Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
September 1, 2002

It was no surprise the Pro 5.0 ranks were a bit thin at Columbus. The race is a scant two weeks before the World Ford Challenge, it competes with the Houston FFW on the same date, and there are a few cars in development with the goal of debuting at WFC. Still, rolling into Columbus is always a joy for us, as the facility is great, there are plenty of photo-shoot locations, and the meat of the heads-up classes from Factory Stock to Outlaw are always thick with participants.

This year was no different, with 17 Outlaws, 19 Renegades, 18 Hot Streeters (who seemed to have a wheelstanding contest going on the side), and a whopping 23 Real Streeters on the property at National Trails Raceway in Hebron, Ohio, from May 3-5. It seems the classes with the most consistent rule books have flourished in the past two years, and the competition has become tighter. To crack the top five qualifiers in Outlaw required an eight-oh, the top five in Renegade meant a 9.20, the top five in Hot Street mandated a 9.50, and a 10.50 or better cracked the upper quintet in Real Street.

Of course, this isn't to say the rest of the racing wasn't as exciting as Drag Radial, Pure Street, and Factory Stock, 'cause it was. Besides the pure variety of the classes, the exciting thing about the NMRA's brand of racing is you just don't know who's gonna win. By now you probably know who won at Columbus, but for those who don't and those who want more, check the photos and captions.

Real StreetWhile we recognized there were a few new Real Street cars in the pits, imagine our elation during the first round of qualifying. The Real Street racers just kept pouring from under the tower. We actually lost count trying to get photos of them all. As it turned out, there were 23 Real Street cars at Columbus! Man, were we stoked. If the class keeps growing like this, we might just see a 32-car field at Bowling Green.

One of the great things about Real Street is it seems to bring people into racing who haven't run in a series before. With the exception of known quantities such as Joffre Lafontaine, Gabe Large, and Bruce Hemminger, many of the Real Street racers are new to the game, and it's great to see them come out and be competitive. In fact, several of the new names, including John Thomas, Steve Torkelson, and Chris Tuten, managed to come out of the woodwork and go rounds.

We hope the trend continues, as we enjoy meeting and covering all the new racers in our little class. Thanks for coming out!