View Full Version : A Wild Weekend of Incredible Racing!

NMRA Jason
03-07-2010, 02:52 PM

Wow! That’s really the first thing to say about the season-opening Nitto Tire NMRA Ford Nationals Spring Break Shootout, because the race action was hot and heavy all weekend long. Wheelstands, crashes, record-setting performances, and the most incredible True Street field that the NMRA has ever seen highlighted the action.

In the headline class, Turbonetics Pro Outlaw 10.5, six cars showed up to do battle on the sticky Bradenton 1320’. Once qualifying was complete, 2008 class Champion Conrad Scarry took the top spot with a stout 6.78 at nearly 215 MPH, right off the trailer. Jim Blair, who had qualified with a 6.94 on Friday, loaded up and went home, as he had broken some parts during that passes, which took him out of competition. Mike Murillo’s 7.11 put him third, but he too left and went home early after damaging a cylinder head beyond repair. Dwayne James, Billy Driscoll, and Jim Brown rounded out the field heading into eliminations. With two racers out of the mix before the hit, there were two single passes, taken by Driscoll and James, sending them to round two. Scarry had to face off against Jim Brown, and Brown got out of shape, handing Scarry the win with a 6.81. Driscoll and James faced off in round two, with James hitting the tires hard on the hit and getting wildly out of shape, sending Driscoll on to his first NMRA final against Scarry, who wisely took it easy on his bye run. The big-block power of Scarry was simply too much for Driscoll to overcome, as Scarry scored a 6.80 with a half-track wheelie for the win.

Awesome record-breaking action took place in the ProCharger Super Street Outlaw class. During qualifying on Friday, John Urist clicked off a 7.29, only to be surpassed by Sammy Vincent’s 7.28 during yesterday’s sessions. Chris Tuten turned in a 7.40 to take over the third spot, while John Macdonald put a 7.45 on the board for fourth. Filthy Phil Hines went 7.62, , followed by Chip Havemann, Andrew DeMarco (driving Mike Dezotell’s borrowed car), newcomer Dan Pachar, and Anthony Lawson (who purchased Yanni Papakosmas’ hotrod in the offseason). The first round of competition was a barn-burner, as Lawson got out of shape and into the wall, sending Hines on to round two. Macdonald took a single after Pachar couldn’t make the lane call, and Tuten’s 7.56 sent Demarco back to Massachusetts. Vincent had the bye run and took it easy, bringing up the last pair. Urist and Havemann, friends for years, had to face off in a showdown of Behind Bars Race Cars customers. As the tree dropped, Havemann pedaled the car, while Urist broke the converter around half-track, allowing Havemann get back in it and run him down. The second round had Hines and Tuten facing off, with Tuten taking the win (and move to the final via the bye) with a 7.54 as Hines carried the wheels past the 330’ marker. Macdonald and Vincent were next up, with Macdonald taking the win in a great side-by side race – 7.34 to 7.38. Havemann’s single brought him in and out of the groove to a shutdown pass. Macdonald and Havemann staged, but Havemann got out of shape, while Macdonald put a 7.37 on the board to head to the final round. Tuten took his bye run, testing the track’s grip, but threw too much at it, shutting down early and preserving the car for the finals. There, JMac put a 7.42 blast on the board over Tuten's 7.68 to take home his second NMRA win.

DiabloSport’s EFI Renegade class had a wild weekend as well, with Bart Tobener turning in a wicked record-setting 8.301 to take the top spot in qualifying, followed by 2009 Champion Alton Clements’ 8.34 pass. Dan Rawls put a .39 on the board, followed by Chris VanGilder’s 8.39. Brian Mitchell, Mike Catapano, and Victor Nieblas finished out the field heading into Sunday. Once eliminations began, Clements’ 8.60 took out Mitchell’s .61, and Rawls put Catapano on the trailer when Catapano struggled down the track. VanGilder turned in a strong 8.47 to take out Nieblas, while Tobener took the tree and backed out. In the semifinals, VanGilder and Clements faced off, with Clements turning in an 8.35 to VanGilder’s 8.48. Rawls and Tobener faced off next, with Rawls’ 8.37 taking the win light over Tobener’s 8.42. In the final round, Rawls got out of shape and had to lift, sending Clements to the winner’s circle.

In the Edelbrock Hot Street class, Charlie Booze Jr. took the top qualifying spot with a stout 8.40 at over 160 MPH, followed by Robbie Blankenship’s 8.448, identical with third-place qualifier Rob Valden’s ET (driving the SAM car), with the higher MPH of Blankenship giving him the nod. Tim Eichhorn clicked off an 8.46, Don Bowles followed with an 8.48, and Max Gross put an 8.52 on the board to round out the field. In the first round of eliminations, Roush Competition Engines customers Bowles and Blankenship faced off, with Blankenship’s 8.49 getting the nod over Bowles 8.55. They were followed by Eichhorn and Booze, who ran the closest race of the weekend – 8.462 for Booze, 8.476 for Eichhorn. ‘Ike’ nailed the holeshot, but Booze was able to sneak by at the top end, with a MOV of .0011. Valden had broken the engine beyond repair during qualifying, allowing Gross to take the single run and move on. Blankenship and Gross faced off in the first semifinal, with Gross putting the car hard on the bumper to the 200’ mark, while Blankenship put an 8.47 on the board to move on to the finals. Booze had a single, but didn’t take it easy, putting an 8.46 up and setting up the final round. In a final-round battle of the #1 and #2 qualifiers, Booze put the car on the bumper and drifted towards the wall He made a valiant effort to recover but couldn’t, giving Blankenship the win.

Even more record-breaking action was up on deck for the BFGoodrich Tires Drag radial class, with Jason Lee’s 7.941 leading the pack, followed closely by Bob Kurgan’s 7.947 and Sean Lyon’s 7.98. Dave Guy clicked off a 7.99 to take the fourth position, and Enzo Pecchini rocked an 8.00 to round out the top five. Steven Biggs cracked off an 8.08, Chad Doyle blazed to an 8.09 (in his first weekend out with the car), Trace Meyer made eight with an 8.17, and James Urban finished off the field with a 9.41. When elimination time came around, Guy and Meyer were up first, turning in a great pairing, with Guy coming out on top – 8.01 to 8.05. Biggs and Kurgan took the tree next, with Kurgan pedaling the car up hard on the hit, allowing Biggs to get by and outrun him to the end of the track, 8.29 to 8.52. Lyon clicked off an 8.19 to eliminate Doyle, while Lee had a single run. Pecchini also took a single when Urban didn’t make the lane call. In the third round, Lee and Guy took the tree first, with Guy annihilating the tires off the hit, allowing Lee to take the easy win and move on. Panhandle Performance customers Lyon and Pecchini faced off next, with Pecchini getting the holeshot and taking the win, 7.98 to Lyon’s 8.48, and moving to the final with the bye. Steven Biggs had a single run, moving on to the semifinals against Lee with an 8.24. Lee and Biggs faced off in a turbocharger vs. ProCharger battle, and Biggs got loose while Lee blasted to an unreal 7.91,setting up the finals with Pecchini. Pecchini put a killer holeshot on Lee, started to drift left, and ended grazing the wall and handing Lee the win. Pecchini is OK and the car is repairable.

In Steeda Real Street, presented by 5.0 Mustang Magazine, Dan Baumann (who purchased Uncle Robin Lawrence’s old notch) took the top spot in qualifying with a 9.54, followed by Jim Breese and his 9.65. Paul Wiley turned in a 9.70 for third, while Dave Ginter clicked off a 9.78 to take the fourth spot. Paul Alfeo and Tim Matherly rounded out the field of six heading into eliminations. There, Matherly was able to solve his gremlins, turning in a 9.63 to Wiley’s redlight start. Alfeo and Breese took the tree next, and Breese earned the victory with a 9.77 to Alfeo’s 9.85. Wisconsinites Ginter and Baumann faced off last, with Baumann getting the win light, 9.63 to 9.75. Matherly faced Breese in the first semifinal airing, with Breese taking the win light, while Baumann took the tree and backed out to get ready for the finals. Breese stood it up off the line, but recovered to take the win over Baumann with a 9.51 to Baumann’s 9.69 pass.

Eibach Springs Pure Street had Steve Gifford taking the top spot on the ladder with an unreal 10.04 blast, followed by Ryan Hecox’s distant 10.25 hit for the second spot. David Hill qualified third with a 10.27, while Eric Burkhart put a 10.28 on the board for fourth. Jimmy Wilson, Mark Anderson, and Paul Foster rounded out the field of seven cars. In the first round of eliminations, Burkhart put a 10.34 on Foster to send him home, while Anderson redlit against Hill, ending his weekend. Hecox had a single when Jimmy Wilson couldn’t repair his car in time for eliminations, and Gifford followed up with a single of his own.
In the next round, Burkhart and Hecox lined up first, with Hecox turning in a 10.22 to send Burkhart back to Indiana. Next up, Hill launched hard, putting a 10.26 on the board to pass Gifford’s shutdown pass, setting up the final round. A wheels-up launch from both competitors saw ’09 Champ Hecox put a strong 10.17 on the board for the win over Hill.

Even MORE record-setting action occurred in the ACT Factory Stock class, with Tommy Godfrey becoming the charter member of the Factory Stock 10-Second Club, qualifying number one with an incredible 10.96 blast in the final qualifying round. Jay Dold was hot on his heels with an 11.01, while Carlos Sobrino clicked off an 11.21, his best pass ever, to take third. John Leslie Jr. put an 11.25 on the board for fourth, and Alan Cann ran a .27 to round out the top five. Rick Walsh, Chalie Rankin, and Zane Reed rounded out the field of eight. Walsh took the win, upsetting #2 qualifier Dold to move on. Sobrino took out Rankin to move to the next round, and Godfrey improved to a simply unreal 10.89 over Cann. In the final pairing of the round, Leslie ran an 11.52 to send Reed packing back to Georgia. The semifinal round saw Godfrey run an 11.01 to eliminate Sobrino, and Leslie took out Walsh with a strong holeshot win. In an all-too-familiar scenario, Godfrey took the wire-to-wire win with a killer 10.92 when Leslie spun off the line.

In the Trick Flow Open Comp class, Greg Essen qualified first with a .001 reaction time, followed by Jon Pickering’s .005, Steven Wieczorek’s .007, Jon H Pickering’s .010, and Randy Conway’s .015. As eliminations progressed, it came down to 2009 class Champion Wesley Dalrymple and Brandon Shackelford in the final. There, Shackelford outdrove the champ to take the win in his home state.

JDM Engineering Super Stang is always a fun class to watch, as it’s filled with S197 Mustangs with a variety of performance modifications. Mike Sulzbach and Joe Cram dominated the competition, ending up in the final round after running through their respective competition. As the pair powered downtrack, Cram drove the finish line better than Sulzbach, earning his first NMRA win.

It seems like we always see the same names on the track towards the end of the day in Exedy Clutch Modular Muscle. E.L. Smith qualified #1 with a perfect .000 reaction time, followed by Stacy Estel’s .001, Reggie Burnette Sr. and Susan McClenaghan’s identical .006 RT’s, and Joe Marini’s .008, finishing off the top five of an incredibly consistent field. 2009 Champion Reggie Burnette Jr. and Gary Parker, close friends from their old FFW days, ended up in the final round together in a battle of two of the toughest index-style racers in the country. The battle was over before it started, however, as Parker lit the angry red bulb, starting Burnette’s season off right.

Twenty-two Ford trucks showed up to do battle in the Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning class, led by Gary Windsor’s .003 reaction time. He was followed by Don Justus, who put a .012 on the board, Brent White’s .013, ’09 Champ Bob Cochran’s .014, and Johnny Lightning’s .028 to round out the top five. During eliminations, Florida’s Jim Roberts and Johnny Lightning outlasted everyone to meet up in the final round. There, Johnny Lightning ran closer to his dial-in to take the win.

In the Pro 5.0.com True Street Shootout, Chris Escobar repeated his performance of last year, outlasting the stout field of street cars and taking the win with an 8.80 blast over Chris Segura’s 9.24 in the final round.