Our old friend Roxanne Shepard was on a mission this season, and she and her ride, Tweety
Horse Sense: The closest championship points race came in Factory Stock, with Tommy Godfrey narrowly edging out Steve Gifford by a scant 15 points. Brian Mitchell carried the biggest landslide, besting Bart Tobener by 500 points in EFI Renegade.
When you think of drag racers, the first things that come to mind aren't math equations and Excel spreadsheets, but that's what these guys care about heading into a World Finals race with most of the championship races up in the air. Every racer wants to know what he has to do to speak to the audience at the NMRA Awards Ceremony at PRI. As such, the racers have done all the calculations; worked over all the points; and dropped races, records, and the like to find out. If they're lucky, destiny is in their hands and they only have to win out. If they're unlucky, they have rely on things beyond their control. Either way, it's this sort of mathematical tension that builds our excitement for Bowling Green every year. As it turns out, many of the champions won the World Finals race. Some had to just eke out enough points, others won for the sake of winning, but it proved that the racers on their game most consistently are always the championship players. Some can make a big splash at one race, but it's a lot tougher to get it done all season long. Of course, Bowling Green is a great place to make that splash. Not only is it one of our favorite stops on the NMRA tour, but it's a race completely embraced by the fans. Locals and out-of-towners flock to Bowling Green's intimate stands to take in some of the best racing of the year. If you've never been to the NMRA World Finals, keep reading and see why you should be there next year.
Aeromotive's Steve Matusek stood the Pro 5.0 world on its ear with his new modular-powered entry. Steve put the twin-turbo '07 GT 500 at the top of the qualifying sheet with a 6.54/215.48 shot heard around the world. The full details on Steve's ride are elsewhere in this issue (pg. XX), but the basic combo is a built Ford GT engine and two big turbos resulting in more than 2,000 hp. Of course, the car runs Aeromotive fuel system gear and acts as a rolling billboard for the company. An off run (7.03/211) in round two let the Dan Saitz machine go to the finals and put Steve on the trailer.
Underneath that wild hood treatment is a familiar car in the world of Pure Street, so we're sure Jimmy Wilson's ride felt right at home with the '07 championship, even if he won it by only 25 points. Likewise, the Florida Gators fan feels right at home with championship trophies coming to Gainesville. It wasn't all good fortune for Jimmy, however. He put two-tenths on Larry Weir in round one, but he faced eventual points-chase runner-up Brad Meadows in round two. Jimmy got the jump at the Tree (0.62 versus 0.98), but his motor broke and Brad drove around him (10.35 to 10.46).
A lot of guys were looking to become Mr. NMRA after Ms. NMRA made the rounds passing out T-shirts and flyers.
Do you think the Urist Racing crew felt confident going into the last race?
Pro 5.0 - What makes a champion? Having the ability to "get it done" in high-pressure situations is one of the main criteria, and Tony Bischoff definitely possesses that championship quality. With the Pro 5.0 world championship on the line in round one, Tony defeated Michael Hauf in that first round (which, due to the four-car field, was the semifinal round as well) to nail down the 2007 points title. Later, the newest and more-than-likely last NMRA Pro 5.0 champion (word is the class will be eliminated in 2008) captured his third event win of the season by beating class newcomer, Dan Saitz, in a dramatic, final-round pedalfest. "The track is usually good, but all of a sudden the car just smoked the tires at about 100 feet," says Tony. "So I just kept stabbing it until it went straight. That's usually death for a nitrous motor. It might not be pretty inside when I check it, but it's the end of the year."
Pro 5.0 - Dan Saitz added weight, downsized the turbochargers, and brought his beautiful Shelby GT 500 to Bowling Green to run with the big dogs of NMRA's Pro 5.0 eliminator; the journeyman racer has been a regular at WFC and competed in FFW's Pro class in 2007. After scoring an underdog victory against Steve Matusek's insanely fast turbocharged modular 'Stang in round one and advancing to the final, Dan's Cinderella story came to an end just before the eighth-mile mark in the final round. A broken fuel pump rendered his 'Stang powerless, allowing Tony Bischoff's Cougar to slip and slide by and get to the stripe first.