2017 SSCC Results and Yearly Awards Print
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Sunday, 22 October 2017 14:22

What started as the potential of having five Panteras at the 2017 30th anniversary running of the Silver State Classic Challenge, turned into two Panteras, both running and finishing.  Those who dropped, still attened in a lesser capacity and the team still had loads of fun.  Included in that fun was sharing the experience with the 2017 Pantera Owners Club of America (POCA) president Gerry Romack.

The first to drop his Pantera from running was Peter Menyhart, who came very close but in the end needed a few more things that were just out of reach.  The team is determined to make sure he has the final things in place next year.  Next to drop was pretty much a tie between Mark Skwarek with a leaking head gasket, and John Bentley with a broken starter mounting bolt.  In the end, neither racer could get the last minute items fixed in time.  Still, Mark Skwarek attended in a suitable street car and ran in a lower speed class against (of all people) Charlie Friend.  Mark squeeked out a second place against Charlie which puts him in good standing.  John came and shared the experience but did not race.  The real story of the weekend belonged to Gerry Romack.

Gerry had bee planning to run for several months.  However, in an unfortunately turn of events, Gerry had two things that would end up ensuring him the Iron Man award for 2017 if he could pull it together and finish the race.  First, his car ended up damaged and requiring a little bit of bodywork and paint.  Next, Gerry found his engine had a problem and there wasn't time to rebuild.

In an effort nearly nobody else could pull off, Gerry contacted Dan Jones of the 351 Cleveland Dyno project fame and was able to secure the Dave McLain Dyno mule.  With Team Pantera Racing Veteran Dave Doddek and additional Pantera friends Alan Camaron and George Scott (and his son) pitching in to help, Gerry had his Pantera on a trailer and headed to Nevada from the Great Lakes region within a couple of days.  He made Las Vegas in time to secure his Rookie School certificate, which is needed when a racer runs either the Nevada Open Road Challenge or the Silver State Classic Challenge for the first time.  With certificate in-hand, Gerry took the rest of the day off to recover, recoup and get rest for the drive to Ely.

Once in Ely, the team greeted him with enthusiasm; he would have the only other Pantera there next to Dennis Antenucci's multi-race winner.  It wasn't all fun and games just yet though, Gerry knew there were a couple of things he wanted to check on before heading through Tech Inspection.  Every TPR member jumped in to help at one point or another.  It may be hard to believe from a couple of photos showing everyone playing "supervisor" in a lawn chair as Gerry struggled in the trunk space of his  Pantera, but everyone did something with Gerry at some point.  Mark and Peter jumped in early to help diagnose a brake problem that turned out to be a bad brake line.  The team removed it and with help from the local NAPA were back to bleeding the system until it was solid.  Once finished they turned toward the hydraulic clutch bearing.

Gerry at work in his Pantera

Gerry had complained that his clutch felt very bad so Asa Jay Laughton who again came without a car to run, jumped in to help bleed the hydraulic clutch.  The process yeilded nearly a full pint of thin dirty grey water before getting decent slightly amber brake fluid.  Once new fluid was coming entirely through the system, Gerry took the car out for a spin and came back with a grin that told everyone the clutch was working a whole lot better.

A few final checks of basic tech items and Gerry head off Saturday morning to the car show in the park to have his car tech'd before parking with Mad Dog.  He passed without any issues.  At this point, all Gerry had to do was start -and- finish the race to earn the coveted Iron Man award.

And he did.

Gerry Romack, president of POCA and Dennis Antenucci, a former president of POCA both started and finished the SSCC for 2017.  This race marked a milestone in that three past or present POCA presidents had run the Silver State Classic Challenge, and finished.

Past and Present POCA Presidents

Dennis and Peter congratulate Gerry

With an 11th hour engine swap, a herculean drive to Nevada, fixing some serious mechanical problems right before tech, starting and finishing the race, Gerry Romack deserved, and with a unanimous vote of his veteran peers, rightfully earned the 2017 Team Pantera Racing, Ellis Woumnm Memorial Iron Man Award.  Congratulations Gerry.

The lesser story of the TPR Team in 2017 was that of Dennis (Mad Dog) Antenucci, whose Pantera went to Don Byars Full Throttle Panteras to have the engine extracted and sent to Russ Fulps for a refresh.  While there Dennis had a myriad of other small tasks done to the Pantera to bring it up to snuff and all it's masculine glory for the race.  As it was, a few minor glitches from Murphy (of Murphy's Law fame) happened upon Don's shop making it such that the Pantera was "just" ready when Dennis and Asa Jay arrived with trailer in tow to pick it up on the way to Ely for the Race.

Dennis' Pantera ran fine, finished the race fastest in class, and because of all the effort put into the last-minute work, Don became nominated for the SOBill award and was subsequently voted to receive it.

For his efforts in helping Gerry Romack, diving in to assist with coveralls and gloves at the ready, Asa Jay Laughton became nominated for the Gary Hall award and was subsequently voted to receive it.

In all, counting the Team Pantera Racing sponsor Paul Katchadourian and his Dodge Viper, the team had seven members at the event, four drivers and four finishers.  Another successful year for this team and open road racing.


Team Pantera Racing - 2017 Award Winners

Ellis Woumnm Memorial Iron Man Award, for showing stamina in the face of overwhelming odds, working hard against deadlines, parts shortages and other difficulties in order to participate in an Open Road Racing event with Team Pantera Racing, successfully finishing the race without disqualifying, and showing team spirit and a dedication to preserving the heritage of the DeTomaso Pantera.

The Iron Man Award goes to Gerry Romack, the 2017 president of the Pantera Owners Club of America


The Sweet Old Bill (SOBill) Award, for being a reflection on SOBills spirit of giving to the Pantera community, for unselfishly providing assistance to TPR members and other Pantera owners in the spirit of "paying the favor forward."

The SOBill Award goes to Don Byars of Full Throttle Panteras


The Gary Hall Memorial Award, for the Team Pantera Racing member who shows outstanding support and dedication to both the DeTomaso marque and the TPR team, who participates in racing events in a continuing effort to preserve the driving heritage of the DeTomaso Pantera.

The Gary Hall Award goes to Asa Jay Laughton, part of the race support team in 2017



Last Updated on Sunday, 22 October 2017 20:28