Patrick Hill Associate Editor
March 1, 2009
Contributers: Steve Turner, Michael Johnson, KJ Jones Photos By: Paul Rosner, The 5.0&SF Staff
Congratulations to Bruce Hemminger. After five years of trying, he finally gets to wear the Nitto Diamond Tree ring and number-one jacket as '08 champion of our own Real Street class!

CLICK HERE FOR THE NMRA BOWLING GREEN 2008 PHOTO GALLERY

Horse Sense: In a nutshell, we think the annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals is best described as the complete and total takeover of Bowling Green, Kentucky, by Mustang racers and enthusiasts from all walks of life. If you haven't been part of this happening yet, we strongly suggest you make plans to be there in 2009.

At the risk of sounding like we're discrediting all of the preceding races in 2008 (and believe us, we're not), the 10th Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals, held at Beech Bend Raceway, was by-far the most exciting event of the year and arguably the best season-ender we've witnessed in a long time.

A record eight class championships were still undecided going into the World Finals--in many cases, only a few points separated points leaders and their closet challengers--and several racers proceeded to rewrite the record books with unfathomable e.t.'s or speeds (Conrad Scarry, Pro Outlaw 10.5, 217.28 mph; John Urist, Super Street Outlaw, 7.356 seconds; Ryan Hecox, Tremec Pure Street, 10.182 at 131.84 mph; Tommy Godfrey, ACT Factory Stock, 11.072 seconds) and critical round wins--in some cases, in nail-biting fashion. They thrashed through engine, transmission, and other broken-parts swaps (Tim Matherly swapped a wounded Two-Valve for a fresh modular bullet between the fenders of his Real Street 'Stang and was ready to race in a mind-bending 62 minutes) in their effort to earn number one status in their respective classes.

The way we see it, the Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals isn't just a drag race; it's an experience (at the racer level) full of energy, pressure, emotion, and competitive spirit that seems to take the phrase "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" to the next level during each round of eliminations.

The Finals experience also includes the colors and bling of beautiful Ponies on display in the car show, an enormous swap meet and vendor midway, and, of course, our own extremely popular King of the Street competition, which showcases the performance and appearance qualities of some of the hottest, street-driven Mustangs in the country. (Associate Editor Mike Johnson will unveil the '08 King of the Street event in the May issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords.)

We were there to take it all in. Check out the following photos and captions to see how it all went down.

Bowling Green's official Ms. NMRA was back again this season, and Web Producer Patrick Hill's camera aim kept drifting toward her. We're guessing his wasn't the only one.

Tech Editor KJ Jones met the Harris family (dad, Trenton; mom, Sherry; sons, Walter, Tony, and Todd) while perusing the wares of manufacturers and vendors in the midway area at the NMRA World Finals. Trenton is working on a four-eyed Fox body of his own and tells us our T-top coupe inspired him to start his project (a street/strip big-block 'Stang), which he hopes will be completed by the time the NMRA Express rolls into Bowling Green in 2009.

Scott Lovell has spent the '08 season at the wheel of Bob Cook's Fox GT while Bob's been racing the Sutton Performance S197 car. (Bob won the EFI Renegade championship, by the way.) The Swill Crew has been going rounds, but at Bowling Green the wheels just about fell off their program during Friday's test and tune session when water got under the tires, causing Scott to lose control of the car and kiss the wall. Scott was dejected, thinking his weekend was over. However, the rest of the Swill Racing crew had other ideas. The guys had the Sticker Dude-wrapped car back as straight as possible using a mini-sledgehammer, a golf cart, and a tow strap. John Urist welded the leaky radiator; UPR Products hooked the guys up with new lights and an alternator pulley; and the Sutton Performance guys donated a couple front tires to replace the flat-spotted donuts up front, as well as some scrumptious steaks for dinner. "We got knocked out in the second round," Scott says, "but the weekend will go down in my memories as one of the best ever in my time here with the NMRA."