Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2011 NMRA - Bowling Green - A Stunning Finale
The NMRA wraps up the 2011 points season with loads of on-track action and a new group of champions.
For the NMRA, a trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky means the points season is coming to an end. Tension is usually high throughout the pits as racers fight for every possible point towards his or her championship hopes. Story lines play out, and ultimately race winners and champions are crowned. Some head home elated, while others fight the feeling of defeat.
The 13th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals was a super-exciting event for participants, fans, and racers alike. And it was a non-stop show as there were multiple 7.00-second passes from now 7-time Super Street Outlaw champion John Urist, to a blistering-quick 7.52-second pass by Sean Lyon on drag radials, to the Terminator versus GT500 shootout, to a sold-out car show and massive True Street field. Because the previous race in Columbus rained out, the final rounds were competed during qualifying at Bowling Green, which was also a double points race.
In TurboSmart Pro Outlaw 10.5, Mike Murillo and Tim Essick both rolled in with championship hopes. Murillo laid it down in qualifying with a 6.65-second pass at 217 mph to take the top spot. Murillo and Essick met in the final round to decide the championship, and it was Murillo who ran the table, blasting down the track to a 6.62-second e.t. at 218 mph to take the event win and class crown.
ProCharger Super Street Outlaw was like The John Urist Show. Qualifying number one, Urist laid down numerous low-7.0 passes, setting an SSO e.t. and mph record of 7.02 at 208 in the process. During eliminations, Urist ran 7.06 or better, taking the event win and solidifying his seventh Super Street Outlaw championship. "My goal is to get 10 championships," explains Urist. "Ten-time champion sounds pretty good, right?"
Blow-By Racing EFI Renegade was an exciting class to watch. Multiple cars cranked out e.t.'s in the 8.30 range, with Brian Mitchell taking the top spot with an 8.31. Mitchell went on to set the class record with a blistering 8.29, only to lose on a holeshot against Bob Cook. Though Cook went on to win the event, Mitchell had acquired enough points to secure the EFI Renegade championship.
In Edelbrock Hot Street, the top four cars were separated by just 0.06 seconds. Defending champion Charlie Booze Jr. took the top spot with an 8.43-second e.t. at 163 mph. Hudson, Florida-based Robbie Blankenship was on the opposite side of the ladder from Booze, and the two met in the final. Booze left the line first, but Blankenship was able to drive around him to take the win as well as his second Hot Street Championship.
Afco Xtreme Drag Radial was a fight to the bitter end. Sean Lyon came to Bowling Green with his guns blazing and set the record with a 7.52-second blast to take the top spot. Come eliminations, Lyon mowed his way through the field on his way to the final round, and even lowered the e.t. record to 7.47 in the process.
On the other side of the ladder, Jason Lee took out Andy Manson and Brad Medlock before meeting Lyon. Lee got the jump, but slowed and Lyon was able to drive around him to take the event win, creating a tie for the points championship between him and Lee. Since Lee had attended more races than Lyon, Lee was declared the Xtreme Drag Radial champion.
After battling some engine issues this season, Bruce Hemminger lead the seven-car Steeda Real Street field with a record-setting 9.16-second pass to take the top qualifier position. Hemminger lost to Jay Marr, who went on to win the race, but Hemminger was able to clinch the Real Street championship in the process.
The Eibach Springs Pure Street battle was decided by the end of qualifying, as Brandon Alsept locked in the championship from the seventh qualifying spot. Shawn Johnson took the top qualifying position and went all the way to the final, where he met Steve Gifford. Johnson finished his season on top with a win in Pure Street.
BFGoodrich Tires Factory Stock also came down to the wire, and four cars came into Bowling Green in contention for the championship. Carlos Sobrino rolled out a new car and qualified on the pole with a 10.90 at 122 mph. As the rounds progressed, the championship hopefuls were whittled away, leaving Sobrino, Louis Sylvester Jr., and Brian Campbell still in the hunt. In the final, Sylvester and Campbell faced off for the BG win. Campbell got out of the gate first, ultimately taking the win, but Sylvester set the Factory Stock e.t. and mph record of 10.88 at 122 mph in the process, but ultimately, Sobrino scored his first Factory Stock championship.
Tremec True Street is always a big show in Kentucky. For 2011, 99 cars came out for the 30-mile cruise and three quarter-mile passes. When the dust settled, Chris Gish of Robards, Kentucky, took the top spot with his evil real-flamed '91 convertible. Gish averaged 8.54 over his three runs in his twin-turbo LX.
As the points season comes to a close, we are looking forward to 2012 and the excitement of a new season. The 2011 season was full of action and excitement, and we only see it getting better!