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Smokey Mountain Showdown - 2002 Year One Bristol Bash!

Year One give us one good reason to look forward to the end of Summer.

Mar 14, 2003

The Bristol Bash officially became an annual event when the folks at Year One (aka Next Generation) returned to Thunder Valley on October 18-20 for another generous serving of high performance fun. Uncooperative weather put a kink in Sunday's activities, but the organizers planned for it and moved weather-sensitive events to Friday and Saturday. The result was sensory overload as non-stop action on the drag strip saw everything from True Street competitors to Nostalgia dragsters and exhibition funny cars rolling through the staging lanes. Autocrossers enjoyed copious amounts of track time all weekend and the valley below the legendary motor speedway was flooded with an impressive array of show cars.

In addition to the racing and show activities, Year One set up a manufacturer's midway, which showcased the latest in high performance and restoration products, as well as a swap meet and car corral, offering hard to find parts to complete vehicles. As obsessed as the employees of Year One may be with performance, they haven't forgotten the importance of making sure the whole family has fun. A gigantic children's play area promised to keep even the most hyperactive kids occupied and a manicurist and shuttle bus to local shopping areas were welcome diversions.

The Bash isn't just an opportunity for Year One to thank its customers and show off some parts. Most of the employees make the trip up to Bristol and many take to the track during the weekend, enjoying one of the best perks in the business. If you haven't experienced the Bash, make every effort to catch the third installment in 2003. We'll be there.


Every vehicle that enters the Bash is eligible for the Year One Cup, which includes the cup itself and a hefty $5,000 gift certificate from Year One. Contrary to popular belief, this award is not the exclusive domain of perfectly restored, 100 percent correct examples. Doug Nichols scoffed at purists and dropped an LS1 with a matching T-56 into his '67 Nova SS and walked off with the award for 2002. He promises to spend most of the gift certificate on his father's '63 Impala SS, in desperate need of restoration. We won't be the least bit disappointed if that car ends up with similar motivation under the hood.

Jerry McCoy had no problem giving the hit to his competitors in the True Street competition. True Street was all about the fastest average ET, so quick reaction times and first to the finish didn't matter. Jerry's turbo V6-powered S-10 could spot most Mustangs a three-second head start and still end up passing them well before the finish line. Jerry had torque converter problems at Bristol, but still managed to run 10.70s. Rather than push the issue in Muscle on the Mountain, Jerry headed for home, fixed the converter and promptly dropped nearly four tenths off his previous best, while running 21 lbs of boost.

Jerry McCoy convinced Ray Mills to bring his '91 Syclone down from Leetonia, Ohio for the True Street Competition. Ray was fighting transmission problems, but still averaged 11.30s with his Stokes-built mill. Ray is already making plans to contend for top honors in 2003 with a very wicked Buick, but he'll have his work cut out for him. First place this year went to Jon Phillips, who averaged a 9.65 in a Chevy-powered Datsun and we expect the bar will be raised even higher next year.

BJ Hawkins' '94 SS clone was rescued from the crusher by her husband Bruce, who runs Hawk's Third Gen Parts. Bruce took the dilapidated Camaro and brought it back to life, adding 3.42 gears, SS wheels, a ram air hood and finishing it off in one of our favorite fourth gen colors, Sunset Orange. BJ drives the car every day and races it every week. Her husband has suggested she run the car in bracket races, but she hasn't done so yet, in spite of her uncanny ability to run 14.0 with amazing consistency.

Car show classes mirrored the Year One product lines, which gave third and fourth gen F-bodies their own class. We came across many rare and unusual cars, including Bruce Hawkins' '92 Firehawk. Bruce's 'Hawk is one of only 25 built that year and the only one painted Medium Green. Unlike most third gen Firehawks, Bruce's car is loaded with options, including power windows and cruise control.

Year One's tent was well stocked with an enormous selection of free catalogs and helpful staff who were willing to answer even the most obscure questions. Several Year One project cars were also on display, allowing spectators an up-close look at the fit and finish of its products.

If you've always wanted to see your car on TV, the Bristol Bash provided the perfect opportunity. Crews from Horsepower TV and Hot Rod Television were filming everything from the drags to the manufacturer's midway.

Year One made sure everyone who wanted to race had the opportunity to do so without the burden of a zillion different rules. Muscle on the Mountain allowed participants to "run what you brung" and divided cars based on Year One product lines, which pitted this group of '82-02 F-bodies against each other.

A tear appeared in Hunkins' eye when he spotted Rick and Kristi Bejarano's '87 Regal in the staging lanes. Their car, of course, is Old Gray and seems to have found a good home with the couple. They have no regrets regarding their purchase and although they were only running 13.20s at 109 mph in full street trim during the True Street competition, they know the car is capable of much more.

Year One President Kevin King tells us he enjoys what he does and his employees are passionate about their jobs. We have no reason to doubt him after several Year One employees spent the better part of an hour in the rain, posing with their personal vehicles. Notice the lack of econoboxes and luxury sedans in this crowd.

Car Craft Editor Matt King brought that magazine's Real Street Eliminator competition out of retirement in 2002. Invitees converged on the Bash to duke it out on the quarter mile and autocross, with the Year One folks serving as judges for the show portion of their competition.

Robert Cole took home top honors in last year's True Street competition, but opti gremlins prevented his '94 Formula from repeating this year. His S-trimmed 355 was still reeling in timeslips in the low 12s, but that left him well out of the running in this year's field.

"Wild Ron" LaMothe of High Performance Toys strapped his '98 Z28 on the dyno for a few pulls on the juice. Ron topped out with a whopping 621 lb.-ft. of torque at the wheels on a 150 shot. A surging problem traced back to a bad wire connection kept the horsepower numbers down, but 422 ponies was still the second highest pull of the weekend. Top honors went to Jon Phillips' Chevy-powered 260Z, which laid down nearly 700 horsepower at the wheels.

When we first saw the Baer Brakes guys in the manufacturer's midway, we thought they had taken the "we pass the savings along to you" philosophy a little too far. After asking Rick Elam and John Menzler about their Spartan display, we learned their setup was merely a temporary arrangement until their tent and product samples arrived later in the day.

Several members of the Georgia F-Body Association brought their rides up to Bristol including Larry Parks, who found his way over to the autocross course for some runs in his '95 Z28. Autocrossers saw short lines in the staging lanes and lots of track time all weekend with the added challenge of a wet course on Sunday.

Phil Tobin made the trek over from Concord, North Carolina with his '93 Vette, which he affectionately calls, "Hoover." If you're looking into extracting maximum power out of your own LT1, take some time to check out Phil's modifications. Bored and stroked to 405 cubic inches, Phil is running high tens in a very streetable car without the use of power adders. You can see more of his car at

Steve Kovacs has always been a big fan of the legendary Chevys that rolled out of Don Yenko's Pennsylvania dealership. As a tribute to those cars, Steve restored his '81 Malibu in a manner he felt was worthy of the Yenko name. Beyond the badges and striping, Steve's Malibu sports an engine and tranny from an '87 Grand National. The car is currently running mid 12s on 20 lbs. of boost, but his ultimate goal is low 11s, while getting 20 mpg on the street.

When people in the Southeast want a Ram Air Pontiac, more of them go to Carl Black Pontiac than anywhere else. With so many customers seeking out high performance, it only made sense for Carl Black to join forces with GMMG to create the Black Bird edition WS6 Trans Am. With a common interest in high performance, Year One and Carl Black also teamed up to create limited edition Year One/Carl Black Formulas and Blackbirds, several of which were on display at the Bash.

Rain did cut out most of the activities on Sunday, but foresight allowed Year One to squeeze all of its competitive events in on Saturday. Sunday's weather didn't stop the awards ceremony or a group of hardcore autocrossers, but the drag strip did get the day off.

Do you think group purchases are the hot ticket? You might be surprised at the deals vendors are willing to cut at events. After all, every part they sell at an event is one less part to pack up, lug back to the shop and unload. Third Gen Resource brought out a broad sampling of its products for '82-'92 F-bodies.

Bristol Bash Winners

Year One Cup

Winner Doug Nichols 1967 Chevy Nova SS
Finalists Lee Barnes 1965 Pontiac GTO
  Ed Vannoy 1966 Chevy II Nova
F.A.S.T. Winners 1st Greg Gessler 1972 GS Stage 1
  2nd Joel Nystrom 1967 Hemi GTX
True Street Winners: 1st John Phillips 1974 Datsun 260Z
  2nd Nick Yarber 1995 Mustang
Muscle on the Mountain Winners 1964-1972 Chevelle/El Camino/Monte Carlo 1st Bob Perrot 1967 Chevelle
  2nd Herbert Lumpp 1966 El Camino
1962-1974 Chevy II/Nova 1st Jason Newton 1967 Nova Wagon
  2nd Greg Grindstaff 1969 Nova
1967-1981 Camaro 1st Daniel Caufman 1969 Camaro
  2nd Sherry Silver 1973 Camaro
1978-1988 Chevrolet Malibu and Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass/442, Buick Regal/Grand National/GNX, and El Camino/GMC Sprint 1st David Allison 1987 Grand National
  2nd Dustin Hollingsworth 1986 Grand National
1967-1987 Chevy and GMC Trucks 1st Freddie Coleman 1972 Chevy C-10
1982-02 Camaro and Firebird
1st Skeeter Breeden 1993 Trans Am
  2nd Chris Dixon 1993 Trans Am
1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
1st Don Dixon 1996 Impala SS
  2nd Terry Kehne 1996 Impala SS
Open Class for vehicles that do not fit into the above classes
1st John Silver 1985 Chevrolet S-10
Car Show Winners  
1964-1972 Chevelle/El Camino/Monte Carlo
1st Jeff & Dawn Spencer 1969 Chevelle SS
  2nd Billy Moose 1970 Chevelle
1962-1974 Chevy II/Nova
1st Ed Vannoy 1966 Nova
  2nd Doug Nichols 1967 Nova
1967-1981 Camaro
1st Bill Duncan 1969 Camaro RS
  2nd Jim McDowell 1970 Camaro
1958-1972 Impala/Bel Air/Biscayne/Caprice/'59-'60 El Camino
1st Don Smith 1959 El Camino
  2nd John & Misti Silver 1964 Impala SS
1978-1988 Chevrolet Malibu and Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass/442,Buick Regal/Grand National/GNX, and El Camino/GMC Sprint 1st Paul Carter 1987 Buick Grand National
  2nd Steve Kovacs 1981 Malibu
1967-1987 Chevy and GMC Trucks
1st Jerry Rogers 1972 Cheyenne
  2nd Jim Bright 1971 Cheyenne
1982-02 Camaro and Firebird 1st Roy Fender 1991 Camaro
  2nd Mike Hill 1999 Firehawk
1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
1st Kevin Munsey 1996 Impala SS
  2nd Don Dixon 1996 Impala SS
Open Class for other show vehicles that do not fit into the above classes
1st William Dover 1957 Chevy Bel Air
  2nd Jeff Brekke 1965 Corvair
  Chuck Miller 1961 Pontiac Ventura
Dyno Winners 1st John Phillips 1974 Datsun 260Z
  2nd Ron Lamothe 1998 Camaro
Autocross Winners 1st Bo Barr 1986 Porsche 944
  2nd John McLutcheon 2000 Firehawk


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