Kristian Grimsland
Associate Editor, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
September 20, 2013
Photos By: Team MM&FF

Every March, racers drive and haul their street-legal Fords from all-over the country, gathering in Bradenton, Florida, to compete in Tremec True Street and to have a chance to run heads-up in the Spring Break Shootout class. This year marks the 19th annual Nitto sponsored SBS, and the competition couldn't have been better.

Enthusiasts lined up Saturday morning to participate in True Street for a chance to reign TS king or queen. A 6-foot trophy and $250 was on the line for TS contestants, as well as $100 for each 9-, 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, and 15-second class winner. For the SBS, another 6-foot trophy, $800 in hard cash, and a $600 Blow-by Racing product certificate would be awarded to the victor.

Drivers must enter with a street-legal, registered, and insured Mustang or other Ford. On Saturday morning, 118 drivers (a new participant record for NMRA TS) made their way to the pre-cruise drivers meeting, where True Street Director Gene Bergstrom laid down the rules. True Street rules state that once the cruise starts, drivers may not lift their hoods or refuel, or change tires. Following the meeting, racers lined up for the 30-mile cruise around Manatee County.

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Once back at the track, drivers flooded the staging lanes for three mandatory back-to-back passes. Competition was fierce with a multitude of 8-second hitters, but Randy Seward and his '91 Mustang coupe, came out swinging. Seward laid down a 8.521 on his first qualifying run, followed by a 8.554, and finishing with a 8.948. Averaging an 8.674, this was enough to crown him True Street king, and it earned him the number one qualifying spot for the BBR SBS.

Did we forget to mention Seward drove his Stang from Manchester, Tennessee, to compete? “This was an unexpected victory,” Seward told us. “There were so many faster cars, it was just a matter of being good and lucky at the same time I guess.”

Wall, New Jersey's Mike Jovanis proved to be quite the competitor averaging an 8.705 in his 88mm turbo-powered '89 Ford Mustang, earning him the runner-up spot in TS. Saturday morning in testing, Jovanis ran a personal best of 8.44 before making the 30-mile cruise to compete in the race. Scott Boda from Steeda Autosports, ripped an impressive 9.185 average in his nitrous hungry Fox, leaving him with the 9-second win. Taking home the 10-second average was Cape Coral-resident Robert Uremovich, qualifying with two 10.0 passes and a final pass of 9.982, earning him a fierce 10.032 final average.

Kelly Rollyson was packing heat in his '12 5.0L Coyote, averaging an 11.248, enough to grant him the 11-second win, and Chalon Hoffert of Tampa, Florida, took home the 12- second trophy with an 12.154 average in his '08 Shelby Mustang. Hoffert's first pass was off from his other two runs as he crossed the line with a 13.090, but recouped on his last two passes with an 11.698 and a 11.675. Potentially, Hoffert may have never qualified for the 12-second win if it were not for his first pass.

Despite the Mustang invasion, Jack Stonehill of West Palm Beach brought home the 13-second prize in his '03 F-150, averaging a 13.020; Gerard Kelly and his '05 Mustang took the 14-second win with a 14.050 average. Victory was awarded to Chris Parisi and his '07 V-6 Mustang, averaging a 15.050 after all three qualifying runs. This is Parisi's eighth win for the 15-second spot.

Spring Break Shootout

The Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Spring Break Shootout presented by Blow-by Racing puts the top 16 qualifiers from Saturday's True Street in a heads-up competition for extra cash prizes. The bump spot for contingents this year was a 10.991.

First to line up was TS king, Randy Seward and his opponent Peter Delpino in his ’11 Mustang. Delpino’s 9.715 pass was no match for Seward’s 8.967, and Matt Leveille and his ’95 Mustang won the first round thanks to a no-show from Javier Leiva and his ’93 Fox-body. Scott Boda was also awarded with a first-round win due to no competition, but still kicked off a stunning 8.799 pass, and Josias Reyes went heads up with Connie Greiner from Sunrise, Florida, hauling in a 10.540, but wasn’t enough to beat Reyes 9.391. If you’re a MM&FF follower you might recognize Reyes’ ride as a former MM&FF project, known as Repeat Offender. Cal Hayward wiped Sean Kelley off the chopping block with an impressive 8.837 pass in the first round, moving up the ladder into the next round.

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Round two kicked off with Seward running past Leveille, and Hayward outing Alex Correla of Miami, Florida and his '93 turbo- powered Fox-body. Jovanis took on Greiner, and came out on top, lighting up the score boards with a 8.599 to Greiner's 10.810. Finishing up the second round were Boda and his nitrous breathing Fox. Boda went to battle with Reyes, swinging in with a 10.310, but was no match to Reyes 9.716 blaring pass.

Seward, Hayward, Jovanis, and Reyes were all breathing fire as they entered the semi-final round. Seward made his way to the staging lanes, but Hayward didn't follow. We were told, due to a severe electrical issue, Hayward was forced to forfeit the round. Reyes' turned up the heat on Repeat Offender, upping the nitrous shot from a 175 to 250 in the third round, however, he blew the tires off the line leaving him with a 9.990 pass, in contrast to Jovanis 9.157.

"I made some little adjustments to the suspension," Jovanis told us. "I just really wanted to soften up the launch before the final round."

The SBS went out with a bang. Seward had proved all weekend that he wasn't going without a fight. Jovanis had a 0.134 reaction time, in contrast to Seward's also tardy 0.139. Both racers hurled forward, with Seward barely ahead, and Jovanis right at his door handle. Watching the scoreboards, Seward's lane lit up with a victorious 8.501 and Jovanis' with a competitive 8.546. It was a nail-biter to the end. Amazingly, Seward has multiple TS wins, and swept both marquee events, earning his first ever SBS title this year.

"The whole race Jonvanis was hidden, I could not see him in my peripherals," Seward told us. "But at the end of the race I could see him right at my window. When I crossed the finished line, it was the most excited I've been in awhile."

The NMRA's 19th annual Nitto Spring Break Shootout was a huge success and was an exciting show on all levels. Each year we strive to see racers compete head to head, hoping to see a final race like we did this year. There's no doubt we weren't short on entertainment and we hope to continue so throughout the rest of the NMRA season. See you soon.

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Stick-Shift Shootout

This year marked the first-ever MM&FF Stick-Shift Shootout presented by Tremec Transmissions. What made this event so special? The two quickest stick-shift racers from Saturday's TS competition went head to head in a best-of-three match race to compete for a brand-new Tremec T56 Magnum transmission.

Jeff Smith of Orlando and his street-driven, TVS-blown '04 Cobra made three mid-to-low 11-second passes in TS and averaged a 11.342, enough to grant him a spot in the Stick-Shift Shootout. TJ Fox from Palmetto, Florida, ran TS in his '92 nitrous-breathing Fox-body. Averaging a 11.478 after all three passes, Fox would line up with Smith on Sunday.

When asked how he felt going into Sunday's race, Smith told us, "When I saw TJ's car, I thought I was in trouble. It's a lightweight Fox with nitrous, a rollbar, and 28-inch-tall ET Street tires. Mine is just a street car I drove to the race."

Smith came well-equipped in the first round ripping off an 11.019. Competitor Fox swapped a new clutch Saturday night into his Fox-body and struggled in the first round, limping across the finish line with a 14.428.

Things heated up in the second round with Fox making a heroic effort to win with an 11.154, but it just wasn't enough to top Jeff's 10.920. Congratulations, Jeff!