1998 Space City Panteras' Texas World Speedway track event


Space City Panteras of Houston had their first ever track event on September 26-27 at Texas World Speedway near College Station, TX. We had a total of 9 Panteras on the track and 5 other Pantera Club members join us with other cars since their Panteras were in various states of purchase, rebuild or restoration.

Some highlights:
Dennis Quella came down from Castle Rock, CO with his tube frame Pantera race car. And here's the proof! Dennis Q. really did make it to TWS!

Dennis "Mad Dog" Antenucci joined us from California after running at Silver State the weekend before. Paul Timko drove all the way from Chicago with his Pantera. Wayne Stevens and Cheryl Marshall flew in all the way from Maryland!
Silver cars outnumbered any other Pantera color present!!!

The track event was hosted by Space City Panteras of Houston and the TWS Motorsports Club. Several instructors from the Houston Porsche Club also supported the event. Corner workers, instructors, fuel, ambulance, wrecker, etc. were all available and folks who had never been on a track before got the chance to see what they and their cars could do.

Scott Black and TimePiece Public Relations hosted the barbeque on Saturday night and afterwards, we lined up all the Panteras present for a

Most people arrived early Saturday morning, but some arrived Friday night and spent the night at the Cedar Creek Inn in Navasota. Wayne Stevens thought it more apt to rename it to the 'Cripple Creek Inn' though...

We'll see if we can do better with the accommodations next time.

John Taphorn and Bob Pitaro actually camped out in front of the gates on Friday night! Braving the latest crop of Texas mosquitos all night shows you just how serious some people were at getting out on the track! As soon as the gates opened at 7:00AM, everyone lined up on one entire side of a garage and started getting ready for the event.

There were four 'run groups' based loosely on experience with the Green and Blue groups running with instructors. Green group was for drivers who had no track experience, Blue group was for those who had some experience, Yellow was for those who had more experience and White was for the very experienced. Here's the Panteras in the Green Group heading out onto the track. Don Franck leaving through the gate, Tom Upton in the red car, Paul Timko next and William King in the green Pantera.

Check out pictures of (I think) everyone on the
track. I know I missed Keith Verges with his Viper... He had a power steering fluid leak and retired early. Told him to bring the Pantera!

While other run groups were out, most folks took advantage of the time to do some bench racing and discuss cars, modifications and life in general!
Doug Lockin, Bob Pitaro, Bill Borrello, John Haas and John Taphorn. dlbbbtjt
Ernie, Richard Greenblum, Dennis Quella, William King, Wayne Stevens and David Auer talk over the merits of a 16:1 compression ratio. dqandco
Dorsey Comeau, Don Franck, Mad Dog and Gray Gregory expounding on the delights of belonging to POCA. dcdfmdgg

Dennis Q. and John Taphorn both ran in the White run group. Here's John Taphorn all suited up and strapped into his Formula Continental heading out to the track.
jtcar John's 2.0L car was doing pretty good in the back corners, but Dennis' 650HP Pantera left him behind on the straights. In one of the afternoon runs, as I understand it, Dennis started to spin out with John right behind him and John started to spin. The two cars hit and went off the track resulting in some minor damage to the Pantera and suspension and rear wing damage to John's car.
Here's Dennis Q's pitcrew, Ernie, giving Dennis a pep talk before heading back out in the White run group later. See that scrape just above the left front tire? Courtesy of John Taphorn's rear spoiler. There are also tire marks and a gouge out of the fiberglass down low between the left front tire and the first 7 also.
ernieanddq John's left lower suspension arm got bent and a suspension bracket cracked. suspension
After this little incident, my boss, one of the instructors, came over and commented, "Leave it to the Pantera Club to add some excitement around here!"

Don Franck did us well and by the end of the day on Saturday, some of us got to witness Don passing a Corvette on the straight! I'd vote Don in for most improved first timer of the weekend. After that excitement, he got a ride with my boss in his Camaro SS and experienced a 1:21 lap time. Later, as shown here with David Auer, Don would relive both events to anybody who would listen!
William King from Austin had his car running well. John Haas had this big grin on his face most of the weekend and finally left Sunday for home after pushing his car so hard the taillight lenses were melting!!!
Mad Dog also ran in the White group. As befitting his past record, he ran a Camaro off the track before he'd finished his second lap on the first time out, got blackflagged twice and spun out once mowing down some good ole' Texas grass and cracking his front spoiler!

Dawg... We're gonna' remember your visit!!! Glad you could make it! Richard Greenblum, also from Austin, needs new brakes... His instructor got him going so fast and so well that he smoked his brakes on Saturday and swears he'll be back next time with a new Wilwood system.

Doug Lockin got to hammer his M3 around the track and from his comments, liked his second instructor _much_ better than the first! Paul Timko was running well and commented several times that it was well worth the trip! Rob West had his NSX on the track for the first time and we got him to commit to having his Pantera there the next time... Bob Pitaro was pushing his Taurus so hard, he got it just a little warm... Reckons he's ready to graduate now to a faster car! Tom Upton had some problems with his new engine after he overrevved it to 7800... We're all hoping it isn't too serious. He did drive it home though as far as I know after finding a new rocker arm stud in an old, rusty head behind the NAPA parts store! He says a rev limiter is his next purchase! Gray Gregory had improved his times tremendously. Said he was doing a much improved 10mph faster at the end of the straight this afternoon.

We had over 35 folks at the BBQ on Saturday night. Mad Dog won the far West prize. William King supplied the very nice looking genuine Texas cowboy hat! Paul Timko came through with the farthest East car all the way from Chicago. His prize was a rack of ribs from the County Line. That should be worth a party when he gets back to Chicago!

Lots of club members who couldn't bring their cars came up to join us over the weekend. Bill Borrello came up both days, David Auer came with his family on Saturday and drive his
GT5 up on Sunday. In the picture, he's desperately trying to explain to Dennis Q. why he doesn't have an A/C in his car!
Marilynn and Alan Brown arrived Saturday and stayed for the BBQ. Here they are watching Bob Pitaro help John Taphorn get ready for his run. mabjt
Jack Tunnel came down from Dallas with his girlfriend Robin and his Pantera. Wayne Stevens and Cheryl made it, but George Dausch had to be chained down in order to stay home and work... Charlie Jacobs made it up on Saturday. Michael Frazier and a friend came up from San Antonio. Alan and Marilynn Brown were up on Saturday. Dennis Smith and his wife arrived Sunday afternoon and Rob McMullen and three friends from Austin came on Saturday. I reckon there's a least one Pantera convert there! Good luck on your engine, Rob!

After the BBQ Saturday night and a good night's sleep (for some!), many of the Panteras came back for a second day of fun on Sunday. Here they are getting ready again early Sunday morning.
Mad Dog getting pointers on how to take care of his new hat! mdhat Mad Dog with Michael Frazier and friend, Paul Timko and his friend Ellen.
mdandfolks By Sunday afternoon, most everyone was getting tired and hot but still feeling good and packing up started. Here's several folks joining in helping load up John Taphorn's Formula Continental. Don't you reckon Mad Dog likes his new hat? Don Franck on the left, not sure who with his back to us, Dorsey Comeau, John Taphorn and Mad Dog. loadingtaphorn
John Haas and I crawled around under Mad Dog's car for quite awhile until we finally got it strapped down. After some farewells, here's Mad Dog hitting the road back to California after a weekend at TWS!

Also, a big thanks to Vincent Hache. Vincent took some of the pictures you see here.