Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals - Taking It To The (Z)Max
The NMRA And NMCA All-Star Nationals
From the December, 2009 issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords
By Mark Houlahan
Photography by Paul Rosner
The Ford Owners Association...
The Ford Owners Association of the Carolinas (www.foacarolinas.com) handled the car show, and it certainly had its hands full with the huge car counts over the show weekend.
Maybe you've seen the zMAX Dragway on television on shows like Pinks, last year's NHRA Nationals, or just read about it in the news. If you're not familiar with the new facility, it's the brainchild of Lowe's Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith (who also owns several other top-tier racing facilities).
Imagine an all-concrete racing surface-not just the starting line or the first 300 feet, but the whole 1,320 (or 1,345 in the case of the zMAX facility). Now imagine not one, but two Christmas trees. Why two trees you ask? Well, that's because there are four lanes of side-by-side drag racing at zMAX.
These points add up to the only facility of its kind in the U.S., most likely the world. Sure there was four-wide racing back in the '60s, but not on a dedicated four-lane strip. Technicalities aside, the new zMAX facility-built alongside Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina-will certainly be the talk of the drag racing community for many years.
If you know anything about...
If you know anything about Jack Roush, you probably know that he's into Mustangs, even the flying ones. He's owned a few P-51s over the years, and even makes a few bucks selling parts for P-51s with his line of Merlin engine parts, so it was no surprise to Mustang enthusiasts (the car types) when Roush unveiled the P-51a Mustang a few years ago. The latest model, the P-51b, features a 510hp beefed-up 4.6L Three-Valve, an upgraded fuel system, six-piston brakes, and a P-51-themed paint scheme. Steve McIntyre's P-51b wowed passersby all weekend-Steve took home the First Place trophy in the Best Tuner Car class for his beautiful ride.
The NMRA and NMCA once again combined efforts to announce the inaugural Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, presented by Keystone Automotive, at this new facility. Similar to the annual Super Bowl event in Joliet, Illinois, these two sanctioning bodies are combining activities to expand the racing and show action for participants and spectators alike.
Not only were NMRA and NMCA racers battling it out on the property, but our sister magazine Hot Rod held its Hot Rod Magazine Drags at this event, pitting late-model Mustang performance against late-model GM and Mopar products. And the Charlotte event was also one of the venues where the NMRA runs its True Street class, which is a great way for beginning drag racers to get a feel for the action with their own street cars.
Of course, it goes without saying (but we'll mention it anyway) that at a combined event like this, the manufacturer's midway, swap-meet areas, and car shows are positively huge and worth the price of entry alone!
Check out what you missed with Paul Rosner's great photos, and be sure to look for more great NMRA action in 2010.
Victor Stevens owns this '07...
Victor Stevens owns this '07 Foose Stallion Mustang, and like the previously mentioned Roush P-51b, Victor is all too aware of just how few of these special rides were built by Unique Performance and Tecstar. But that doesn't mean Victor is against modifying this rare ride to suit his own tastes in looks and performance. Victor has written a few checks over the years, adding a polished Ford Racing Whipple blower, Ford Racing Hot Rod cams, and other goodies to make an impressive 425 hp at the tire. The black-over-Hot Hues Cinnamon convertible helped Victor take home the Second Place trophy in Best Modern Mustang.
We find it especially exciting...
We find it especially exciting when a whole family gets in on the hobby (whatever it may be). In the case of Dawn and Joseph Piccirillo, it is Ford's Gran Torino. The couple owns two unmolested and original examples, and proudly displayed them at the NMRA auto show. Dawn's '74 is on the right, wearing its factory paint and powered by the original 351 Cleveland. Joseph's car is a factory Starsky & Hutch edition '76 model with a 351 Windsor underhood. The '76 is all-original as well, and was displayed with a deluxe Marti report and the original buildsheet. Two cool rides for sure.
When was the last time you...
When was the last time you saw two Thunderbolts battling it out together on the dragstrip? It's fairly rare in the NMRA ranks, but if you visit an NMCA event or one of the two combo events (the Super Bowl race in Joliet, Illinois, or this All-Star Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina), you're bound to catch them in action in the Nostalgia Super Stock (NSS) class. Here, Brian Merrick (near lane) takes the final win away from D.W. Hopkins.
At the height of the muscle-car...
At the height of the muscle-car wars, it wasn't just the Mustang battling it out on the front lines. There was plenty of Ford iron ready for a Saturday night slug fest. Two of Ford's "soldiers" were the Fairlane and Torino. For '69, you could order your Torino ready for battle, just like Jimmy Gizzard's Torino GT SportsRoof seen here, with a 428 Cobra Jet (a $287 option according to his reproduction window sticker), close-ratio four-speed, Traction-Lok 9-inch, and little else.
Longtime readers might remember...
Longtime readers might remember Jim Weigle's Superformance Daytona Coupe replica that we featured a few years back. Jim's immaculate Coupe took home a Top 20 Ford and a First Place Best Engine awards.
If you look up the definition...
If you look up the definition of a nice, clean restomod classic, there would certainly be a picture of Billy Acuff's '65 Mustang next to the entry in the dictionary. Billy's Chrome Yellow coupe features an EFI 5.0L swap-stroked to 347ci no less-with AFR 185 heads, an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and more. It's backed by a Ford Racing T5, and the five-speed transfers the grunt to a 3.70-geared 9-inch. The front suspension features a conversion to late-model Mustang struts and disc brakes, too.
Speaking of factory race cars,...
Speaking of factory race cars, we found this Thunderbolt in the car-show field. Owned by Bob Young, he garnered the Best Ford Muscle Classic award for his efforts. We loved the autographed photo of Dick Brannan displayed with the car. Astute observers will notice the 'Bolt is parked next to another Ford factory race car-the '00 Mustang Cobra R!
Early '60s T-birds are just...
Early '60s T-birds are just perfect for cruising with the family or a group of friends. They usually are decked out with the major options (power windows, locks, seats, A/C, and so on), seat four or five comfortably, and just look way cool stock or modified. Pete Cavaliere's '61 drop-top is a perfect example of what we mean, and he took home the First Place award for Best Thunderbird.
We thought Mike Cormack's...
We thought Mike Cormack's '06 GT was a GT500 at first glance, but then we noticed the hind quarters have a Roush heritage to it (wing and window louvers). That's when we realized Mike is simply personalizing his GT's exterior, which also explains the trick two-tone paint with real-fire airbrushed edges. The Foose Nitrous 20's certainly help the look, and 4.10 gears, a C&L cold-air setup, and a DiabloSport tune give it a little more go. Mike's GT helped him take home the First Place award for Best Modern Mustang.
We found this Fox Saleen,...
We found this Fox Saleen, New Edge Cobra, and S197 Roush on display-three different generations of Mustangs, three different specialty models, and three different body styles (hatch, convertible, and coupe). Quite the lineup when you think about it.