Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2007
Photos By: Steve Turner
In the Open Comp class, we spotted Steve Gasich of St. Louis, Missouri, pushing his '68 Mustang coupe to the max. The 572-cube big-block got it done until the third round of eliminations when Steve lost to eventual Open Comp finalist Jeff Moses and his late-model Mustang.

It was a banner year for the National Mustang Racer's Association, with every stop of its event schedule jam-packed with racers, show cars, vendors, and of course, attendees. We've enjoyed going to as many events as we could and seeing the variety of Ford muscle on display, both in the race pits and in the Laurel Mountain All-Ford Auto Show sections.

While most of the race cars have been late-models, we did spot several classic Fords in the Open Comp and bracket classes-there were even a few classic Mustangs moving up the ranks to Hot Street and Pro. It's always nice to see an early-model Mustang or Ford yank the front tires clear of the track surface and put some modern iron on the trailer for that long ride back home.

The Laurel Mountain All-Ford show didn't disappoint either. While there were a lot of late-model Mustangs with wild paint schemes and Lambo doors, it was refreshing to see all sorts of classic Fords-from '60s Mustangs to '50s T-birds to '70s modified Mavericks- battling it out on the show side of things. It was no different at the 8th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the last weekend in September 2006.

Congratulations to all who took home a trophy or race winnings in 2006. We'll see you in Bradenton, Florida, for the '07 season opener.

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Mustang & Fords
Editor's Choice Award
Joseph Hooper, Bowling Green, KY
'59 Thunderbird convertible
There's a lot to be said for keeping history intact. Joseph Hooper is one of those numbers-matching guys who has always owned nice, restored examples. His '59 T-bird, which he has owned for over two decades, was in the midst of being bounced to yet another shop when a friend recommended he take it to D&D Specialty Cars in Van Buren, Arkansas. Joseph wanted to restore the 'Bird, but D&D kept hinting at better things, so Joseph finally came around-and boy did he ever.

The '59 sports a complete Air Ride system, a custom interior, Boyd Coddington 18 and 20-inch wheels, a 428 Cobra Jet FE under hood, and more. The car caught not only our eyes, but those of the judges and spectators, too, with the following awards:

  • Director's Choice-Saturday
  • Mustang & Fords Editor's Choice-Saturday
  • Best Thunderbird-Sunday
  • Best Interior-Saturday and Sunday (popular vote)
  • Top 20 Ford-Saturday and Sunday
  • Best of Show-First Place
  • We were lucky to have enough time to do a complete photo shoot on Joseph's T-bird, so look for a full feature on this way-trick '59 drop-top in an upcoming issue.