The 7th annual Borla Exhaust NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, which was held April 9-12, 2015, at the Atlanta Dragway, hosted a packed house at Georgia’s “House of Speed.” Thousands of attendees packed the parking lot, pits, manufacturers midway, car show, and of course the world-class racing surface needed to hook the 6-second, 200-plus-mph drag radial warriors and 5-second 250-plus-mph Pro Mods.
The event was a treat to all in attendance. Both the NMRA and NMCA played out a complete competition and show program at the same venue, on the same weekend. We are proud to present not only the class champions of the Keystone Automotive All Ford Racing NMRA series but also to respectfully mention the bluebloods who beat up on the Ram boys and general’s army on the Flowmaster NMCA side of the weekend’s racing activities. The extraordinary Ford family always seems to outshine the competition event-wide, whenever invited. It is always a special family bond you have to experience yourself by participating.
Action on the track was intense, records fell, and the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle celebrations continued late into the night on Sunday, after two full days of qualifying action.
Dan Saitz of Hyperformance Motorsports may seem to have appeared out of nowhere, but he is no stranger to Outlaw Mustang racing. His family’s passion for racing has risen through the performance ranks, culminating with a stint in the Pro Mod, then realizing their comfort zone was in 275 radial racing, but always in a Mustang. The Saitz family 94mm Precision boosted ProLine 435-powered 1989 coupe made a strong showing at Bradenton, but Commerce was one for the Saitz family history books. They qualified second with a 6.98 at 201.73, both their first 6-second and 200-plus-mph run. Then, playing the consistency card won them their first trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw, beating out nine-time and reigning champ John Urist and a distraught Phil Hines, who gave Saitz a bye in the final via a leaking transmission.
Frank Varela continued his domination in the Edelbrock Renegade class with a 7.72 top qualifying effort, matching his e.t. from the season opener. The Hellion tuned, 76mm Precision turbocharged MMR 302XR Coyote engine muscled to a new record-setting 7.705 run in eliminations, then left no doubts about backing it up, running 7.707 at a sick 182.43 mph in the final against Bart Tobener’s wheelstanding ProCharger-powered Coupe.
Drew Lyons has been racing in the NMRA for more than 10 years, mostly playing in the Pure Street class. He switched to the popular Strange Engineering Coyote Stock class last season. Lyons showed up to flex some new muscle with none other than Real Street superstar Bruce Hemminger and a new clutch setup from ACE Manufacturing. The House of Hook was on in eliminations, and so was Drew, with a 10.341 record in the first, then 10.36, followed by a 10.340 to reset the record, and a 10.35 in the final against Joe Marini’s 10.42. The Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle changed to the Lyons’ Den in Commerce, where he was dowsed in cooler water.
Only three teams are left in American Racing Headers Factory Stock that don’t have a new Coyote 4V 5.0L powerplant, with no pushrod motor entries to be found. Matt Amrine’s 287ci Bischoff-built 4.6L 2V is the rabbit everybody has been chasing for the past two years. He topped the qualifying ladder with a 10.79, then gained momentum every round: 10.81, 10.80, 10.76, and a 10.74 in the final against Joseph JJ Jones’ career-best 10.89.
Longtime project manager Louis Sylvester Sr. at Indicom services Joliet and Chicago’s industrial electrical engineering needs, so he had no problem putting together an innovative way of keeping his son Louis Jr.’s Factory Stock 4.6L 2V engine cool between rounds. They qualified No. 2 with a 10.84, dragging the bumper every round, losing in an all-2V semifinal round to the Amrine energizer bunny.
Greg Bagnell’s 1970 Ranchero seemed like the odd man out on a stage dominated by supercharged Gen II Lightning trucks. However, when all the smoke cleared it was his old-school naturally aspirated 351W with ported stock heads, an Edelbrock Performer intake, and a Quick Fuel carb waiting at the beams after four rounds of competition for Matt Banks’ powerful 2002 Gen II. Bagnell’s holeshot 0.052 to 0.120 was all he needed, running 12.50 on his 12.44 and Bank’s big power unable to run him down with a 10.06 on a 9.98 for the Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning win and the big check.
The announcement that all the Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords HP Tuners True Street competitors have been waiting for. “Ladies and gentlemen, suit ’em up. You’re on deck!”
The pride of LaMotta Performance, 16-time champ Chris Escobar came to conquer after upgrading his Garrett 82mm turbochargers to 88mm full-race units after he missed the first 7-second average last season on several occasions by mere thousandths. Unfortunately all that extra Kris Starnes Coyote power takes lots of testing with the new compressor maps and dialing in the traction control to get the power to the ground, track time the new setup hasn’t seen. Nevertheless, Escobar still managed to be crowned king once again with a soft (for him) 9.15 average.
Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords True Street is all about fun and personal achievement, no matter who is in the lane next to you. After sitting for 14 years, Jason Mann finally pried his 1996 Cobra away from his dad. He dropped in a fresh 4.6L 4V built by Josh Savoring at JKS Performance, added a Paxton Novi 2200, and laid down a string of 10-second passes for a 10.57 average and the runner-up trophy. Meanwhile, Justin Ehlin’s 2011 Vortech JT–charged Coyote dropped the Exedy Mach 700 clutch on a near-perfect 12.02 average for the 12-second title.