Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsEvents
2017 NMRA Keystone Automotive Ford Nationals Season Preview
Here’s When and Where You Need to Be to Catch All the Exciting NMRA Action
If you are a regular reader of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, including Mustang-360.com, then you know our favorite racing sanctioning body is the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA). The NMRA drag racing series hits tracks across the nation with racing classes for every Ford-powered and -bodied vehicle. From March through October, checking out the quickest and fastest Mustang drag racers in person is as easy as finding the closest event and hopping in the car with your friends.
Better yet, why not get in on the action? If you have a Mustang, Maverick, Falcon, Lightning, F-Series truck, or any Ford vehicle, the NMRA has a class for you. The only strict rule is that your Ford vehicle must also have a Ford engine under the hood. That’s the biggest requirement to become an NMRA racer. After that, all you need is the requisite safety equipment for your class and/or the required NHRA license, and you are in business. Whether you have 4-second Mustang on 275 radials in the eighth-mile or a 15-second F-Series in the quarter-mile, we could be looking at you through the lens of our camera come race day. For more information, be sure to head over to www.nmradigital.com.
VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw
The NMRA’s premiere class is Street Outlaw, where 4-second Mustangs do battle in an eighth-mile, heads-up format. Street Outlaw is designed for 275/28x10.5, single power adder cars using either small- or big-block combinations. Centrifugal superchargers, turbochargers, and nitrous oxide are legal for the class, as are naturally aspirated combinations. Street Outlaw power adder rules keep the class competitive, while racers put it all on the line in order to make it to the next round. In an eighth-mile format, racers can’t leave anything to chance, so every Street Outlaw round is worth catching. For 2017, look for times in the 4.40-range at most tracks, but expect 4.30s when the weather turns cool. Phil Hines will also be looking to win his third straight championship, and fourth overall.
2016 Street Outlaw Champion
2016 Street Outlaw Record
Joel Greathouse, 4.349 @ 170.32
A class that has endured over the years is the Renegade class. When other classes have come and gone, Renegade has been the one with staying power. Rules have changed, racers names have changed, but the class remains one of the most competitive heads-up classes in the NMRA. Old-timers like us can remember when Renegade racers ran 10s, but these days the class has progressed into the mid-7s—and sometimes quicker than that. Think of Renegade as Street Outlaw’s little brother. The two share the same tire rules, but Renegade is more limited when it comes to power adders, camshaft valve lift, and cylinder head options. Even so, valvetrain and power adder technology has enabled Renegade competitors to progressively get quicker and faster each year. Look for that trend to continue in 2017.
2016 Renegade Champion
2016 Renegade Record
Aaron Bates, 7.406 @ 187.86
ProCharger Coyote Modified
Coyote Modified was born out of a need to create a class designed for power adder, Coyote-motivated Mustangs. With a 305-inch engine size limit, competitors can utilize nitrous, a centrifugal or twin screw/roots-style supercharger, or a turbocharger in Coyote Modified. Competitors must use a factory-style suspension with either a 275 radial or 28x10.5 slick, but those limitations have little impact on performance. Coyote Modified racers are routinely in the high-7s in heads-up, quarter-mile competition. The competition is fierce in this class, and many times there is a different winner at each race.
2016 Coyote Modified Champion
2016 Coyote Modified Record
John Kauderer, 7.812 e.t.
Johnny Lightning, 174.93 mph record
G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock
Probably the most hotly contested class within the NMRA is Coyote Stock. The reason is the class uses a sealed Ford Coyote engine and ECM with a class-specific tune. Because of this, Coyote Stock comes down to the racer who can best tune a clutch and chassis. The most recent big news in the class is the introduction of increased transmission options. Initially, Tremecs, T5s, and a C4 were the only options. Now add to that list the G-Force G101A and GF4A, Jerico DR4, Liberty LCS 5000 four-speed, and Andrews Transmission A431 H-pattern four-speed. In cool, fall temps, Coyote Stock dipped into the 10.20s, but for 2017, with the broadening of the transmission rules, we expect 10.20s to 10.30s to be the norm.
2016 Coyote Stock Champion
2016 Coyote Stock Record
Darin Hendricks, 10.202 e.t.
Michael Washington, 131.86 mph record
Another class enduring the test of time is Factory Stock, which is the NMRA’s entry-level heads-up class. We say “entry-level,” but the racers who regularly do battle in Factory Stock are seasoned drag racers. This is a class where you will find pushrod combinations doing battle with every modular engine derivative, including those of the Coyote variety. The equalizing force in Factory Stock is that everyone runs on a drag radial from BFG, Nitto, or Mickey Thompson. The idea behind Factory Stock is to provide a cost-effective way of getting into heads-up drag racing.
2016 Factory Stock Champion
2016 Factory Stock Record
James Meredith, 10.619 e.t.
Michael Washington, 126.64 mph record
QA1 True Street
One of our favorite classes is True Street, which is a true test of a car’s street worthiness while also trying to run on the ragged edge. These are street cars that must outlast a 30-mile cruise and then run back-to-back-to-back passes to see who has the quickest average out of those three runs. True Street is host to basically every Ford vehicle, including trucks, looking to put on a show. There are awards for quickest overall average, and closest average to 9.00, 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, and 15.00. In True Street you are not really racing against anyone; you are mostly trying for the quickest average your car can run. True Street doesn’t have a points system like the NMRA’s heads-up and index-style classes.
In addition to True Street, at the Bradenton opener and World Finals there will be an Outlaw True Street class. This class is the same as True Street, but with a twist. Outlaw True Street enables Mustangs with any engine (yes, even that one) to get in on the action. Instead of being a back-to-back-to-back, average run format, Outlaw True Street is an eighth-mile, no-time, 0.400 Pro tree, heads-up class. Random pairings take place after the 30-mile cruise, but if you are also entered in QA1 True Street, you are good to go in Outlaw True Street. After the pairings, there is a coin toss for lane choice, and off you go. Even though any engine is allowed, we are expecting to see the Blue Oval contingent take home the wins.
To answer the call for a class aimed at big power modular Mustangs, the NMRA came up with Modular Xtreme. This class has outlaw-style, modular-powered, non-tube chassis cars in mind in an eighth-mile, 0.400 Pro tree, heads-up format. Basically any modular engine is legal, and power adder rules follow closely to that of Street Outlaw. Modular Xtreme rules mandate either a 275 radial or a 10.5-inch slick. You can think of Modular Xtreme as a Street Outlaw class for modular-powered Mustangs. Note: This class will only compete at Bradenton and at the World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The NMRA holds various shootout classes during the year as well, two of those being the VMP Performance Terminator/GT500 Shootout and the Livernois Motorsports EcoBoost Battle Shootout. These shootout classes will take place at the Bradenton opener and the World Finals at Bowling Green. The Terminator/GT500 Shootout pits the baddest of the breeds against each other in heads-up competition to arrive at a winner. This hotly contested class usually comes down to cars running deep into the 8s, and sometimes 7s, and is always exciting to watch.
The EcoBoost Battle is a test of who has the quickest EcoBoost car on the planet. This class has proven to have a strong following, with many participants, and fierce battles on and off the track. The top EcoBoost competitors have a somewhat friendly yet intense rivalry that spills over from online banter onto the track. The trash talking gets heated from time to time, which helps the class become that much more entertaining when it comes time to put power to the track.
Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning
Everyone loves trucks, and the Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning class gives fans a chance to see the haulers go down the track. Racing in an index-style, quarter-mile format, Truck & Lightning is open to any year F-Series truck, Lightning, Explorer, Excursion, Expedition, and the like. Using a Pro 0.500 tree with a handicap start, Truck & Lightning qualifying is according to reaction time—the better the reaction time, the better the qualifying spot. Elapsed time limitations are nothing quicker than 8.60, or slower than 15.7 in qualifying. Anything between those two numbers and you are golden.
2016 Truck & Lightning Champion
Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle
If you have a modular-powered Ford and are looking for a place to race, the Modular Muscle class is calling your name. This class is open to any Ford vehicle featuring a modular 4.6, 5.4, Coyote, or V-10 engine, and has the same basic rules as the Truck & Lightning class with an index-style handicap start on a Pro 0.500 tree. You will find everything from modular-powered Fox Mustangs to Terminators to Mach 1s running in Modular Muscle.
2016 Modular Muscle Champion
Roush Performance Super Stang
Super Stang is a class that came about to give 2005-2017 Mustang owners their own sandbox to play. All factory-installed engines are legal, including 5.4 modulars, EcoBoost engines, and V-6s. Rules are in place to keep Super Stang a street-type class with complete interiors, minimum weight requirements, and factory-installed transmissions. Super Stang is an index class run on a Pro 0.500 tree with a minimum dial of 14.50.
2016 Super Stang Champion
Open Comp is another class within the NMRA using a Pro 0.500 tree with a handicap start. Open Comp is generally where you will find pushrod cars that don’t easily fit into the NMRA heads-up classes. You will see a mixture of street/strip and full-on race cars in Open Comp, but indexes have to be within 8.50 to 15.7 like the other index-style classes. You will find Thunderbirds, Mustangs, Fairmonts, and the like, in Open Comp, but you will also find consistent racers looking for the win at each event.
2016 Open Comp Champion
This is a foot-brake, index-style class in half-second increments from 9.50 to 16.00. Ford Muscle uses a Pro 0.500 tree with a handicap start according to the classifications of each racer. This class has Ford muscle cars in mind, with stock-style front and rear suspensions, but any 1940 or newer Ford is legal for the class, including trucks and SUVs. Power adders are permitted, but legal fuels are limited to gasoline and commercially-available E85.
2016 Ford Muscle Champion
2017 NMRA Schedule
March 2-5, 2017
23rd Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout
Bradenton Motorsports Park, Bradenton, FL
April 6-9, 2017
9th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals
Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, GA
May 4-7, 2017
17th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, PA
June 8-11, 2017
14th Annual NMRA Ford Super Nationals
National Trail Raceway, Hebron, Ohio
12th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing
Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL
Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2017
19th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals
Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green, KY