Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsEvents
2016 NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park
Asphalt Wars XXII: 2016 NMRA spring break shootout!
The first weekend in March usually plays host to some of winter’s last thrashings for most of the country. For those wanting to escape the cold for hot pavement and traction action in the sun, Florida is often top on the itinerary.
Bradenton Motorsports Park is nestled about 50 miles south of Tampa–St. Petersburg. The track resides a mere 59 feet above sea level. Thanks to cool morning and evening temps, they commonly host of some of the best racing conditions in the country.
The weather at the 22nd Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout, presented by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, March 3-6 in Bradenton, was nothing less than perfect. Daytime temps were in the 70s, dipping into the low 50s at night. Density altitude conditions were calculated at or below sea level for early/late qualifying and competition rounds throughout the weekend, making for some jaw-dropping performances in all categories.
Thursday saw more than 200 race cars pass through the front gate, prepared to make their first test hits down the 1,320 for contention in the 2016 NMRA Keystone Ford Nationals Series championship chase, presented by Ford Performance Parts.
Activities on the track continued Friday with all class test and tune, followed by afternoon qualifiers across the board, highlighted by nearly 30 Cobra Jets on site for three sessions of astounding wheel-standing qualifying rounds for the Watson Racing Cobra Jet Showdown.
The fanfare reached epic proportions on Saturday with two rounds of qualifying in heads-up and index classes, over 100 entries in the QA1 True Street challenge vying for a spot in the Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Spring Break Shootout and Tremec Stick Shift Shootout, a full field of eliminations for the Watson Racing Cobra Jet Showdown, the “special events” qualifying for the VMP Performance Terminator/GT500 Shootout, the Livernois Motorsports EcoBoost Battle, and sick seven-second stallions in the Fluid Turbo Concepts Turbo Coyote Shootout.
The night was capped off with the outrageous first-ever Grudge Night. Chris “Boosted GT” Hamilton idled in the staging lanes, daring anyone with a handful of cash to roll into the water box and try to make it to the stripe quicker than his Precision-turbocharged, small-tire, small-block Ford!
When it comes to entertainment value, nothing adds more to the experience than being able to get right down on the playing field and mingle directly with the players and their machines, rubbing elbows with the cars and stars of the NMRA Ford Drag racing series. Here’s how the action played out during Sunday’s eliminations.
True Street King & Spring Break Shootout
Randy Seward is no stranger to QA1 True Street competition. His teal-hued Mustang coupe has plenty of street cred. The twin turbocharged combination has been flying as of late. Seward was one of 122 entries that came out on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to partake in the NMRA festivities. Of the large crowd there were a handful of competitors looking to topple the multiple True Street winner, including Mike Jovanis and Tony Whetstone. In the end, Seward would score his quickest average to date, an 8.32 average that came by way of an 8.33, 8.30, and 8.32—all after a 30-mile cruise, a short cool-down, and never lifting the hood or making an adjustment outside of adjusting tire pressure.
The True Street competition on Saturday served as qualifying for the Spring Break Shootout, a 22-year tradition in the Mustang drag racing hobby. With Seward qualifying on top, the competition had one more shot at knocking him off his pedestal. But by the end of Sunday’s heads-up elimination rounds the cagey veteran stood on top of the field for the third time thanks to a quartet of runs in the mid-eights. The final round pitted Seward against Raul Torres, who was competing with a nitrous-enhanced 1986 Mustang GT. Seward sealed the deal with an 8.53 at 166 mph to Torres’ 8.81 at 152 mph effort. — Mike Galimi