Michael Johnson Associate Editor
February 17, 2008
Contributers: Paul Rosner Photos By: Paul Rosner

Pro 5.0 - While many racers struggled in qualifying, Pro 5.0's Tony Bischoff had no such issues. His nitrous-fed big-block Cougar lit up the scoreboards with a 6.60 at 209 mph in round two of qualifying, standing up as the top qualifying time in Pro 5.0. With three cars in Pro 5.0 at Columbus, Tony had a bye run to the final, where he met the lone Mustang in Pro 5.0 of Michael Hauf. Though Michael was able to get a fingertip lead at the start, Tony stepped it up on the top end with a 6.63 at 213 mph to Michael's 6.69 at 209 mph.

Pro 5.0 - Michael Hauf and Tony Bischoff were battling for every point at Columbus, as they were separated by just a few points at the top of the class. When the sun set on the Columbus race, Michael lost some ground to Tony when the BES Racing Cougar won the event over Michael's 816ci big-block '04-bodied Mustang. Though Michael did everything he could to get the win, including a stellar reaction time, he couldn't stay out front to take the win and earn valuable points.

Super Street Outlaw - Score one for the Fox Bodies. Jarrett Halfacre's Fox GT Super Street Outlaw ride still wore the pancake'd passenger side as a result of a brush with the Route 66 Raceway wall. For his next trick at Columbus, he put the car in the sand trap at the top end of the track after his round-three qualifying effort with a 7.447 at 195 mph. That third round of qualifying was epic with Don "Burndown" Burton juicin' out a 7.47, and John "The Fireball" Urist following up Jarrett and Don with a 7.48. Jarrett ran his slowest pass, a 7.60 at 194 mph against Manny Buginga's 7.65 in round two. In the semis, it seemed the NMRA had the rules pretty much right with a turbo car (Jarrett), a nitrous car (Don), and a supercharged car (John) still in battle. Jarrett had the bye, and John was able to take out Don. We'd still be sitting there if Jarrett and Don were racing in the final, but instead Jarrett won the race with a 7.57 to John's 7.65.

Super Street Outlaw - We can remember the days when John "The Fireball" Urist packed a group of friends into an old Winnebago for a trip to Bradenton to race. Now a veteran of this game, he celebrated his 30th birthday the weekend of the Columbus NMRA race. John and crew members Nate Phillips and Mike Rousch had a relatively easy time compared to other races in 2007. During long breaks in the action, naps outside John's 18-wheeler were commonplace. The big topic, especially in Super Street Outlaw, was lane choice. For the final, Jarrett Halfacre had lane choice with his quicker run between himself and John. The Fireball did his best with a 0.447 reaction time, but Jarrett was right there with his own 0.452 light. At the stripe, John was a tick off with a 7.65 to Jarrett's 7.57.

Drag Radial - What a weekend for the drag radial guys. They could barely get down the track-even class stud John Kolivas had issues making a clean pass. Chris Tuten also had his own snags. With John and Chris having problems, NMRA Drag Radial upstart Kevin Fiscus firmly cemented his place in the upper echelon of the class, but not before having his own troubles even before making it to National Trail Raceway. After he went through the traps at 170 mph during his first-round qualifying hit, the chutes didn't open, causing Kevin to hammer a leg-full of brakes resulting in a lock-up and sending the car into a spin. "The car ended up facing the wrong direction, but it didn't hit anything," Kevin says. The only damage was flat-spotting the new tires. "It's a good thing Jeg's was open until 9 on Friday night, and just 30 minutes from the track so we were able to get a new set of tires," Kevin adds. With the new tires, he qualified number one with his second-round attempt only to go even quicker for round three to hold on to the top spot. During routine maintenance after qualifying, Kevin and the crew found metal shavings in the transmission oil pan so the tranny came out for a closer look to make sure it was good for Sunday's eliminations. During eliminations, the transmission and the rest of the car worked great, and Kevin won his first event in his rookie season.

Drag Radial - Listening to drag radial racers and peeking at the NMRA boards, you'd think those guys were dancing arm in arm down the street after the Columbus race. However, John Kolivas and Chris Tuten are in a dogfight for the championship. John and his crew struggled, as did the rest of the class, to make a clean pass. Good for John, Chris had his own struggles to deal with, but they had nothing to do with track conditions. Most drag radial racers were taking out power down low, then trying to find the sweet spot to bring it back in. It was strange not to see the customary 8.0s, but it was what it was. Perennial favorite John was stuck in the 8.30s, qualifying second to Kevin Fiscus. John was able to get out an 8.28 against Bob Kurgan and his rebuilt ride, but then he barely got past Chris thanks to a holeshot. In the final, John didn't get a good start, giving Kevin an advantage he wouldn't concede.

EFI Renegade - Brian Mitchell had a strange noise coming from his engine at Columbus, but it was thought to be from the accessory drive system. In his cool, calm, and collected demeanor, he dismissed the issue and declared the thing might scatter itself on the next pass. No such luck for the other EFI Renegade racers, because he figured out the problem before eliminations and continued his run for the championship. Against the other Brian in EFI Renegade, Brian Tuten, he could've been squeezed out of competition, but the other Brian redlighted, as did Bart Tobener in the semis, allowing him a trip to the final against George Seeger. George didn't get a good start against Brian in the final, handing him the victory.