Pete Epple Technical Editor
October 6, 2011

The battle of good versus evil has raged on for millions of years... Well, perhaps millions of years is a slight exaggeration, but as long as humans have been around, there have been lines drawn and sides taken due to differences of opinion. This light side/dark side mentality also crosses into the automotive lifestyle.

The musclecar civil war of the '60s and early '70s left us with some incredible hot rods. Currently, we are in the midst of a late-model horsepower war of greater proportions. Small skirmishes are fought on streets across America as people's undying love for their brand pushes them to build better weapons to bring into battle.

The major battles are contested on racetracks all over the U.S., and sanctioning bodies like the NMRA and NMCA give like-minded warriors a place to use these weapons in competition. Each soldier strives to build a better, faster machine than his or her opponent, and at the end of battle, one is left standing.

For the past six years, the NMRA and NMCA have squared off to establish dominance. The battlefield is Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, just south of Chicago. The Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing pits the best Mustang racers against the best muscle car racers to prove which side is stronger.

The weekend started like most races before. Racers loaded in on Thursday and began preparing for time trials and qualifying on Friday. Only a few weeks prior, the NMRA race in Atco, New Jersey, was cut short due to inclement weather. With some eliminations started before the race was called, Friday and Saturday qualifying in Joliet served as Atco eliminations. This meant most racers did not have the luxury of a ôsafeö pass. It also meant some of the quickest fields we've ever seen.

ProCharger Super Street Outlaw saw the quickest field in the history of the class, with five cars qualifying quicker than 7.30, lead by John Kalivas who clicked off a 7.05-second pass at 202 mph.

In Afco Xtreme Drag radial, the top four qualifiers were separated by 0.03 seconds, topped by Sean Lyon and his turbo Fox. Lyon and class favorite Jason Lee were both eliminated in the semifinals, which paired Andy Manson and Brad Medlock, who qualified No. 4 and 3 respectively. In the end, Manson would take the win.

BFGoodrich Tires Factory Stock could have been renamed the John Leslie Jr. show. JLJ rolled in with his flamed '89 Mustang and was dominant from the start. In qualifying, JLJ cracked off two record 10.88-second passes, winning the Atco race in the process. In Joliet eliminations, JLJ lined up against his father, John Leslie Sr., who was piloting the Leslie's red '89 LX. JLJ would put his father on the trailer on his way to doubling up and taking the Joliet win.

Outside of the heads-up classes, Tremec True Street, presented by MM&FF, was contested on Sunday afternoon. Forty-four participants took to the service roads and infield of Chicagoland Speedway on the 30-mile cruise. (A huge thanks to Chad from Ford Racing Nation for driving us around to get photos!) After the competitors ran three back-to-back passes, the times were averaged and the winners announced. Although a Ford did not take the top spot, 8 of the top 10 cars, as well as the runner-up and 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, and 15- second winners, were Fords.

Behind the grandstands, the UPR Products car show area was filled with some of the slickest American muscle the Chicago area had to offer. The Fords and Mustangs were plentiful, but there was no denying the GM and Mopar iron on display.

After the final rounds were finished, a calm came over Route 66 Raceway. The stress of eliminations was over, and the winners switched gears and prepared to race for the rings--the Super Bowl.

As the race within the race came to a close, the NMRA ended up on top, taking 7 of the 12 wins, and the rings for the second consecutive year.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery