Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
July 28, 2017

When it comes to drag racing, it’s up to Mother Nature whether or not an event starts and finishes on the same weekend. Most of the time we know she’s a fan of drag racing because she allows for blue skies, and sometimes she even blesses us with cool temps. Other times, though, she’s not in the mood, and she lets us know by opening up the clouds and raining on our parade.

The latter is exactly how she felt about the NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway back on May 4-7. The NMRA tried its best to make the event happen, but every time the track was nearly dry, it would start raining again. It rained so much, in fact, that the event was postponed to be concluded at the next event, the NMRA Ford Super Nationals at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio.

Competitors were basically able to get through the first round of qualifying, and that was about it. Therefore, all eliminations had to be run at the Super Nationals, and then the actual Super Nationals race had to be run, as well. Yeah, it was an action-packed weekend at the Super Nationals, for sure. Ford Motorsport Nationals competitors were allowed a test hit the Friday morning of the Super Nationals, and then allowed to go through eliminations.

Thankfully, Mother Nature wanted to see some drag racing the weekend of the Super Nationals since there was a lot of racing to get through. Peep the captions to catch up on all the action from both the Ford Motorsport Nationals and the Super Nationals.

Our photos of Raymond Naegele’s Coyote Stock ride unveiled a couple issues. First, perhaps he needed a pound or more air pressure in the slicks, and that his left front had a flat spot. To make his weekend even more eventful, he decided to change out his sealed Coyote Stock engine’s oil pump and gears. Coyote Stock rules dictate that you can change out the oil pump and gears, but only under NMRA Tech supervision at an event. You also must use Ford Performance’s M-6600-A50PKIT oil pump install kit and M-6600-50CJ oil pump with billet gears. For all of his trouble, Nate Stymiest put Naegele on the trailer in the first round.

Coyote Stock racer Carlos Sobrino had a habit of looking over at his competition, causing him to lose concentration on his own run. In Coyote Stock, hitting your shift points is key, so he borrowed a practice many NHRA drivers do, which is add tape to the side of the helmet to keep him from wanting to peek over into the other lane. Sobrino hopes that adding the tape will keep his concentration at a professional level, at least until he hits Fourth gear. Then he can look over all he wants.

Bryan Gardner looks like he’s on the pass of his life in this shot. The Evansville, Indiana, resident brings this 1979 Mustang into Factory Stock competition with a Coyote/C4 combination. He beat Mark Anderson in Round 1, but eventual winner Bart Welte put Gardner on the trailer in Round 2. After seeing this picture, Gardner said he would probably be buying a full-face helmet.

VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw

Manny Buginga’s crew likes to have a good time, and they are never shy about giving him a hard time. For the Columbus race, the subject was Buginga’s reaction times. In Round 1, he was a little tardy out of the gate with a 0.153 light, but he was still able to get around Brian Devilbiss and onto Round 2, where he was tree’d again by John Urist. However, as in Round 1, Buginga was able to gather up the win by the narrowest of margins in a pedalfest against the Fireball. In the final round against Dwayne Barbaree, the crew must have put a reaction time in the tune-up because Buginga was out with a much-improved 0.037 reaction time. Fortunately, he didn’t need the quick reaction time since Barbaree went -0.012 red, handing Buginga the event win.

Dwayne Barbaree and Russell Stone now campaign one of the most dominant Mustangs not only in the NMRA ranks but in heads-up racing in general. This car was originally owned by Joel Greathouse, but it may be more known as the car in which John Kolivas won three NMRA championships. After Kolivas sold the car to Daniel Pharris, the car continued to keep competitors up at night in X275 and Pro Drag Radial competition. With Barbaree at the wheel, the car has returned to its roots in NMRA’s Street Outlaw class, running a Kuntz and Company 360ci combo with a single turbo, and an M&M Transmission Turbo 400 with a ProTorque EV1 converter. The combination put the NMRA Street Outlaw class on notice after qualifying No. 1 at the Super Nationals with a 4.392. Knowing he had a game competitor in the other lane, Dwayne Barbaree pushed the tree just a bit too hard with a red light start, handing the win to Manny Buginga.

Edelbrock Renegade

Speaking of dominance, Alton Clements worked over the Renegade class at the Super Nationals with his Vortech-supercharged Fox coupe. He qualified at the top with a 7.45 at 185 mph, and perhaps his competitors were trying to put down too much power in order to keep up. Clements basically ran unchallenged at the Super Nationals, as each of his competitors struggled to get down the track. Even perennial Renegade winner Brian Mitchell fell short in the final, as Clements took the win.

Brian Mitchell is at the wheel of Adam Arndt’s Fox for 2017 while Arndt is busy working and Mitchell is rebuilding his own car. Arndt’s ride utilizes a ProCharger supercharger so it was Vortech versus ProCharger in the final. Mitchell will have to regroup for the next event because it was all Clements at the Super Nationals.

ProCharger Coyote Modified

John Kauderer races his 2014 Cobra Jet out of the JPC Racing stable, and already he has had quite a year in 2017. He won the Bradenton opener and then the All-Star Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. He was hoping make it four-in-a-row with a Ford Motorsport Nationals win, but he fell short of that goal. However, he rebounded to take the Super Nationals win, setting the low elapsed time with a 7.874 in the process.

Haley James-Schneider has struggled at times in 2017, but it looked like the Hellion Power Systems’ racer had it all together at the Super Nationals. She took out Joe Cram in Round 1 and then Tommy Annunziata in Round 2, for a bout with John Kauderer’s Cobra Jet in the final. Although she lost that battle, she went to the final round of the rain-postponed Ford Motorsport Nationals as well, so maybe things are about to turn around for her.

G-Force Coyote Stock

Shane Stymiest (Shiftin Shane) is a veteran of the Coyote Stock class, and so is his engine. He is still utilizing a 2011-2014 sealed Coyote engine and controls pack combination. Unlike a few other racers at the Super Nationals, Stymiest battled wheelie issues, but he was able to calm down the car enough to run consistent 10.30s and get the win.

We are not surprised Charlie Booze Jr. has already prospered in Coyote Stock. His background plays right into the class requirements. Plus, he has had his hands on several Coyote Stock cars, so he knows how to make them go. Booze ran consistent 10.30s at the Super Nationals, but he didn’t have quite enough to take out Shiftin Shane Stymiest in the final.

Richmond Gear Factory Stock

Traction was not an issue at the Super Nationals for Bart Welte. The Factory Stock racer spends much of the first 60 feet in the air at every race. Back at the All-Star Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the 8.8 in his 1989 LX hatch ate itself of the line, but thanks to a trip to Summit Racing Equipment, Welte and his crew fixed it in time for eliminations. At the Super Nationals, he didn’t have any rearend issues, running solidly in the 10.80s. In the final round against Matt Amrine, Welte enjoyed a starting line advantage and was able to stay out front for the win.

At times, racers fought a tricky track at the Super Nationals. Factory Stock racer Matt Amrine is a case in point. During qualifying and eliminations, his car was on a rail, running consistent 10.60s at 125 mph leading up to the finals. However, being one of the very few stick cars left in the class, the traction wasn’t there when Amrine let out the clutch in the final against Bart Welte.

Aerospace Components Open Comp

Michael Lewandowski had a lot of luck on his side at the Super Nationals. There were a couple times when he should have been on the trailer during eliminations, but each time he somehow came out victorious. That luck continued in the final round when his opponent Terry Haynal broke out to give Lewandowski the win.

Race Pages Ford Muscle
Photo courtesy of the NMRA

Mike Roup made the long haul from Lockhart, Texas, to do battle in Ford Muscle, and he was lined up with another long hauler in the final against Tampa resident David Mormann’s 1970 Mustang. Fortunately for Roup, Mormann was in a hurry to get home and red-lit, which gave the event win to Roup and his 1966 Mustang.

Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning

One of the toughest matchups in Truck and Lightning, Gerry Van Veen was on his game at the Super Nationals. When it counted, his reaction times were spot-on, and in the final round against Bob Dill, he didn’t need a quick reaction time. Dill red-lit, which meant an automatic win for Van Veen.

Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle

The Modular Muscle category is full of tough racers. At the Super Nationals, no one put Bobby Barrick on the trailer. Barrick had his 2013 Mustang GT on the money, and in the money, with quick reaction times and running right on his index. On his semifinal bye run, he had a 0.024 light with an 11.741 on an 11.74 index. That was on a bye run! Barrick’s final round competition Don Jones, Jr. could not match that performance, and Barrick took the event win.

Roush Performance Super Stang

If he could, we think Chris Parisi would enter every NMRA class, but there would be several classes where his 2016 Mustang V-6 would not be able to keep up. In Super Stang’s index format is where Parisi’s talent shines. He went to work during Sunday’s eliminations and, in the final, ran a 14.488 on a 14.48 index to get the win over Chad Wendel.


Ford Motorsport Nationals Finish

With heavy rainfall during the Ford Motorsports Nationals, the event was postponed and concluded at the Super Nationals. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and the Ford Motorsport Nationals finished during the qualifying rounds of the Super Nationals. The Ford Motorsport Nationals and Super Nationals at the same event meant for a busy weekend, but everyone worked together to make it work. Ford Motorsport Nationals eliminations went off without a hitch, and the winners are as follows.

The heads-up winners are listed below, but index class winners include Mel White (Open Comp), Bryan Parker (Ford Muscle), Wade Trammell (Truck and Lightning), Jason Henson (Modular Muscle), and Larry Firestone (Super Stang).

Street Outlaw

Charlie Cooper has made big waves in Super Street since making the switch to the NMRA’s premier class. For the Ford Motorsport Nationals, he once again put his 1990 LX coupe in the Aerospace Components Winners Circle after making his way through eliminations. He cut a perfect light in the semifinal round against Manny Buginga, and he needed every bit of it to make it to the final round against Ronnie Reynolds in the JPC Racing entry. Reynolds knew he was slightly outmatched, so he had to push the tree to give it his best shot, but he lit the red bulb, handing the win to Cooper.

Renegade

Alton Clements had a great weekend. Not only did he win the Super Nationals, but he also ran through eliminations of the Ford Motorsport Nationals by running 7.50s at will. Just like for the Super Nationals race, Clements met Brian Mitchell in the final, but Mitchell was in a hurry and red-lit.

Coyote Modified

Jeff Polivka, also known as El Jefe, ruined a perfectly good Boss 302, turning it into a Coyote Modified racer. However, he made the car into one of the quickest Boss 302s in the nation as a result. Running out of the JPC Racing camp, Polivka’s single-turbo Boss beat Haley James-Schneider in the final. It would not be James-Schneider’s last trip to the finals.

Coyote Stock

We always celebrate a little harder for first-time winners. For the Ford Motorsport Nationals, Nate Stymiest visited the Aerospace Components Winners Circle for the first time. Known as Chester Drake in many circles, Nate races out of the Booze Brothers Racing camp and even beat his brother Shiftin Shane Stymiest in the semifinal round. In the final, Nate beat Darin Hendricks with a 10.32 to a losing 10.38 for Hendricks.

Factory Stock

Matt Amrine is the lone Two-Valve racer in Factory Stock, and one of the very few stick racers left. Utilizing a stick often makes starting line prep that much more important, but for the Ford Motorsport Nationals part of the weekend, Amrine was out of the gate with a quickness on each pass. In the final round, Amrine was lined up against Sondra Leslie, who pushed the tree a little too hard with a red light start.