Paul Rosner
April 1, 2013

Put away that winter gear, dig out your T-shirt with the catchy racing slogan, and prepare for the 15th NMRA Anniversary Tour! Get out to the racetrack this season and you'll behold the most magnificent array of Ford hot rods in the country, on-track and in the UPR Products All-Ford Auto Show & Shine.

Four of this season's events will cater exclusively to Blue Oval contestants, while an additional pair of venues feature the NMRA and NMCA running concurrently. At the July Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, the two programs will run their programs separately. Then the champions will clash at the end for bragging rights and Nitto Tire Diamond Tree rings.

In addition to a freshened group of heads-up and open-comp classes, there's also a new venue on the roster. Of the four pure NMRA events, one stands out as it marks the first visit to America's Racetrack—Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. So new Ford racing history will go down there this season.

In addition to the traditional classes, sideshows will include burnout contests, 300-plus-mph jet cars, and other exhibitionist fun. Specialty classes will punctuate the season with exciting highlights. Factory Cobra Jet drag cars will push the 7-second envelope, while Terminators and GT500s will battle for SVT supremacy, and our own King of the Street will end the season in high-powered style. The NMRA has a few other surprises up its sleeve, so stay tuned as the season thunders on.

As the races pass by, competitors will jockey for position in the season-long points chase. All hope to wear the sparkling Diamond Tree ring that adorns a champion's hand, but only one in each class earns that honor. Even those that miss the top have a motivation, as season survivors ranked in the Top 10 will earn a jacket at the 2013 NMRA Awards Ceremony at the Performance Racing Industry trade show this December in Indianapolis, Indiana.

To give you an idea of what they are up against and who might be there in the end, we've put together this preview.

Horse Sense: Beyond its standard classes, the NMRA will continue with specialty classes at certain venues. For example, the Bradenton season opener will feature a Ford Racing Cobra Jet class. The SVT 20th Anniversary Shootout at Maryland International Raceway will feature several SVT-centric categories, including the Terminator vs. GT500 Shootout, sponsored by VMP Superchargers.

Street Outlaw
There is something about drag-radial racing that captivates racers across the nation. With the tire as the weak link, horsepower and cash do not guarantee you a trip to the winner's circle. It's as fair a fight as you can get on the quarter-mile, but what if racers could run slicks or radials? Which combo would prevail?

In celebration of 15 years of the wildest and most unpredictable street-car-style drag racing, the NMRA will fuse the 10.5-Inch-Tire Super Street Outlaw Freak show with the outrageously popular Extreme Drag Radial classes. It will be a winner-takes-all brawl for the ages.

Combatants will choose either a 28x10.5-inch slick or 275/60-15 drag radial, while the engine and power-adder combos are virtually unlimited, and any rear suspension is permissible as long as the stock frame is retained. All boosted applications must use small-block power, while nitrous-oxide combos can choose small- or big-block combos. Turbocharged setups are limited to one 94mm unit.

With the right conditions, we may see 6s at over 200 mph in this wild new class!

It will be standing room only, ‘cause no wheelie bars are allowed in Renegade. At this power level, at least one or two players usually ends up dragging the bumper cover on the way to an 8-second pass.

Historically Renegade was reserved for non-intercooled, fuel-injected, automatic-transmission rides. Last season, the NMRA allowed manual transmissions and carburetors for giggle-gas combos. In 2013, the sanction takes things one step further by allowing intercooling for the first time in 15 years. However, if racers opt to cool the boost, they must carry an additional 200 pounds of baggage in trade.

The changes in rules should bring new faces and new cars out of the shadows to hunt down the recurring champ, who has more championship rings than fingers!

2012 Class Record
E.T.: Brian Mitchell, 8.26 seconds
MPH: Brian Mitchell, 168.56 mph

2012 Winner: Brian Mitchell
2012 R/U: Alton Clements