Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 15, 2014

As we trek the country covering the entire series of the NMRA, we bring you the best of what happened at each event. We tell you won each class, records that were broken, and points standings. We trek through the car show, swap meet, and manufacturer’s midway and snap some pics of all of that stuff as well. We even shoot a few feature cars for the pages of our publications. But we don’t really dig into any of the behind-the-scenes details or the random stuff that we experience at the events.

But while we were at the Nitto NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals this past weekend, it hit us that there are a bunch of less talked about things that happen at these events that others might find entertaining as well. You know, some things that you may not be able to experience from the stands, and some things that you may have just missed. Sure, we miss some stuff ourselves, but we are always on the lookout for the coolest and most exciting things happening. Below is our list of eleven things that we saw that you may have missed.

11. Junkyard Joe

Houston, Texas’ Dyno Joe Cram has, over the past several years, been a regular threat in Super Stang. Recently, though, Cram made the switch to NMRA’s brand-new Coyote Modified class. This new class allows built engines, power-adders, and custom tuning—right up Dyno Joe’s alley. Problem is, Cram’s built engine wasn’t quite ready for the Atlanta event. So what did he do? What any other racer with ingenuity would do—he dropped a junkyard Coyote between the fenders of his Magnaflow/Motivicity-sponsored ’06 Mustang. He didn’t even upgrade the oil pump. He ended up qualifying fourth (there were only four entries), and was eliminated in Round 1. But win or lose, we were impressed with his 9-second e.t.’s at nearly 140 mph.

10. The Ever-Elusive Steve Wolcott

ProMedia, the parent company of both NMRA and NMCA racing series, has a full staff at each of the two series’ events, tending to vendors, racers, and spectators alike. If you see an “Official” shirt, it’s usually a blur as he or she speeds by on foot, cart, or pit bike. But as we were shooting photos of elimination rounds on Sunday, we spotted ProMedia CEO Steve Wolcott getting a unique perspective of the drag-racing action—one that he hardly ever finds the time to see—from the starting line.

9. Double Tire Pop

This bracket-class dragster did a big, smoky burnout all the way past the 330-foot mark. Not too unusual in itself, but both rear tires had come off the beads as soon as he started the burnout. It was a rare moment that took everyone watching by surprise. Thankfully, no one was injured, and the track officials cleared the track in just a few minutes.

8. Drag Acrobatics

Street Outlaw is a dream class (well, we think so anyway), which was formed when the NMRA merged Super Street Outlaw and Drag Radial. The best of both classes merged into this small-tire freakshow. One of the competitors that jumped in SO right at its inception was Sean “Hollywood” Ashe. Ashe and his ATF-sponsored ’85 Mustang. During qualifying runs on Friday, Ashe lost control and did four 360s at the top of the track at over 170 mph—and didn’t even hit the wall or the other racer! The car did suffer some minor damage, but the ATF team had the coupe back in race-ready condition for Sunday’s eliminations, where the Number 5-qualified Ashe was eliminated in Round 1.

7. This T-Shirt

Nitrous doesn’t kill pistons, people kill pistons!

6. Alton Clements’ Big Wheelies

Renegade big brother Alton Clements must have made a few changes to his ’89 Mustang since Bradenton, because he kept doing wheelstanding, bumper-dragging wheelies throughout the weekend. Most low-8-second race cars don’t have the wiggle room for big wheelies, but Clements qualified Number 3. He then went -0.106 red in Round 2 against his sister Valerie, handing her a trip to the semifinals on what would have most-likely been a big-brother butt-whippin’ (he would have gone 8.247).

5. Camshaft Hood Prop

Why haven’t we thought of this? This particular camshaft looks like it's never had to serve regular cam duties, and it may even be painted or powdercoated to match the Fox coupe that it was attached to.

4. Stock Dove Gray GT

This ’89 GT hatch owned by Lanier Sailors of Clermont, Georgia was pretty freakin’ sweet. Sure, it still had Scarlet Red interior, cheese-grater tail lights, and turbine wheels, but it was bone-stock. It’s hard to find a clean GT like this anymore, and Sailors’ is one of very few in Dove Gray still left in this condition.

3. Trucks

We LOVE trucks, and it is Georgia after all. This ’61 F-100 caught our eye, and is owned by John Willoughby of Dawsonville, Georgia.

2. Pro Mods

No commentary needed on this one.

1. Renegade Craziness

Renegade is one of the most competitive classes in NMRA. Racers with names like Alton Clements, Bart Tobener, Johnny Lightning, and Tim Matherly wear the signifying “REN” badges, and were all at Atlanta Dragway for the All-Star Nationals. Not to mention multiple-time and reigning champion Brian Mitchell, who just finished a few upgrades right before this event. Mitchell qualified Number 2, but was eliminated in Round 1 by Number 13 qualifier Curtis Catalon. And that was just the beginning.

We mentioned before how Number 9 qualifier Valerie Clements went on to the Semifinals after her brother, Number 3 qualifier Alton went very red in Round 2. All of the top qualifiers had problems, sending the Number 11 and Number 13 qualifiers to the final round. Scott Grove, the Number 11 qualifier, took home the win and the money.