Michael Johnson Associate Editor
October 1, 2006
Photos By: Paul Rosner

Horse Sense: In the Real Street final,Robin Lawrence double-bulbed Tim Matherly by accident. "Double-bulbed" means that a racer turns on both the Pre-Stage and Staged lights beforethe other racer has turned on the Pre-Staged lights. Under courtesystaging rules, the first racer into the Pre-Stage lights with his or herfront tires is supposed to wait until the other racer Pre-Stages the carbefore Staging. At many tracks, such as Bradenton Motorsports Park,courtesy staging is enforced, but at Maple Grove it wasn't and the racewas run without backing the discourteous racers out of the lights.

We're guaranteed two things when the NMRA Motorsport Nationals come toMaple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania. First, the car show isgoing to be off the chain. Second, the weather is anyone's guess. Justcheck weather.com to get an overview of what may be possible, but don'tput any weight to the forecast because when it comes to Maple Grove,it's beyond random. It will either be blistering hot or the sun will behiding behind thick clouds dropping copious rain into the region, whichtends to hurt 60-foot times.

If we're bringing you this story with photos, you know it was blisteringhot. With temps in the mid-90s and track temps above 120 degrees, thechallenge for racers was to keep themselves and their Mustangs cool andmaster a blistering hot track, which made starting-line traction lessthan ideal. Still, the NMRA racers made it worth a weekend of deodorantdurability testing to bring you the action.

We think this is the nicest we've ever seen Chris Little's Drag Radialcoupe, but seeing it wasn't the only surprise. Gone is the nitrous, andin its place an Innovative 88mm single turbo for NMRA competition. MapleGrove was the car's first race back, and Chris had a Bennett Racing8.7-deck, 302-based 358 under the hood and a Woolford Brothers ChassisShop 25.5C cage and suspension setup. As usual, Chris utilizes aPerformance Automatic Powerglide with a TCT converter and a FASTengine-management system. Pete Weaver is responsible for the car'srejuvenated appearance, and that's a Sanja bumper cover up front. Chrisqualified in the 12th spot with an 8.60, but at a blistering 174 mph,which spoke volumes of the onboard power. In round one, however, MauroVitale ended Chris weekend with an 8.33 to an 8.68.

Joe Morgan's drinking team has a racing problem, and they hope to causetheir fellow Pro 5.0 racers more problems with a 638ci big-block underthe hood, remaining under the nitrous assistance of Edelbrock's SteveJohnson. Even though this car appears to be Joe's usual Pro 5.0 mountwith a new rear wing, its chassis was purchased from Mike Herring justbefore the Maple Grove race, and it appears to be paying big dividends.Speaking of which, Joe qualified sixth in Pro 5.0 with a 6.96 at 199mph, but he didn't quite have enough to make it past Michael Hauf inround one.

Alex Vrettos has been around the Drag Radial ranks for a few years now,but this '95 Cobra is a relatively new car for him and follows in thefootsteps of his former brightly colored rides. Alex was having a goodweekend until his turbocharger let loose at the top end duringeliminations, sending turbo parts and smoke everywhere. Parts of theturbo even went through the windshield. Prior to that, Alex made runs inthe 8.40s in Maple Grove's heat, so he'll surely be another Drag Radialracer to deal with in one of the NMRA's toughest classes.