Modified Mustangs & Fords
World Ford Challenge 9 - The Silver Lining
Lost Bags And Nutty Delays Failed To Put A Kibosh On MM's First Trip To A WFC Event
Over in Street Outlaw, New Mexico's John Urist let his presence be known. The Fireball set the pace in qualifying with a blistering 7.508 to land him the top spot in qualifying. Behind him were four Fox based rides, the four-eyed piece of Don Burton, the '93 LX of Mike Trimandilis and Jarrett Halfacre in his '91 LX hatch. Don Shobe brought down his beautiful, flamed S197 based car for the proceedings and started off in 10th place, ahead of Christian Helms. NMRA regulars Sam Vincent and Phil Hines were also present, qualifying 8th and 9th respectively. On race day things took an interesting turn. Urist caught a bye early on, while Burton got around Brian Felder. By the semis we had Urist against Shobe on one side of the ladder and Don Burton against 'Kentucky' Sam on the other. John U was going all out by this time, demonstrated by his trap speeds which were close to 200 mph. Urist ran a 7.559 to put Shobe on the trailer, while Burton went tooth and nail against Vincent, finally winning out with an 8.338 against Sam's 8.613. So it was Urist against Burton for the final, old school Fox body against New Edge technology. A more interesting match up could not have been found. John was quicker off the light and blazed down the track, but it was Don Burton who got the edge in Elapsed Time, with a 7.5 even by the time the dust settled. Urist ran a 7.546, so this year, the Street Outlaw cup was Burton's a - fitting and well deserved final outcome.
There was perhaps one word to sum up the Drag Radial ranks at WFC 9 - insane! D/R pioneer Dwayne 'Big Daddy' Gutridge came ready to play with his '89 coupe. Meanwhile David Wolfe, made the trip up from Ft. Worth Texas ready to stake his claim in what is one of the most exciting classes to watch at this event. And let's talk about the speeds these guys were running - how about mid 7s for the quickest entries? Yes that's right. Every single one of the top six qualifiers posted seven second runs. Remember, these are vehicles with DOT street tires and stock style suspension which makes this aspect all the more incredible. On Sunday, we watched a battle unfold between Wolfe and Gutridge. David put down a 7.586 in the first round, 'Big Daddy' a 7.636 (at 191.19 miles per hour no less!). These guys were simply on fire and nobody else could catch up, though Jason Ardron did his best and managed to break into the 7s, but hegot taken out by Dwayne in the semis, while Wolfe caught a bye. In the final, everybody by the starting line and in the grandstands watched with baited breath as the two demons of drag radial did their thing. Gutridge cut a better light and right out of the hole it was going to be tight, but when both Fox cars flashed by the boards, it was Wolfe who won out, getting to the line first with a 7.408, Gutridge bagging a 7.616. Excellent racing.
In the Real Street ranks we had six drivers qualify, including some very familiar faces, Brian Meyer, Tim Matherly, 'Uncle' Robin Lawrence and Craig Baldwin. 'Uncle' Robin was unfortunately put back on the trailer when Matherly got past him in round one, while over on the other side, Meyer and Baldwin both muscled past their competitors in the first round to face each other in the semis, while Matherly got through on a bye. Meyer was out of action when Baldwin ran a 9.677 to his 9.864, so that left Tim waiting in the wings. However, it was quickly over in the final when Matherly fouled at the tree, a real shame because he ran a stellar 9.759. Baldwin, after punching off two consecutive 9.677 second passes in rounds one and two, could only muster a 11.63 for the final, but still, he made it to the end and was declared class champion.
Open Comp saw no fewer than 29 drivers make the call for Eliminations and we had a whole selection of different rides, from classic '60s Mustangs to late model ponies and even Fairmonts and Rangers. Steve Gasich was the number 1 qualifier, but the guys to watch on race day were Larry Cleek, behind the wheel of his '70 Mach 1, and Robert Hindman, piloting his brightly colored '87 Mustang GT hatchback. With Cleek having seen off Keith Jarkson in the semis, and Hindman taking care of David Lanman, the two finalists got ready for their shot at the WFC O/C championship. As many know, Hindman is a master when it comes to consistency and keeping close to his index - he cut a .064 at the tree and ran on to a 11.111, (his dial-in being a 11.09). Cleek broke out, so Open Comp honors this time around went to the Tennessee native and his KSS sponsored GT hatch.