The 4th Annual Super Bowl Of Street Legal Racing Nationals - Battle Royale - NMRA Joliet
The 4th Annual Super Bowl Of Street Legal Drag Racing
From the November, 2009 issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords
By Mark Houlahan
Photography by Paul Rosner
Illinois has some serious...
Illinois has some serious Ford enthusiasts and it looked like all of them were at Route 66 Raceway for the Super Bowl event. From early F-series trucks and Mercury Comets to Fox Mustangs and S197s, there certainly was something in the car show field to suit anyone's tastes, that's for sure.
The NMRA, for those of you that aren't aware, also owns the NMCA (National Muscle Car Association). The NMCA offers heads up and bracket-style racing, along with a car show, just like the NMRA, but it's open to all makes and models. For the fourth year now the NMRA Keystone Automotive Nationals and NMCA Edelbrock Hot Rod & Muscle Car Nationals have joined forces to offer the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, sponsored by Nitto Tires in Joliet, Illinois, at the infamous Route 66 Raceway. This combined event not only offers a refreshing view from the burnout box, but there are actually two separate car shows going on at the same event offering plenty of eye candy to look at. Let's not forget the huge burnout contest and staggering manufacturer's mid-way and swap meet areas, this is one of the few events on the NMRA schedule you really don't want to miss.
As usual, Modified Mustangs & Fords was there to check out the action, capture some of the best cars on film, and award our Editor's Choice award that we present at each NMRA event. We also wandered over to the starting line for a little track action too (hey, we like our race cars as much as our show cars around here) and pro lensman Paul Rosner did his usual killer job for us. So check out the photos and imagine them on the front of a "wish you were here" postcard and hopefully we'll see you there next year!
We didn't get too much info...
We didn't get too much info on Amanda Saad's Fairmont Futura, but suffice it to say, it's really cool to see someone build one of these Fox-body-based rides up into something fun to drive. If we had to guess, we think that's Ford's awesome-looking Tungsten Gray on the flanks of the Futura. With V-8 power, 17-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, and more we're sure Amanda has to fight off the car guys with a stick.
Right out of the gate we couldn't...
Right out of the gate we couldn't miss Dustin Leutenegger's '88 GT hatch. From the striking Belize Blue paint adorned with silver stripes over a Cervini's Stalker kit to the Bob Kurgan-tuned 331 Eagle-based stroker enhanced with a V3 Vortech blower, Anderson Power Pipe, and AFR 185 heads, Dustin's hatch had it all figured out. The blue beauty has run a best of 11.50 at 128.6 mph, which means his Second Place win for Best Fox Body, First Place for Best Paint in people's choice, and Top 20 Ford award and Best Engine (both on Sunday) will get a wicked fast ride home to his trophy shelf.
DECH Motorsport out of Ontario,...
DECH Motorsport out of Ontario, Canada, used to be a pretty big name in aftermarket suspension and other goodies for the Mustang. While it closed its doors in 2000, many of its turnkey cars live on in the hands of enthusiasts. We didn't get a chance to speak with Shawn Bigwin about his '89 DECH Mustang, but it was nice to see one again and Shawn certainly deserved the Second Place in Best Engine and Top 20 Ford awards he received.
Dan Hall knows what it's like...
Dan Hall knows what it's like to hear the roar of side pipes and the wind in your hair as the owner of a Factory Five Roadster. He brought his Tangerine Pearl beauty to the show and while we all know the power to weight factor of these cars makes 'em an E-ticket ride on the street, they sure know how to clean up at car shows too. Dan's FFR knocked down Best Special Interest Ford, Best Body and Paint, and People's Choice awards.
Detroit Locker Truck and Lighting...
Detroit Locker Truck and Lighting is often a large class of Lightings, diesels, and more, but we sometimes see some classic Fords like Rick Devito's Falcon Ranchero. Rick was up against last year's champ, Mike Motycka, in the other lane, but Mike jumped the gun and red lit in the finals, giving Rick his first-ever Truck and Lighting win.
It's always nice when you...
It's always nice when you work at a custom shop and can spend a little after-hours time on your own ride, but it must be really nice when you own the place. Mike Dietzen owns Cartech Auto Repair in DePere, Wisconsin, and built this Raspberry Red '79 Capri Pro-Streeter searing your retinas on this page. B&B Racecars in Appleton, Wisconsin, handled the full tube frame chassis build up, but from the FAST EFI-powered small-block on the juice to the paint, Mike had his hands in the rest of it. No wonder he snagged the trophies for Best Race Car & Pro Street, Best Stance, and Best Interior.
As the weekend wound down...
As the weekend wound down and the awards were handed out, we had a little time to check out some of the racing action, and as usual, we caught all sorts of cool Ford iron burning down the tree. Check out Paul Leaman's '31 Model A. Notice the distributor is up front too! Ford in a Ford is the only way we roll around here. Paul worked his way though the 17-car Steeda Open Comp field to get into the finals against James Brand's Thunderbird, but Paul took the win and the class in his Model A.
A silver New Edge, be it Cobra,...
A silver New Edge, be it Cobra, GT, or V-6, always turns our heads. Silver just looks right on some cars and the New Edge's sharp lines really make it stand out. Tracy Griffith's '00 GT is a perfect example. Built for speed with an all-aluminum 4.6 topped with a Saleen supercharger, the silver bullet certainly has power to spare. Backed by a D&D Performance Viper spec T56 and a 3.73 geared 8.8-inch rear, Tracy has no problem putting that power to the 315s out back. Tracy took home a Top 20 Ford and Best Engineered award.
If we ever hit the lottery...
If we ever hit the lottery Eric Vasquez's trick '93 Cobra would be on our short list of cars we'd be writing checks for. Not only is it our favorite Cobra color combo (Teal/black), but Eric dropped the 235 horse Cobra 5.0L engine in favor of a built Terminator 32-valve modular backed with a six-speed. Talk about a killer Fox! The judges must think so too as Eric took home the First Place trophy for Best Fox Body, a Top 20 Ford, and Best SVT Mustang/Cobra awards.
Modified Mustangs & Fords Editor's Choice
John LAMB'S '56 Thunderbird
John Lamb's story might sound familiar to many of us. As a youth in 1956 he had a paper route and he'd pedal past one of his customers every morning who had a brand-new '56 T-Bird in the driveway. He thought to himself "I'll own one of those someday." Unfortunately that day didn't come until 1995 and even then the '56 he purchased was far from looking like new. No, the little 'Bird had been hit hard in the front, destroying the sheetmetal and frame horns and the previous owner had even started parting the car out, already selling off the drivetrain. John's labor of love didn't really start until 2000, when he unfortunately was going through a rather tough divorce. The next four years working on the T-Bird with his son, Jeff, were, in some ways, therapy for him. Again, something I think we can all relate to in one form or another.
John and his son spent quality time in the garage putting the 'Bird back together with such niceties as a Fatman Fabrication front frame clip with Mustang II suspension and Air Ride. Out back a 3.50-geared 9-inch in a four-link setup, also on Air Ride, was used for great cruising, and to give the T-Bird's ride height an instant change of stance when John felt like it. It's not all looks for this 'Bird either, as Jeff built his dad a nice small-block from a '94 5.0L roller block and topped it with a Kenne Bell Flowzilla blower, SCT 90mm mass-air meter, Brodix aluminum heads, and 42-lb/hr Ford Racing injectors for a dyno-tested 412 hp at 5,800 rpm. Master Power four-wheel disc brakes slow the 'Bird's flight down safely. The exterior features custom hood louvers, Titanium PPG base/clear applied by XCaliber Auto Restorations and polished Torque Thrust IIs.
While John's T-Bird has "show car" written all over it, don't for a second think this 'Bird is babied. John drive's the car as much as he can, often deep into the fall months with the added hardtop, and his daughter Jeriann has been known to borrow dad's toy to pickup his grandson at school on special occasions. He tells us he's about to start working on a '61 Unibody Ford pickup and has plans for a modular V-10 with twin turbos, again with the help of his son Jeff. We can't wait to see that one, and just like John's T-Bird, which took a First Place in the Thunderbird class at Joliet (besides our Editor's Choice), we're sure the Unibody will be an award winning ride as well.