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Pinto Stampede 2012 to travel through South Boston

The Second Annual Pinto Stampede, a 600-mile drive conducted by enthusiasts of the Ford Pinto of the 1970s, will take place Thursday and Friday beginning at Martinsville Speedway, continuing through South Boston and concluding at Summit Point, West Virginia; site of the Jefferson 500.

The 2012 Pinto Stampede commences one week before Memorial Day and will raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project, an organization that helps soldiers returning with disabilities regain normal lives.  The inaugural Pinto Stampede in 2011 raised $13,000 for the veterans' organization.

Along the route, Pinto drivers will drive 10 laps around Martinsville Speedway, where 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame Richie Evans won 10 modified races and had his life tragically cut short.  

The Stampede will stop at Ernie’s Restaurant in South Boston at 1:45 p.m. Thursday to have lunch before gassing up and heading on to Richmond.

The Stampede also will visit The Woods Brothers Racing Museum in Stuart and attend the Jefferson 500, in Summit Point Motor Sports Park on May 19-20 at which 10 Ford Pinto Trans-Am/IMSA race cars will compete in the vintage car race.

“We want to take the opportunity to do something meaningful while having fun, so we included a charitable component by again raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Norm Bagi, founder of The Pinto Stampede.  “Contributions can be made through the Pinto Stampede donation page on the Wounded Warrior Project web site.”  

In 2011, enthusiasts of the Ford Pinto established a unique way of recognizing the compact car by organizing a charity drive consisting solely of Ford Pintos.  

The Pinto sold more than 3 million units from 1971-1980.  This year's Pinto Stampede honors Richie Evans, a Modified racer who in the 1970's and early 80's drove a Modified Pinto and won more races than any other driver.  Evans is a 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and is the first driver outside of the Sprint series to be inducted to the hall.

This year, the Pinto Stampede encompasses an opportunity for participants to drive laps around legendary Martinsville Speedway, honoring Richie Evans.  Martinsville is the only racetrack that has been on the NASCAR circuit from its beginning and presently is the shortest track in the NASCAR Sprint Series.  Martinsville's surface is unique, as it is paved with a combination of asphalt (straightaways) and concrete (corners). This track is a fan favorite and has experienced many thrilling races in its 64-year existence.

“The first Pinto Stampede was so much fun for the participants and for those innocent bystanders who were caught off guard as we rolled past," said Bagi, AKA “Trail Boss” of The Pinto Stampede.  “We made lasting friendships, while dispelling many of the myths associated with the Pinto and raising money for a worthy and noble cause. This year, the Jefferson 500 also will hold a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project, and we are going to help when we arrive.”