Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
August 10, 2017

For the 2017 NFL Super Bowl, we were treated to a comeback of epic proportions. The New England Patriots came back from being down 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons, but they were able to get momentum on their side, and come back to win 34-28 in overtime. Sure, there’s no such thing as overtime in drag racing, but the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing represents an opportunity for each sanctioning body to beat up on each other and win the drag racing equivalent of the Super Bowl. After coming up short in 2016, the NMRA made a comeback in 2017, but more on that later.

At this point in the game, you should know how the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing goes down. Each year at the Super Bowl, the sanctioning bodies duel for bragging rights as to who’s better at getting to the finish line. That’s why it’s called the “Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing.” Winners, and in some cases runners-up, from the two sanctioning bodies race each other after competing in their own respective classes. Tech officials from both bodies arrange matchups between the NMRA and NMCA to arrive at the Super Bowl winners. However, it’s not just for bragging rights. Each member of the winning Super Bowl team receives a coveted Nitto Tire Diamond Tree championship ring as a reward.

Taking place at the legendary Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, the bad guys (NMCA) prevailed in 2016, so this year the NMRA looked to turn that around and take home a Super Bowl ring. Once they finished beating up on each other, the NMRA’s best took down the NMCA’s finest to win the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing. The NMRA totally redeemed themselves this year with a resounding 9-5 trouncing of the NMCA.

However, for NMRA racers, they had to worry about their own respective classes, and scoring as many points as possible, since the Super Bowl is the second to last race of the season. That was first and foremost on their minds. The goal is to win their respective class, and then as a bonus, get a chance at their NMCA counterpart for a shot at the Nitto Tire Diamond Tree championship ring. We’re just happy the NMRA came out on top, and we hope that trend continues in 2018.

Andrew DeMarco made his presence known at the Super Bowl with an ABT Machine-built 430-inch combination, augmented by a Vortech V-30 112A supercharger. The engine uses Edelbrock Glidden Victor SC1 heads, while the Vortech uses a Supercharger Store gear drive. “It’s definitely making power,” Andrew says about the combination. His goal for the Super Bowl was to run in the 4.40s, and he accomplished that, but unfortunately, Andrew had a little too much power for the track in round 2, which caused him to lose the round.

The great thing about the Super Bowl is we get to see Mustang racers who don’t run with the NMRA. Case in point is the Radial Wars coupe of Josh Klugger and Kevin Fiscus. Josh and Kevin are a threat to win every event they attend, but engine damage kept Josh from taking the Mustang into Super Bowl eliminations. Here’s where the story takes a turn. Fellow Radial Wars competitor Mark “Woody” Woodruff offered Josh his car in an attempt to collect much-needed points. Josh was second in points coming into the event, and “Woody” felt compelled to help his friend at least maintain that standing. Unfortunately for Josh, he didn’t get much seat time in the Corvette as he bowed out in round 1 to Ziff Hudson.

Mike Bowen has been racing in the NMRA for several years now, and while racing a Maverick means he sticks out in a crowd of Mustangs, he was at the front of the Factory Stock class when qualifying ended. True to its name, his Maverick has had a mind of its own, heading right at the launch. “We went back through the car, squared it up, and aligned it,” Mike says. “Doing so didn’t fix the issue, but the car seemed to pick up,” he added. Mike red-lit at the Maple Grove and Columbus races, so he was being a little cautious at the tree at the Super Bowl, which cost him in the semis against Dan Ryntz. However, he hopes to carry the performance momentum to the World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway.

Quite possibly the nicest black Fox coupe on the planet, Shane Fisher was at the Super Bowl doing battle in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw. Shane usually does really well in X275-style races so the Street Outlaw class is right in his wheelhouse. He runs out of the KBX camp, with John Kolivas handling the tune, a Bennett Racing 400-inch combination under the hood, and an M&M 2-speed 400 in the tunnel. Shane was just trying to get luck on his side at the Super Bowl, but with a Precision Turbo single 94mm, and the aforementioned components, he did very well until he couldn’t quite match the performance of Rob Goss from the NMCA.

VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw
One racer on a tear of late is Street Outlaw racer Manny Buginga. He won the Super Nationals event at National Trail Raceway, and followed that up by winning at Route 66 Raceway. Manny qualified second behind Jacky McCarty, but Jacky hurt the engine in eliminations, which took him out of contention. Manny opened up with two bye runs, and then he was able to get past Russell Stone and Charlie Cooper en route to the final round. There he would meet NMCA racer Rob Goss since the two classes were combined at this event. Rob had slayed a few Mustangs on his way to the final, but Manny stopped that with a 4.50 at 167 mph to take the win. In an interesting twist, Manny and Rob had to turn around and race again for the Super Bowl, and Manny won again to cement the NMRA’s Super Bowl victory.

Edelbrock Renegade
Make it three in a row for Renegade racer Alton Clements. He won the rain-postponed Ford Motorsport Nationals and the Super Nationals on the same weekend, and he followed that performance up with another win at Route 66 Raceway. Alton runs a Vortech V-30 94B supercharger, qualifying second with a 7.50 at 181 mph. Alton had hoped to run in the 7.40s on a regular basis, but those times didn’t come until they really counted in eliminations to take the event win over Tony Hobson in the final. In his Super Bowl match-up against NMCA Pro Stock racer Kevin Lawrence, Alton ran another 7.40 pass to get a win for the NMRA.

ProCharger Coyote Modified
Tommy Annunziata and Jimmy LaRocca are starting to get a handle on their Coyote Modified program. With their past in the Mustang game, it is not surprising the guys are now running near the top of the class. After qualifying in the top spot with a 7.81 at 174 mph, Tommy ran consistently in the 7.80-range at Route 66 to take round wins over Jeff Polivka, John Kauderer, and then Haley James-Schneider in the final, which was her third final in a row. For the Super Bowl, Tommy had to face off against NMCA Radial Wars winner Marty Stinnett in an eighth-mile format. Tommy’s Cobra Jet is set up for quarter-mile, while Marty’s car is an eighth-mile car, but Tommy was still able to get the win for the NMRA.

G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock
Quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in Coyote Stock, Charlie Booze, Jr. qualified in the top spot with a 10.21 at 128 mph. With several other racers in the class in the 10.20s and 10.30s, nothing can be left to chance, but with his racing background, Charlie is up to the task. Charlie even ran a 10.17 at 129 mph in Saturday evening’s cooler temps for his first round bye run. In Sunday’s warmer temps, he came back into the 10.20s, but he was still able to get past Tim Matherly, Clair Stewart, and then Drew Lyons in the final. Drew actually took a stab at the tree, but red-lit in the process, handing Charlie the win. In his Super Bowl match-up against NMCA Chevrolet Performance Stock winner Jessie Wilson, Charlie was able to get out front and score a win for the NMRA.

Richmond Gear Factory Stock
With the change in Factory Stock allowing slicks, along with the class-mandated drag radials, Matt Amrine decided to give Hoosier slicks a try at the Super Bowl. Matt is a regular at the top of the class, but there have been times when the traction wasn’t there when he pops the clutch in his Two-Valve Mustang GT. He hopes the slicks give him a little more consistency at the launch, and initial returns indicate the rest of the Factory Stock could be in more trouble than before. Matt took the win over Dan Ryntz in the final, and then Matt also won his Super Bowl match-up against NMCA N/A 10.5 winner Leonard Long.

Aerospace Components Open Comp
The Open Comp class could be one of the toughest NMRA classes. There are so many great racers in the class, but at Route 66 Raceway, Dennis Corn and his 1988 T-Bird came out victorious by combining lightning-quick reaction times with dead-on consistency. And not only did he win Open Comp, he also took the win in his Super Bowl match-up to give the NMRA a lead right out of the gate.

Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle
If there’s any racer able to cut a light, it’s Modular Muscle’s Susan McClenaghan. In eliminations, her reaction times included a .000 perfect light, a .016, a .005, a .029 during her semi-final bye run, and a .027 light in the final against “Silent” Lloyd Mikeska. Susan’s quick reaction lead to Lloyd pushing it at the top end, and breaking out to give Susan the win. In her Super Bowl match-up with NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock racer Doug Duell, Susan was a tad off pace, and Doug was able to score one for the bad guys.

Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning
Bob Dill’s orange Lightning certainly stands out, but at Route 66, it was the performance of his Lightning taking center stage. Bob took advantage of his opponents’ mistakes each round, along with a third round bye, to make it to the final against Vinnie Telesco. For his part, Bob had a .047 reaction time, but Vinnie’s light was, shall we say, not as good. Therefore, Vinnie was unable to stay out front of Bob, handing the big win to the bright orange Lightning. Bob, however, wasn’t able to score a win for the NMRA against NMCA Factory Super Car racer Scott Libersher’s COPO Camaro.

Roush Performance Super Stang
Super Stang is full of nice S197 and S550 Mustangs, but when the dust settled at Route 66 Raceway, Marvin Knack was the last racer standing. In a points battle with Chris Parisi, and a few others within striking distance, Marvin is looking to defend his 2016 Super Stang championship. With Chris’ early exit in round 1, Marvin getting the event win was a big one. For his Super Bowl match-up, Marvin had to race Nitrous Pro Street heavy-hitter Jeff Rudolf. Good thing for Marvin was the fact that Jeff’s Nova was hurting from doing battle in his respective class, and was unable to put up much of a fight.

Race Pages Ford Muscle
Bryan Parker came into the Super Bowl with the Ford Muscle points lead, and he extended that lead with a win at Route 66 Raceway. In the final, Bryan beat Strange Engineering’s J.C. Cascio, who was running on an 11.00 index. Bryan runs on a 12.00 index, and in the final against J.C. had a .031 light with a 12.06 to take the win. Unfortunately, in his Super Bowl match-up against NMCA perennial Nostalgia Muscle Car champ Andy Warren, Bryan was unable to score one for the NMRA.