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2014 NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals - Double Down
Both The NMRA and NMCA take on Georgia’s House of Speed Atlanta Dragway in the All-Star Nationals
The NMRA got out of the gate in spectacular fashion with the ’14 opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park. With new and returning classes, racers and fans alike responded with a huge crowd and great show to start the year off right. Two weeks after the NMRA took over Bradenton, its sister sanctioning body, the NMCA, stormed into town. As has become tradition, the second stop on each traveling drag racing show is like 5,250 rpm on a dyno run—they both intersect at Atlanta Dragway in April. That’s right, both the NMRA and NMCA make up the Nitto Tire All Star Nationals, with 2014 being the sixth running of the annual clash.
Generally, the Atlanta race is when a large number of competitors make their yearly debut. Many of the northern racers are unable to make the Bradenton races, so they converge on Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia, looking to make up lost ground. Those that had a good start to the year at Bradenton are looking to carry that momentum and jump out to a points lead.
Check out our photos and captions to see who earned the points lead and who was making their ’14 debut.
Street OutlawThey grow up so fast. Just a couple years ago, Tony Alm was competing in our King of the Street competition, and winning it with his former compound-boosted Shelby GT500. He sold that car to help fund his Street Outlaw ride. He’s spent quite some time testing and running various events to ready the car for NMRA and NMCA action. Tony won the NMCA opener at Bradenton, so make it two in a row for the Lake Worth, Florida, resident. His wife and crew chief Patti is always there to keep him in line, and the ATF crew helps keep Tony going straight. At Commerce, Tony actually had to borrow a converter from John Urist to stay in the race. When Tony and John had to race in the semifinal round, John redlit to send Tony to the final round, where Phil Hines lost traction off the line to make the win a little easier for Tony, who ran a 7.13 at 198 mph to make it back-to-back wins.
RenegadeThe Renegade class was tossed upside down at the 6th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals. Bart Tobener came out firing with an 8.05 pass, but then he scattered an engine, ran into his own oil, and put his car in the wall. Brian Mitchell added an intercooler to his car during the downtime between Bradenton and the Georgia event. However, Brian fell asleep at the tree against Curtis Catalon in Round 1. Valerie Clements also hurt an engine, but her crew went back home and put in the back-up bullet to keep her in competition. Despite the mechanical heroics, Valerie redlit in the semis against Curtis Catalon, who went on to race Scott Grove’s nitrous-shot ‘Stang in the final. When it was over, Scott was able to spray his way to the win.
Coyote ModifiedFrank Varela has been the story in the new Coyote Modified class. We expected more racers in this class, but as of Atlanta, that hasn’t come to fruition. Frank and Hellion Power Systems’ B-team put the car together in a few weeks, and they’re having a really good year so far. Coyote Modified was only four cars strong at Atlanta Dragway, and Frank did his usual work, getting past Joe Cram in Round 1, and then Richard Lelsz in the final.
Pure StreetLike Coyote Modified, Pure Street was a little low on cars with just four racers in attendance. We know several cars are still being finished up for competition, which should increase the competitors as the season goes along. Teddy Weaver once again showed everyone the fast way down the track, with consistent high 9s in qualifying and eliminations. Jimmy Wilson, who was a little down on his car after Bradenton, was again in the final, but the result was the same as it was in Bradenton, with Teddy taking the win.
Coyote StockThe Coyote Stock class is hot right now. At Commerce, there were 14 cars in competition. Joe Charles looked to be making headway on his setup, but then Shiftin’ Shane Stymiest, who broke a transmission, rebounded in time to take the number 1 qualifying spot. Joe fell off enough in Round 2 to enable Brandon Alsept to take the win, but Shane kept going rounds. In the final, it was Shane against Michael Washington. Even though Michael won the reaction time, it was over by the time they passed the Tree, as Michael broke Second gear, making it easy for Shane to get the win.
Factory StockHe’s back! Matt Amrine took off the first race of the year, but he was in Georgia to continue his dominance of the class. With the Mickey Thompson drag radial now legal for the class, most competitiors have made the switch. However, Matt has chosen to stick with the BFG drag radial he has raced with for years now. The BFG, along with the off-season changes, proved beneficial and Matt was able to take the win. He raced Alan Cann in the final, winning with a 10.98 at 123 mph.
Modular MuscleIn Modular Muscle, you can count on a few racers to be there in the late rounds. At the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, it was veteran racers Donnie Bowles and Gary Parker lining up for the final round. In Modular Muscle, the racers use an index (or fixed/non-changeable dial-in) with a handicap start. In the final, Gary was able to leave first, but he broke out by the narrowest of margins with an 11.048 against an 11.05 dial, handing the win to Donnie, who did his work at the Tree, ran close to his dial, and took the victory.
Super StangWith Super Stang heavy-hitters Pete Espeut (broke his Boss 302), Kent Nine, and Miles Wagoner out of competition by the end of Round 1, the door was wide open for other racers to take the win in Commerce. Silent Lloyd Mikeska looked to have the advantage, but then he fell asleep in the final (like KJ Jones at the Strange Engineering bus in Joliet). Lloyd’s late light was all Chad Wendel needed to take the win.
Open CompNMRA classes are dominated by late-model Mustangs, since that’s what most of the classes are based on. However, Open Comp is diversified, with a ton of early cars in competition as well. One such car is the ’67 coupe of Tito Rodriguez, powered by a 351 small-block. Tito didn’t really have it all together at the line during a couple of his Sunday match-ups, but he was doing his best work down track by running almost dead on his 10.14 index each round, which enabled him to win.
Truck and LightningWhen we’re at one of our favorite shops, Lamotta Performance in Longwood, Florida, we get to see James Steamer’s ’01 Lightning up close. At the Georgia race, James made good passes in his Lightning when necessary to go on to the next round. All the hard work paid off when he took the win over Nina Gusler in the final round. 5.0
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Modular Muscle racer Adam Cox raced his Mustang at Atlanta for the first time since he revamped his car. Adam’s car now has new paint and an automatic in the tunnel. We look forward to bringing you a feature on Adam’s car in a future issue.