Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2013 All-Star Nationals - Just Peachy
The 5th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals invaded Commerce, Georgia's Atlanta Dragway.
On the heels of the season-opening Spring Break Shootout, Mustang fans and racers were primed and poised for another great season of NMRA drag racing. With the snow melted, spring in full bloom, and the dust from the off-season merely a memory, the race season was in full swing.
Once a non-points race, the dual-series race (both NMRA and NMCA) is now locked in on everyone's calendar as a points race for both series. When we arrived on Thursday, the pits were already almost full, the manufacturer's midway was packed, and tire smoke filled the air—excitement was ramping up. Pollen on the track surface caused a bit of extra work for track officials, but the Atlanta Dragway crew had it cleaned up and race-ready in short order.
By the end of Friday, over 30 competitors were already preparing for Sunday's Tremec True Street battle. Heavy-hitters Randy Seward and Blair Brannock made a few time-trial runs; Seward was running low-9s and Brannock was dipping below the 8.50-mark. Brannock suffered a broken transmission in Bradenton, and worked tirelessly to ready his barely-legal GT for this event. Seward has done some upgrading and updating of his own since March—investigative teardown revealed some mangled parts, so he did a full freshen-up of his engine. He buttoned everything up Thursday, and made the trip from his home in Tennessee to Commerce in time for Friday morning. Brannock broke on Saturday, giving Seward some breathing room.
The Georgia-based Emmett Head Performance (E=HP) crew made its usual pilgrimage to Commerce. The squad had a couple of nitrous-guzzling Fox-bodies in its arsenal, including Jack Young's four-eyed GT, which had taken the True Street win at this event last year, and Daniel Caissie's LX hatch. Thompson, Connecticut's Caissie had his eye on winning the Stick Shift Shootout in Bradenton, but broke his transmission and didn't make the cut. With the Stick Shift Shootout over, the E=HP team swapped in a C4 in the days before the All-Star Nationals kicked off.
Normally, True Street competition is held Saturday afternoon, but was pushed back to Sunday to accommodate the overwhelming number of classes competing in both series during the event. So between rounds of qualifying on Saturday, we made our way through the manufacturer's midway, swap meet, and car show areas. Over 150 cars and trucks filled the UPR Products car show field. We saw everything from classic muscle cars to brand-new Dearborn iron. Jackson, Mississippi's Jason Hall made the trip to Commerce with his freshly built LX coupe and drew quite a crowd. It's unsuspecting from afar, but closer inspection reveals a quite comprehensive GT500 swap including engine, transmission, and nearly all of the interior pieces from the Snake. Look for a full feature on Hall's Bright Atlantic Blue coupe in an upcoming issue.
In the swap meet area, we spotted some great finds. One guy had a real-deal tubular GT-40 intake up for grabs for $575. Used Mustang parts authority MPS Auto Salvage had a full display of its inventory. Since its headquarters is just around the corner in Statham, it brought out a whole collection of treasures. It even had racer Tim Matherly's old Real Street Fox coupe for sale as a roller.
And in the midway, shoppers and spectators lined up to get close and personal with some of the industry's leading manufacturers and suppliers. Companies like QA1, Moser Engineering, Nitto Tire, UPR Products, and Roush Performance had full displays of parts and had representatives on hand. The sun was shining, spirits were high, and racing well underway.
Then on Sunday, drag racing's archrival reared its ugly head—rain. The forecast looked bad, but the day's activities progressed as planned. Shortly after returning from the True Street 30-mile cruise, the sky opened up. None of the NMRA classes were able to make it past the semi-finals, and all 28 remaining True Street racers were left drenched in the staging lanes. The race was called shortly after, and winners will be decided at the next NMRA race in Maryland. True Street competitors were given a voucher to any NMRA or NMCA race within the next year—props to the ProMedia organization for standing behind its racers.
In all, it was a fun and exciting event. We'll certainly be back next year, as will much of the rest of the Blue Oval enthusiasts. We just hope the rain will find another place to fall.