Michael Johnson Associate Editor
March 9, 2007
Photos By: Paul Rosner
One of our favorite NMRA racers is Deer Park, New York's Sal Arena. He's dabbled in Hot Street and Drag Radial with a Fox Mustang, but now he's giving EFI Renegade a shot in this '94 Cobra. The enthusiastic one uses Windsor power on the juice under the hood. So far, Sal was stuck in the 8.90s. As you know, the top EFI Renegade racers are in the 8.50-8.60 range, so he has yet to do any real damage. He was able to make it past Brent Weston in round one, but Bob Cook ended Sal's weekend in round two.

Only three weeks prior to the NMRA's stop at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, the NMRA Atco, New Jersey, race featured chamber of commerce weather. Atco was blessed with blue skies, mild temps, and refreshing sunshine. We had hoped for the same in Columbus, but Midwest weather can be unpredictable at best. We arrived in Columbus only to be greeted by sprinkles, with Thursday and Friday sessions being cancelled due to the weather. Saturday was more of the same until around noon. The sun finally made an appearance, and all was right for drag racing.

Squeezing in qualifying after noon meant many racers were at the track fairly late. The big news during qualifying was Amy Sherwin's wreck in the last round. Sherwin's Pure Street car snapped a crankshaft at the top end, sending fluid under the wheels and the car into the wall, while moving at around 120 mph. She was fine, but the car sustained major damage. For the rest of the story, see the captions.

Horse Sense: Jeg's High Performance, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, was formed by Jeg Coughlin Sr. in 1960. What was once a small speed shop now encompasses a 250,000 square-foot high-performance warehouse. Jeg's boasts three Columbus-area retail stores, coming in handy for NMRA racers needing parts.

Donnie "Burndown" Burton debuted a Gene Fulton big-block on the spray in Bradenton, Florida with the slogan "Game On" written on the engine cover. That's some big talk, but he has backed it up on the track all year, so we can't argue. At Columbus, Super Street Outlaw qualifying was tighter than 5.0&SF's travel budget, and every hundredth counted. Billy Laskowsky cashed in a 7.52/187 mph hit in round one. Then in round two, John "Fireball" Urist went all in with a 7.51/181 mph pass. However, Donnie was straight-up money with a 7.50/187 mph shot to take the UPR Products top qualifier check. He must've been counting paystacks in round one, because his 0.826 reaction time allowed eventual winner AJ Powell get out front and win the round.

Both Bruce Hemminger and Mark Magnuson told us about Johnny Mize's Pure Street racer, a low-mile black-on-black Fox coupe. Once we were able to make our way to Johnny's pit, we were greeted by a pristine example of one of the most desirable Mustang body styles and colors wrapped up in one car. We think every late-model Mustang fan has wanted a black-on-black coupe at some point in his or her life, and Johnny is out racing its wheels off in NMRA action.

Michael Tymensky debuted the Modular Performance Pure Street entry at Columbus, but with zero testing, the team knew the weekend would be a struggle at best. Michael and his dad John have had this car for a few years now, running in a couple different classes, but they were ready to give Pure Street a try. Coming in to the event, the car was already plagued with an intermittent ignition problem. During one test and tune pass the issue disappeared, but the power chewed up a Third/Fourth gear selector plate. Bob Hanlon had a spare selector plate, and Precision Autosports' Jeff Wrightman helped swap it. A soft 11.44/121 mph qualifying pass left Michael in the 13th spot, but in round one against eventual runner-up Victor Downs, the ignition problem reoccurred at launch, bringing the car down hard. Michael stayed in it, again breaking the Third/Fourth gear selector plate in the process.

Michael Washington was having issues with his JPC-sponsored Factory Stock ride. At any time, the car would inexplicably be a second off. A few passes on DiabloSport's portable Dynojet confirmed the intermittent power loss, turning out to be a computer issue. Michael and the JPC crew got it figured out during eliminations on Sunday, and it didn't hurt that he had a few easy runs in the first couple rounds. However, fellow JPC Racing mate Eric Holliday showed Michael the door in the semis.