The tired boys of Hot Street were the only heads-up racers not down to the final round before the rains came. We say "tired" because they're not allowed to tow their cars up to staging, and there's a slight hill on the way to the lanes at Silver Dollar Raceway. Throw that and warm temps into the mix, and you can see why they would be tired. The class boiled down to Justin Curry, Ben Mens, Andy Schmidt, and Bangin' Bob Hanlon. Justin is the new driver for the School of Automotive Machinists. He was scheduled to get married the weekend of the Milan race, but his fianc agreed to move the wedding date so he could race Ben Mens. If he's able to get past Ben, he races either Andy or Bangin' Bob in the final.
We swear Andy Schmidt's '85 GT isn't cut down to 31/44-scale proportions; his brother, Matt, is a gargantuan 6'7" tall. Andy is just as tall, and they represent the tallest brothers in NMRA land. They're also the fastest brothers in Hot Street. Andy qualified Fourth with an 8.82 and ran an 8.82 in round one, and then an 8.80 to get around Mike Demayo in round two. In the semis, he'll have to line up against Bangin' Bob Hanlon for the right to battle Justin Curry or Ben Mens in the final.
If this Mustang thing doesn't work out for Tim Matherly, we're fairly sure he could get a job as either a meteorologist or a fortune teller. He must have tune-ups in his Real Street broken down in times, and not according to air/fuel tables. He was under the weather at Reynolds, so he knew his first round needed to be good so he could rest until Sunday's eliminations. By running a 9.83 at 137 mph, he accomplished exactly that to be at the top of the ladder. As number-one qualifier, he took a Sunday drive for his first-round bye run, and then beat Donnie "Holeshot" Bosley's nitrous car to the stripe with a 9.87 to Donnie's 10.13. In the semis, Tim took out his MV Performance racing teammate Jim Breese, and he'll be looking at Bruce Hemminger in the other lane for the finals.
Michael Washington from Isle Wynn, Florida, could sense something was amiss with his Real Street ride Sunday morning. He met his goal, which was to put his Factory Stock nemesis Shawn Johnson on the trailer in round one, but he blew up his junk in the process. After trailering Shawn, Michael did a compression check on Robin Lawrence's former engine. The results weren't good, so he packed it in and got a head start on tearing down the engine for a rebuild. Michael thinks a bent valve is the culprit, which kept him from Wynn-ing. He probably thinks we didn't catch the name of his hometown, either. We thought he was from Helsinki, Finland, but what do we know?
For many people, racing is a family affair. Jim Breese is one of those racers. He had the wife and kids with him at Reynolds; apart from a ripped contact lens, it wasn't a bad weekend for the family. He qualified second behind his fellow MV Performance team member and car-builder Tim Matherly with a 9.88 at 137 mph. The Breese pit was relatively quiet when we went to get our hourly Mountain Dew fix. Jim kept his engine cooled and his car wiped off and looking good. Unfortunately, he lost to his car's builder in the semis, but both launched harder than a Two-Valve car has the right to.
Bruce Hemminger was among many racers in love with Silver Dollar Raceway's track surface. "The air is incredible and the track is awesome," he says. According to him, the right lane was better; whenever possible, that's the lane he wanted. Bruce's car recorded a 1.31 60-foot time in the right lane, and anyone worth their VHT knows that's a stellar time. Fortunately, after his first-round 9.87, Bruce had bye runs until the early afternoon rain came. He'll need to get the leave against Tim Matherly in the final at Milan because that's going to be an even race.
Yes, it's still Gene Hindman's old car, but Jimmy Wilson is making it his own with new graphics, and he's beginning to take over the Steve Petty-built engine maintenance. Jimmy has freshened up the engine a couple of times since he purchased the Pure Street winning combination, but the components remain the same with a Dart block, a Bullet Racing Cams custom grind, Brodix Street 5.0 heads, and a Holley SysteMAX II intake. A Centerforce clutch remains in the bellhousing to help the G-Force T-5 make it to the next gear. Jimmy qualified at the top of Pure Street with a 10.29 at 130 mph, took his first-round bye relatively easy, then hammered out a 10.38 to beat Teddy Weaver. Brad Meadows redlit in the semis to hand Jimmy the win. Jimmy ran it out with a 10.31 at 130 mph. He and Ryan Hecox will meet in the final at Milan.
Tommy Godfrey won Bradenton and all of sudden began to like every Internet smack forum. All the talk was to have fun, though, but at Reynolds he sought to back it up and show his Bradenton win was no fluke. We told you in the Bradenton NMRA coverage that Tommy would be in the 11.40s in cooler weather, and at Reynolds he made us look good by qualifying with an 11.46 at 116 mph. Steve Gifford was quicker with an 11.42 at 117 mph. In round one against John Leslie Jr., Tommy bogged off the line to an 11.63, but he had the launch figured out in the semis against Jeff Schmell with an 11.52 to make it to the final round, where he'll meet Jonathan Paulk.