Well, if you were not able to get out to Tulsa last week for the 2011 Mid-America Shelby Meet to check out some awesome Ford Mustang specimens, you missed out…really. Along the spectrum of Shelby Mustangs, AC Cobras, and a grab bag mix of late-model & classic customs, there was a fantastic spread to take in. So, we’re back from Tulsa to show you but a glimpse of what was seen, heard, and raced…in a breakdown of day-by-day activities as we rolled through the 37th meeting of Team Shelby in Mid-America.
Make sure to keep reading to get the full play-by-play day by day…and also, there’s a huge gallery at the bottom to gawk at!
Overall, the meet, venue, and company along the way was world-class. We never hit a single snag, delay, or pain in any part of the entire weekend we spent enjoying the sights and good company which the Mid-America Team Shelby folks put on. From cruises to banquets with good laughs, every single person (part of the actual show or not) enjoyed every aspect of the atmosphere.
Day 1 – Wednesday
The StangNet crew put down some serious road time just to get the Built to Cruise project car from Alabama to Tulsa for the exhibition & events at the Mid-America Shelby meet. 12 hours and an unhealthy dose of fatigue later, the completely restored Fox-body Ford Mustang rolled into the parking lot with a hungered crew at the helm.
The remainder of the day mostly brought in a series of events of setting up and general preparation for the weekend to come. Most of the afternoon was spent funneling in cars, shining and scrubbing, and seeking out the premiere parking spot in order to draw in the masses. And draw them, we all did…
How? Everyone was on the top of their game, both in professional enthusiast level as well as the showmanship effort, keeping all the cars safe ‘n clean amidst the masses of people flowing through the busy Tulsa pipeline.
Day 2 – Thursday
The second day of the Team Shelby meet in Tulsa brought upon some more action…the kind of action that makes one grin from ear lobe to ear lobe. Showing off Built to Cruise, visiting the renowned Hallett raceway park, and getting seat time in a few race cars, the 2012 Boss Mustang, and witnessing some pretty awesome racing talent from World Challenge points leader Paul Brown in a Mustang Boss 302S racer, keeping the participants & spectators alike entertained. Other racers included some awesome sponsors and class drivers around the road course…of which Ford Racing, MRT, Late Model Restoration, Classic Design Concepts, and many others were a part of. Those that took the field put up some impressive numbers amongst each other and impressed the crowd in victory and in folly (there were a few that ran off and hit the dirt a few times!).
Members of the StangNet crew were also able to crowd in and get some seat time in the MRT Mustang race car with Scott Hoag, root for Shannon Guderian & Jonathan McDonald in the LateModelResto Mustangs, and beheld a blast of a hot lap session in the 2012 Boss Mustang.
After some rockin’ times (and good eats) at the track and being plenty spent from the wonderful humidity & sunny Tulsa heat, we once again got the chance to show off Built to Cruise in the Marriott parking lot, right up front and center.
Later on that night, the entire stream of Ford Mustangs (and many other fast Fords) occupied the entire Marriott parking lot in order to stage up for the show & town stopping cruise from the west end to the downtown Tulsa Brady District (much like a classical old market) where we all enjoyed dinner in typical Tulsa flair.
The Shelby Mustang collection and several other hot Mustangs (and a handful of eclectic Ford customs) took the streets and paved the way for everyone to have a good time relaxing and enjoying downtown Tulsa.
With good food, great company, and hot cars, the night was a completely awesome success. Everyone was in fine spirits and from what we saw, heard, and lived out, with many great Mustang stories from past & present being shared across the streets and tables. It was just awesome camaraderie!
Day 3 – Friday
The third day of action lead us into some more racing action, some photo opportunities, extreme Tulsa heat, and finally a banquet & presentation by Ford Motor Company & Team Shelby. The racing at Hallett was a fantastic experience, as we were able to enjoy some on-site racing action from World Challenge points leader Paul Brown from team Brown/Wellendorf, in his 2012 Boss 302S Mustang.
In fact, here’s Brown (below) being chased down and toying with some serious contention at Hallett’s challenging road course!
After a few hot skids and dirt scatterings, the teams and cars were all more than ready to take a chance to cool down and enjoy the cool front that was moving in, bringing some clouds and a brisk breeze.
As the afternoon passed, we were able to cool off and prepare ourselves for some good stories and good food at the banquet back in the hotel. After a sweaty day at the track, we were more than ready to hit the showers, prop the sponsor display stand up next to Built to Cruise, and just flat-out chill.
Later on, we jumped into the throngs of people seeking to seat at the Ford and Team Shelby banquet. After taking our seats next to award-winning Mustang historian Donald Farr, we were pumped to find a night full of epicurean foods and fantastic discourse all around us.
Following the gorging upon some good steaks and fine desserts, we were able to witness Ford’s global stance on strategy, their financial health, and got some pretty good kicks out of some marketing taglines…all from Steve Ling, of Ford North American Vehicle Marketing. Steve focused upon a macro look at Ford’s car lineup and gave a fantastic overview of where Ford sits factually in 2011 and 2012, then also gave us a crystal-ball look at where a typical shareholder might expect Ford to be in the coming years. What we saw looked quite promising!
What’s more, is Steve let out some fun tidbits of internal intel at Ford. Here’s one cool story for starters: How many 2012 Boss Mustang Laguna Seca editions were stamped out initially? 50? Correct. Numerals 1 through 50, right?
Initially, all 50 in the limited run of Laguna Seca Boss Mustangs were stamped with #1. That’s right, even Bill Ford’s car would have been etched the same as another collector who would have acquired a Boss 302 from the first series. Let’s just say this faux pas was quickly rectified before too many people were let in on the slip.
After hearing that tidbit of intel, we also got to see a series of taglines that failed for the 2012 Mustang promotion campaign. There were definitely some that caught the crowd by the tail and brought a few laughs. Two memorable “failed” ones were:
1) Ford Mustang…because no one ever brags about their first Camry.
2) Your dad bought a brand new 1969 Mustang Boss 302. You were born in 1969…coincidence?
Whether the Ford legal department approved of these or not, these, and a few others, had several grins on the crowd at the least!
As the night moved on, the banquet continued by recognizing several members from the Team Shelby club, including those which have attended every single gathering for 37 years! Seriously, how many people can say they’ve been dedicated to something for nearly 4 decades? Most people don’t even hold the same job for 10 to 15 years, let alone more than 30! What we witnessed this year (as with years past) is a divine dedication to the Ford Mustang spirit. It’s one thing to talk it up and another to live it, flat-out, right in front of everyone….and it was amazing to witness.
Amidst all the commotion and fun, there was a serious and reflective note cast out in the form a lifetime Mustang appreciation award. The recipient: none other than faithful Ford journalist Donald Farr. From the stories of his grandpa’s classic Ford Mustang to the tales of him restoring & enjoying it still today, the entire crowd was captivated by his humbleness and great charisma. And to think, we sat down with him, just as “one of the guys”!
There was one other comical moment leading up to Donald’s award, and it recognized the achievement of Jim Owens (Ford Mustang Brand Manager) at Hallett earlier that day. Jim managed to head out on the track in a 2012 Boss 302 and cruise through the corners up until something went wrong with the car. The engine sputtered & died, leaving Jim stranded alongside the track, giving out point-bys to everyone else. The problem was pretty serious, but later easily solved…
Jim had run out of fuel on the race track.
Needless to say, he caught some serious teasing and heck over it and at the banquet, he was given a shiny red 1-gallon gas tank as his recognition award. It was priceless!
During the latter portions of the banquet dinner and presentations, there were numerous goodies given away from Team Shelby, Ford, and a collection of notable sponsors: Tremec, Classic Design Concepts, Kicker, Gateway Classic Mustang, Baer Brakes, and many, many other respected Mustang supporters.
Ford Racing even put up a very unique set of 2012 Boss Mustang Laguna Seca wheels and tires, signed and certified by the Ford Mustang design & engineering team. This nifty little auction brought out a cool $2500 cash up for charitable purposes designated by Team Shelby!
Day 4 – Saturday
Saturday was all about the 1320ft passes at Tulsa Raceway Park! The heat was on and the grid was packed-up right after breakfast for time trials and for everyone to get their rides dialed-in. After witnessing a barrage of classic Mustangs, Shelby Cobras, late model Mustangs, and even a Ford Raptor (awesome!) pass down the strip, we were ready to check out the paddock to see just what Ford and Team Shelby had in store for us.
Here’s a shot of one of the awesome Cobra Jet Mustangs right at launch!
A mixture of the fast cars, a packed paddock, and empty stomachs lead the StangNet team to snap some nice shots of the rides around the drag strip and jet out to find some food in the local Tulsa area. After the intensity of heat encouraged a lot of people to seek respite (ambient temperatures hovered between 101 and 103 that afternoon & evening), many people returned back to the Marriott to relax & chill in the lobby (which was packed with Shelbys and other noteworthy concours classics).
Team Brown/Wellendorf also had their two Boss 302S Mustang racers out on display with some track video playing over the display on the very car we had seen race earlier at Hallett! Check out Paul’s (current World Challenge points leader) car, below!
Day 5 – Sunday
On Sunday morning, everyone was up and at ’em early, shining and detailing in preparation for the multi-class car show, which took up nearly all of the Marriott parking lot. Ford and Shelby, along with the rest of the supporting vendors making the entire event possible, had all of their tents and displays set up also.
The only stickler about what came around Sunday morning was two-fold…heavy cloud cover (which was nice to avoid the heat) and droplets of rain scattered throughout the morning (which made it tough for those without tent or garage bay coverage to keep the spots on the paint away & the interiors dry. We finally got to see all of the Mustangs in one place and get some good closing shots from the 2011 Mid-America Shelby Meet.
After the show and some final goodbyes to some great friends, old & new, we packed-out and hit the road for the long drive back home.
Be sure to check out the gallery of all of our images for some impressive shots of Built to Cruise and many other fine Ford Mustang samples!2012 Mustang, Aftermarket, Built to Cruise, Events, Featured, Ford