KJ Jones
February 11, 2014
Contributers: Steve Turner, KJ Jones Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense: Coyote Modified, the NMRA’s newest class, kicks off at the Bradenton opener and promises to be a heavily-contested class. Modified Coyote-powered Mustangs with seemingly limitless power-adder options, this class is going to be fun to watch in 2014.

Each year we look forward to the NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. First off, we know everyone will be gunning for their best time to finish the year with a bang—or blow up trying. It’s also exciting, as it serves as the venue for our annual King of the Street competition, which you’ll be able to read about in the May issue. Finally, we just love Bowling Green, Kentucky. There’s no shortage of places to eat (Double Dogs is a staff favorite), and there’s a bowling alley with an arcade, batting cages, and putt-putt golf. You also can’t forget about gathering at Hobby Lobby. And where else can an impromptu burnout contest break out at a gas station?

That’s right, all the above is at your disposal during the NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway. Of course, you don’t care where we like to eat—this is a Mustang magazine. As such, during the day we’re focused on our King of the Street competition and the NMRA race. As mentioned, we can’t spill any KOTS results, but keep reading to learn how it all went down at the World Finals.

A car that lives up to its namesake, Project Pretty Ugly is seen here with proud owner Rick Anderson and Tech Editor KJ Jones. No doubt you’ve read about this car in issues past, but proving some project cars actually make it down the track, Rick was able to take Ugly on Hot Rod’s Drag Week and the thing actually finished the trip under its own power, averaging low 9s thanks to its D.S.S. 427 Windsor with a Vortech V-11 XB110 supercharger and a Holley Dominator EFI system.

As part of the NMRA World Finals, we hold our annual King of the Street competition. We judge several categories to come up with a winner, which you can read about in the upcoming May issue. One segment we include is a Drag portion, where each competitor takes a couple passes down the historic dragstrip. One thing we learned, Michael Franks knows how to do a burnout.

Filthy Phil Hines’ dedication to dethroning John Urist has finally paid dividends in 2013. In 2014, Phil’s will be the Mustang with a #1 on the window. While other Street Outlaw competitors switched power adders or tried different ones, Phil stuck with his ProCharger setup, running consistently all year. Phil was solidly in the 7.30s at every race, even busting off a 7.18 for the finals. Although he wasn’t able to win the battle, he won the war.

Shane Stymiest was trying to put together a perfect season in Coyote Stock, but someone forgot to tell his fellow competitors, who were doing their best to keep that from happening. Shane had a top qualifier run for a few races, as well as wins, but Jacob Lamb put an end to both of those streaks. However, Shane had the championship wrapped up before Bowling Green. Shane Stymiest was trying to put together a perfect season in Coyote Stock, but someone forgot to tell his fellow competitors...

The NMRA World Finals is known for the large swap-meet area dedicated to enthusiasts trying to slim their parts collections. Did you say your Fox Mustang needs a console? If it does you missed the motherload, and these look to be in really good shape. A little paint and TLC, and your Mustang has a like-new console. Of course, tons of other parts are available at the event, too.

Street Outlaw

For the first time in NMRA history, the winner of the Freak Show is a New Mexico racer who is not named John Urist. That’s right—Chris Grove captured top honors in AFCO Street Outlaw, defeating 2013 class champion Phil Hines in personal-best fashion. Chris’ ProCharged ’91 coupe shot to Beech Bend Raceway’s big end with a stout 7.28 at 193 mph in the final, putting the NMRA world on notice about the other badass Fox coupe hailing from the Land of Enchantment.


Try as he might, Adam Arndt wasn’t able to capitalize on first qualifying spots in 2013, however Brian Mitchell has it down. He has the experience needed to win races, and he did. He won every race he ran, missing one all year long. Obviously, he once again won the Renegade championship. At Bowling Green, Brian methodically made his way through eliminations before dropping the hammer on Alton Clements in the final with an astounding 8.29 at 161 mph. Will someone beat this guy in 2014?

Coyote Stock

With the Strange Engineering Coyote Stock points title already decided, Jacob Lamb did everything possible to ensure his ultra-clean ’86 coupe would fly the #2 on its windshield in 2014. While Jacob came out of the gate by setting the low-qualifer bar at 10.72, his Fox really flew in Eliminations, with winning runs in the 10.60s and 0.50s from Round 1 through the final against 2012 class champ HiPo Joe Charles.

Factory Stock

Drama was high in the Nitto Tire Factory Stock class, as the question of who will be the 2013 champion would be answered by the end of the Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals. Matt Amrine qualified on the pole and proceeded to win the event, putting a stamp on his claim of the points title with a 10.77/123 in the final over his season-long points-nemesis rockstar John Leslie Jr.

Modular Muscle

Gary Parker’s victory seemed to come straight from the pages of a Hollywood script. Still recovering from a broken back (suffered in a home accident), Gary capped a triumphant return to NMRA competition at the World Finals beating 2013 Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle champion Susan McClenaghan, who redlit in their final-round matchup.

Super 'Stang

Pistol Pete Espeut is getting this racing thing down with wins coming more often these days. At Bowling Green, Pete pulled the trigger quicker than any of his competitors, which put them in catch-up mode, and they either broke out or ran way slower than their dial-ins. Pete, however, was out of the gate with a quickness and kept the hammer down, rowing the gears to take the win. Pete beat 2013 Super ’Stang champion Dave Liechty in the final.

Open Comp

While Donald Carver and his star-spangled ’76 Mustang II may have missed winning the 2013 Open Comp points title to Randy Conway, the man and his machine definitely got the upper hand on Randy as far as this event was concerned. In the final, Donald coupled a lights-out, 0.000 perfect reaction with a 10.35 e.t. (on his 10.33 index) to send Randy home without the double triumph (world championship and event win) he was hoping for.

5.0 Shootout

A precursor to the new Coyote Modified class for 2014, the World Finals had a 5.0 Shootout class like the Norwalk event. Though it was at two different races, the same result occurred, with Nelson Whitlock taking another win at Bowling Green at the wheel of Justin Cyrnek’s Green Goblin GT. Nelson even ran an 8.10 at basically 170 mph in the process. Nelson beat Justin Cyrnek driving his other car in the final. If the 5.0 Shootout match-ups are any indication, we can’t wait for Bradenton.

Terminator/GT500 Shootout

While it’s only held at select events, the VMP Tuning Terminator/GT500 Shootout is proving to be an extremely popular sidebar to the NMRA’s regularly scheduled racing. At Beech Bend Raceway, more than 20 late-model SVT ’Stangs convened to make a run at earning bragging rights (the Shootout doesn’t offer a true payout of any sort—only a contingency prize to the winner provided it’s equipped with a VMP supercharger). The final round fittingly pitted a Terminator, Cliff Buerger’s ’03, against the ’08 GT500 of Dom Didonato, with Dom’s 8.89/158 proving to be too much for Cliff’s Snake.

Truck & Lightning

Truck & Lightning is another category in which the season’s points champion was defeated in the final round at the NMRA World Finals. Minneapolis, Minnesota’s MJ “Ranchero” Smith drove his big-block-powered, big-tired ’62 Ranchero around Robert Churan’s ’99 Lightning, scoring a long overdue and moral victory for the non-traditional Ford pickups and their fans everywhere.