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2012  Norwalk recap  part 2   
March 29, 2013
Dear ,

Well it's been a long time coming!  I finally got the Norwalk recap part 2 done....


The 21st Annual Ames Performance Tri Power Pontiac Nationals featured the largest swap meet in event history! There were 197 vendors, up 15 from 2011, set up on 377 spaces...up 50 from the previous year.  


The car show and race programs were very well attended for 2012.  The combined count for race and show cars for 2012 was 918, and the spectator gate passed 11,500 people for the weekend. I think that the rain Saturday night / Sunday morning definitely impacted the Sunday attendance and it looked as if many people went home while it was raining Saturday night.  Despite the rain, it was still an amazing event as usual.  


If you have never been to the Pontiac Nationals at Norwalk, you just don't know what you are missing.  It is by far the BEST Pontiac event in the WORLD!  The dates for the 2013 event are August 2, 3 & 4.   Make your plans to attend now !


As a reminder, we have posted A LOT of pictures up on our facebook page from the event.  Check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TinIndianPerformance

We have also entered the Twitter world!  If you would like to follow us on Twitter you can do so at
Kevin Swaney
Tin Indian Performance, LTD.

Bill Mellott's 65 Pro Mod GTO
Bill Mellott's '65 Pro Mod GTO preparing for a launch 

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Frantic 4 recap
KRE Q16 recap
MR-1 Heads up recap
TIP Street class winners
Fastest Pontiacs update
Other class winners 2012
TIP Tech Tip
Authorized Distributors

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Kauffman Racing Equipment logo
2012 Pontiac Nationals Frantic 4   

The Frantic 4 race class at the Pontiac Nationals showcases some of the fastest Pontiacs in the world!  This special race costs $25.00 for Car & Driver.  The rules for this class are pretty simple and are as follows: 

Traditional Pontiac V-8 Only  
Pontiac Door Slammers  
1 Power adder ONLY  
Heads up, Pro tree  
Win $1,000,  Runner-up $500, 1st rnd $150,  Low qualifyer $100 
There is 1 qualifying round on Friday and 2 qualifying rounds on Saturday   
Eliminations are run on Saturday as well.
Mark Kauffman launch
Mark Kauffman launching his GXP in Frantic 4 qualifying 

This years 4 qualifiers were:


#1  Rodney Butler with his '63 Tempest ran a 6.501 @ 220.69 mph

#2  Mark Kauffman with his GXP ran a 7.091 @ 186.85 mph

#3  Frank Gostilla with his '02 Grand Am ran a 7.515 @ 182.55 mph

#4  Bill Mellott in the Pro Mod '65 GTO ran a 7.981 @ 118.73 mph


The Butlers ran quite a few 6.50 passes over the course of the weekend which was very impressive but ended up  being broke and could not make the call for the finals.    Frank Gostilla got the bye win in the finals against Butler and ran a 7.557 @ 181.79 mph.   


One other notable performance in this category was Bill Mellott running 4.14 @ 180 mph in 1/8th mile.  That's FLY'N!   Another interesting pass was when Frank G took out Mark Kauffman in round one.... both cars ran 7.54's but Frank treed Mark badly.... the interesting fact about the pass was that after the Kauffman's looked at the computer data from the  run, they discovered they made that pass on 7 CYLINDERS!!  #1 PLUG NEVER FIRED during the pass...... 


Bill Mellott burn out at 2012 Pontiac Nats
Bill Mellott warming the tires up for a pass in his Pro Mod '65 GTO 


2012 Pontiac Nationals KRE -Quick 16

The KRE Quick 16 race class is sponsored by Kauffman Racing Equipment at the Pontiac Nationals and is the premier event for traditional Pontiac engines.  This year we had the fastest Quick 16 field in the history of the event. 

The rules for the KRE Quick 16 are pretty simple and are as follows:

Traditional Pontiac V-8 Only 
Super Pro rules apply 
Everything else goes 
Blower - NOS - Turbos - Nitro

Win $1,000,   Runner-up $500,  Semi  $200,  Qtr  $100,  1st rnd $50   
         All 16 places are paid
There are 2 qualifying rounds on Saturday and the 3rd qualifying round is approximately at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.  The field is made up of the quickest 8 door cars and then the quickest 8 open body cars.  If the open body field does not fill with open body cars, the field is then filled with door cars.  

On our 2nd qualifying pass we set the mark by qualifying #1 with a 6.938 @ 191.40 and we never looked back! 
Norwalk 2012 Q16 qual pass 2 693 at 191mph
Norwalk 2012 Q16 qual pass #2 6.93 at 191mph

This was the debut of our KRE Warp 6 headed power-plant and it was running very well despite very hot & humid conditions.

For those interested you can see the qualifying sheets for both the door car side and the open side by clicking the links below:

This was a very interesting year on many fronts...... First off George Zimnicky won the TIP 2012 pre Norwalk raffle and got a free weekend racing entry and a free weekend pass for his wife.   After the TIP digger put up a couple of 6 second passes in qualifying, it was time to head over to staging and get paired up for the Q-16 finals.  While waiting to be paired up I took the opportunity to talk a little "trash" with George Z and told him "George, I'm coming after ya this year buddy".   Little did I know how true that statement would be.

So with a lot of luck and a very consistent race car we ended up meeting George Z in the finals.  Go figure!  Now last year in the semis, George had to wait for me to get my car started which ultimately never happened.  George was quite the sportsman for waiting for us.  This year, George had a steering issue with his car so the tables were turned and we waited for him.  Then came time for the finals and what I affectionately refer to as "THE PASS".
2012 Pontiac Nationals KRE Quick 16 finals George Z vs Kevin Swaney
2012 Pontiac Nationals KRE Quick 16 finals George Z vs Kevin Swaney

I can't even begin to describe the rush of emotions I felt when I saw my win light on going thru the traps.  I had just won the 15th Annual Kauffman Racing Equipment Quick 16!  We are the first to win the event with a 6 second pass in our Tin Indian Performance digger and our new KRE Warp 6 heads! You think I like my W6 heads?

George Z and Kevin S shanking hands
George Z and Kevin Swaney shaking hands after the race
This by far has been my most rewarding drag racing accomplishment / Norwalk event ever.  I never get to race as much as I want during the season and many years, Norwalk is the only race I get to race in.  It will be a day I never forget, that is for sure!

I also know that I could not have won this race alone.  There are many people to thank.....

The Kauffman brothers - Jeff and Mark, thank you for all of the help and support over the years.  Thanks for making "THE BADDEST" Pontiac parts on the planet that have helped propel me and the Tin Indian Performance digger into the record books and helping me realize my dreams.

Thanks to my crew - Mike Williams, Craig Dienes, my son Kevin Swaney, and my wife.  Year in year out, you are always there.  Your commitment and devotion to me and my team is truly amazing.  Thanks for all you do.
Winners circle with team 2012
Mike Williams, Kevin Swaney (my son), Kevin Swaney and Criag Dienes 

Steve Kauffman and Bill Mellott have also played a huge role in my racing success this past year.  Their knowledge and tutelage is priceless.  They also make the MR-1A block that is in the TIP digger as well.   THANK YOU! 

I would also like to thank my good friend, Matt Dalton. He traveled all the way from Florida with his son Billy.  It had been quite a while since I had seen Matt but he was a tremendous asset to have over the course of the weekend.  He was definitely my "lucky rabbits foot" and kept me focused and in the race when it counted.

Kevin Swaney - Norwalk 2012 Q16 Champion
2012 KRE Q-16 Champion Kevin Swaney shaking hands with Jeff Kauffman

** please note:  If it appears that there are 2 missing pictures, those are actually youtube video links that are not supported by your current email program.

2012 Pontiac Nationals MR-1 Heads-UP Race
The MR-1 Heads up race features some of the highest horsepower per cubic inch Pontiacs.  The traditional Pontiac engine Heads Up Class is sponsored by K & M Performance Parts & Tom Schlauch. 

MR-1 Heads-up Class Rules are as follows: 
Pontiac Body 
6.50 lbs per cid 
Naturally aspirated 
Gasoline or Alcohol 
Any tire 
Any suspension 
CV-1 canted valve heads permitted 
Ram Air V heads permitted 
All entries weigh after qualifying and elimination rounds 
Winner & Runner-up MUST P & G after final round

The 8 car field has a guaranteed Cash Purse pay-out as follows! 
 Win $1500, RU $500, Semi $100, Low ET / Top MPH $100 each 
Qualifying round 1 is on Friday and their are 2 rounds on Saturday.  Eliminations are held Saturday afternoon.  All runs are done on a Heads up  4/10ths pro tree Sportsman Ladder.

Elliott Pickett launch at Norwalk 2012
#1 Qualifier Elliott Pickett launching his '63 Tempest Wagon 

This years qualifiers were:

#1  Elliott Pickett  63 Tempest  437 cid  8.684  @  155.22  MPH
#2  Shawn Dixon  62 Tempest  481 cid  8.799  @  154.97  MPH
#3  Jeff Kinsler  68 Firebird  459 cid  8.886  @  152.55  MPH
#4  John Marcella  68 Firebird  481 cid  8.976  @  144.92  MPH
#5  Glenn Sedig  69 Grand Prix  473 cid  9.132  @  153.20 MPH
#6  Jim Pickett  63 Tempest  445 cid  9.137 @  153.20  MPH
#7  Felton Thompson  66 GTO  523 cid  9.152 @ 146.75  MPH
#8  Michael Leech  68 Firebird  495 cid  9.334 @  145.59  MPH

Elliott Pickett ended up running an 8.694 @ 156.03 mph to beat Shawn Dixon in the finals who ran a 8.973 @ 153.37 mph.  Elliott's car featured a Kauffman Racing Equipment power plant that had KRE High Ports on it, so you know what that means right..............  Elliott CLEANED UP on the weekend winning #1 qualifier spot with ET and MPH as well as KRE / TIP Contingency money, along with the race prize.  Not a bad weekend if I do say so myself. 

Congratulation Elliott Pickett!

Elliott in the winners circle 2012

TIP Street Winner
King of Pontiacs RU - Mike Moak
Mike Moak - TIP Street Champion 2012
The Street Class is the race class we specificalyy sponsor at the event.  The class is run on both Saturday and Sunday of the event. 

Win $500, Runner Up $250, Semi $100, Qtr $50

On Saturday Victor Rudiy was crowned winner of the Tin Indian Performance Street Class & Jacob Garrison with the runner-up.  Both had '76 TAs.

On Sunday Mike Davis was the runner-up with Hammer Time Racing's Mike Moak being crowned the Tin Indian Performance Street Champion on Sunday!  Mike also won runner-up in the Chief of Pontiacs race late Sunday. 

Congratulations to Mike and the entire Hammer Time Racing Crew!

Fastest Pontiacs Updates
Mark Kauffman 7.09 @ 186 mph
Mark Kauffman on another wheels up low 7 second pass in his GXP
Mark Kauffman continued to chip away at his door car record by running an impressive  7.09 @ 186.85 IN THE HEAT!  I know that the Kauffman brothers are already looking for more power and heading for the 6's. 

Mark Kauffman 7.09 @ 186.85 at the 2012 Pontiac Nationals at Norwalk
Mark Kauffman 7.09 @ 186.85 at the 2012 Pontiac Nationals at Norwalk

Class Winners from the event
Pontiac Nats logo
For a complete listing of the class winners from the 2012 event go to the Pontiac Nationals Drag Race Results page

One very cool update for the 2013 event is that Linder's Lot will open at 8 am on Thursday.  Racers will be allowed to enter the pit area on Thursday at 4 pm.  They will be letting racers into the track until Linder's lot is EMPTIED!  We feel that this will be a great change in process for all of the  racers! 
TIP Tech TIP -Racing with Consistency: Slick Equalization

It is the unending task of a racer to attempt to maximize the consistency which the car is able to produce. Race cars that have greater consistency in the E.T.'s will win more rounds of competition.


Goodyear slick This requires monitoring and then managing a multitude of details on the vehicle, some of which may seem trivial at first glance. One such detail is the condition of the slicks that are providing the traction to propel the car down the track, specifically their operating circumference. It is common, even for new slicks at identical air pressures, to have different operating circumferences.


Most race cars operate with a locked rear differential, which means the tires on both sides of the car will turn an equal amount as the car goes down the track. However, if the tires are not the same circumference, the actual distance the chassis is pushed down the track will be different on the left as compared to the right. This effect will result in the chassis not being propelled straight down the lane, essentially slowly turning either left or right. It can be such a minute effect that the driver may not be aware that he is countering this action by slight movements of the steering wheel. While it can be minute in a short distance, it is cumulative. A 1/4" difference in circumference at 60' will be nearly 2" that one tire gains on the other. This will build up to 20" at midtrack.


There is an abundance of negatives that result from allowing this condition to exist. A condition where the driver is continually turning the steering wheel is not optimum since he will never do this the same way twice. Also, the cross lane drift will move the driving tires out of the track's traction groove resulting in a reduction of traction. Tire slippage will then make the chassis drift even more. All of this will result in less consistency.


The fix is easy. A sunny day and a piece of low stretch string that is wrapped around the center of each inflated slick. Verify that both slicks are at their normal operating air pressure. Measure both around the same line at the center of the tread width to compare the circumferences. Identify the larger slick and mark that length onto the string. The smaller slick needs to be adjusted to match this length. Increase the air pressure in the smaller slick by 30% and place it out in the sunlight for 10 minutes. Wait patiently. Reduce the air pressure back to operating and compare the circumference to the marked string. Repeat this technique as required to sneak up on the desired circumference. If required, larger changes can be achieved by using more air pressure or larger time increments. Once the slicks are equal they can be mounted on the car to be tested.

Craig Dienes checking the tires on the TIP Digger
Craig Dienes checking the tires on the TIP Dragster 


Tested....for what? Well, it is likely that if this condition has existed on the chassis for some time that the driver has been driving around the chassis and/or there have potentially been suspension adjustments to try to eliminate chassis drift. Any chassis adjustments that had been made to account for the chassis drift will need to be undone. A series of test passes at the track will allow confirmation that the car tracks straight.  


This discussion would not be complete if managing the operating circumference at the track was not also covered. While the car is in the pits, one side will have sun exposure while the other is shaded. This condition continues while the car sits in the staging lanes. Cover the sunny side slick to limit heat gain.

Whenever one side is very hot, the air pressure rises. Since a hot tire is also more flexible, the extra pressure will create a condition where the tire could gain circumference. The changes are small, but over a period of months they build up.

Consistency on each of the car's settings will result in consistency in the final E.T., which will result in a race car that will be deeper in the rounds on every outing.


~ Matt Dalton (aka Triggerman)


Written by Matt Dalton, also known amongst Pontiac enthusiasts as Triggerman. After years of racing his daily driver at the local dragstrips, he graduated to full blown race cars. He purchased and refurbished an original 1968 Firebird F/C and spent 10 years bracket racing throughout central Florida, where an overly analytical attitude was parlayed into extreme consistency



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