Friday started the festivities with the first of many cars rolling in. The event really revved at 11 a.m. with the first of four overall Cacklefest sessions. Hall of Fame drag racing legend Bruce Larson aided in the firing of his USA-1 fuel funny cars to the delight of both the prize-winning participants as well as the patrons. Along with Cacklefest, multiple vehicles were recognized as Carlisle Elite award winners in front of the main grandstand. Given GM’s association with racing, hosting multiple Hall of Fame drag racing personalities was a perfect for the event. Larson was joined by announcer Sam Auxier Jr., artist Kenny Youngblood and driver Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins. Each signed autographs, posed for photos and interacted with fans.
A cool, breezy climate welcomed the crowd of both cars and attendees on Saturday for nearly 12 hours of continued excitement. The day started with the first of two Hot Rodders of Tomorrow competitions. In the 9 a.m. contest, Cumberland Perry Vo-Tech (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) defeated the Burton Center for Arts and Technology (Salem, Va.) by a time of 1:38.50 to 1:46.16. Burton actually completed the task first; however, Cumberland Perry committed fewer errors and were assessed less penalty time. In the 11 a.m. tilt, a second school from the Burton Center defeated Niles High School (Niles, Mich.) 50.37 to 1:22.43. By turning in the fastest time at the GM Nationals, Burton advances to the finals at SEMA in Las Vegas during the first week in November. Further, each participant earned scholarship money courtesy of SAM (School of Automotive Machinists) and OTC (Ohio Technical College).
The day kicked in full throttle when J.D. from the A&E show MINDFREAK took part in the unveiling of four cars. Each unveiling drew throngs of fans to the grandstands to check out a 1957 Corvette, 1957 Bel Air and a pair of Big Block Corvettes, a ‘66 and a ‘69. Following the final unveiling, it was time for burnouts, beauty and the engine giveaway. In each case, the crowd remained energetic as six cars burned rubber and Nick McDaniel was dubbed “King of the Hill,” Richard Brooks was awarded a GM LS-Series Small Block V-8 engine and Jannese Royer topped six other ladies to be crowned “Ms Carlisle GM Nationals.”
Sunday started with sun shiny skies allowing for over eight hours of displays, awards presentations, industry guest interaction and a car giveaway. Of the honors doled out, a total of $3,500 in cash prizes were awarded, including an overall Best-of-Show $1,000 prize and five separate $500 awards for best generations of Camaro. Following the awards parade Sunday afternoon, Gerald Porter won the giveaway car; a 1975 Cosworth Vega. With celebrating 40 years of the Vega all weekend, this particular giveaway fit the show perfectly.
The GM Nationals has come to a close for 2011 but will return June 22-24, 2012 with more industry guests, more cars and more fun for the entire family. Showfield registration is available for 2012 by calling 717-243-7855 or by visiting www.CarlisleEvents.com. This event will continue to offer the opportunity to meet like-minded enthusiasts of chrome classics, muscle cars, street rods, modified customs and high-performance models. Whether you have a bow-tie heart, fly with the phoenix or cruise in luxury, the Carlisle GM Nationals is your home away from home!
# # #
Carlisle Events, host of 10 annual collector car, truck and motorcycle events, attracts more than half a million people to its 150-acre facility in Carlisle, Pennsylvania each year. Included in the annual events schedule are two huge automotive swap meets and auctions –Spring and Fall – and individual specialty shows featuring Corvettes, Fords, GMs, Chryslers, trucks, motorcycles, tuner/modern customs and imports. Founded in 1974 by friends Bill Miller and Chip Miller, the “Cars at Carlisle” shows attract automotive enthusiasts from around the world. Information about Carlisle Events and Carlisle Auctions is available to consumers via the Internet at www.CarlisleEvents.com and www.CarlisleAuctions.com