Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
December 1, 2009
Photos By: Paul Rosner

Maybe you've seen the zMAX Dragway on television on shows like Pinks, last year's NHRA Nationals, or just read about it in the news. If you're not familiar with the new facility, it's the brainchild of Lowe's Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith (who also owns several other top-tier racing facilities).

Imagine an all-concrete racing surface-not just the starting line or the first 300 feet, but the whole 1,320 (or 1,345 in the case of the zMAX facility). Now imagine not one, but two Christmas trees. Why two trees you ask? Well, that's because there are four lanes of side-by-side drag racing at zMAX.

These points add up to the only facility of its kind in the U.S., most likely the world. Sure there was four-wide racing back in the '60s, but not on a dedicated four-lane strip. Technicalities aside, the new zMAX facility-built alongside Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina-will certainly be the talk of the drag racing community for many years.

The NMRA and NMCA once again combined efforts to announce the inaugural Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, presented by Keystone Automotive, at this new facility. Similar to the annual Super Bowl event in Joliet, Illinois, these two sanctioning bodies are combining activities to expand the racing and show action for participants and spectators alike.

Not only were NMRA and NMCA racers battling it out on the property, but our sister magazine Hot Rod held its Hot Rod Magazine Drags at this event, pitting late-model Mustang performance against late-model GM and Mopar products. And the Charlotte event was also one of the venues where the NMRA runs its True Street class, which is a great way for beginning drag racers to get a feel for the action with their own street cars.

Of course, it goes without saying (but we'll mention it anyway) that at a combined event like this, the manufacturer's midway, swap-meet areas, and car shows are positively huge and worth the price of entry alone!

Check out what you missed with Paul Rosner's great photos, and be sure to look for more great NMRA action in 2010.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Modified Mustangs & Fords Editor's Choice
Rex Honeycutt's '70 Torino GT
For every car enthusiast you talk to, just about every one will have a story about the one that got away. It's a big factor in why our hobby continues to boom. People want that old car they used to own, or they want to buy a new Mustang because it reminds them of a car they used to have, and so forth.

Many of these stories are about a first car and the loss of it by sale, accident, theft, or whatever. But Rex Honeycutt of Concord, North Carolina, has a happy ending to his first car story-you're looking at it. Yup, Rex bought this '70 Torino GT in 1975 as his first car and he's driven it everywhere since.

Like most things that are used, the Torino saw some wear, and Rex finally decided to give his beloved Torino a new lease on life. That's when Custom Classics in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, stepped in and brought the body back to pristine condition, and then laid down a fresh coat of Medium Ivy Green Metallic (a popular color then). The Ram Air 429CJ was freshened and a set of headers added. The Top Loader four-speed got a new McLeod clutch, and the 9-inch rear was stuffed with 4.11 gears. Other than a few driveline tweaks, Rex kept the suspension, brakes, and so on all stock.

Inside, the Torino sports the standard GT buckets and con-sole with a Hurst shifter, but Rex added a shift light to the column for when the urge to hit the strip becomes too much for him.

Besides our Editor's Choice honor being bestowed upon Rex's way-clean Torino GT, he scored a Second Place award for Best Full Size Ford '49-Up and a First Place award for Best Mid Size Ford.