Paul Rosner
January 4, 2016
Photos By: Paul Rosner

Seasoned racers satisfied with their toys benefited from extraordinarily warm temperatures at the end of last season, which allowed drag strips to stay open well into November, adding plenty of time to test new and upgraded combos and goodies after the competition portion of the season had ended before winter set in. Throw some record low fuel prices into the budget and it all adds up to an irresistible beckoning to pack the coolers, load up those trailers, and call in sick—or better yet, to make a short vacation of one (or all) of the NMRA Keystone Automotive Ford Nationals racing series extravaganza events, presented by Ford Performance!

The events offer unrivaled world-class professionalism, where competitors battle it out and play harmony whether you are a hardcore racer, are chasing the points to prove you are among the best in the nation, have a need for speed that brings you to play with your daily driver in the national spotlight, or are just a fan who enjoys all the high-octane fun the series has to offer.

The folks at ProMedia Events followed suit with the X275 Drag Radial racing trends by switching to an eighth-mile racing format for the VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw class after an overwhelming demand from racers around the country hungry to taste the professionalism of the NMRA racing series. So far, the move has brought lots of new faces to the series, a trend that has really heated up the competition.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

All other racing in the NMRA Keystone Automotive Ford Nationals racing series will stay quarter-mile as expected, including the always unpredictable 7-second Edelbrock Renegades capable of dragging the rear bumper cover for beyond the eight-mile marker. The Coyote power–only classes include vicious low 8-second power-adder ponies and the budget-minded, factory-tuned, crate-engine class that boasted 16-plus fields all last season, where races were won by millionths of a second! Under-313ci small-block engine builders will treat you to amazing 9,000-plus rpm echoes from the big end in the 9-second, bumper-dragging G-Force Racing Transmissions Pure Street stallions, as will the docile 10-second American Racing Headers Factory Stock steeds.

Local bracket racers will like the new taste of heads-up/index spice in racing one of the Open Comp style classes: Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning, or a mixture in Flex-a-lite Open Comp. The Roush Performance Super Stang class is a favorite for those S197 and S550 competitors who like the more personable footbrake style of racing, where the humans must activate all the pony controls.

The NMRA knows what racers want and reacts to racers’ needs, so again by popular demand the series has added a Ford Muscle index footbrake class, open to all Ford hot rods. New for 2016, QA1, who offers shocks, suspension components, driveshafts, ball joints and more, has signed on as the all-new True Street class sponsor. This means, if racing on the semi-pro level in one of the above listed classes isn’t in your budget, make sure to join us in our own Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords True Street class, where hundreds of mild to wild Mustangs and Fords will both cruise the local streets and tear up the pavement on the quarter-mile all weekend!

All drag racing participants will face off against the hottest racers from coast to coast for their share of the largest sportsman contingency program and rights to the incredible one-of-a-kind Nitto Tire Diamond Tree Champions rings. If you can conquer all in attendance, and capture a spot in the Aerospace Components Winners Circle in the NMRA, be assured that NMRA’s Race Pages and MM&FF will bring the finest coverage to both the newsstand and the web.

Grudge Night

One of the hottest additions to the NMRA’s weekend happenings starts just after the last qualifying session on Saturday afternoon and all the track timing systems have been retired for the night. NMRA Grudge Night will take over the staging lanes at three events in Florida, Ohio, and Kentucky. There will be no timeslips and no track prep, only a win light and the passing of the cash.

The Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws superstar Chris ”Boosted GT” Hamilton will be on hand at Bradenton and Bowling Green, signing autographs, making exhibition runs, and competing in the NMRA Grudge Night racing.

VMP Superchargers GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout

When Ford unleashed the supercharged Four-Valve 4.6L 2003-2004 Cobras they were appropriately dubbed Terminators because they devastated the competition and were arguably regarded as the most volatile street cars Ford has ever built. That is, until Shelby released the GT500 with bigger supercharged Four-Valve 5.4L and 5.8L powerplants under the hood in 2007, continuing production through 2014. This immediately created one of the fiercest brand rivalries in drag racing history, hence the VMP Performance GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout was born. Competitors will joust side-by-side through the 1,320 in the low 8-second range at Bradenton, Maple Grove, and Bowling Green.

Livernois Motorsports EcoBoost Battle

The viable EcoBoost engine is an option in many F-Series trucks, SUVs, Focus, Taurus, and now Mustang body styles. The Livernois Motorsports EcoBoost Battle is an all-run, heads-up format on a .400 pro tree where any power adder combo is acceptable. Come and see just how much power the little EcoBoost engines can handle. Awards for fastest F-Series truck, SUV, Focus, Taurus, and Mustang will be distributed at Bradenton, National Trail, and Bowling Green.

Turbo Coyote Shootout

Birthed from the adage, “Run what ya brung and hope ya brung enough,” the Turbo Coyote Shootout category has only one goal at hand: Who has the Fastest Turbocharged 5.0L 4V Coyote–powered 2005-2016 stock bodied Mustang in the world? Competitors must retain stock locating K-members, one or two turbochargers, and that’s about it in this all-run, heads-up format class where contests start on a .400 pro tree and end in just over 7 seconds.

UPR Products All-Ford Car Show

Fans will find affordable family entertainment that will include all levels of Blue Oval competition, both on and off the racetrack. Anyone who strolls to the big tent arena at an NMRA event will behold the most magnificent array of Blue Oval hot rods in the country. There will be immaculate and stock representatives of all body styles and years. Some of the rarest cars in existence commonly attend the UPR Products All-Ford Car Show, and the UPR Products big-rig is always in attendance, making sure there are lots of goodie bags, attendance awards, and trophies for all First in Class winners: Best Engine, Best Interior, Best Paint, and, of course, Best in Show.

NMRA Ford Muscle

By popular demand, the folks from the NMRA are excited to bring another great racing opportunity for anyone with a Ford-powered, 1955 or newer vehicle from Ford Motor Company that’s up for some good old “no electronics” footbrake index racing. No mufflers are required; you may use NOS, but no superchargers or turbochargers are allowed unless factory installed; two-steps and trans brakes are prohibited. This all-run field will use a .500 pro tree handicap start after choosing one of the following index e.t.’s: 9.50, 10.00, 10.50, 11.00, 11.50, 12.00, 12.50, 13.00, 13.50, 14.00, 14.50, 15.00.

VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw

Looks are deceiving. These are the quickest and fastest cars on the property, as triumphs are contested at the eighth-mile markers at over 165 mph. These heinous hooligans of the 275 radial revolution utilize 400ci to 440ci small-block combos with turbos and blowers even though there are big weight breaks for under-365ci Windsor and Modular engine combos. The VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw class requires utilizing OEM body-shelled cars, requiring a stock frame from engine motor plate to rear wheel tubs, no back-halved cars allowed. All headlights and taillights must be functional. This results in the ultimate display of chassis builders’ handiwork with complete safety cages built into the structure of the body, especially under the hood and driver’s compartment.

What makes these cars so amazingly wild to watch is that they are attempting to hook over 2,500 hp on the required 28x10.5 slick or 275 drag radial, which has become the class mainstay. Cars seem to slingshot out of the gates. As terrifying amounts of power kicks in, it is hard to tell if all four tires are on the ground when they cross the stripe as they leave the runway for flight.

2015 Street Outlaw Class Champion: Phil Hines

2015 Class Quickest & Fastest Eighth-Mile
E.T.: Phil Hines, 4.454 sec
MPH: Phil Hines, 168.72

Edelbrock Renegade

For the first time in 15 years, competitors were allowed a single 76mm turbocharger with 311ci combos, and the centrifugal supercharger players will get to oust the old belt-drive units in lieu of a more flexible and efficient gear-drive system. This proved to be tailor made for the new 4V 5.0L Coyote engine coupled with a turbocharger. Midseason in 2015 they opened up the cube limit to include the equally venerable 4V 5.8L Shelby powerplants, dominating both qualifying and eliminations. By late season, rule makers granted the boys from the supercharger camps enough weight breaks to even the playing field and bring the war back to the stripe.

The performance of this class will leave you astonished, as all competitors have historically chosen under-335ci supercharged combos to break into the magic 7-second zone. They have a very strict list of acceptable heads and intakes that must breathe through a single 90mm max throttle-body with a mere 0.550-inch lift camshaft or 0.520-inch lift on 4V modular engines. Don’t be surprised to see a rogue NOS competitor making use of the many cube to weight options where they can run up to 415ci and take advantage of the unlimited camshaft specs with a dominator carb for this year. All bodies will remain stock with no external holes in bumpers or grilles to feed superchargers or turbos and are required to utilize a 28x10.5 slick or 275 drag radial.

Make sure you’ve got your spot in the stands when the Renegades arrive. No wheelie bars are allowed in the class, and at this power level a 20-degree change in track temp can unexpectedly send an entire round of racers skyward and a dumpster full of bumper covers!

Renegade Class Champion Frank Varela

2015 Class Quickest & Fastest
E.T.: Frank Varela, 7.597 sec
MPH: Frank Varela, 184.04

ProCharger Coyote Modified

Coyote 5.0L Four-Valve technology is unbridled as few rules other than power added to weight exist and the 305ci maximum engine size requirement and a 90mm or smaller throttle-body, engine modifications are unlimited. Nitrous and street-type 2.3L roots blower combos are the lightweights at 2,800 pounds, 3.57 i.d. centrifugal, 2.3L Roots, 2.9L twin screw, and 68mm T4 turbocharger step up to 3,250 pounds, and in 2015 the twin screw 3.6L combos are the heavyweights at a hefty 3,450 pounds. Any Ford body is allowed, although there are some specific K-member requirements; all must run on stock-type suspension and a 28x10.5 slick.

Don’t be surprised to see the class break into the 7-second zone at the season opener with lots of new faces bidding for the Champions Nitto Tire Championship Diamond Tree Ring.

2015 Coyote Modified Class Champion: Haley James

2015 Class Quickest & Fastest
E.T.: Haley James, 8.186 sec
MPH: Haley James, 166.02

G-Force Racing Transmissions Pure Street

If it’s all-motor, small-cube action you crave, no big mechanical camshafts or monster cubic inch powerplants are allowed here. Small-block 302W are limited to 313 ci, 4.6L engines get 291 ci, and both are limited to a second string list of permissible heads to mildly massage without outrageously oversized or titanium valves. Only hydraulic camshafts with 0.500-inch max lift fitted Windsors and 0.550- or 0.480-inch lift Two-, Three-, and Four-Valve mod-motors are allowed. It will take despicable amounts of duration to extend rpm ranges to upwards of 9,000 and beyond revs per minute. Air must flow through a 750-cfm carb or 80mm mass air, and stock EEC-IV or EEC-V must be retained, but one can use a short list of approved “chipped” or handheld tuners. All the 1979 and newer Fox- and Mustang-bodied cars will brush the bumper on every launch with a TREMEC manual of beefed-up factory automatic transmission.

2015 Pure Street Class Champion: Jimmy Wilson

2015 Class Quickest & Fastest
E.T.: Teddy Weaver, 9.505 sec
MPH: Teddy Weaver, 141.08

Coyote Stock

Two years ago the NMRA embraced the need for a budget-minded heads-up racing class for grassroots racers coast to coast. Following the introduction of the bulletproof new Four-Valve 5.0 engine, the NMRA started what has become one of the most contested classes ever. As they say, “What wins on Sunday sells on Monday,” and the new 5.0 is definitely selling.

Class rules require a Ford Racing “sealed” crate engine with an 80mm throttle-body, stock injectors (65 psi limited), an OEM six-rib serpentine belt system, and no tuning. Computers are frequently “reflashed” stock by NMRA technicians between rounds to keep the competition clean. About the only mods allowed are 1.75-inch primary headers with 3-inch exhaust and any 107mm max mass air with unaltered sample tube and elements. No fancy long-style or adjustable pressure plates, and only TREMEC and C4 transmissions are allowed.

This is a driver/chassis tuner class where you will see Mustangs to Mavericks to Fairmonts and everything in between on the bumper then crossing the stripe together within millionths of a second.

2015 Coyote Stock Class Champion: Drew Lyons

2015 Class Quickest & Fastest
E.T.: Drew Lyons, 10.249 sec
MPH: Joe Charles, 130.92 mph

American Racing Headers Factory Stock

This entry-level class started out as a beginner’s bolt-on-only class for fuel-injected cars but has evolved into one of the most contested classes in the NMRA. You will need to study the rulebook well because the class has matured into a one as complex as the NHRA stock ranks, where go-fast secrets are closely guarded and onlookers have a hard time understanding how such outrageous performance can be attained form a “stock” setup. Combatants must choose from approved 275 radials from BFG, Nitto, and Mickey Thompson.

2015 Factory Stock Class Champion: Matt Armine

2015 Class Quickest & Fastest
E.T.: Matt Armine, 10.675 sec
MPH: Matthew Williams, 125.99

Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle

For bored modular motor powered bracketeers and test-n-tune junkies tired of handicap starts, this all-run class offers pro-tree, handicap-style racing where you must qualify for your e.t. with a .10 breakout allowance on race day. Modular Motor is center stage for showcasing the performance potential of the overhead camshaft modular engines. Don’t look for an easy go of it here; the fields are big and racing is intense. The quickest qualifying e.t. permitted in this class is 8.60; the slowest is 15.70. No electronics allowed. All racing leaves on a handicap .500 pro tree. The 2016 class champion will receive one-of-a-kind Nitto Championship Diamond Tree Ring.

2015 Modular Muscle Class Champion: Donnie Bowles

Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning

The Truck & Lightning class is for all you truck racers looking to prove your truck is the toughest. This class is one of the highest contested in the organization. You, too, could win your own one-of-a-kind Nitto Championship Diamond Tree Ring. All Ford-bodied and -powered trucks are allowed to compete in this all-run .500 pro tree qualifying style version of heads-up, known as Open Comp format. All competitors will automatically be dialed one-tenth quicker than their quickest qualifying time. Only e.t.’s between 8.80 and 15.70 will be allowed to compete. No electronics allowed.

2015 Truck & Lightning Class Champion: Johnny “Lightning” Wiker

Flex-a-lite Open Comp

The Flex-a-lite Open Comp class is for all you racers who want to compete in a big-time racing series for your own Nitto Championship Diamond Tree Ring. All Ford-bodied and -powered race or street cars can compete in this all-run .500 pro tree qualifying style version of heads-up, known as Open Comp format. All competitors will automatically be dialed one-tenth quicker than their quickest qualifying time. Only e.t.’s between 8.60 and 15.70 will be allowed to compete. Most of the competitors will be bracket racers looking for something a bit different; the fields will be full and racing intense. No electronics allowed. This is the most competitive class in the NMRA—both rounds and championships are won by thousandths packages!

2015 Open Comp Class Champion: Mel White

Roush Performance Super Stang

The Super Stang class will showcase performance capabilities of all 2005 and newer (S197) Mustangs with OEM type 4.6, 5.0 or 5.4 (3V or 4V) and V-6 engines only, in .500 pro tree dial-in style racing. All must run quicker than 14.50 and launch on a footbrake only. Sit back and be amazed at the level of competition with no trans brakes, two-steps, or electronics allowed. No dial-ins can be changed after eliminations begins. You, too, could win your own, one-of-a-kind Nitto Championship Diamond Tree Ring.

2015 Super Stang Class Champion: Kent Nine

Race Pages Bracket Showdown

Rules will usually follow suit with host track regular racing format for Bracket I, II, and III, usual classes for electronics. No electronics. The e.t. requirements will apply except with NMRA Winners Circle celebrations.

A Special King Ford Shootout will be held at the Motorsport Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway and the SuperNationals at National Trail Raceway, where extra cash and prizes will be awarded. All Saturday class winners will race the Sunday class winners, then the winners pair off in a winner-takes-all brawl, leaving only one king to be crowned!

True Street Presented by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords

One man’s peace and tranquility is another man’s noise and chaos. That saying is never more true than when applied to a True Street Class competitor. There are no loud open headers to muffle the sweet sound of your favorite piston-pumping hot rod’s powerplant singing your favorite song to the accelerating beat of your heart. No nervous anxiety of competition gets between you, the staging beams, and the finish line. We’ll save that pill for every other weekend at the track and an occasional stoplight pairing. No being eliminated for not running your number, breaking out, or red lighting; you always win and get to come back around for another pass, for three times at least. Just this side of buying your own racetrack, sounds like life in a perfect world!

All you need is a Ford-bodied and -powered machine with operational headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, horn, mufflers, and license plates, wearing D.O.T. tires on the front and rear. D.O.T. slick type tires must be less than 10.75 inches wide, and radials are limited to 325 mm. You must of course possess a valid driver’s license and auto insurance, and both front seats so your friends and family can join you on the cruise.

We shouldn’t have to mention that your car needs to meet all the NHRA requirements for the e.t. your hot rod is capable of. Safety is always first and foremost. This means adherence to the rulebook, especially Competition Licenses for those quicker than 9.99.

A mandatory 30-mile supervised cruise will simulate the real-world rigors of the typical grocery getter. The cruise can be lots of fun, with the roar of several 1,000hp ponies stampeding through town, taunting the brand-Xers in the neighborhood. You are invited to bring as many of your friends on the cruise as your vehicle has seatbelts for. And if you have a convertible, let the wind have your hair!

Upon returning from the cruise, all racers will line up in the staging lanes for a 15- to 45-minute closed-hood cooling down period. No external cooling, adding fuel, changing tires, or charging batteries. They do allow competitors to add NOS bottles, add ice to the intercooler, and remove or add air from tires by the driver only.

If you like to race, this class is for you. Entrants arriving on Friday will be given two or more time runs, time permitting. Historically the class will get a time run early Saturday morning before the True Street Meeting, followed by your three back-to-back passes and a free ride into the Bracket III class on Sunday.

For those adrenaline junkies whose idea of peace and tranquility is noise and chaos, then drop on by Bradenton for the 22nd Annual Muscle Mustangs Spring Break Shootout Class, where you’ll do battle with the eight quickest and fastest street cars in the country for your spot in the Aerospace Components Winners Circle.

For the manually shifted gang, the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout will return to the Spring Break Shootout, where the quickest pair of stick-shift combatants will race for a TREMEC transmission of choice.

National Trail Raceway will play host to one of the largest True Street fields of the year where participants will be treated to a special racer appreciation party that features a raffle with over $10,000 in free parts up for grabs.

After the customary cool down you will be summoned to “suit up” for your three consecutive passes down the 1,320. The driver is allowed to push the car in the staging lanes between rounds as long as he or she doesn’t slow up the program. Concluding your third pass, you head back to the pits and prepare for the awards ceremony. Number crunchers will average the three passes for your spot in the field; the e.t.’s closest to 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, 12.0, 13.0, 14.0, and 15.0 (and runners-up) are awarded money and a plaque, while the quickest is caped-and-crowned King of the Street and receives money and a gargantuan 6-foot trophy.

This year’s event at Maple Grove Raceway will play host to the 4th Annual Muscle Mustangs All-Female Shootout Class presented by. The ladies will be pampered with their own True Street Class with plaques and cash for the e.t.’s closest to 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, 12.0, 13.0, 14.0, and 15.0 (and runners-up). The winner will be caped-and-crowned Queen of the Street and awarded cash and a 6-foot trophy. On Sunday the spotlight will be on the top eight women of speed for a Quick 8 Shootout for a big cash purse, a beautiful plaque, and lots of contingency and prizes for all.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

2016 NMRA Ford Nationals Event Schedule

March 3-6
22nd Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout
Presented by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Bradenton Motorsports Park, Bradenton, FL

Special Events
Hooters party Friday night
Grudge Night featuring Chris “BoostedGT” Hamilton
TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout
GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout
Turbo Coyote Shootout
EcoBoost Battle
Cobra Jet Showdown

April 7-10
8th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals
Presented by Miller Welders
Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, GA

Special Events
NMRA/NMCA (two events combined)

Apr 28–May 1
16th Annual NMRA Motorsport Nationals
Presented by Juggernaut Power
Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, PA

Special Events
MM&FF All-Female Shootout
All-Female True Street Class
GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout
Turbo Coyote Shootout
King Ford Bracket Showdown

June 9-12
13th Annual McLeod Racing NMRA Ford SuperNationals
National Trails Raceway, Hebron, OH

Special Events
Grudge Nite
Special True Street party with raffle
EcoBoost Battle

July 28-31
11th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing
See Team NMRA take on Team NMCA for Nitto Tire Diamond Tree Rings.
Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL

Special Events
NMRA/NMCA (two events combined)
Race for the Rings Shootout
LightningGarage.com Gathering

Sept 29–Oct 2
18th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals
Beech Bend Raceway, Bowling Green, KY

Special Events
Grudge Night featuring Chris “BoostedGT” Hamilton
GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout
Turbo Coyote Shootout
EcoBoost Battle
Stick Shift Shootout

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery