Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
September 1, 2003
Photos By: Dale Amy

Each consecutive NMRA trip to National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, raises the performance bar in just about every heads-up class. It was no different at the '03 version of the All-Star Ford Nationals. With the cool, power-making Ohio air and the sticky National Trail starting line, records are always in jeopardy come the first weekend of May. The bad thing this year was that it rained on Saturday and no one was able to have a third qualifying shot in that cool air. Sunday lived up to its name with sunny skies and warmer temps, but it wasn't too warm to keep most from backing up Saturday's performances.

This was evidenced by Donna Sydor, who obviously dusted the bugs out of her car with consistent 9.0s. Yes, you read that right-9.0s. Usually relegated to the back of the EFI Renegade pack, Donna took the boys out behind the woodshed for an old-fashioned beating. Renegade was straight-up off the chain, with Kurt Gallant running the first 8-second pass, Mike Post lifting the back wheels off the pavement on a bumper dragger, and Dan Jaynes stepping up his program in a big way. Columbus continued the trend in EFI Renegade, proving it truly is anyone's race to win.

Doug Mangrum definitely raised eyebrows with his 6.68 at 210 mph, even though he wasted it with a 0.399 light-just a thousandth from a perfect light and possibly his second Pro 5.0 victory in a row.

Hot Street guys were flyin' at Columbus as well. Shane Long pointed the way with his 9.20 in qualifying, but the top five qualifiers were in the 9.20s. Shane backed it up on Sunday with a 9.18 at 149 mph on his way to victory. But the Hot Streeter who really got our attention was Nick Bacalis and his '66 Mustang. Usually first-round fodder for other Hot Streeters, Nick's ride busted out a 9.29 in qualifying, and just to prove that run wasn't a fluke, he backed it up with a 9.28 at 143 mph in the first round.

While we could go on and on about individual performances, check out the captions for the complete story.