Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsEvents
All-Female Dragstrip Shootout: Rookies Rock True Street at NMRA Super Nationals 2015
Rookies Rock HP Tuners True Street at the Mcleod Racing NMRA Super Nationals
It’s rare in any form of motorsports for a rookie to win—amazingly, it happened twice in Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords HP Tuners True Street as Lonnie Tibbs and Janice Llewellyn scored in their respective classes. Tibbs took the overall TS crown and Llewellyn won the All-Female True Street and the All-Female Shootout. Adding to that, Casey Lee rowed his way Stick Shift supremacy in the McLeod Stick Shift Shootout.
There was no easy road for any of the champions at the 12th Annual McLeod Racing NMRA Super Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. In addition to the heads-up and bracket fields, over 120 True Streeters filled the pits and pounded the famous quarter-mile in the ultimate street-legal shootout. Norwalk is a special stop on the tour because it incorporates the aforementioned 3rd Annual Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords All-Female Shootout and the McLeod Stick Shift Shootout into the True Street category. Plus there is a rich True Street heritage at Norwalk and we all savor the $1-per-pound ice cream!
Thanks to a simple format, True Street is popular with all levels of enthusiasts. Participants first enjoy a 30-mile street cruise, then each racer makes three consecutive runs to compile a three-run average. Anyone with a Ford-powered, street-legal Ford vehicle can compete. Of course there are some rules regarding suspension, tires and safety, those details can be found at nmradigital.com.
There are awards for all performance levels, so it doesn’t matter if you’re running 15s or 8s—everyone has a chance to win cash prizes, gift certificates, and trophies. Of course, the overall winner claims the coveted 6-foot trophy, and gets to wear the champion’s crown and cape.
Over 120 racers participated at Summit Motorsports Park, but it was first-timer Lonnie Tibbs of Medina, Ohio, taking the win with a strong 8.323 average. “I’d run NMCA True Street once before, but never NMRA,” said Tibbs. “I can’t believe we even made it. The Tuesday before the event I put it on the bumper testing and I didn’t let it down gently,” he stated. “I crushed the oil pan pretty bad. I got it fixed for Friday testing at the race, but then I had no boost. We had two waste gates shipped over night and we took a guess at the tune-up in the Holly EFI for True Street.
“I knew there would be fast cars and I was excited to race all the guys I’ve read about” said Tibbs. “The car is normally consistent, so I knew if the first pass was good that I’d have a chance.” Indeed it was, he ran 8.24. “By the third run, it launched good and I was so excited. I’ve been a fan of the class, even before I was into Mustangs. Going across the finish line I got the chills even though it was so hot in there. All I wanted was that 6-foot trophy and the recognition for having a fast street car,” he added.
Tibb’s 2000 Ford Mustang is powered by a Bill Klein 385ci small-block that uses an aftermarket block, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads and a Precision 94 Pro Mod turbo to produce over 1,000 rwhp. It’s backed by a FTI ’glide and a 9-inch rear. Tibbs’ Stang rides on Mickey Thompson Drag Radials and he was sure to thank his crew chief Mike Thur along with his wife Stephanie and daughter Nina. True Street runner-up was long-time MM&FF fan Rob Meisch of Bedford, Ohio. Meisch’s Fox coupe sports a fully detailed small-block that’s pumped by a big single turbo, and he scored an impressive 8.91 average. Finishing third and taking the 9-second title with a 9.42 average was Ontario, Canada’s Jeff Bloem.
Now in its 3rd year, the MM&FF All-Female Shootout provided and exciting side-by-side racing as the ladies battled for over $3,000 in cash and prizes. There is no other all female drag race quite like the MM&FF AFS shootout, as it incorporates a street drive, a three-run average qualifying format, and heads-up eliminations. The AFS is an 8-car, heads-up race, and qualifying is based on how the ladies do in the True Street portion of the event.
In her first time ever racing at a dragstrip, Janice Llewellyn drove her mildly modded 2014 Shelby GT500 to the Female True Street win and she swept the show winning the All-Female Shootout the following day.
“My husband Tom and I went to Norwalk a few years ago to watch True Street. Tom was going to race his car this year, but when we heard about the All-Female race, he convinced me to give it a try,” said Llewellyn. “I was so nervous, I had no idea what to expect—this was my first time drag racing, I’d never been down a dragstrip before. I watched YouTube videos and I made my first passes on Friday. I didn’t even know where to go after the first run,” she explained.
But Llewellyn smartly used the Launch Control option on her GT500 to get off the line consistently. “My reaction time was really bad,” she admitted, “I tried one run Friday without the traction control and that didn’t go so well. I only got the car two months ago, so I need some practice.”
But the combination of her drag radials, JLT cold air, Ford Racing throttle-body, and JBA off-road X-pipe gave her enough power to run 11.58, which was her best e.t., and score an 11.74 average for the top spot in True Street. She was followed closely by 2013 AFS runner-up Nikki Frost in her brightly wrapped Vortech-powered GT. Frost averaged 12.07, just ahead of Danielle Amrine who averaged 12.16 in her 2003 Mustang and also won the 12-second class. With True Street competed, the AFS field was set, with the bump spot being secured by JoAnna Iacobelli at 13.39.
In round One, Llewellyn got past Peggy Schoenberger (11.66 to 12.34), Ashley Humphreys beat Iacobelli (12.04 to 13.09), Amrine topped Lisa Mack (11.94 to 13.17) and Frost bested Kris Irons (11.25 to 12.19).
Frost’s 11.25 was a huge improvement from her qualified time and it gave the sophomore racer hope of winning the show. Her bid for the championship gained momentum when she defeated Humphreys (11.57 to 12.11) in the semi-finals. On the other side of the ladder, rookie driver Llewellyn took out Amrine—out-powering her with an 11.66 to 13.06 victory. This set up the Shelby vs. 5.0 GT final.
Going into the final, Frost had the clear performance edge, but Llewellyn was the more consistent driver. When the tree came down, Llewellyn moved first, but by the 60-foot clock Frost’s GT was ahead by 0.269 seconds. She held the lead past the 330 clocks, but her lead shrunk to 0.071. Llewellyn was on the charge and her GT500 moved past Frost by 0.004 at the eighth-mile mark. Frost must have stumbled at the middle of the track because her half-track speed was only 96.27 mph compared to 101.99 for Llewellyn, who increased her lead to 0.033 by the 1,000-foot cone.
Frost was not about to give up—she nailed Forth gear and was charging, but there wasn’t enough track to catch the Grabber Blue GT500. Llewellyn took the stripe by 0.035 second, merely a fender, running 11.59 at 126.39 to Frost’s quicker and faster 11.53 at 130.13 pass.
“I never though I would win,” said an elated Llewellyn. “I just didn’t think I would win, Nikki was in the top two both years, so I figured she would win, but at the end I saw my [win] light on, then I got the time slip and I was in shock.”
The spoils for her True Street victory include $250, the 6-foot trophy and a plaque, and for her All-Female Shootout win she accepted the check for $1,800 big ones, plus a VMP gift certificate. “Now I can make the car faster and practice for next year,” she added.
Two-time runner-up Nikki Frost made a bold statement with her fast colorful and quick GT. She showed off her new Arlon Hiliter wrap, and made the fastest pass of the event, an 11.25. Her GT sports a Vortech V3, Stainless Works headers, Revolution tune, Magnaflow mufflers, Baer brakes and suspension from UPR and Strange. And she finds grip with Mickey Thompson tires.
The upbeat Frost was disappointed but not dejected. “This year was as much fun as last year. I was nervous because I put expectations on myself. It’s a fun event for women and everyone in True Street is super supportive. It’s one most female Mustang and Ford owners shouldn’t miss,” she added. Frost walked away with $100 for her TS runner-up, $750 for her AFS runner-up and a $1,000 GC from McLeod.
The top two gear banging runners in True Street raced on Sunday in a one-run battle for the McLeod Stick Shift Shootout championship. Casey Lee took the top spot with a 10.58 to a 10.68 posted by Rick Coe. Lee’s light 1986 Mustang was quick out of the gate and he clocked a 10.49 to take the win over Coe, who posted a respectable 10.72 in his 2008 Shelby GT500.