The Great American Pony Drive began on Sunday, April 13, in Norman, Oklahoma, with roughly 180 Ford Mustangs gathering to make two trips: one eastbound to Charlotte, North Carolina, and the other westbound to Las Vegas. The destinations were sites of huge events celebrating 50 years of the Mustang. We joined the eastbound trek, which took four days to get to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On Wednesday morning in Asheville, North Carolina (the third stop), we awoke to blue skies and not a hint of the rain that plagued us so far on the trip. This day’s drive was the shortest, at roughly 120 miles, and it was uneventful until we pulled into Charlotte Motor Speedway. Then it became eventful in a good way.
After stopping to gather all the cars together to enter the facility, the Mustangs were escorted inside and up onto the high banks of the racetrack – a fantastic and rare opportunity! Each car got to make a lap and a half on the big oval.
We rode with Tricia Kramer of Cleveland, Ohio, in her 2012 Shelby® GT500®, which she describes as “the most beautiful car here.” Tricia has been a Mustang lover since high school, when she drove a 1970 Mustang Mach 1 with a 428 Cobra Jet engine. It took her until 2011 to get another Mustang, when she bought a 2011 GT. She loved the car, but when she took it in to the dealer for an oil change, she saw this new GT500 on the showroom floor. “It was everything I ever wanted. It was a Shelby and it was a convertible, and this car just had my name on it.” So an oil change turned into a brand-new car, which her kids have named her midlife crisis. She told us, “My youngest is a freshman in college so it’s time to focus on me for a change. I picked up the Pony Drive in Nashville. Everyone has been so friendly and the cars are so beautiful. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Along the drive, we met Frank Frost and his girlfriend, Jennifer Brown, of Indianapolis in Frank’s 1965 Mustang. Frank’s car stood out not only because of its great black and red paint, but also because he fashioned a color-matched trailer that carried the couple’s luggage, tools and spare maintenance parts. We also met Warren and Beth Greeno of Loveland, Colorado, in a Gotta Have it Green 2014 Mustang GT with dealer-customized stripes that featured the couple’s surname.
While this is the end of the Great American Pony Drive, the Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Celebration is starting, and our next report will appear in several days when we bring you event coverage from Charlotte.