Michael Galimi
January 1, 2009
Photos By: Dr. Rudy Rouweyha
If you have been following the Blogs on MM&FF's website, you will recognize this Mustang. It was built by Modular Depot and belongs to Vinnie Barber. The S197 features a Three-Valve engine with forged internals, custom cams, ported heads, and a gigantic 88mm turbo. Barber ran 8.98 at 157 mph with this wild ride. That makes this the first Three-Valve Mustang in the 8s, using a single power adder.

Like our political race for President of the United States, the state of Ohio is a major swing state that can make or break a championship NMRA season. It is the second to the last stop on the NMRA Ford Keystone Drag Racing tour and pressure begins to mount for the point's leaders of the eight heads-up and three open comp championship categories.

Time is running short as racers are grabbing as many round wins as possible to properly mold and shape a championship. A great performance in Columbus can remove some pressure from the World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, one month later. The Columbus stop is also a unique one, in that the bracket racing classes are huge and there are special nostalgia Ford drag and show classes coupled with the normal late-model Mustang madness. NMRA officials reported slightly over 400 race vehicles and over 200 show cars in the Saleen Speedlab Nationals.

Heads-Up Classes
Sitting atop of the heads-up food chain are the Turbonetics Pro Outlaw 10.5 racers, and the two big guns were Dan Millen of Livernois Motorsports and Conrad Scarry (driving for car owner Ken Seeger). Each Mustang features turbocharged small-block Ford engines and the drivers are entrenched in a tight battle for the championship, Scarry has a stronghold on the top position right now. Both racers had run the quickest side-by-side pairing in Pro Outlaw 10.5 history one race earlier in Atco, New Jersey. Scarry ran 6.78 to Millen's 6.80. This time, Millen got the best of Scarry by knocking off a 6.84 at 207 mph in the finals for the class victory.

Dan Millen dumps the laundry on his Livernois Motorsports Pro Outlaw 10.5 entry. A single turbo and a Liberty five-speed clutchless transmission translate to 6.80 runs at well over 200 mph. He took the class win by beating point's leader Conrad Scarry in the finals.

Racing action was tight in ProCharger Super Street Outlaw with a myriad of mid-7-second small-tire freaks. Perennial front-runner, John Urist of Hellion Power Systems, ran his Nitto Tire-backed coupe all the way into the winner's circle. The defending series champion crossed paths with sophomore SSO racer, Perry Santini in the finals. Urist dispatched him with a 7.52 to Santini's traciton-limited low 8-second run. Urist and AJ Powell are battling it out for the title, Urist gains an edge in Columbus as Powell goes out in the semifinals. The championship will be decided at the World Finals and several key players can play spoiler to Urist and Powell.

BFGoodrich Drag Radial was wide open as the two top runners, John Kolivas and Joey Bridge, struggled with tricky track conditions. Bridge qualified number one with an 8.28, off from his regular 8.00 performances. Qualifying struggles and engine problems made it appear as if Kolivas was vulnerable, however, once eliminations began the white SN-95 Cobra ran flawlessly and Kolivas walked away with a class victory and sealed up his third straight NMRA title. Jason Lee ran his ProCharger-powered '85 GT to the lowest e.t. of the event with an 8.12, but spun in the finals and lost to Kolivas. DiabloSport EFI Renegade was equally exciting as a full field of rules-limited power-adder cars took to the strip. The term "limited" doesn't mean these cars are slow, as mid-8s takes top honors in this category. The Sutton High Performance crew moved one step closer to attaining the title with Bob Cook as its driver. A Four-Valve engine, pumped up with a Vortech YSi-trim blower, powered the '05 Stang to mid-8-second runs and the team's second victory of the season. The final power adder category is Real Street where Bruce Hemminger continued to dominate with another class win. It is his third straight event victory, and he did it with a best run of 9.68 at 138 mph. Defending series champ, Tim Matherly, is not backing down one bit as he fired off an amazing 143 mph run, far higher than the class 141 mph record.