While Hot Street is typically the class where wheelstands reign supreme, the first round of qualifying saw the EFI Renegade boys finding the big hook. Headlining the wheelstand show was Chris Beary in his '97 Cobra. He didn't fair as well in competition, as he fell to eventual winner Bart Tobener in the first round, but Chris left an impression on our cameras.
Justin Burcham and Vinny Barber squared off in a best-two-out-of-three match race to settle their long-running Internet debate over which racer owns the baddest (quickest, fastest, turbo versus supercharger) Three-Valve S197 in the country. With their exciting showdown going down to the wire and both 'Stangs running solidly in the 8s, Vinny and his 88mm turbocharged GT won the battle. However, with Justin's ProCharger-supercharged/nitrous-sprayed Pony posting markedly better e.t. and mph numbers in the losing effort, we're pretty sure the war between the two racers (and power-adders) is far from over.
Pro Outlaw 10.5
With the Pro Outlaw 10.5 points title secured at Columbus, Conrad Scarry and his Scarry Crew teammates' focus was on simply going rounds and winning the event, which was something that they were able to make look easy for most of the '08 season despite major setbacks. "This feels great," said Conrad of his championship and event win. "My team is the best. Even when we're up against it (a blown head gasket and lifted ring land during a qualifying pass forced the team to perform overnight engine surgery at the World Finals), everybody worked together and worked hard to get the car ready, round after round. We're probably going to make some changes on the car that will allow us to race in other select events, but we'll definitely be back in the NMRA to defend our Number One."
"We got our 6-second pass (a 6.954) and I'm happy about that, but of course we wanted to leave here with a win," said Pro Outlaw 10.5 runner-up Ron Lummus. Until the final, he ran no quicker than 7.111 in round wins over Mike DeMayo, who entered the class as an opportunity to test before heading to the NMCA World Finals, and Mike Murrillo, whose reconfigured Star Car (turbos moved from the trunk to the front) was way off the pace. "The learning curve for putting power on the ground with this car has been steep, but my team worked hard this weekend and I'm really proud of them," said Ron. "Once we figure out what the car is trying to say to us, I'm pretty sure we're going to do well."
Super Street Outlaw
After becoming the first Super Street Outlaw racer to win three championships in a row, we felt compelled to ask John Urist if he's getting bored. His response was a flat "no." John obviously loves racing in the 10-inch-tire Freak Show, and apparently loves being the man to beat. At the World Finals, John laid down the law with a blistering 7.36 at 191 mph, which earned him an exhaustive teardown that included scoping out every inch of his ride and even looking at the data logs. John says his new Fox chassis works better than its New Edge predecessor. Obviously he made it through, as he was on the pole Sunday morning. Though a broken rocker arm slowed him in eliminations, his car still had steam and John was quick enough on the tree to take out Kentucky Sam Vincent and A.J. Powell en route to an anti-climactic championship clash with Don Burton in the finals.
Long the nitrous big-block foil to John Urist's blown small-block machine, Don "Burndown" Burton's machine was in the mix till the end. Having qualified in the third spot, Don bested Chris Tuten and Urist teammate Dwayne James; then rode a bye into the finals. As the drama built on the starting line, Don cleaned out his motor with his customary four revs and pulled it to the line. When the tree dropped, a small backfire escaped from the carb, and Don's car stalled as John blasted off for the go-ahead win. Don said he's never had such a backfire in all his years of racing, and added that it wasn't a nitrous backfire or his scoop wouldn't be in one place. The crowd was disappointed not to see another titanic battle in SSO, but obviously not as disappointed as Don.