0.020Heads Up7.862174.48Ken's Speed and Machine Quick 16W-Ryan Ferres'70 Firebird0.0119.849.865126.87RU-James Horton'66 Super ProW-Ray Loan'66 GTO0.04310.1010.241113.26RU-Richard Taylor'64 GTO0.7039.1010.69875.03Ponti-Action Racing HeavyW-Jeff Verdi'68 Firebird0.0409.629.684124.83RU-Billy Farrell'67 Firebird0.07910.8610.918121.43Zeek Racing StreetW-Eric Weigand'86 Firebird0.02313.9614.0389.97RU-Gene Droogan'68 Station Wagon0.04012.3112.294108.42Goodyear Racing Tires King PontiacJeff VerdiHigh Performance Pontiac magazine was unable to print the car show winners for the PY Pontiacs in the Park as the results were not available as of press time.

Photo Gallery: PY Pontiacs In The Park Drag Racing and Car Show - High Performance Pontiac Magazine

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