Michael Galimi
October 25, 2016
Photos By: Brian Hogan

It was a fitting end to an epic season of NMRA drag racing as the traveling Ford series wrapped up the six-event schedule at Beech Bend Raceway with the 18th annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals. Very close racing and record-breaking performances put the finishing touches on an outstanding race season. Race officials, competitors, and fans danced between raindrops in the opening days of the four-day festival of speed, but by the time the sun rose on Saturday morning the staging lanes were loaded up and never emptied until racing concluded late into the night. Eliminations went down on Sunday as NMRA crowned event winners and champions.

Heading into the finals, all but two championship categories were wide open, with four or five racers in contention for a class title in some cases. You had to be fast and good in order to survive. The VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw class was a prime example. A week before the event, no one had even considered the defending class champion Phil Hines to even be in the running. But when 17 cars showed up to battle it out and some of the championship favorites bowed out of competition in the first and second rounds, Hines quickly became a contender. He had to win the class in order to capture his third NMRA championship, and he did so with consistent mid-4-second times at over 160 mph.

Joel Greathouse was a substitute driver for Charles Hull in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw. The hometown hero ran the quickest pass in the category’s history, 4.34 at 168 mph, as he fought hard for the Street Outlaw championship. It came down to the final round with Phil Hines—whoever won would claim the class championship. Greathouse’s trans brake didn’t hold, and Hines was declared the champion.
Charlie Cooper went up in the air and for a wild ride with his ProCharger-enhanced racecar. The Street Outlaw racer ran 4.50s on a 275 radial tire and lost in the semifinals.

Piled into the program, on top of the six heads-up and five index categories run at all six races, are many street car shootouts and QA1 True Street. From turbocharged Coyote cars going deep into the 7s to a 2013 Shelby GT500 going 7.38 at 190 mph, the extra classes were quick. But it wasn’t just big-dollar cars. There is an EcoBoost category where racers run heads-up and most competitors ran in the 11s, with a couple new Mustangs dipping into the 10s. If you liked to slam gears, the Tremec Stick Shift Shootout called out the quickest eight True Street cars with a manual transmission. The top two raced each other with a Tremec TR6060 six-speed transmission as the prize. Nick Shortridge won it with his IRS-laden Terminator Cobra, which ran 8.90s at 170 mph!

Saturday night was NMRA Grudge Night. It brought out some fast local cars, but the highlight was the ididit Outlaw True Street, where eight Mustangs ran in a no-time format and pulled names out of a hat to determine their competitor. Tim Oswalt won it with his twin-turbocharged 2003 Terminator Cobra. He walked away with $2,500 for his efforts, not bad for one night of racing. Longtime NMRA racer and 12-time champion Mike Murillo had his famous Star Car on track, while Discovery Channel Street Outlaw star Chris “BoostedGT” Hamilton was signing autographs and making runs in his turbocharged Terminator.

As the championship season wrapped up, the NMRA World Finals proved once again why it is the biggest and baddest Mustang race of the year.

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Legendary Mustang racer Mike Murillo, sponsored by SCT, was on hand to make some exhibition runs and get his Star Car prepared for some no-time, no-prep drag racing action.

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