Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
July 1, 2004
Contributers: Steve Turner, Michael Johnson Photos By: Steve Turner, Michael Johnson

Horse Sense:
All the NMRA classes had rules revisions during the off-season, but our beloved Real Street class had numerous changes, which were used to great advantage by Tim Matherly of MV Performance. While pushrod nitrous cars received jet limitations, all the cars were allowed to run the G-Force/Pro Motion gearset in the Tremec T5, while modular cars were allowed ported heads and a 100-pound weight break. Tim used the heads, the weight, and the T5 to make his the first modular Real Street racer in the nines. Repeatedly standing your car up on the bumper usually hurts performance, but it sure looks good for the cameras. Here, Charlie Booze leaps Auto Meter's Ron Piasecki in a single bound. Charlie not only put on his usual show, but he also tore up the Hot Street class.

Speculation is omnipresent in the world of high performance. Who's going to win the next race, who's going to build the killer combo, and who's going to be the next big thing are all on the minds of serious bench racers. It makes those who wonder about J. Lo's next ex look like gossiping amateurs. Of course, bench racing is at a fever pitch during the off-season because-well-no one is racing! Still, there are enough Internet-verified test sessions, Outlaw Real Street races, and dyno-number leaks to arm even newbies with enough ammo to give Ed Curtis a run for his message-board money.

The nice thing about the beginning of the season is that the speculation can at least be based on what actually happened at the races. Much of the off-season prognostication was centered on the modular-engined Mustangs. We've already seen them run with success in Factory Stock (Bob Cosby) and Outlaw (Randy Haywood), and with frustration in Renegade, Hot Street, and Real Street, but many wondered if this was the year the pushrod stranglehold loosened on the ranks of Factory Stock, Pure Street, and Real Street.

Well, it looks as if the trail of Internet smoke led to a healthy fire, because Bob Cosby and Tim Matherly both proved purpose-built modular racers could compete and win in Factory Stock and Real Street. The question of Pure Street remains, but there's still plenty of season left. We'd love to see modulars com-petitive in every class, because it adds a new dimension to the racing. Sure, the power-adder wars are cool, but mix that with the engine wars and the inevitable racer ego wars, and racing becomes even more interesting. By the looks of the NMRA season opener in Bradenton, Florida, an interesting season is upon us.

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