5.0 Mustang & Super FordsEvents
2006 NMRA Ford Nationals in Reynolds, Georgia - Southern Bookin'
The second stop on the '06 NMRA tour brought the heat--and the speed
Horse Sense: We know women often possessquicker reaction times when compared with their knuckle-dragging earthmates, and the Modular Muscle class at Reynolds proved it. With 24competitors, three of them from the fairer sex, Carole Parker was themost tardy of the women to get out of the gate during qualifying, andeven that was a stellar 0.510 light, which left her in the seventhqualified spot. Roxanne Shepard qualified in the top spot with a perfect0.500 light, and Cindy Blando was right on her heels with her own 0.501reaction time.
The first two events of the NMRA race season are within driving distancefrom our Tampa offices. The season opener at Bradenton Motorsports Parkis a mere 45 minutes away, while the second stop on the tour at SilverDollar Raceway in Reynolds, Georgia, isn't quite as close. But we madethe trip at the wheel our personal Mustang or some sort of projectvehicle. Unfortunately, late March is when all the snowbirds/bluehairs/Yankees head back up north. For that reason, a trip that shouldtake five-six hours turns into an all-day lesson in highway patience.
Adding to that, we were towing the Old World Industries' Project Fire &Ice to Reynolds to display in our subscription booth, and that didn'tstart out too well, either. Not even five minutes from the office, wehung a trailer wheel off the road and blew a tire. We went back to theshop to put on the spare, and we're back on the road in 15 minutes. Buthalfway up Interstate 75 we realized that, in our haste to get on theroad, the locking lug-nut key was rolling around in the parking lot backat the office. If we were to blow another tire we'd have been in serioustrouble. [A typical Johnson tale of travel.--Ed.]
Scheduled to stay with the JPC Racing crew in Fort Valley, Georgia, justminutes from Silver Dollar Raceway, we pull up only to find out ourreservations are like Technical Editor KJ Jones' hair stylingtips--nonexistent. Oh yeah, did we mention we had a flat on the trailer?So, for those scoring at home, it was 12 a.m., we had no accommodations,and all the hotels within a 25-mile radius were booked solid. We alsohad a flat tire on a trailer carrying a high-dollar project car. As ifmissing deadlines didn't have yours truly in Primedia's chopping-blockline [Steve, I wouldn't say I was missing them], this scenario didn'tlook good. The flat on the trailer was one of the front ones, however,and all would be well without a car on the trailer, so we unloaded itand went to the track the next morning. Thankfully, one of JPC's boyswho we'll call Gary the Cable Guy fixed the tire with it on the trailerand we made it all the way home.
Remember that locking lug-nut key? A fellow employee found it rollingaround in the parking lot. In the middle of all this, there was theaction-packed Denso Iridium Spark Plugs-presented 6th Annual BassaniXhaust NMRA Ford Nationals to cover, and it provided the much-neededtherapy. You should try it sometime--here's why.
Every racer wants to go faster, whether it's in his/her class of choiceor stepping up to a faster one. In the recent past, Rich Groh has beenracing Pure Street, and he got his start in Factory Stock with the NMRA,having tremendous success along the way. But in 2006, he's stepped up tothe EFI Renegade class with a nitrous combination. Rich builds his ownengines through Rich Groh Racing Engines, which carries a "We build 'embig" tag line. For 2006, big is a 347 stroker using a Dart block, anEdelbrock Super Victor intake and 75mm throttle body, and Trick FlowTwisted Wedge heads, which are his babies. Rich has committed massiveresearch-and-development time to the combo, and he's gotten good testtime so far in the eighth. But there's nothing to report on quarter-miletimes because Northern tracks are still a little slick on the top ends.Rich uses an NOS Pro Fogger system on the car, a Dynamic C4, Pat'sConverters reworked TCI converters--depending on what day it is. Richsays the cam he's been using is from the Pure Street combination, but acustom cam should be in the car for Maple Grove. So far, he's run in the5.50s in the eighth, which converts to the 8.60 range in thequarter-mile. "Just gotta get all the buttons and switches workingtogether," Rich says.
When you go up against the best in any sport, you have two choices ofwhat to do. You could curl up in a fetal position and call your mommy topick you up from school, or you can be like NMRA superstar Ed 'Fluffy'Imhoff and take the bull by the horns and fight your way through. Fluffyhad the unenviable task of facing defending Super Street Outlaw championManny Buginga in round two. Fluffy matched Manny right out of the gate,and even though Manny was in trouble, he was the defending champ and wasexpected to take the win. But Fluffy had just enough to take the roundwith a 7.94 at 177 mph to Manny's 7.95 at 190 mph. Unfortunately, thingsdidn't get any easier for Fluffy in the semis, as Kentucky Sam Vincentfed him a dose of racing reality to end the celebration.