Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
NMRA - 2002 Spring Ford Nationals - Nuclear Mustangs Race Again
The NMRA season opener bombarded spectators with speed and beauty.
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In the distance, you hear a rumble. A stab of the throttle and the sound comes ablaze. Rippling waves assault your inner senses and go quiet with a quick whoosh. Wisps of white smoke fill the air and obscure your vision of the brightly-colored mechanical marvel. A few more stabs of the throttle and the sound builds once more. Now the whoosh becomes a burly whistle and suddenly, there are repeated pops that sound like gunfire. They increase in frequency and the attack is unleashed in a blur as the machines rocket down this side of the earth.This is Pro 5.0. Whereas the nitrous-injected rides have a distinctly smooth and calming rasp, the current turbocharged Pro 5.0 cars sound like the internal combustion is occurring outside of the engine. But these are the heavy horsepower hitters. They are rolling explosions that when firmly planted to the pavement, are capable of 6-second ETs and speeds well over 200 mph. Where we once thought low 9s were amazing, the latest offerings can spank your average factory-backed Pro Stock doorslammer. These days, Super Street Outlaw has already passed the 9-second zone, which is now home to EFI Renegade and Hot Street muscle, but even these classes are looking to dip into the 8s. Mustangs are quicker than they have ever been, and racing sanctions like the NMRA provide the stage for these horsepower junkies to act on their tuning prowess.
The National Mustang Racers Association's 2002 Spring Ford Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida was a sun-drenched weekend overflowing with quarter-mile fury. Hundreds of Mustang racers from all over the country and even Canada were dropping the hammer.
The fields were full of new cars, from Modular to Real Street competitors. In Super Street Outlaw, the bold blue and white 2002 Mustang of True Blue Performance tempts the class with a turbocharged 5.4-liter engine and 9-second time slips. Former EFI Renegade racer Chip Havermann stepped up his racing program to join the Outlaw ranks and fared rather well at the Spring Ford Nationals.
Pro 5.0 was remodeled for 2002 with a host of new cars. The Xtreme Paint'd and turbocharged Mustang of Victor Sierra certainly has the power to be competitive. As the crew gets a handle on the new car, you can be sure that their performance will improve as the season progresses. Derrick Smith's beautiful Holcomb Motorsports-sponsored Pro 5.0 entry packs a powerplant straight from Glidden Racing Engines.
And as you might have guessed, they have copious amounts of nitrous on board. The car had only been finished three weeks prior to the event before the Cartersville, Ga., native brought it to sunny Florida and blasted the quarter-mile in a mere 6.94 seconds. It was the car's second pass ever. Smith and crew obviously have a handle on things.
Kevin Marsh and Chuck Samuel debuted their new Mustang, a flashy and brightly-hued horse that replaced the sedate burgundy coupe of last year. Another team leaving the old Fox body behind was John Gullett and Brent Frazier. Their purple and white pony ran straight as an arrow in Fun Ford competition a week earlier, but could not plant the crazy turbocharged horsepower in Bradenton.
Bad luck unfortunately plagued the weekend with breakdowns and oildowns. Even so, over 400 cars from Open Comp to Pro 5.0 let it all hang out at the 2002 NMRA Spring Board nationals.