Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
January 1, 2009
Photos By: Paul Rosner, Michael "The Weatherman" Johnson

After the engine damage at Joliet, then the Atco rainout, Ryan Hecox was ready to attend a race to do exactly that-race. Columbus presented him with that opportunity. When he wasn't busy trying to see our notes about Brandon Alsept, Ryan concentrated on keeping his car cool and hitting shift points. Ryan's done a lot of testing this year, and it's paying off with more consistency and quicker times. In addition to building the car's engine, Rich Groh is also helping out with the car's overall setup these days, which is paying dividends as well. Ryan was comfortably out front after qualifying was over, and he continued that trend in eliminations on the way to winning the event, extending his Pure Street lead even further.

Pure Street racer Mark Anderson was struggling with his confidence at Columbus. He and the Anderson Ford Motorsport crew were measuring the time it took for Mark to shift gears, and found his times to be longer than his dad, Ron's. However, the car uses a Hurst T-handle knob, and he doesn't like that set-up, but he couldn't do anything about that arrangement at Columbus. He wanted to add a pistol-grip setup but couldn't find a suitable replacement at the event. No matter: Mark's times kept getting quicker during the event. So much so that he was able to make it to the final against Ryan Hecox, but his shift times will need to get quicker to get past Ryan.

Tommy Godfrey looked to redeem his Joliet performance at Atco, but when that event was cancelled due to weather, he missed the chance. Thankfully, Columbus presented him with another chance to do exactly that. Just like Ryan Hecox in Pure Street, Tommy had a cushion at the end of the qualifying, but with Tommy's luck at the Tree, that's a good thing. Running solid 11.20s, Tommy had a relatively easy time of it during eliminations on the way to victory.

The Factory Stock class is one that mixes pushrod combinations with those from the modular crowd. Matt Amrine is one of the modular guys, with a BES Racing Two-Valve under the hood. Matt won Joliet, but for Columbus, he tried ported heads, meaning he had to carry another 225 pounds on his car. Matt was able to dyno the car at Cincy Speed and get it scaled at Rigid Race Cars, but with the class-mandated drag radials, traction is the limiting factory with these cars. Matt's performance was able to carry him through eliminations, but Tommy Godfrey turned the tables on him, exacting revenge for Joliet.

If any other Motycka family members decide to start racing, there won't be anyone left in their Lawton, Michigan, hometown on race weekends. Tom Motycka kept the family name in the winner's circle at Columbus with his Modular Muscle win. Tom qualified number two behind Susan McClenaghan, but he took it to the house on Sunday for the win.

We also had an ultra-clean square-light Fox racing in Open Comp with Johnny Wellen bringing out his '79 hatch bathed in black. Johnny's hatch runs bottom 11s with a little 306, and he does the work at the Tree to get to the next round. At Columbus, he used that talent to take the win.

Paul Gamino was busy at Columbus. Not only was he racing this Saleen truck in the Truck and Lightning class, he was also racing a Saleen Silver Anniversary Mustang out of the JDM Engineering stable in Super Stang. Although he was unable to hit pay dirt with the 'Stang, he won the money in the Truck and Lightning class in a breakout fest at Columbus.