Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
December 26, 2013

The 2012 NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing was epic. For the uninformed, the Super Bowl event operates as follows: After each sanctioning body goes through eliminations, the winners of individual classes from the NMRA and NMCA line-up against each in a team format.

In 2012, it came down to two Mustang heroes in Mike Murillo and Donnie Walsh Jr. to decide the overall winner. Mike was able to take the win when Donnie ran into transmission issues. The NMRA squeaked out the victory. It was one for the history books.

This year, it once again went down to the wire with Phil Hines this time playing the role of Blue Oval hero. If there's ever one NMRA event you want to attend, do it like Tech Editor KJ Jones. Take some vacation time, and get there. You won't be sorry. Just bring cool clothes, and sunscreen.

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Tech Editor KJ Jones and this author often have arguments on who is the most hardcore drag-racing fan. KJ may be one up now. He took vacation time to attend the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing. Not only that, but he was able to make some laps in this Boss 302. KJ was offered a camera if he became bored, but somehow he was able to handle chillin’ out at a race for once. Good for KJ.


Street Outlaw

In Street Outlaw, the tire is the class' limiting factor. You hear of guys trying both drag radials and slicks to arrive at the quickest combination. A couple guys did just that at Joliet. With the limited tire, and the amount of power on board these cars, it's pretty difficult for racers to string together a run of quick passes. Inevitably, power gets applied too soon, and the tires go up in smoke, or a transmission failure ends someone's weekend. Good for Sean Ashe he has ATF Speed's Jason Gatlin in his corner, along with Danny Fernandez. With ProCharger power under the hood, and a TRZ Motorsports suspension setup, Sean's coupe was on rails at Joliet. Pass after pass he was unstoppable, even running a 7.25 in Sunday's heat on his way to the win over Phil Hines in the final. Unfortunately, Sean couldn't win his Super Bowl match-up against the NMCA's Steve Wardlow.

One thing you'll notice with the top racers in any class is their consistency. Phil Hines is probably the most consistent racer in Street Outlaw. His ProCharger-motivated ‘01 Mustang qualified with a 7.29 at 194 mph, just behind Sean Ashe's 7.26. On his way to the final against Sean, Phil ran a 7.311, a 7.325, and a 7.37. In the final Phil ran a 7.38, but it wasn't quite enough to beat Sean's 7.33. With the number of NMCA classes, Phil had a second chance at winning one for the NMRA, and it came down to him against the NMCA's Jim Widener, but Jim got loose down track, enabling Phil to get the win, and seal a Super Bowl win for the NMRA—again!


Renegade

Once again, Adam Arndt put his revamped GT at the top of the Renegade class with an 8.45 at 163 mph. We think so much of it we shot it for a feature at Joliet, but unfortunately, as is usually the case, that didn’t translate into a successful Sunday. Still learning what his GT likes, Adam played with the tune on his car, but came up short against his buddy Brian Mitchell. His hard work should pay off with victories soon once he’s able to get that first one under his slicks.

Quick to help his fellow Renegade racers, Brian Mitchell is still at the races to win. The Wizard II is starting to look a little rough around the edges.However, it's been a workhorse and championship-winning whip. It looks like he'll add a championship in 2013, as well. At Joliet, he had a few struggles in qualifying with “only” an 8.51 at 160 mph. His buddy Adam Arndt once again took the top spot, and Valerie Clements jumped in to take the second spot with an 8.50 at 158 mph. However, once eliminations came around, Brian put his Vortech-supercharged '04 Cobra to work with consistent passes in the 8.50- range to take the win. For his Super Bowl race, Brian lined-up against Skip Baskin, and scored one for the good guys.

Tim Matherly has steadily made progress in lowering his ‘10 Mustang's times in Renegade. A mid-season weight break helped, too, but he's progressively run quicker times each race in 2013. It further helps that he's pretty good on the Tree, too, when it counts. At Joliet, Tim had a rather easy time in eliminations, making it to the final against Brian Mitchell. Of course, Brian has the field covered most every race, and Joliet was another example of this. However, with the number of NMCA classes, Tim had another chance to race in the Super Bowl against NMCA Super Street racer Mark Micke, and he was able to get the win for the good guys.


Coyote Stock

if there's one NMRA racer on a roll, it's Coyote Stock's Shiftin' Shane Stymiest. With his win at Joliet, that's four wins in a row. After passing a tech inspection at Norwalk, and winning that event, Shane came into Joliet looking to continue the streak. He led from the get-go thanks to a 10.55/124 mph qualifying hit, over a tenth quicker than defending champion Hi-Po Joe Charles. Joe thought he had something for Shane at Joliet. Instead, he never had a chance to line it up against Shane, as he was taken out by Drew Lyons in Round 1. Shane took advantage with consistent 10.60s during eliminations to get the win. For his Super Bowl part, Shiftin' Shane took out NMCA veteran Sponge Bob Curran to grab another one for the good guys.

Jacob Lamb has tried an 8-inch slick on his Coyote Stock at more than one track, but it seems as though the 10-inch Mickey Thompson ET Drag slick combination is the better of the two choices. He tried the smaller combo again at Joliet, but went back to the 10s after giving it a try. Jacob was able to qualify with a stout 10.74 at 125 mph to settle into the third spot. Unfortunately for Jacob, he went in the wrong direction during Sunday's heat. Though he was able to get past the latest Coyote Stock racer in Brandon Alsept in Round 1, and Kermit Buffington in Round 2, with a bye to the final, Shane Stymiest awaited once again. And again, Shane wouldn't be denied.


Factory Stock

John Leslie Jr. has a habit of showing up big when the moment calls for it. He also seems to have his best performances when Matt Amrine is in the other lane. That theme continued at Joliet when John was able to get the jump on Matt in the semis with a 0.410 light. It didn't help when Matt bogged off the line, but he was able to make a race out of it with an 11.36 against Jr.'s winning 11.37 on a holeshot. In the final against Matt Williams, Jr. had just enough to get the win. In the Super Bowl, Finish Line Performance owner, and NMCA Mean Street competitor Brian Campbell was able to exact a little team revenge, in more ways than one, to get the point for the bad guys.

Another final round, another Matt Williams appearance. Matt still utilizes pushrod power and is probably the most consistent Factory Stock racer in the class. He's usually in the 11.30s each pass, and that's exactly where he was in qualifying with an 11.345 at 119 mph. Initially, the Route 66 surface wasn't too kind to the Factory Stock racers, but it seemed to get better as the weekend went along. Matt was able to get into the 11.20s with an 11.289 at 118 mph against Jay Dold to get past Round 2. In the final against John Leslie Jr., Matt got the jump, but he was unable to make it stick at the top end.


Modular Muscle

Susan McClenaghan took the top qualifying spot in Modular Muscle with a perfect 0.500 reaction time. Our boy Rob Hartness did his best to take her out in Round 2, but was unable to do so. Therefore, she cruised on, meeting the familiar Donnie Bowles in the final. Susan was able to make Donnie break out, getting the win. Unfortunately, NMCA veteran Dave Duell was able to beat Susan in their Super Bowl match-up, scoring one for the bad guys.


Open Comp

Former Hot Street racer Shane Long has taken his talents to the Open Comp class, and at Joliet, he was able to get the win over former Open Comp champion and perennial favorite Randy Conway in the final. Randy actually redlit, handing the win to Shane for his first win in 2013. In his Super Bowl matchup, Shane took care of the NMCA's Tim Swisher to score one for the NMRA.


Super Stang

For the second year in a row, Terry Reeves was able to get the win in Super Stang. Last year it was at the wheel of his blue car, but this year he did so in his ‘14 Mustang GT with, of course, a Vortech supercharger under the hood. Unlike last year, though, Terry was unable to win his Super Bowl match-up with the NMCA's David Rickey.


Truck and Lightning

Jim Roberts capitalized on the mistakes of others to take the win in Truck and Lightning. With Index-style racing, half of the battle is making sure to take advantage when others redlight or breakout. Jim did exactly during eliminations. For his Super Bowl part, Jim defeated the NMCA's Gerry Vizzo to get a victory for the NMRA side.

Horse Sense: Brandon Alsept put together Derek Kernodle's '96 Mystic Cobra for its debut in Coyote Stock competition at the Super Bowl.