KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
October 1, 2009
Atco Raceway's legendary "hook" and subterranean air had Chris Van Gilder's '90 ragtop LX and many other NMRA Mustangs launching with their front wheels high all weekend.

Atco, New Jersey
The NMRA, its racers, and fans arrived at Atco Raceway in New Jersey for the ninth annual Nitto Tire Ford Nationals last May, determined to exorcise the oppressive-heat/rainy-weather demons that have cursed the event (traditionally held in August) in prior years.

The date change marked the return of the always-exciting, night-qualifying session on Friday, and also brought out the best in Atco's unforgiving traction and mineshaft atmosphere as Real Street, Hot Street, and EFI Renegade 'Stangs spent plenty of time on their rear bumpers, and e.t. and speed records plummeted in those classes on Sunday, just like the temperature, which never topped 65 chilly degrees.

The event kicks off what has become your tech editor's annual extended run through the East Coast (this year, behind the wheel of a '10 Ford Fusion Sport, detailed in my blog on our website). As you'll see in the following photos and captions, NMRA's decision to change the date of its Atco race proved to be a great move for racers and fans, who definitely won't miss all of the foul-weather events of the past.

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