Outlaw 10.5 - In what we like to call the Dubya class, Mike Brown's wicked coupe led from wire to wire at Bowling Green. Sporting twin turbochargers, the coupe carried the wheels to low 7s during qualifying to land in the top spot. When we stopped at his pit, he had recovered from a string of broken parts-a Helicoil pulled out of the rocker stud, five bent pushrods, and a burned-out plug wire-and he was just hoping to go rounds. And go rounds he did. With all six qualifiers in the 7s and speeds hovering in the 200-mph range, we couldn't wait for Sunday's eliminations. With a six-car field, Mike was able to get past Jim Brown in round one and ride a bye into the final. Jim thought the nitrous might loosen up his engine. It did, but to the tune of broken valves and burned pistons in qualifying. We're sure Tim Essick didn't appreciate Mike saving his best pass for the final, but Mike's 7.06 at 195 mph was able to win the race over Tim's 7.28 at a whopping 203 mph.
Outlaw 10.5 - Even though Tim Essick didn't win the battle at Bowling Green, he won the war by winning the Outlaw 10.5W class for 2007. Tim runs a twin-turbocharger setup in his '03 Mustang, which has been good for 7.20s this year. He is continually working on improving front half times, but one thing he has down is how well his car works on the back end of the track. At Bowling Green, Tim repeatedly ran 200-plus mph, but it wasn't enough to get the win over Mike Brown's coupe in the final.
Super Street Outlaw - John "The Fireball" Urist had good reason to bring to bubbly along to Bowling Green. He was in the running for his third SSO championship and had the chance to become the class' first back-to-back champion. The Fireball put himself in good shape with a number-three qualifying pass of 7.48 at 193.65 mph. He took out an ailing Billy Laskowski in round one and got a redlight gift from Mike "Punk" Trimandilis before running into Hellion teammate Jarrett Halfacre. Not willing to lay over for his sponsor, Jarrett blasted off a 7.48 at 1.93, but John got the jump at the Tree (0.008 versus 0.046). That put the championship on the line as John faced Don "Burndown" Burton in the finals. John chopped down the Tree, Don blew up, and the race and championship were decided before John finished his 7.48/192 pass.
Super Street Outlaw - "I have to worry about the yellow car and the red car," Don Burton said in reference to Hellion teammates Jarrett Halfacre and John Urist. Don was gunning hard for the championship, having rented his home track for testing just before Bowling Green, and it showed. He put his silver bullet in the second qualified position just a tick behind Jarrett with a 7.43/199.23. Though the sticky Bowling Green air was clearly nitrous weather, Don was on his game. As it turned out, he had an easy path to the finals. In the last round, it was nitrous big-block versus ProCharged small-block, and the coveted number one was on the line. Don spun just past the 60-foot mark, sending the tires and the chance at a championship up in smoke.
Drag Radial - John Kolivas must be a glass-half-full kind of guy. We asked him how he was doing on Sunday morning, and he said, "so-so." Having qualified in the third spot with an 8.20/174 blast, he obviously expected more, saying he had "hoped for 70-degree days." What he got was warm weather and a track surface that wasn't kind to drag radials. That said, John made it look easy. Only Kevin Fiscus got within three-tenths of him in the second round of eliminations. Every other race was a blowout, and John cruised to the Bowling Green win and a back-to-back DR championship. Sounds better than so-so to us!
Drag Radial - As one of the most experienced racers in the NMRA, it's always great to see Bob Kurgan doing well at the races. After years of success in EFI Renegade, Bob made the relatively seamless transition into a Drag Radial player. He had a few bumps this season, however, with a big crash putting the hurt on his ride and his pocketbook. With the help of sponsors and friends, Bob had the car back on track looking and running great. He qualified Second with an 8.16/171.53 blast, and only Joey Bridge put up a good fight in the second round. Joey beat Bob off the Tree (0.072 versus 0.112), but Bob had the power to drive around him on the big end (8.24 versus 8.30). In the finals it, was John Kolivas swinging the axe (0.012 versus 0.038) and laying down the big power (8.08 versus 8.72), ending Bob's shot at the win. Bob doesn't have time to get down, however. He's gone full time with his business, Kurgan Motorsports.
EFI Renegade - Good things apparently do happen in threes. Brian Mitchell's victory at the NMRA Nitto Tire World Finals marked his third win of the season and wrapped up his third NMRA Renegade championship (which includes back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007). Brian says that despite confirming the points-title early in the event, and although the engine in his 'Stang was suffering (bent crankshaft), taking it easy was never a consideration. "The crank has been bent and wobbling since the Columbus race. For the final, I said to myself, If the crank comes out now, it's just gonna come out. Using a higher-than-usual shift point of 7,900 rpm, and, moreso, thanks to a hellatious holeshot (0.031 versus 0.090), Brian maintained plenty of distance on hard-charging Joel Howard and closed out the final with an 8.66 at 159.17 mph.