Frank Cicerale
February 1, 2009
Photos By: Michael Galimi, Frank H. Cicerale

As Edelbrock Hot Street competitor Charlie Booze fired up his Kuntz and Co.-powered '92 Mustang GT and rolled into the waterbox, you could cut the tension in the air with a knife. There were three cars left in the class at the final event of the year at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Being less than 100 markers behind points leader Robbie Blankenship, Booze needed to get around Ben Mens to have a winner-take-all (for the championship) final round with Blankenship, who had the bye.

The sun was up, the stands were packed, and Booze and Mens heated the slicks and carefully rolled up to the starting line. Mens, the outgoing Hot Street champion, and Booze, a former class champion, inched their way into the stage beam, hit the transbrake buttons, and decked the throttle, bringing both high-revving Fords up on the rev limiter. The Tree fell, and both were away green, Booze with a clutch 0.015 reaction time. As the pair went to the 60-foot clock, Mens settled the front end down, meanwhile, Booze put the BBR Mustang on the bumper. Never lifting, he kept his foot pinned, and the car eventually came down past the 330-foot clock. As the two streaked through the lights, the win light illuminated in Mens' lane. While the fans cheered and everyone on the property applauded Booze's driving prowess, his over-the-top wheelstand sealed the deal for Blankenship. The fan-standing, bumper-dragging wheelstand that resulted in the round loss relegated Booze to Second Place in the standings, albeit it with hero status.

Booze's wheelstand and the drama that surrounded it was just one of the many exciting moments at the final NMRA Keystone Ford Nationals Series event of 2008. The three-day event showcased record-breaking performances, championship-caliber races, and a track that had more teeth to it than a Great White shark.

Turbonetics Pro Outlaw 10.5 saw Conrad Scarry wrap up the title when Dan Millen didn't take the trip to Bowling Green. Regardless, Scarry left nothing to question, as a better light and a 6.88 dumped Ron Lummus' 6.95 in the final. Putting a period on the weekend was Scarry's speed, as he ripped off a booming 217 mph lap in the money round.

The ProCharger Super Street Outlaw trophy round was a repeat of last year's running, as Fireball John Urist squared off against the nitrous-snorting hatchback Mustang of Don Burton. Unlike last year, which saw Urist and Burton go at it in a winner-take-all final, the championship was settled much earlier between Urist and AJ Powell, whom Urist gunned down in the semi-finals. Burton knew he had to lean on it, as Urist ripped off a 7.35 in qualifying. However, when the Tree flashed, so did the scoop opening in Burton's ride. Burton backfired through the carburetor and went nowhere, handing the win to Urist, who clicked off a 7.52. "It wasn't a nitrous backfire, otherwise the hood, scoop, and the top half of the motor wouldn't be here," Burton says afterwards. "It just backfired through the carb when I hit the button. It might have broken a valvespring."

The final round in Diablosport EFI Renegade showcased a match up between the '91 Mustang of Brian Tuten and the '04 Cobra of Bart Tobener. Tuten drilled Tobener to the Tree by almost a tenth of a second, but Tobener clicked the car into high gear and drove around Tuten by an 8.54 to 9.39 count.

While the opening to this article detailed the exploits of Charlie Booze, the chance to be crowned the Edelbrock Hot Street winner at Bowling Green came down to newly-crowned champ Robbie Blankenship and outgoing champ Ben Mens. Both drivers recorded near identical reaction times, but at the stripe, it was Mens taking the victory, as his 8.70 was a bit quicker than Blankenship's 8.75-second effort.