Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsEvents
2012 NMRA Maryland International Raceway - Mid-Atlantic Mustang Mayhem
Records fall as Maryland International Raceway plays host to NMRA-Keystone Ford Drag Racing Series.
The third stop on the NMRA-Keystone Ford Drag Racing tour was at a new venue for 2012, the popular Maryland International Raceway (MIR). This year marks the first time the national Mustang event series has booked the Mid-Atlantic track, which is nestled between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. The region is known for really quick street cars, and the Raceway is renowned for track preparation and excellent facilities for fans and racers.
We watched five official NMRA records fall, with a non-official barrier broken on the street side of the fast-paced action. We have to admit, the weather wasn’t the mineshaft conditions that are normally seen during the early and later months of the racing calendar. Nevertheless, the excellent track conditions were a cause for the record-breaking behavior as more than one racer told us about adding extra power that could be applied early in the runs. The most impressive record we watched go down was in Drag Radial, where Jason Lee dropped several runs in the 7.30 range with a best of a 7.36. He also ran a top speed of 190 mph. The closest competitor was 0.2 behind him, but tire shake in the finals prevented Lee from winning the category.
The newest heads-up class, Strange Engineering Coyote Stock, is designed around sealed Coyote 5.0L crate engines from Ford Racing Performance Parts. The intention is to control the escalating costs of engine development often associated with heads-up racing. It starting to catch on—two new racers showed up in Maryland and some more engines were sold through the Ford Racing dealer network. Joe Charles set the e.t. record in Coyote Stock as his MV Performance entry unleashed a 10.88 to better the 10.92 record set earlier in the year. Charles’ best speed of 122 in Maryland was unable to top his record-setting 124 mph from the Georgia race one month earlier.
Charlie Booze Jr. and his ’93 Mustang GT Hot Street racer set the final pair of records. The veteran racer pushed the Kuntz and Company-powered red rocket to an 8.38 at 160 mph, which is amazing for a naturally aspirated Mustang.
On the street-car side, we watched Chris Cruz drive his white ’11 5.0L into the history books by pushing through into the 8-second barrier using a 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission. Cruz’s sick street ride underwent a transformation of sorts at Evolution Performance a few weeks earlier. Cruz had Evolution dump the Ford Racing/Whipple 2.9L supercharger in favor of the larger 4.0L twin-screw unit—you know, the one used on the Super Cobra Jet monsters that reign supreme in NHRA competition.
Cruz competes in Modular Muscle and he ran the car in qualifying with 21 psi of boost—just as it came off the chassis dyno, where the car produced 1,002 rwhp! He ran a best of 9.19 at 150 mph in that trim. The glory run came Sunday morning when the Evolution team and tuner Jon Lund added a smaller pulley for boost pressures in the 25- to 27-psi range. The moment came in round two of Modular Muscle action when Cruz wheeled the new-generation Stang to an 8.99 at 153 mph.
The first-time Maryland event attracted 39 True Street participants, of which 33 made at least one pass down the track. Sitting on top was New Jersey-resident and our buddy Mike Jovanis, whose LX is featured elsewhere in this issue. Jovanis has back-to-back Spring Break Shootout runner-up finishes under his belt, and he has also won True Street during the NMRA events at Atco and Columbus in 2011. The Jersey racer was king of True Street with a 9.01 three-run average.
We were happy to see folks come from afar to run True Street, including two Georgia entries from our friends at Emmett Head Performance (E=HP). Nick Blankenship of E=HP had his low-9-second 331ci-powered coupe on the property and scored the overall runner-up honors with a 9.30 average.
The first event at MIR was full of action and exciting cars, and we look forward to visiting the world-class facility again next year.