2001 was the first year for the Carlisle Custom Compact Power Jam as a show unto its own. The show was broken away from the Import/Replicar Nationals and was given its own weekend, three weeks earlier in the season. Gone were the memorabilia sellers, the car restoration seminars, the used parts sellers, and some of the family atmosphere, but new to the show was an expanded focus on import performance and the growing import culture, along with more entertainment appealing to the younger crowd.
But at least one thing stayed constant, the IsuzuWeb returned to the show and, as the only Isuzu car club attending the show, excelled at what it does best, displaying the finest Isuzu cars to be found.
The weather cooperated more this year than the previous year, and although the temperature seemed to try to demonstrate every season in a day, with warm mornings, chilly noon times, hot afternoons, and cold evennings, precipitation was minimal with just a little drizzle on Saturday morning, just enough so you could pick up all the dust from the car with a towel. Skys were cloudy Friday, clearing Saturday, and almost totally clear on Sunday, allowing better photography which you are about to reap the benifits of.
IsuzuWeb members in attendance were Scott Aguilar with his 1991 Lotus Elan SE, Alan C. Cattlett with his 1988 Isuzu Impulse, Marc Belanger with his 1993 Asuna Sunfire, Eric Filion and his girlfriend, Karine Veilleux, with Eric's 1993 Asuna Sunfire, Michael Gainey and Michael's girlfriend Jenn with Michael's 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, John Garruba and his 1991 Isuzu Impulse RS, Scott Haines with his 1991 Geo Storm, Bill Luton with his 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS, Chris Morgan and his 2.6 liter 1989 Isuzu Impulse Turbo, Dave Sammynaiken and his brother with Dave's 1993 Asuna Sunfire, and Keith Zimmerman with his 1991 Isuzu Impulse. Several members had registered but were unable to bring their cars to the show, but still attended the big IsuzuWeb gathering. Among those were Victor Dumeng who brought Marisol, his wife, and their children, and Chris Garey, his wife, and their dog.
Many IsuzuWeb members showed up Friday afternoon and we found our tent relatively central in location, on the Western edge of the show field, next to the Subarus. This area was formerly part of the vendor area when the show was part of the Import/Replicar Nationals. We were happy not to be stuck behind the out buildings in the back of the fair grounds, as we had been in previous years. We took posession of the tent, set up the tables and chairs, hung the IsuzuWeb banners, and began discussing all things Isuzu while looking over each other's cars. Friday makes for a very good opportunity to get cars cleaned up and many of us took advantage of this also. We also looked over the vendor booths as they set up their displays for the weekend.
Dinner approached and we headed over to Hoss' Steak House for the traditional group dining, followed by warmup practice go-cart driving at the Carlisle Fun Center. More about the go-carts and Hoss' later.
We all gathered early at the IsuzuWeb tent and cleaned up our cars for the show. As the sky cleared and the temperature dropped just before rising again after lunch, we socialized, made several shopping sorties into the vendor area, and we decided to take the group picture on Saturday, after the participant judging ended at 4 PM. This worked much better than Sunday, because people seem to disappear on Sunday, but on Saturday, they are all there, hungry, and anxious to do anything that will get them to dinner earlier.
Specail thanks to Scott Aguilar for bringing his gas grille so we could cook hot dogs for the pot luck picnic Saturday at Noon.
From left to right in the fore ground, Michael Gainey's red 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, Scott Haines' red 1991 Geo Storm, Dave Sammynaiken's red 1993 Asuna Sunfire, Marc Belanger's blue 1993 Asuna Sunfire, and Eric Filion's grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire. In the background, Keith Zimmerman's white 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS and John Garruba's black 1991 Isuzu Impulse RS.
In the fore ground from right to left, Michael Gainey speaks with Keith Zimmerman as he unloads the trunk of his white 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS, John Garruba's black 1991 Isuzu Impulse RS, the hood of Bill Luton's black 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS is open to show off his engine, and Scott Aguilar's blue 1991 Lotus Elan SE is parked on the corner. In the background, from left to right, Eric Filion and girlfriend clean his grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire, and the Sammynaiken brothers clean Dave's red 1993 Asuna Sunfire.
Most of the cleaning done, it's picture time. From left to right facing south, Michael Gainey's red 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, Scott Haines' red 1991 Geo Storm, Dave Sammynaiken's red 1993 Asuna Sunfire, Marc Belanger's blue 1993 Asuna Sunfire, and Eric Filion's grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire. Facing the opposite direction, Keith Zimmerman's white 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS, John Garruba's black 1991 Isuzu Impulse RS, Bill Luton's black 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS is hiding Scott Aguilar's blue 1991 Lotus Elan SE, and Chris Morgan's red 1989 Isuzu Impulse Turbo is on top of the hill, attracting a crowd all its own.
I believe we owe Chris Garey some thanks for coming up with the plan for positioning
the cars for the group picture. Very good job.
From left to right, Scott Aguilar's blue 1991 Lotus Elan SE, Chris Morgan's red 1989 Isuzu Impulse Turbo, Bill Luton's black 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS, Marc Belanger's blue 1993 Asuna Sunfire, Scott Haines' red 1991 Geo Storm, Eric Filion's grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire, Michael Gainey's red 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, Keith Zimmerman's white 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS, Dave Sammynaiken's red 1993 Asuna Sunfire. The IsuzuWeb tent can be seen behind and to the right.
Looking up the row of IsuzuWeb cars. I will never figure out how Chris knew the wheels would all kine up just perfectly.
The view from the opposite direction.
Another view up the row.
IsuzuWeb members holding the club banner in front of their cars.
From left to right, Keith Zimmerman in the background, Scott Aguilar, Marc Belanger, Eric Filion's girlfriend Karine Veilleux, Eric Filion, Scott Haines, Chris Morgan, Scot Haines' friend, Dave Sammynaiken's brother, Dave Sammynaiken, Michael Gainey, Michael's girlfriend Jenn, and Bill Luton. Boy, don't those people look sharp in all those embroidered IsuzuWeb polo shirts?
The member shirts, given to everyone who attended the show with the IsuzuWeb, were different for 2001. Instead of screen printed shirts, we went with a ash speckled grey polo shirt with the IsuzuWeb logo embriodered both on the front chest over the heart and centered on the back between the shoulder blades. The shirts have a little more sophisticated look that was well received by all at the show.
We caravanned to Hoss' Steak House by the back, scenic route. Maybe this is
bragging, but by avoiding all the traffic going into and out of the show, we cut
travel time to Hoss' from 90 minutes of bumper to bumper traffic to about twelve
minutes of a relaxed drive down scenic country roads.
We assembled the Isuzus across the back of the parking lot. A few members had to stop by their hotel rooms before dinner and everyone took the opportunity to relax, unwind, and socialize.
Isuzu's assembled on the parking lot.
Probably the funniest occurence of the weekend occurred a few minutes before this picture was taken. As everyone exitted their cars and Victor Dumeng and his family exitted their mini van which was parked to the right of Scott's Lotus, the Dumeng family mini van began rolling backwards across the parking lot. Bill Luton, believing no one was in the van, dropped everything he was carrying and ran around behind the van to try to stop it from rolling. Most everyone looked on as Victor shouted to ask what Bill was doing. After Victor explained that his wife, Marisol was in the van and going to the store, a red faced Bill explained he thought the van was rolling away. Victor asked if Bill thought he could have stopped it if it was rolling, and Bill replied that he would have hoped some of the other people in the crowd would have helped, several of which responded that they would have been happy to call for an ambulance when Bill found himself caught under the wheels of the van.
Victor Dumeng and his daughters.
Marc Belanger and Eric Filion relax on the lawn.
Scott Aguilar plays with the youngest Dumeng.
The favored, polished concrete, indoor sprint car oval track was closed this year, it seems they had ordered in some new go-carts or the go-carts were out being repaired or painted. It appeard all was a loss until the Fun Center staff pointed across what had been lawn the previous year, and directed us to take a look at the newly constructed outdoor track. We were surprised to find the outdoor track was an "X" shaped track of polished concrete consisting of four hairpin left turnes with four right angle right hand turns, one between each hair pin. The cars were similar to the sprint cars, less roll cage, but the same atypical heavy bumpers all the way around. These cars were obviously designed for bumping and we were going to have some serious fun, because this track was a road course version of the sprint car setup. There would be a lot of spinning of fellow IsuzuWeb members as other members laid a fender into them while passing in those hairpin turns.
After the first of our group ran, Scott Aguilar explained to us that the trick was to keep your right foot planted on the gas pedal, never letting up, and stand on the brakes to turn. This kept the engine turning fast enough to keep the transmission engaged so you could accelerate out of the turns. Soon after Scott's announcement, the smell of clutch and brake pad was heavy in the air.
A few drivers pointed out to stay clear of Marc Belanger and Eric Filion, these two were apparently double teaming anyone who had the misfortune to get too close to them.
We're not exactly sure what the pre race lecture was, because we couldn't hear it for the noise and the teenage staff worker delivered the speach so quickly that it sounded more like a chant in some unknown language, than instructions on how to race. Here, from forground to background, Scott Aguilar, Victor Dumeng, and Keith Zimmerman receive their pre race lecture before the lights turn green and the chaos begins.
Victor Dumeng smiles widely in the lead, but doesn't seem to realize that Michael Gainey is about to put a fender into the side of Victor's cart. Dave Sammynaiken and his brother are a blur right behind Michael, as is much of the rest of the field. Keith Zimmerman is bringing up the rear, waiting for the pack to scatter carnage so he can slalom through without having to fight the cars spun into the walls.
Michael Gainey is on the receiving end of a good, solid bump by Chris Garey. The Sammynaiken brothers are about to catch the pack and begin working up to Michael and Chris.
Dave Sammynaiken's brother accelerates away from Keith Zimmerman (on right) and Dave (on left).
Eric Filion grins widely, but is about to have his hands full with the local driver behind him. Dave Sammynaiken works forward in the background.
For some reason, a group of us caravanned the back way to the show on Sunday morning. We gathered and parked at the IsuzuWeb tent for a day of more Isuzu conversation and to tell war stories from the go-cart races the night before.
From right to left, Michael Gainey's red 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, Scott Haines' red 1991 Geo Storm, and Bill Luton's black 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS.
From right to left, Marc Belanger's blue 1993 Asuna Sunfire and Eric Filion's grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire.
The rear quarter view of the cars on the hill. From left to right, Michael Gainey's red 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS, Scott Haines' red 1991 Geo Storm, and Bill Luton's black 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS, Chris Garey's white Ford Focus sneaks in the shot, Marc Belanger's blue 1993 Asuna Sunfire and Eric Filion's grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire.
We took another group picture on Sunday. Some people had to leave after Saturday and some others were only able to attend Sunday. From left to right, Marisol Dumeng and her husband Victor with the four Dumeng children, Chris Garey's wife and Chris Garey who is holding the family dog, Dave Sammynaiken behind his seated brother, Marc Belanger, Eric Filion's girlfriend Karine Veilleux, Eric Filion, Scott Haines, and Bill Luton.
The IsuzuWeb again took more than its fair share of awards on Sunday, and we are proud that our members continue to go home with so many of Carlisle's trophies. Congratulations are in order for all of our members for showing the world we have the best Isuzus on the road.
Michael Gainey's 1989 Isuzu I-Mark RS is super clean with an excellent custom paint job. But that is only half the story, as this daily driver is also Michael's favorite ride at the drag strip. Michael stuck around for the drive through awards ceremony and was nice enough to pose next to his car with his award for this picture.
Bill Luton's black 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS returns, again decked out in autocross trim. Bill had installed a Stan's Headers brand header, catalytic converter, and two muffler exhaust system as display, just before leaving for the show.
Eric Filion's extremely clean grey 1993 Asuna Sunfire picked up third place in the very competitive Impulse/Storm class.
Scott Aguilar's blue 1991 Lotus Elan M100 had stiff competition in the European Exotic class with a Acura NSX and a Ferrari
Chris Morgan's red 1989 Isuzu Impulse Turbo, equipped with a larger 2.6 liter engine, was the unheralded shining star of the show. Only a few of the rear wheel drive Impulse enthusiasts among us fully appreciated this Starion killer and all the work that went into it. Further subtlety is found in the hood, which has highlights over the power bulge, which, unfortunately, do not photograph well.
Marc Belanger's blue 1993 Asuna Sunfire was adorned with lots of chrome and polished aluminum under the hood. The custom grill cloth in the lower bumper opennings is a very nice touch.
Scott Haines' red Geo Storm looks Ferrariesque with those Ferrari style wheels and the bright red paint.
Keith Zimmerman's white 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS returns to the show, further restored since last year's show, and keeping the benchmark for clean stock trim.
Dave Sammynaiken's red 1993 Asuna Sunfire is significantly customized both inside and out. Color keying everything body color and well on its way to a very unique interior.
It is almost a cliche now to say everyone had fun. No one ever goes away from a show with the IsuzuWeb with anything but a smile on their face. it is always an enjoyable time, and it gets better and better each year we attend.
There were some rough points. The seperation of the Custom Compact Power Jam
from the Import/Replicar Nationals and the show activities slanted toward a younger
crowd, resulted in a much rowdier and less family oriented event. We certainly
missed the vendors from the Import/Replicar Nationals, which are about the only
ones who ever offer any Isuzu memorabilia, collectable literature, and shop manuals.
There were some crowd control problems as well. Hondas racing up and down the driveways were viewed almost as normal by Sunday afternoon. Show manager Mike DeFord threw out two Subaru owners on Sunday morning for sliding on the grass before anyone else showed up on the fair grounds. This was a rather poor display of Mr. DeFord's hot headed temper. The entire Subaru club left in protest. It was a little too conspicuous that the Honda owners were allowed to openly drag race up and down the driveways of the fair grounds while the Subaru owners were singled out for sliding on dew laden grass.
The local newspaper reported in the week following the show that the crowd was the most disruptive to date of any crowd attending the many various Carlisle Productions shows for various muscle cars among other specific venues. There was commentary that the show promoters would have to take steps to control the crowd and their behavior in the town a little better in the coming years.
There were some concerns for us as IsuzuWeb members as well. We worked very hard to get Isuzu specific classes as part of this show, and have worked hard since that time to get those classes expanded, specifically to get the rear wheel drive Impulse in its own class seperate from the 90-93 FWD and AWD cars, and to break the I-Mark/Stylus class into two seperate classes. This will make things more fair for the RWD Impulse owners as well as the I-Mark and Stylus owners. In past years, we had significant attendance of these cars, and they were underappreciated because they were mixed with dissimilar cars. In 2001, the show had one RWD Impulse and one Stylus among a handful of I-Marks. We will need to get more of these cars at the show to prove to the show promoters that more Isuzu classes are justified. I would like to see eight or ten RWD Impulses and a solid half dozen Styluses at the show in 2002 so we can demonstrate the need for more Isuzu classes. And while we are at it, six or eight Lotus Elans would be nice as well, this could become the annual Elan gathering for the East Coast.
A second serious concern was that there were no Stock classes offered at the 2001 show, as were offered at the 1998 through 2000 shows. This was a particular disappointment, because our members took two of three trophies for Stock Asian in 2000, and we looke dto take several if those classes would have been offered at the 2001 show. The IsuzuWeb has members across a braod spectrum, people building race cars, those building show cars, and those restoring their cars to original condition. This last group is not overlooked by us, but seems to have been overlooked by the show promoters at Carlisle. We need to make every effort to make sure the Carlisle staff knows that those Stock classes are important to us as an organization and important to our experience and enjoyment at the Carlisle Custom Compact Power Jam.
Anyway, I hope to see everyone return in 2002, and if you weren't there for 2001, mark your calendar and start getting your car ready for Spring.