Michael Galimi
December 1, 2009

It's called the Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing and pits the best of the best in heads-up drag racing competition. Many know it as the NMRA against the NMCA, and there are huge bragging rights at stake.

This year marks the fourth time the Pro Media gang (promoters of both the NMCA and NMRA) has held this party at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Once again Nitto Tires was onboard to back this prestigious event, providing its coveted Diamond Tree ring and bonus money for the shootout champions.

The format is simple-each organization competes separately with qualifying and eliminations over three days. On Sunday, after each racing class crowns an event winner, the NMRA/NMCA officials pair each class with the corresponding one in the other organization. Obviously the rules and performances are different, so the racers run off an index using their best run in competition. The heads-up classes don't have to worry about a breakout.

This year, officials decided to award the rings to the organization with the most wins in the 12-pair match race. The bad news is that Team NMRA lost-Team NMCA won its first Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing. The final tally was eight wins for the NMCA versus the NMRA's four. In years past, the team challenge was close. The NMRA usually squeaks out the win with the last pairing.

Despite Team NMRA losing the Super Bowl challenge in 2009, the event is a must-see-fans get two events for the price of one with over 500 cars in competition, and a massive car show and manufacturer's midway.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Team NMRA was comprised of winners in the sanctioning body's 12 eliminators. Numerous records fell due to favorable weather conditions and a stellar track surface. We witnessed four record-breaking performances by Dan Millen (Pro Outlaw 10.5), John Kolivas (Super Street Outlaw), Dan Rawls (EFI Renegade), and Dave Guy (Drag Radial).

Quick times weren't the only highlight-the racing was tight as well. Dan Millen might have walked away with the record in Turbonetics Pro Outlaw 10.5, but he wasn't the only fast car in attendance. Doug Sikora made the long haul from Barstow, California, to compete in the NMRA's quickest category. Sikora made waves by qualifying number one with a 6.69-under the national e.t. record held by Mike Murillo at 6.72. By the end of the weekend, Millen secured the record with a 6.69 (thanks to the required back-up). Millen faced Sikora in the finals and walked away with his first '09 NMRA win with a 6.72 to Sikora's impressive 6.76.

A new player in ProCharger Super Street Outlaw made the most noise in Joliet, despite a quiet turbocharged combination. Two-time NMRA Drag Radial champion John Kolivas stepped up with a new Bennett Racing 427ci engine and a Precision 94mm turbo. He ran on rather small Mickey Thompson 275/60 drag radials, despite the rest of the class relying on 28x10.5-inch slicks. Kolivas ran the tables by qualifying number one (7.36), turning a new class record (7.32) and beating four-time SSO champ John Urist in the process.

Consistent 7s was the theme in BFGood-rich Drag Radial, and Dave Guy of SGS Automotive topped the list. After hitting the wall a month earlier at the NMRA-Milan event, the team was back on track, setting the record with a 7.97 and going as quick as 7.91. Guy had good company in the 7s, with Sean Lyons running a 7.95 and qualifying number one. Both exited competition early.

Consistency wins, and Enzo Pecchini won over Jason Lee, who went red in the final. Pecchini streaked to the winner's circle with a career best 8.02 at 176 mph.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Nitrous ruled the roost in DiabloSport EFI Renegade as Dan Rawls of PT Race Engines won his second straight event. He endured four rounds of action against some of the quickest supercharged cars in the category's history. Rawls stuck to his guns and blasted to an 8.52 in the finals, beating Bart Toebner, who suffered engine problems.

NMRA's quickest naturally aspirated eliminator, Edelbrock Hot Street, mimics the old days of NHRA Pro Stock, and the action was just as tight. Charlie Booze Jr. in his high-flying Fox GT took the win over Don Bowles in his Coal Digger IV Maverick, 8.64 to 8.68.

Class winners include Bruce Hemminger-Real Street, Mark Anderson-Eibach Springs Pure Street, Tommy Godfrey-ACT Clutch Factory Stock, Scott Mistro-Roush Modular Muscle, Paul Leaman-Steeda Open Comp, Rick Devito-Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning), and Ken Nine-JDM Engineering Super Stang.

Tremec True Street Presented by MM&FF
The Tremec/MM&FF True Street participants were treated to a special cruise at the Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing. The NMRA/NMCA officials brokered a deal with the Route 66 Raceway staff to open the gates to the Chicagoland NASCAR track across the street. The staff pulled out a few of the NASCAR pace cars, and the competitors paraded around the famous raceway to prove the street worthiness of their machines.

Once back on the property, the 39 Ford entries were paired against the Brand X machines for an honest street car shootout. Our money was on Jon Huber and his wild turbocharged four-cylinder LX, but he bowed out when he dropped fluid on the track.

That left the door open for Chad Slattery and his '88 Mustang LX coupe. The nitrous-injected coupe blasted to a 9.16 average, besting Lou Iacopetti for top honors in True Street, but Slattery made it interesting. After clicking off an 8.87 and 8.89, his M/T drag radials spun hard on the last run and he slowed to a 9.72. Lucky for him, Iacopetti ran into trouble with his Buick Grand National (running a big-block Chevy with a ProCharger F2 blower) and fell off pace with a 9.51 in the third round (9.17 and 9.15 in the previous two rounds). Slattery was crowned the King of Chicago with a 9.16 average; Iacopetti finished with a 9.28.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

In addition to the overall winner, NMRA gave out other awards in the True Street challenge. Ford racers won all but one of the index categories, the 12-second bracket. Eric Lozowski took the 10-second zone with an average of 10.05. Robert Davis Jr. drove his '93 Stang to an 11.00 average using a 10.94, 11.01, and 11.06. Vernon Jones delivered his '93 SVT Lightning to victory in the 13-second bracket (13.01 average). Oliver Marianne was the only competitor in the 14-second zone, so he won by default with his 14.09 average. The final winner in True Street was Greg Tomczyk with a 15.02 three-run compilation.

MM&FF True Street Top 25
Name Average
1. Chad Slattery 9.160
2. Ryan Vitiritto 9.750
3. Eric Lozowski 10.050
4. Robert Reffiey 10.100
5. Bill Unkel 10.760
6. Chris Lund 10.960
7. Robert Davis Jr. 11.000
8. Chad Creamer 11.490
9. David Neivert 11.510
10. Kurt Kreisz 12.040
11. Pete Vitiritto 12.110
12. Jack Caldwell 12.250
13. Jeff Schmell 12.259
14. Justin Oberg 12.490
15. Michael Tomczyk 12.960
16. Tony Semo 12.980
17. Dale Reibel 12.990
18. Vernon Jones 13.010
19. William Gehrky 13.014
20. William Hochfellner 13.030
21. Dave Patterson 13.040
22. Chris Eaton 13.130
23. Jason Lestarge 13.190
24. Matt Belt 13.220
25. Steve Raue 13.470