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2008 NMRA Keystone Ford Nationals Atlanta - Land of the Confederacy
The NMRA Keystone Ford National Series' rebels wage war in Atlanta.
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Atlanta is known for many things. It's home to the New World of Coca-Cola, a permanent exhibition featuring the history of the Coca-Cola Company. It was also the site of the '96 Summer Olympics. During the Civil War, Atlanta was one of the locations descended upon by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's destructive March to the Sea.
While Georgia was one of the Confederate states that eventually capitulated, today a war still wages there. This time, however, the warriors packed turbos, blowers, nitrous oxide, and flew the Blue Oval logo.
When the NMRA Keystone Ford National Series pulled into Silver Dollar Dragway in Reynolds, Georgia (100 miles south of Atlanta), a full weekend of racing was planned. Mother Nature had other plans, however, as water-laden clouds doused spectators and racers alike on Friday and Saturday. Everyone lucked out on Sunday, though, as the day dawned clear and bright. With that, all of the racers were afforded one hit at the quarter-mile before eliminations began.
For Conrad Scarry, it was worth the wait in Pro Outlaw 10.5, as the Bradenton event winner went two-for-two. After tiptoeing down the track in qualifying to a 7.02 to grab the top spot, Scarry and his twin-turbo Cobra squared off against Tim Essick's '03 Mustang in the final. Essick got the holeshot, but at the big end, Scarry's 6.94 at a slowing 194 was enough to gun down the 7.15/203-mph effort of Essick. Thanks to his second-straight win, Scarry opened a sizeable points lead in the standings.
Super Street Outlaw was just as wild as Pro Outlaw 10.5, but when the smoke cleared, it was Jarrett Halfacre and his turbocharged '93 hatchback standing proud. Halfacre, who qualified Second behind Phil Hines' 7.48-second pass, back-halfed to a booming 193-mph trap speed in qualifying, nearly cracking the 200-mph barrier in the class with a 198-mph moon shot in his second-round victory over John MacDonald. Regardless, his final-round tango with last year's points runner-up Don Burton and his nitrous-snorting Mustang wouldn't be easy. Burton left well ahead of Halfacre, but knowing he had the quicker car, Halfacre kept his foot pinned down and drove around Burton by a 7.47 to 7.82 count. Not only did Halfacre gun down the top speed and low e.t. of the event, but his win moved him into First Place in the points standings, as Bradenton winner John Urist suffered a first-round red-light loss.
Bob Cook went the opposite way of Urist, as he forgot about his first-round loss in Bradenton and handled the final-round challenge of Brian Mitchell in EFI Renegade. Cook ran the table, starting with a number-one 8.50-second qualifying effort. After winning a close race with Alton Clements in the semifinals, a contest in which both drivers were stellar on the starting line, Cook got the easy win when Mitchell fouled out in the money round. Cook motored to an 8.55 and to Second in the points standings to Mitchell, who coupled his runner-up in Atlanta with his win in Bradenton, keeping a stranglehold on the EFI Renegade field.
The Hot Street competition was smoking, as a mere 0.08 second separated top qualifier Mike DeMayo (8.80) from number-six qualifier Keith Courtney (8.88). When all was said and done, DeMayo took home the gold with a final-round triumph over Robbie Blankenship. DeMayo's '89 hatchback had a heck of a race with perennial tough customer Charlie Booze the round before, though. Booze left first by 0.04 second, but at the stripe, DeMayo's 8.743, which was the low e.t. of the event, held off Booze's 8.786 by a mere 0.03 second. The hard-earned semifinal victory was well worth it, however, as Blankenship broke after his semifinal win over Ben Mens, handing the uncontested win to DeMayo. DeMayo moved to Fourth Place in the points, although Booze, who scored the victory in Bradenton, kept the top spot.