August 1, 2003

Step By Step

View Photo Gallery
0308MM_01z Ford_Mustang Front_Drivers_Side_View_At_Track
Pro 5.0 winner Don Walsh, Jr. leaves the line and on his way to a 6-second run. Walsh took out number-one qualifier Chuck Samuel with an awesome 6.86 at 202 mph run to make it to the finals. There, he would run 6.90 at 202 taking out Mangrum who suffered from severe tire shake.
0308MM_02z Ford_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
John Urist was hot all weekend long when he grabbed the number-one qualifying position with a 7.97 at 173.81 mph. The turbocharged Mustang worked its way through the 24-car field and into the finals. It was Urist's first time in the NMRA Winner's Circle.
0308MM_03z Ford_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
Former NMCA standout, Scott Budisalich, had been itching all winter long to get his Edelbrock Hot Street car back on the race track. With a new powerplant from Bennett Racing, Budisalich was brutal on the Tree and posted several times in the 9.20s. He eliminated Shane Long in the finals when the coupe blistered a 9.23 at 145.30 mph.
0308MM_04z 1988_Ford_Mustang_LX Front_Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
For the past few years the supercharger has been the dominant power adder in Renegade. Kurt Gallant was willing to disagree with the masses with his '88 Mustang LX. With Nitrous Express on board the team qualified number one and won the race with consistent low 9-second passes.
0308MM_05z Ford_Mustang Drivers_Side_View_At_Track
Two-time NMRA Drag Radial champion Chris Little had his work cut out for him at Bradenton. His 8.76 pass raised quite a few eyebrows as Little delivered his Nitrous Pro Flow coupe into the finals once again with runs in the 8.70s.
0308MM_Spring21_z
Over 300 cars showed up for the Dallas Mustang-sponsored Show and Shine portion of the NMRA event. Most cars were driven to the event and the owners spent a better part of the morning cleaning their Mustangs and Fords before the judging began.
0308MM_07z Ford_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
Darrin Hendricks and Steve Moberly teamed up for 2003 and picked up the former Beningo-owned Real Street chassis. The new team installed Hendricks' Pure Street engine and consistent high 10s was the result. Hendricks rowed the gears to victory.
0308MM_29z Ford_Mustang Front_Drivers_Side_View_At_Track
TTC Tremec Pure Street champion Gene Hindman cruised through eliminations with 10.80-10.90 runs, but ran into the Hendricks/Moberly team in the finals and lost.
0308MM_09z 1995_Ford_Cobra Front_Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
SS/O e.t. record holder Jim Blair converted his '95 Cobra R to 25.1 specs in just under three weeks so he could make the NMRA season opener. A broken converter during qualifying prevented the team from showing their 7-second power. The backup torque converter was not suited for the 1,700-plus hp engine.
0308MM_10z Ford_5 0_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
Wynn Speed Shop-owner, Todd Wynn, debuted a beautiful new Pro 5.0 machine at Bradenton. The tube-chassis Mustang had a turbocharged engine under the hood that propelled him to 7-oh performances. Tim Savell was the hired driver for this new Pro 5.0 car.
0308MM_25z Ford_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
Defending Edelbrock Hot Street champ Brian Booze and car owner Joe Johnston thrashed with the TRZ crew to finish building their Mustang by second round of qualifying on Saturday. First run down the track with the new suspension proved to be a good one as the defending champs qualified fourth with a 9.31.
0308MM_28z Ford_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
Peter Champani wassporting a new look at Bradenton and also a new turbo combination that centered around an Innovative 80mm turbocharger. Champani turned up the boost and ran a best of 8.94, but lost to the nitrous car of Chris Little in the finals of Drag Radial.
0308MM_35z Ford_Mustang Front_Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Bangin' Bob Hanlon was at it again in Edelbrock Hot Street competition. The high winding, 357ci engine was singing at 9,000-plus rpm as Hanlon shifted gears in his G-Force five-speed transmission.
0308MM_37z Ford_Mustang Front_View_At_Track
Brian Meyer goes wheels up with his Anderson Ford Motorsport-backed Real Street Mustang. A Paxton Novi 2000 resides under the hood and mid 10-second times are the result.
0308MM_Spring15_z
FDNY's Mike Washington poses proudly next to his new Factory Stock Mustang. Washington teamed up with Justin Burcham this year as part of a two car team and ran under the 50resto.com banner, the website for Latemodel Restoration Supply. Washington marched to the finals with consistent low 12-second times and took the F/S trophy back to New York.
0308MM_16z Ford_Mustang Front_Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
With a little bit of luck and consistent 8.40 times new racer Mauro Vitale went all the way to the finals in the tough Super Street Outlaw class.
0308MM_17z Ford_Mustang Front_Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
If Manny Buginga didn't have bad luck he would have no luck at all. The Massachusetts racer hauled 24 hours to Bradenton only to break during a test and tune run. The team scrambled to fix the car for qualifying, but ran an off-pace 9.24 at a promising 166 mph. They went out first round to Chip Havemann with a 9.78 at 168 run to Havemann's 8.40.

The NMRA kicked off its fifth season this past March as racers from around the country converged on Bradenton Motorsport Park for the Nitto Tires Spring Nationals. While most of the country was still battling snow storms and cold weather many drag racers and car show participants made the trip south and began the race season in sunny weather. The NMRA had a lightning finish to its 2002 season with record numbers and when the gates opened in 2003, many heads-up racers were ready to run for the championship in a wide range of classes.

The NMRA-Jet Hot Drag Racing series features 11 exciting pro-Tree style classes and three bracket-type eliminators. In addition to the action on the dragstrip there is the All-Ford Show and Shine, presented by Dallas Mustang Parts, and burnout contest.

ProCharger Pro 5.0
Starting from the top, Procharger Pro 5.0 class featured the usual six-second, 200-mph excitement and Chuck Samuel was the number-one qualifier with an awesome 6.87 at 203 mph. The Kevin Marsh-owned machine was deadly consistent during qualifying as it went 6.87, 6.88, and 6.87 when claiming the top position. The team relies on a Precision 94mm turbocharger to pump up the Fast Times constructed engine. Checking in number two was Tim Savell in the Wynn Speed entry and went 7.19 at 195. Walsh (7.30), Eakins (7.80), and Mangrum (8.01) made up the rest of the field as they all encountered some problems during qualifying.

Mangrum made it past a tire-shaking Savell, while Walsh survived his match-up against Eakins. Samuel had a bye run thanks to his number-one qualifying position. He used the opportunity to make sure everything was in check and ran 6.88 showing his ability to keep his racecar consistent. Samuel would meet up with Walsh in the second round, while Mangrum had a bye to the finals. Walsh had fought a tire shake problem and the team got it sorted out by installing a new set of shocks. Walsh drilled the Tree and Samuel followed, but did not have enough to catch Walsh on the big end. The blower car streaked to the victory with a 6.86 to Samuel's losing 6.98. Mangrum took the green light and backed his racecar off the track to preserve parts for the finals.

In the final, Walsh continued his six-second runs and this time he would outrun Mangrum with a 6.90 for the victory.

MSD Ignition Super Street Outlaw
The small-tire freak show saw many new entrants and while there were many new faces, the top spots on the ladder were held down by the class veterans. John Urist made it to the pole during the final round of qualifying as his turbo car ran 7.97 and just edged out Todd Fluman who had run 7.98. The third qualifier was Jim Blair whose '95 Cobra R ran 8.091 and he was followed closely by Randy Haywood (8.095). Rounding out the top five was Joe Morgan and his new Mustang coupe--the big-block powered car ran 8.146.

Urist started off race day with an easy victory in the first round when his competitor did not show. In the second round he beat fellow turbo racer Dennis Bailey, who was driving the BB&T-backed Mustang. This time Urist unleashed an 8.12 to beat Bailey's 8.38. For the third round, Urist locked horns with the nitrous car of Brian McGee and walked away with another round win--8.13 to an 8.73.

Mauro Vitale and Mark Van Meter both used a bit of luck and consistency to make their way into the semifinals to face each other. Vitale's first two competitors were broken and that put him in the third round of eliminations against the 7-second car of Fluman. Unfortunately for Fluman the small tires said enough is enough and lost traction, which enabled Vitale to grab the round win with an 8.50 run. Van Meter's brand-new SSO car ran in the 8.40s and eliminated Gina Munden, Glen Rollinger, and Chip Havemann to make the semifinals. Van Meter made a solo run when he was suppose to line up with Havemann. A broken driveshaft on the Stang Gear-backed coupe prevented him from making the lane call and face Van Meter.

The 24-car field was shrunk down to just three racers in the fourth round of competition. Urist had a bye into the finals while the two rookie SSO drivers had to race each other to earn a spot in the final round. Vitale's ProCharger-powered GT did a healthy burnout and drowned out the hissing noise from Van Meter's turbo entry. The two lined up and when the lights dropped it was Vitale out first with a great .496 reaction time while Van Meter trailed with a sleepy .574 reaction time. The Mustangs would remain side by side the entire length of the quarter-mile and at the finish line was Vitale taking the win. The blower car ran a slower 8.49 to Van Meter's 8.44, but the difference was Vitale's quicker reaction time. Urist simply drove down track and saved his parts for the final round.

In the finals Vitale tried to get a jump on the Tree and lit the red light while Urist cruised to his first NMRA win with an 8.11 at 171.65-mph pass.

Edelbrock Hot Street
Mini Pro Stock is what the racers have dubbed the Edelbrock Hot Street class and the first race of the year featured 12 high-winding, naturally aspirated Mustangs. Shane Long drove his Bennett Racing-backed coupe to the top spot with a solid 9.29 at 144.90 mph. Following closely were Scott Budisalich (9.308), Kurt Neighbor (9.314), Brian Booze (9.316) and Bob Hanlon (9.323).

Budisalich navigated through eliminations with consistency. His first round victim was the early model Mustang of Nick Bacalis. The orange coupe grabbed the win with a 9.28 run then followed with a second round victory by way of a 9.26, which outran Hanlon's 9.34. Budisalich paired up with Neighbor in the semifinals and eliminated the Glidden-backed coupe with an awesome 9.23, while Neighbor ran an equally impressive 9.29.

On the other side of the ladder, Long maneuvered his way through the tight field. His 9.34 in the first round sent Max Gross back to the trailer. Then in the second round Long went quicker with a 9.31 and beat defending champion Booze in the process. He had a bye run in the semifinals due to an empty spot on the ladder. The finals were an even match-up as both drivers cut the Tree down, Budisalich with a .453 light and Long recorded a .455 reaction time. But on the big end the orange coupe of Budisalich pulled past Long and on to victory with a 9.23 to Long's 9.33.

ProCharger EFI Renegade
The Limited-Power Adder class of EFI Renegade saw Kurt Gallant rise to the top of a blower-dominated field. Gallant drove his Nitrous Express-backed coupe to an outstanding 9.19 qualifying run. Class veteran and 2000 Renegade champion, Bob Kurgan, scooted to a 9.23 in the heat for the second position on the ladder. BK Meyers had a great outing with his Kentucky-based Mustang GT and went 9.38. Fourth qualifier was Kevin Conn and rounding out the top five was Eric Buck with his nitrous-powered LX. There were 15 cars in the Renegade class with 2001 Renegade champ, Mike Post, running a way off pace 12.077 for the final spot.

In eliminations Gallant had an easy first round with a bye run and then charged past Buck in the second round with a 9.24. In the semifinals his competitor, Swill Racing, broke before the burnout box and Gallant cruised to a 9.32 and into his first final round as a Renegade racer. Kurgan eliminated Mitchell, 9.23 to a 9.94, and then took out a troubled Cory Lane with a 9.24. Kurgan was paired with Post in the semifinals and the yellow GT went red while Kurgan marched down track to a 9.32 win. Both racers in the finals displayed excellent reaction times, but in the end the nitrous car of Gallant won the match-up, 9.32 to Kurgan's 9.40.

BFGoodrich Drag Radial
The BFGoodrich Drag Radial class has been dominated by Chris Little and his Nitrous Pro Flow-backed coupe for the past two seasons. In Bradenton, Little continued his reign in DR by capturing the top-qualifying position with an 8.80 at 155.03-mph pass. The turbo car of Peter Champani ran 8.95 at 155.76 mph and was the second qualifier. Sal Arena and his new 358-inch nitrous combination was the third qualifier with a 9.13 and Ronnie Wilson was fourth with a 9.21. Jimmy Byrne's wheel standing coupe had some problems and ran 9.49, which was good for the fifth spot on the ladder.

Champani and Little worked their way through the field to meet up in the finals. Little made it there with brute speed as the coupe ran between 8.76-8.79 on every run. Champani used great driving skills in making the finals when he beat Wilson in the semis on a holeshot. The final round belonged to Little as the brightly painted coupe ran another 8.80 to take out Champani's 9.19.

Real Street
The Real Street class was designed a few years ago for cars with out-of-the-box performance parts and power adders. It has quickly become a competitive and popular class and 18 Mustangs showed up for the opener. The wild nitrous LX of Chris Tuten was number-one qualifier with a 10.24. "Uncle" Robin Lawrence was the second qualifier with a 10.33 from his Vortech-backed coupe. A powerful LX driven by Jason Hoots secured the third position with a 10.44. Tuten would end up bailing out of competition during the fourth round of eliminations when he succumbed to engine problems.

But it would not have mattered as Lawrence and Hoots were flying all day long. While wheelstands were abundant amongst the competitors the two blower cars ran mid 10s all day and met up in the finals. It would be over before it began as Lawrence's car rolled through the beams when he brought up the revs and handed Hoots the win. Hoots ran 10.53 as he streaked to his first NMRA victory.

TTC Tremec Pure Street
The Pure Street division saw Gene Hindman and John McGowan engaged in an exciting point's battle and swapped victories from event to event in 2002. This year defending champ Hindman has found a worthy opponent in the Hendricks/Moberly team. Both Mustangs were high 10-second cars; Hindman was number-one qualifier with a 10.82 and Hendricks was number two with a 10.86. Hendricks and Moberly outran Stichovich, Bell, and Barbaree with 10.80s in eliminations to reach the finals. Hindman worked his side of the ladder by eliminating Stone and Meadows. Both competitors had run 10.87s, which made for an exciting final round. In the finals both racers recorded identical .503 reaction times and the Hendricks/Moberly Mustang showed its power by outrunning Hindman 10.89 to 10.94.

BFGoodrich Factory Stock
The entry level, naturally aspirated class was designed for mostly bolt-on parts combined with factory-style engines. Most competitors have chosen to carry the weight penalty and run a Cobra/GT-40 style engine combination. FDNY's Mike Washington sat in the number-one position with a 12.14 run. Troy Carter followed with a 12.16 while Cincinnati's Tim Duncan ran 12.20. Washington drove his 50resto.com-backed Mustang to the finals with low 12-second runs. Along the way he ran a best of 12.01 to make into the final round.

Sitting in the other lane was Duncan who was running 12-teens through the elimination rounds. Duncan drilled the Tree with an impressive .422 reaction time but Washington drove past the gray GT and to the win with another 12.01 to Duncan's slowing 12.61.

Vortech Superchargers Modular Muscle
Modular Muscle is reserved for Modular-powered Ford vehicles and is run in an Open Comp format. Topping the 41-car field was Reggie Burnett, Sr. who ran 9.54 with his True Blue Performance-backed '98 Cobra. The other 9-second entry belonged to Christina Eldert who was driving the LaMotta's Performance-owned '84 SVO that is powered by a twin-turbo, four-cam Modular engine. Eldert ran 9.72 with the docile sounding Mustang. Perhaps the most impressive run came from Nitrous Pete who has been pushing his '03 Cobra to lower times every time out. This time the red Cobra was sporting a new Kenne Bell blower and blistered an unprecedented 10.06 at 138.48 mph. The mostly stock '03 Cobra benefits from the blower swap, bolt-on parts, and exhaust system. The stock IRS has been retained and Pete swapped in an AODE transmission.

Competition was fierce in this eliminator and the field was worn down to just five racers by the fourth round. Rick Doern had been using sharp reaction times and mid 12-second passes all day long. He would eliminate his fourth-round opponent, the always-tough Lupe Davilla. by running a 12.31 on a 12.39 dial in (remember there is a one-tenth cushion in O/C format). Robert Hindman eliminated Paul Svinicki who had been racing his beautiful Cobra R and was in the mid 10s. Hindman's great reaction time was the deciding factor.

Jim Gilbert received a bye run and ran a 13.24 on his 13.35 dial in. In the semifinals Hindman eliminated Gilbert, while Doern had an automatic birth into the finals by way of a bye run. Both racers were sharp on the Tree, but in the end Hindman would march to his first victory in 2003 with a 12.03 to Doern's 12.44.

Toyo Tires Open Comp
Thirty-one racers showed up to the Nitto Tires Spring Nationals for the Open Comp class. Over the winter Open Comp was revised to include cars that ran as quick as 9.10 whereas the e.t. limit in 2002 was 9.50. With the new lower elapsed time difference, it opened the class to Darryl Cannon who ran 9.17 at 148.24 mph, the class' quickest time in its history with the NMRA. Dan Schoneck was another 9-second player in Open Comp with a 9.62 qualifying effort. Mike Allen rounded out the top three qualifiers and was also the final 9-second car in the field with a 9.67. The times do not matter in Open Comp and it is a blend of Pro Tree racing with sort of a bracket-like dial in twist to it. There were many fine Mustangs and Fords in the class, but perhaps the nicest one was the new back-half Mustang belonging to Stacy Estel. The beautiful Mineral Gray racecar was a consistent low 10-second car throughout the weekend.

Consistency is the name of the game and no one knows that better than the Denso Spark Plug-sponsored Larry Geddes. He moved swiftly through the field with his 12-second LX and by the semifinals he had to line up with O/C hotshot John Brady. Geddes would score the round win with a 12.18 on his 12.14 dial in. Randy Conway advanced to the finals as his 11.51 took out Marvin Heath. In the finals Geddes captured the first win of 2003 by getting to the finish line first with a 12.29 to Conway's 11.60 on a 11.42 dial in.

Dynomax Truck and Lightning
Twenty vehicles from Ford's truck division entered the Truck and Lightning class. Mark Morales held the fastest time with a 9.91 elapsed time in qualifying. He would not only be the quickest, but also the most consistent. Morales worked his way through the field and met with Jim Roberts in the semifinals. The 9-second truck chased down the 14-second competitor and beat him to the stripe with a 9.98 on his 9.81 dial in. On the other side of the ladder, Jim Owens had the fortunate luck of a bye run. Using it as a tuning pass he charged hard to a 13.16 on his 13.13 dial in. In the finals the quick Morales once again ran down his competitor and this time his quick reaction time was the deciding factor as Morales beat Owens to the finish line, 9.97 to a 13.32.

Superchips Bracket Classes
There was a bit of red light fever in the bracket classes at Bradenton. In Pro Ford (electronics) Gary Varney of Ohio won the race when Florida's Bill Parrett lit the dreaded red bulb with an oh-so-close .498 reaction time on the .500 Tree. The Super Ford class had the same result, Jeff Keen left with a .496 light and handed the easy win to Lakeland, Florida-resident Wayne Stewart. Street Ford is a bracket class for street type Fords with DOT tires. David Ritchey was the winner in that class, while Nick Bailisco was the runner up.

Dallas Mustang All-Ford Auto Show And Shine Results
Saturday
Best Engine:Paul Miller, North Port, FL; '02 Mustang GT
Best Stereo:Justin Wilson, Sarasota, FL; '00 Mustang
Best Interior:Frank Varela, Sarasota, FL; '96 Mustang
People's Choice:William Ryder, Palm Harbor, FL; '63 Falcon
Director's Choice:Dave Perry, St. Cloud, FL; '55 {{{Thunderbird}}}
Daily Driver:Thomas Wright, Fredricksburg, VA; '95 {{{Mustang Cobra}}}
Long Haul:Ryan Kocher, Ft. Wayne, IN; '01 Mustang
Sunday
Best Paint:Nick Newcomb, Cape Corral, FL; '93 Mustang
Best '70-Up Mustang:Chris Cristello; '93 Cobra
Best Interior:Mark Petty; '34 Three-Window
Best Engine:Steve Procko, Stuart, FL; '97 Cobra
Best of Show:Robert Carr, Florida; '74 Pantera
Racecar/Pro Street:Tim Dunmyer, Hudson, FL; '79 Mustang Cobra
Comet/{{{Cougar}}}/{{{Capri}}}:Grant Gellete, Bradenton, FL; '96 Cougar
Tuner Car:Andrew Duncan, St. Pete, FL; '00 Saleen
SVT:Scott Buchanan, Palmetto, FL; '93 Cobra
T-Bird:Jerry Mullins, Pinellas Park, FL; '{{{57}}} Thunderbird
Falcon/Fairlane/Maverick:Dwain Revard, Palmetto, FL; '69 Torino GT
Full-Size {{{Sedan}}} '49-Up:Gabe White, {{{Sebring}}}, FL; '57 Ford Custom
Full-Size Truck:Anthony Alcala, Miami, FL; Harley Davidson {{{F-150}}}
Lighting:Bill Duggan, Miami, FL: '01 Lightning
{{{Compact}}} Truck:Todd Schultz, Palmetto, FL; '00 {{{Ranger}}}
Shelby/Boss/Other:Robert Carr, Somewhere, FL; '74 Pantera
Pre-'48/Street Rod:Dale West, Sarasota, FL; '32 {{{Roadster}}}
5.0 Mustang Editor's Choice:Steve Procko, Stuart, FL; '97 Cobra