Michael Galimi
July 1, 2008
Photos By: Steve Baur

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Hellion's John Urist was the talk of the town as he rolled out a brand-new race car. Although he faced his share of new-car bugs, he managed to grab a win in the highly competitive Super Street Outlaw category.
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The highly anticipated return of Mustang racing legend Mike Murillo happened at the NMRA Spring Nationals. Murillo unleashed 7-oh, 200-plus-mph runs in his Pro Outlaw 10.5 coupe. A broken flexplate prevented him from competing in the semifinal match-up against Conrad Scarry.
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Race cars, people, and more people--that was the theme of the weekend at Bradenton. Here we see a Pro Outlaw 10.5 traffic jam when the six-second show was called to the staging lanes.
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There were smokin' deals in the manufacturers' midway. Vickery's Speed Shop offered an assortment of custom-painted helmets for $350, plus the cost of the helmet. You could buy one right there or drop off your helmet and have Vickery's paint it and ship it.
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Bob Kurgan (near lane) squared off against John Kolivas in the final of BFGoodrich Drag Radial. Both cars ran into traction troubles with their 1,200-plus-horsepower engines and BFG Drag Radial tires. Kolivas won the event with an 8.46, but he ran as quick as 8.06 at 179 mph during eliminations. Kurgan was equally impressive with his Vortech-blown ride and 8.10 performances.

As the sun rose over the Florida horizon, we rolled through the gates at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Rays of light glistened on the sides of race-car trailers housing some of the wildest heads-up Mustangs. It was almost go-time for the '08 racing season, yet all we could hear were the birds chirping and smell that familiar fragrance in the air-not the whiff of warm spring air, but rather VHT. The track crew prepped the 1,320 in anticipation of hundreds of nitrous-gulping, turbo-stuffed, and supercharged muscle Mustangs and fast Fords from around the country.

As the track was conditioned to perfection, the rest of the Bradenton Motorsport Park property was sectioned off for the show grounds, swap meet, and manufacturers' midway. The event marked the start of the NMRA-Keystone Ford National's 10th Anniversary tour, with seven events total. The racing would be hot as competitors battled it out in a variety of categories-heads-up racing, open comp-style competition, the True Street Challenge, bracket racing, and the show 'n' shine. It was time to go racing, and the MM&FF staff was ready with nearly 100 pounds of camera and video gear. Be sure to check our Web site for expanded NMRA coverage.

As does every NMRA event, the Spring Nationals includes a host of activities for all types of enthusiasts. Naturally, the heads-up racing on-track headlines the festivities and grabs most of the attention. Off-track, 60 companies set up shop to sell parts, cut smoking deals (which saves you money on shipping, too), and show off the latest gadgets and widgets. Fans could walk further downtrack, past the heads-up pits, and enjoy the show field with over 200 of the finest Mustangs and Fords that Florida has to offer. Across the way, a huge swap meet was set up, and we saw some unbelievable steals on used parts and rare pieces.

The heads-up racing action was exciting as usual, and the new Turbonetics Pro Outlaw 10.5 category was a welcome addition to the show. Pro Outlaw 10.5 replaced Pro 5.0 as the NMRA's top-dog class. It consists of back-half Mustangs with 2,000-plus-horsepower engines under the hood. Turbocharged combinations were the dominant combination, but nitrous was represented, as was the supercharged contingent. Top qualifier Brian Carpenter wheeled a twin-turbo '03 Cobra that was built by Skinny Kid Race Cars and powered by a Pro Line Racing engine-the same guys who build Tim Lynch's world record-setting engines. Carpenter topped the list with an outstanding 6.88 at 212 mph. He got too aggressive with the tune-up in the semifinals and lost a close match with Livernois Motorsports' Dan Millen. The final round featured FFW's '06 Street Outlaw champ, Conrad Scarry, and Millen to duke it out at over 200 mph. The Livernois Motorsports-backed ride ran into problems, and Scarry scored his first NMRA victory.

Three-time ProCharger Super Street Outlaw champion, John Urist, debuted a brand-new race car at Bradenton. While some claim he's on the decline, he was anything but in his '08 debut. It took the champ a few runs to get things right, but in the end he ran 7.50s and won the event. It wasn't the quickest car in the field, but the new hot rod performed well for Urist when the money was on the line. He prevailed in the finals over Richard Lelsz's turbocharged '03 Cobra out of the Strictly Performance shop.

The sunny skies brought out 70 willing and able participants to the True Street Challenge. The NMRA officials paraded the field of fast Fords, not just Mustangs, around the streets of Bradenton for 30 miles. The participants were then brought into the staging lanes where they remained, with the hoods closed for a 30-minute rest period. The racing commenced, and each competitor ran three consecutive runs. Winners were crowned in a variety of indexes that ranged from the 9s to the 15s, with an overall winner and runner-up spot as well.

Racing, buying, showing, or selling-good times and fast action were all part of the MM&FF trip to Bradenton for the NMRA season opener. It was a rocking start to the '08 racing season.