Whew! The '04 Ford racing season has come to an end, and we're all leftto endure a long winter with thoughts of burnouts, the smell ofhigh-octane fuel, and the visions of heads-up dragstrip battles dancingin our little heads. It has been one of the most memorable Ford racingseasons ever ,with intense competition between teams in all classesthat, more and more, are bordering on professional efforts. And, eventhough some of the action was interrupted by rain, we still enjoyed someof the fastest 5.0 and modular Mustangs ever to have been assembled.With more than eight months of competition, we took on the not-so-simpletask of boiling down the season to the top 10 stories of 2004. So,without further delay, here are the stories you'll want to remember whenyou look back on the '04 season.
Charlie Booze began his racing season like most serious Mustang racers,at the opening event of the NMRA event--at Bradenton Motorsports Park--inearly March. After finishing third in points in 2003, Charlie hadsomething to prove. Teamed with Matt Wirt and his brother Brian, himselfa former world champion in Hot Street, Charlie went on a run the likesof which we have never seen before. Mike Washington made it to the finalround of competition in 2003 without a loss, but Charlie sealed the dealwith a perfect, undefeated championship in this hotly contested,all-motor-monster class. Running a Kuntz 434ci small-block--again, withno nitrous or blower--Charlie was quickly in the high-eight-second zone,establishing the world record. His wild, 300-foot-long wheelstands andunbeatable driving abilities will long be entrenched in our neuralsynapses as the first undefeated season in NMRA history.
As most pundits are calling for the death of Pro 5.0 as we know it,Kevin Marsh and his driver/partner Chuck Samuel dedicated their time,money, and effort toward one of the most memorable Pro 5.0 campaigns inrecent history. Competing almost exclusively at FFW, Kevin and Chuckwent on a tear. Their wild, turbocharged small-block combination went asfast as 6.42-second e.t. at more than 220 mph to establish the FFW WorldRecord as well as wrap up the FFW Pro 5.0 World Championship. Besidesthat, Kevin represented the Ford camp at that Florida street-car race,where Chuck won the coveted Pro Street class in a field of more than 50cars with consistent 6.60s. But, perhaps the sweetest win for this teamcame at the incomparable World Ford Challenge 7 event, where Chuckavenged the demons of holeshots gone by with a dominating victory over afield of 16 Pro 5.0 cars. At WFC7, Chuck and Kevin qualified number one,set the world record, and went on to win--just like their entire seasonin 2004.
The fact that Tim Matherly got into our own NMRA 5.0 Mustang & SuperFord magazine Real Street class and won the championship isn't that biga story. What really got our goosebumps popping is that he did it with amodular Two-Valve car. Tim is an old-school 5.0 Mustang drag racingwarrior who has never lost grasp of the cutting edge with these cars.After looking at the '04 NMRA rule book, he felt he could put together amid-nine-second class dominator--and that's just what he did. His hot,blue '02 GT came equipped with a ProCharger supercharger, and Tim's ownsharp tuning went half the season before someone could beat him. But bythen he had already won enough races to put himself in the top spot ofthe points race with a modular Mustang--the first heads-up NMRA worldchampionship for Ford's modular engine combination!
As if the world of Mustang drag racing couldn't get any wilder, enterthe volcanic NMRA Drag Radial class. Oh, we've seen this coming for thepast two years, but for 2004, fans were fighting for guardrail space justo watch 3,000-plus-pound street Mustangs run low-eights with limitedpower-adder combinations on DOT-legal tires--simply amazing! Toss in thedrama of Phil Clemmons' dominating year despite incredible door-to-dooraction, and it left the crowd breathless while wanting more. There is abrotherhood in the class that transcends the competition, as most racersare craving the rush of drag radial competition while still realizinghow dangerous this class is.