Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2012 NMRA in Bradenton - Long-haul Scuffle
Spring Break Shootout
Every year, the NMRA's season opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park brings out big numbers for Tremec True Street. The class, presented by MM&FF, consists of street-legal, registered, and insured Mustangs (and other Fords). After making a 30-mile cruise, competitors cool down in the staging lanes before making three back-to-back runs down the dragstrip. It appeals to a wide range of people, and averages range from 8.0s to high-teens.
This year, 96 cars (and trucks) made the trip to Bradenton for the pursuit of one of the seven class plaques, the 6-foot-tall winner's trophy, or a spot in the top 16 and an invite back for Sunday's MM&FF Spring Break Shootout. Whatever the reason, True Street is always a blast, and no other event in the series compares to Bradenton.
This year was different for us, as our True Street project car Repeat Offender was making its debut. We wanted it to run last year, but it just wasn't in the cards. Since Steve Baur (who owns the car) was under the weather, we recruited Tony Gonyon of TunersInc to be our wheelman. He was happy to drive for us, and his years of experience helped us iron out the bugs on Friday before the competition on Saturday.
Tremec Transmission's True Street competition, presented by MM&FF, was held on Saturday. After managing a busy tech-in all morning, True Street director Gene Bergstrom led the pre-cruise drivers' meeting in the pit area. All 96 competitors were in attendance, and lined up for the cruise shortly thereafter.
The 30-mile cruise through the Manatee County countryside claimed only a few victims, and 88 cars made at least one pass. A total of 73 made all three back-to-back passes, and in the end, Randy Seward of Almogordo, New Mexico, reigned victorious with an 8.93 average. Randy drove his coupe over 1,800 miles from his home, accentuating his victory.
Chris Lancaster of Bonaire, Georgia, claimed the runner-up prize with a 9.00 average, saving some for Sunday's Spring Break Shootout class. Eight-second-capable Mike Jovanis of Wall, New Jersey, took home the 9-second plaque after a slower-than-usual third pass yielded him a 9.05 average. Close behind were Tim Oswalt and Julio Don, both with averages within 0.2 of Seward's 8.93.
Deneen Segura of Fort Myers, Florida, averaged 10.01 for the 10-second win. Her husband, Chris, was there supporting her, but his nitrous-fed LX hatch wasn't ready in time for the race. The 11-second plaque went to Burt Greiner of Plantation, Florida, with an 11.00 average. Brent Nelson from Cape Coral, Florida, averaged 12.15, which was good enough for the 12-second win.
The '91 Mustang wheeled by Jerry Casale of Holiday, Florida, averaged 13.09 for the 13-second prize. The winner of the 14-second plaque was Mike Idol of Sanford, Florida, with a 14.05 average, and Chris Parisi of Jacksonville, Florida, averaged an amazing 15.000 for the 15-second win.
Baer Brakes SBS
Some folks come out on Saturday just to enjoy running True Street. Others just want to win a plaque. But with the allure of an $800 prize, a 6-foot trophy, and a Baer Brakes sponsorship worth $2,500, others just want to make the top 16. Being part of this elite group earns you an invite back on Sunday for the MM&FF Spring Break Shootout presented by Baer Brakes.
This Quick 16 format class is a heads-up sportsman-ladder competition, with a 0.400 pro-Tree and cool-downs between rounds, and regularly yields the quickest runs in True Street competition. This is where the quickest car doesn't always win and everyone goes for broke. This year was no exception.
From Round 1, it was clear that Chris Lancaster had turned up the boost on his turbocharged Four-Valve '66 coupe. He took out Nick Blankenship with an 8.25 at 172.61 mph to Blankenship's 9.26. After averaging 10s on Saturday, SBS veteran Tony Whetstone ran a 9.88 in Round 1, but was nudged out by Blair Brannock's 9.60 at 176 mph. Andrew Juhl defeated Peter Delpino with a 9.30 to Delpino's 9.48. Seward, Greiner, Jovanis, Oswalt, and Bob Walsh also advanced to Round 2.
Seward's 8.73 easily defeated Greiner's 10.66, and Oswalt's 9.12 at 139 was enough to eliminate Walsh. Jovanis defeated Brannock, and Lancaster schooled Juhl. In the semi-finals, the four quickest cars from Saturday were left. Since Lancaster had cranked up the wick, Oswalt's 8.62 just wasn't enough for the Georgia boy's 8.04.
And in the tightest matchup of the shootout, Jovanis got out in front of Seward by cutting an 0.086 light to Seward's 0.196. Seward's 8.820 wasn't enough to make up for sleeping at the tree, and Jovanis' 8.840 sent him to the final to face Lancaster.
Jovanis tried his handiwork at the Tree again, leaving 0.257 second sooner than Lancaster. But it wouldn't be enough for the win. Lancaster crossed the finish line in 8.06 seconds, overtaking Jovanis (8.52) on the way. If you remember, Lancaster was in Bradenton last year but cracked his block during Friday's testing. We'll call this a sweet comeback, and look forward to seeing him and his super-slick '66 Mustang at other NMRA events this season.