The Impala SS Club of America is known for its crazy, hardcore membership, so it came as no surprise that Mountain MadneSS was deemed an appropriate title for the 2005 Nationals in the Poconos. The weeklong event was seasoned with unpredictable weather and the spooky ambience of the eastern Pennsylvania woods, but the droves of Impy-lovers refused to let that get in the way of their penchant for hustling the 4,500-pound behemoths down the race track, be it straight or twisty.
The third annual ISSCA national event left behind the heat of Las Vegas and Tulsa to draw upon the large B-body following along the eastern seaboard, however a surprising number of members from Texas, Minnesota, and even California made the journey, totaling just over 100 participants. Members began arriving Monday, July 11, at the host hotel, the Pocono Manor, before the festivities kicked into gear the next morning. Though well appointed, the old mountain resort was reminiscent of the hotel in the The Shining. Fortunately this establishment was much better staffed, and they had wiped "red rum" off the walls before we arrived.
Between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the Car Show and Sound-Off was held on the driving range at the Pocono Manor before moving to the dragstrip that evening. Like last year, a mobile display was employed for the judging, taking advantage of the shade afforded by a large, portable tent. Seventy-one cars competed in 11 different categories by model, mileage, and modification. Meanwhile, nearly 90 competitors traveled across the New Jersey border to Island Dragway to compete in only three categories at the Golen High Performance Engine-sponsored contest. Super Sport was reserved for ET bracket races of all types, while Super Natural and Super Pro allowed good clean heads up racing for either naturally aspirated or power adder B-bodies.
During Wednesday's Auto Cross and Thursday's Road Race competition, a more complex point system was used to classify each of the vehicles based on modifications. Each different mod earned an accruement of points dictated by the hierarchy of its overall effect on performance in each arena. Point totals divided the field into Stock, Prepared, Modified, and Race classes, similar to SCCA Solo I and II. The Phoenix Transmission Auto Cross competition was held at the Mt. West High School parking lot, which was convenient because it was less than 10 miles from the hotel, and also since the high school provided shelter during a spontaneous hailstorm. The Stock and Prepared classes had already made three runs by that point; however, each member of the Modified and Race class had barely gotten one. This didn't put a damper on things, though, since this was just the warm-up for the following day's romp around Pocono Raceway's 1.75-mile road course.
The conclusion of the weeklong event was at the Awards Ceremony following Friday's breakfast at the Pocono Manor. Trophies were handed out for all of the competitions including the Charter Club Challenge and the Best of ISSCA. A raffle was also held for a Phoenix Racing transmission and a Golen High Performance LT1, not to mention gift certificates to B-body Performance/Impala SS carpet, Rustic Racing, Chevy Club Connection, Moser Engineering, and Global West. Lingering goodbyes were made as plans for next year's event in Indianapolis were solidified. However, for this diehard group of individuals it's never really goodbye, it's just, "I'll see you next year."
*Results based on one run because of cancellation due to weather conditions.