Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
All Ford Mustang - Garden State Gathering
The Keystone NMRA Hitters Rip It Up At Atco Raceway.
New Jersey is known for many things-juicy Jersey tomatoes, jug-handle U-turns, the Bada-Bing club, and the illustrious home of MM&FF Command Central. So when the Keystone NMRA Ford Nationals rolled into southern New Jersey's Atco Raceway, we cruised the 80 miles on the New Jersey Turnpike in full force. Atco sits just a few feet above sea level, and thanks to track owner Joe Sway and his staff, the surface is always sticky and ready for fast Stangs.
Needless to say, the Atco event was full of fast Fords, especially the shootout classes, with True Street boasting a huge field of Northeast muscle. Meanwhile, the car show had its own area on the left side of the track and was nearly at capacity.
The DiabloSport Pro 5.0 final saw the Cougar of Tony Bischoff square off against the Probe of Mike Balvsir. Balvsir forgot to set his wake-up call on the starting line and was almost two seconds behind Bischoff when the light turned green. This handed the easy win to Bischoff, who ripped off a 6.76 at 208 mph.
MSD Ignition Super Street Outlaw saw the nitrous-snorting Mustang of Don Burton line up against the turbocharged Cobra of Yanni Papakosmas, who was psychic on the starting line, recording a 0.007 reaction time. It was all for naught, though, as Burton drove past Papakosmas for the win with a 7.68 to 7.89 count.
The ProCharger EFI Renegade trophy dash pitted the S197s of Tony Orts and Aaron Stapleton against one another. Orts, looking for his first-ever NMRA win, used an 8.76 to down Stapleton's 8.82 for the victory after both drivers hit a pair of stellar reaction times.
Edelbrock Hot Street can be considered the NHRA Pro Stock of the NMRA, as every car that qualified for the field in Atco had a chance at winning the event. After running into some problems early on in the season, Charlie Booze Jr. has seemed to hit his stride as he picked up his second-straight win with a final-round victory over Justin Curry. While both drivers ran an 8.86 in the final, it was over at the start as Curry turned on the foul light.
The BFGoodrich Drag Radial final showcased the Mustangs of John Kolivas and Chris Tuten. Tuten scored a slight holeshot, but after that, it was all Kolivas, as his white Pony lit up the scoreboards with an 8.22 for the win.
The Real Street field was whittled down to Bruce Hemminger and Tim Matherly. Matherly left first, but at the stripe it was all Hemminger, whose 9.84 downed the 9.90-second effort of Matherly.
In TTC Tremec Pure Street, Victor Downs' Cobra lined up against Jimmy Wilson's Fox-body. Only one-thousandth of a second separated the two in reaction time, and the race was just as close at the finish line as Downs' 10.42 was a smidgen better than Wilson's 10.45.
Jeffrey Schmell and Steve Gifford duked it out for the K&N Factory Stock title. Schmell took the win from wire to wire, leaving the starting line first and motoring to an 11.42-second lap, which was three-hundredths of a second better than Gifford's 11.45.
Rick Doern and Susan McClenaghan squared off for the Roush Mod Muscle cash, which turned out to be a double-breakout affair. Doern got the nod, as his holeshot aided 13.74 (13.76 index) was less of an infraction than McClenaghan's 10.61 (10.65 index).
The Crane Cams Open Comp trophy dash saw a pair of veterans facing each other. Don Bowles staged against Larry Geddes, and when all was said and done, it was the yellow Roush Mustang of Bowles that was left standing, as his dead-on 9.01-second pass (9.01 index) forced Geddes to run under his 9.95-second index with a 9.89. Bowles' machine ran like a Swiss watch all weekend. That's a compliment to Ford Motor Company as his Stang is powered by a naturally aspirated experimental V-8 engine.