Michael Johnson Associate Editor
June 1, 2013

Maryland is a hotbed for drag racing. We've been to enough test-n-tune sessions at Maryland tracks to know there must not be a whole lot else to do in Maryland but drag race, eat crab cakes, and watch football. All that sounds really good, and evidently it sounded great to the NMRA as well.

The NMRA's parent company, Promedia, had an NMCA event at MIR in 2012, and the group obviously liked what it saw—in 2013 the NMRA added an event at the hallowed track. We've been to MIR a few other times for different Mustang events, and couldn't wait to come to town the same time as the NMRA crowd.

Further amping up the MIR event, the NMRA decided the event would be perfect to hold an SVT Anniversary celebration, including the VMP Tuning GT500/Terminator shootout. The MIR show field was full of SVT vehicles, while the shootout competitors battled it out on the track for SVT supremacy.

We enjoyed it all, and what follows are some of the highlights.

Renegade racer Valerie Clements is a quick learner. While brother Alton was out unsuccessfully skateboarding for chicks at MIR with Brent Weston, Valerie was putting the boys on the trailer. For the rained-out Atlanta final, she beat AJ Wyce. Moving onto the MIR event, she qualified Third with an 8.41 at 163 mph, and once again had to face older brother Alton in Round 1. In 2012, this match-up meant Valerie was on the trailer, but she has turned the tables in her favor these days. After trailering big brother, she took out Tim Matherly even though Tim knocked her over the head with the Tree. Her 8.36 was too much for Tim to overcome. Unfortunately, since you’re reading about her here, you know at some point she lost, and at Maryland it was Brian Mitchell who did the deed in the semi-final round.

This is something you don’t see too often—a Fox Mustang on VMP Tuning’s mobile Dynojet. VMP’s expertise is in the Shelby GT500 and ‘11-’13 Mustang GT market. VMP’s Justin Starkey was a busy man at MIR, and Dez Racing’s Mike Dezotell stepped in to help get the Fox running the way it should. Justin hauled the mobile Dynojet to MIR from his hometown Deltona, Florida.

Being a photographer at Maryland International Raceway means keeping your head on a swivel to look out for MIR’s Jason Miller. The man’s a track-prepping machine on the tractor—we’re sure if anyone on the planet could drift a tractor, it’s Jason. The event ran smooth in part to the efforts of Jason and the MIR track staff.

If there’s anyone that can make working on a racecar resemble kickin’ back on the couch, Tim Matherly is that guy. Here you see Tim with his feet kicked up on the trailer while working on his Renegade car. Tim’s been first-round fodder since he’s made the step up to Renegade from now-defunct Real Street, but at MIR an 8.49/162-mph hit against Jim Breese shows Tim is making progress. Tim runs a Four-Valve with a ProCharger supercharger and a Liberty transmission in the tunnel. As you know, Valerie Clements beat Tim to the stripe at MIR to end his weekend.

It’s been a bit since we saw Jim Coger at the track. The Massachusetts school teacher stepped his former Real Street coupe into the NMRA’s Renegade class, but we’re sure he wished for better luck. He was in the thick of things with an 8.46 qualifying time, but he also grenaded a transmission in the process. Jason Gatlin from ATF helped get Jim back in the game, with help from Mike Dez and the gang and a mystery converter from John Urist. Jim, Mike, and the crew weren’t totally sure what the car was going to do in Round 1 of eliminations, but the attempt was over before it started when the car pushed through the lights.

Street Outlaw

Thankfully, the revamped Street Outlaw class flourished under the new rules implemented for 2013. One thing that hasn’t changed is John Urist—he’s still at the top of his game. Switching back to a turbo for the 2013 season, John found there was a short learning curve to get back in the groove, but at MIR he showed why he has 97 NMRA championships. OK, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but it seems he has that many. He qualified at the top of Street Outlaw with a 7.154, but he had to rely on quick reaction times to get the event win. John’s slowest reaction time during eliminations was a 0.434 light, which was in the final against Phil Hines. Both in the semis and the final round, John used holeshots to outrun his opponents and get the win.

Phil Hines is having quite a year. He was able to eclipse the 6-second zone earlier in the year, and he got the event win at the NMRA Bradenton opener. At MIR, his ProCharger-motivated machine looked to be on a mission. He qualified right on the heels of John Urist with a 7.156. He was the model of consistency in eliminations, running a 7.14 in Round 1, a 7.15 in the semis, and a 7.12 in the final against John Urist. However, it wasn’t enough—John had gotten the jump, and Phil ran out of pavement to get the win.


Brian Mitchell has his ‘13 program working really well. Earlier in the year, he struggled with e.t.’s, but it seems he’s found his Renegade car’s sweet spot. As has been the case the past couple years, Brian is again the one to beat. He’s got a tenth on the field at almost every event, and at MIR it was more of the same. The only other car in the neighborhood is one Brian helps out on—Adam Arndt’s Fox racer. True to form, Brian and Adam were the last ones racin’ on Sunday. If we have learned anything since following the NMRA, it’s that Brian Mitchell is one of the most consistent racers in its history. That consistency led to the win when he was able to show Adam the student has much to learn before beating the teacher.

Having missed a couple races due to body, chassis, and cage overhauls, Renegade racer Adam Arndt was ready to put his ’88 GT in the thick of things. That’s exactly what he did, too. He qualified right behind Brian Mitchell with an 8.36 at 162 mph, but he wasn’t able to duplicate that performance, especially when it mattered in the final against Brian. Adam runs a HD Performance-built, 310ci small-block with a Vortech YSi-Trim supercharger. Adam tunes the car with a lot of help from the guy he met in the final, Brian Mitchell.