5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Event - The Long Run
Racers and records prevail over bad weather at the All-Star Nats
Covering the dragstrip's quarter-mile distance as quickly as possible--and beating an opponent to the finish line--is a heads-up drag racer's objective every time a 'Stang enters the staging beams. Competitors in the NMRA affirm this notion time-and-time again, posting performances that sometimes seem beyond imaginable at nearly every event on the circuit.
Case in point: In Super Street Outlaw, the sanction's premier class, it was only five years ago that racers and Mustangs were getting to the other side with average e.t's of 7.70 seconds (at 180 mph). At the time, 7.70s--and Jim Blair's then-mind-bending 7.50/185 shot in the second event of the 2006 season--were considered insurmountable given the engine/power-adder combinations of the time, and, of course, the true 10x10.5-inch rear tire that gives the category its strong appeal with racers and fans alike.
Through the course of those five years, many rule changes have altered power-adder types and sizes and the minimum chassis weights that are permitted in SSO. As one would expect, racers' adaptation to the changes has brought forth performance that none of us ever thought possible on that 10-and-a-half-inch tire.
Although a wicked spring storm and lengthy track stoppages due to oil downs and crashes played havoc on the event's schedule all weekend (all elimination rounds were run on Sunday and weren't completed until 10 p.m.), race fans were treated to remarkable performances nonetheless at Commerce, Georgia's Atlanta Dragway. That's where Super Street Outlaw pilots and their NMRA/NMCA colleagues met for the third-annual Nitto Tire All-Star Nationals.
Highlighted by Chris Tuten's 7.08 and John Kolivas' 7.11 e.t.'s (with eye-popping 208-mph speed) in qualifying, The Freak Show stole the show, as three other players in the class, including multi-time champion John Urist, joined Chris and John in the race to become SSO's first driver to reach the 6-second zone.
In situations where car counts are low at ProMedia's dual-sanction events, cars in similar classes are combined and run in one eliminator. At the All-Star Nationals, short numbers warranted uniting NMRA Pro Outlaw 10.5/NMCA Super Street 10.5W, NMRA Hot Street/NMCA Pro Stock and NMRA Xtreme Drag Radial/NMCA 275 Drag Radial competitors, where (with the exception of Edgar Rice's NMCA SS 10.5W 'Stang) NMRA runners prevailed each time.
Despite the aforementioned setbacks, seeing near-6s on small tires and record performances in other categories, a robust car-show field (look for our feature story on Jim Pennington's beautiful '95 GT in an upcoming issue), and an awesome Georgia crowd throughout the weekend made the marathon '11 Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals a huge success.
Your tech editor's and ace-lensman Paul Rosner's photos of event highlights and NMRA class winners are straight ahead.