PWhat a difference a year makes. John "Johnny Mac" McDonald celebrated his 1-year NMRA racing anniversary with his first final-round appearance and a runner-up finish. "This race one year ago was the first NMRA event we ever ran," says Johnny. "We just got the car fired on Wednesday and were behind the gun, but luckily we were able to get a test hit in before the rain came on Friday. Being the only Super Street Outlaw car to go down the track gave us an advantage because the 7.59 from that pass gave us something we could use to tune from. This was my day. I was due, and I couldn't be happier right now."
A.J. Powell celebrated a meaningful Father's Day (after enduring painful chemotherapy, his young daughter was declared cancer free in April) with his first win of the season in the 10-Inch-Tire Freak Show. "We had a low e.t. every round, the track was good, and the car ran like a bracket car through the whole event," A.J. says. "This is probably one of the best Father's Days that I'll ever have."
Joey Bridge overcame a toasted transmission on Friday (fixing the unit ran into Saturday morning, leaving Joey with only one qualifying pass) and wheeled his FRPP 5.4 Aluminator-powered New Edge into the Drag Radial final versus John Kolivas. "Things went well during qualifying, and we basically finessed the tuneup throughout the race and ran low 8.20s," says Joey. "You have to get up for John. We threw more power at the car and it hooked!" The win is Joey's first in NMRA competition. "We won the World Street Challenge which is good, but this is what it's all about."
Runner-up John Kolivas knows he had a lucky weekend, as a near-catostrophic engine problem (broken intake valve) almost ended his race during qualifying. "Fortunately, when it broke it stayed up high in the cylinder and only scuffed a piston," says John. "Brett from Aeromotive and [Renegade racer] Dave Guy used some makeshift parts they each had and worked until 1 a.m. on Sunday to get my stuff fixed-they actually fired the engine at 4 a.m. I would've been headed back home if it wasn't for those two guys, so they get all the credit for us racing at all, let alone making it to the final.
Joel Howard owns Renegade at the Aeromotive NMRA Ford Nationals. Steady high-8.50s and killer reaction times were the keys to his second-straight class title for the event (nine round-wins in two races at Milan without a bye). "We didn't have any issues this time out," says Joel. "I just want to thank all of my friends for helping me." For those of you who haven't seen this super-sano Fox in person, believe us when we tell you the car truly is one of the baddest four-eyed race cars we've ever seen.
Although Dave Guy was disappointed with his late reaction time in the final (0.1868), the Renegade runner-up was happy with the overall outcome of his first race with a completely new setup in his '96 Mustang. "I was lazy on the Tree against Joel, and that's gonna haunt me," says Dave. "That stings, but overall, the weekend was a huge success. It was our first race with a new 25.5-certified chassis. We had good results in testing, but everything changed when we got here and the 60-foot went away big-time. We kept making changes, and luckily we went in the right direction, which was cool. This was my eleventh race in Renegade and I've taken over the points lead. I can't complain one bit. It was a good weekend."