We had a chance to go to the top end of the track when the Outlaw 10.5 class ran, and let me say that it's like the world is coming to an end when these cars are coming through the traps at over 200 mph. It was simply amazing to watch. You owe it to yourself and these racers to check out that view from the top end. You will have new respect for the people and the machines afterward.
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Bart Tobener raised a few...
Bart Tobener raised a few eyebrows trying to look conspicuous with a pair of Goodyear drag radials on the back of his EFI Renegade ride. Bart's Four-Valve beast took to the radials like a professional athlete to a Kardashian sister, qualifying at the top of EFI Renegade with an 8.51. Unfortunately, the "test-session" didn't last as long as Bart would've liked as he fell to Larry Hourcle in the semis.
The event racers had circled on their calendar this season was the inaugural NMRA/NMCA All Star Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. The event brought the NMRA to the heart of NASCAR country, and to arguably the nicest dragstrip in the land.
The purported Taj Mahal of dragstrips, zMax is a four-lane dragstrip with paved areas on both sides of the track, and a tunnel going under all four lanes to make it easy for fans to traverse both sides. The car show, swap meet, and True Street class were on one side of the track, while heads-up and index classes were on the other.
The majority of the Mustangs...
The majority of the Mustangs that race over on the NMCA side of the fence have something other than a small-block Ford under the hood. Thankfully, one of the original 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords' Real Street competitors, Jason Hoots didn't swing that way to race in the Street Radial class. This class is kind of like a more street-friendly drag radial class. Jason runs a Vortech T-Trim, which was good for 9-ohs using a BF Goodrich 275/60/15 drag radial. Jason's familiar LX runs a carbureted 363ci with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads from his Real Street days. Jason beat another one of our Mustang boys John Macaluso in the final to win the event.
Supplanting the Silver Dollar race in Reynolds, Georgia, zMax is the polar opposite of Silver Dollar. Reynolds was out in the middle of nowhere, but thanks to NASCAR's growth, zMax is right in the center of everything. This feature made the swap worthwhile. Though we loved Silver Dollar's personality, zMax's pretty face leaves us wanting to come back again and again.
One thing we could've done without though was the heat. Reminiscent of Joliet a couple years back, the heat was oppressive. When sitting in the stands, you felt like bacon in a frying pan.
However, the race had to go on. Counting the zMax event, there were three stops left on the 2009 tour, so every racer was looking to put on a push for points down the stretch, and finish strong.
We used to see our boys Jesse...
We used to see our boys Jesse Houseman and Brian McKinley at the Maple Grove events, but with those going by the wayside, they have to travel a little farther from their Pennsylvania stomping grounds to race. The duo showed up with Brian's Fox coupe to do battle in True Street. Slightly over-matched, Brian's coupe makes do with a little 306 with Roush 200 cast-iron heads, and a Holley SysteMAX II intake, boosted by a Vortech S-Trim supercharger. While rowing a T56 transmission, Brian struggled with traction issues at zMax, averaging a 12.75 when it was all said and done. Thanks for the A/C, the refreshments, the phone charger repair, and the burgers, guys.
Adam Jude is another racer...
Adam Jude is another racer flying a Vortech flag and carrying drag radials, as well. However, Adam's SN-95 runs a BES Racing 363ci with a Vortech Xi-Trim by wya of a Supercharger Store gear drive. The foundation is a Ford Racing Performance Parts 9.5-inch-deck R-block, while Total Engine Airflow-ported Trick Flow High-Ports reside up top. A TCI 'Glide and converter channels power back to a 9-inch Ford rear, filled with the best parts Moser Engineering can make. The car had run a best-of 8.09 in testing, but in the heat the car was "only" good for 8.20s, which allowed Adam to make it to the semi-final round, losing to eventual winner Dave Guy.
Wanting to change things...
Wanting to change things up a bit, Outlaw 10.5 racer Dwayne James swapped out his twin turbocharged automatic combination for a gear-driven ProCharger and a Liberty five-speed. As everyone knows, this combo carries a steep learning curve, as well. As such, Dwayne still has a little to learn in mastering the clutch setup, but that doesn't keep him from having fun in the meantime. At zMax, Dwayne struggled only to get left behind by Conrad Scarry in Round 1. The combo shows promise but more testing is needed to iron everything out.
Pro Outlaw 10.5
Pro Outlaw 10.5
Speaking of a learning curve, it's safe to say Dan Millen and the Livernois Motorsports crew has his Outlaw 10.5 Mustang figured out. After lots of testing, Dan's turbocharged drive-thru machine now routinely runs in the 6s. Dan even cranked out a 6.85 at 209 mph in the heat to qualify No. 1 over Conrad Scarry and the rest of the Outlaw 10.5 field. Dan was able to keep the consistency going during eliminations as well, getting past Dan Millen in Round 1 and Conrad Scarry in the final.
With the heat, Don Burton's...
With the heat, Don Burton's nitrous-aspirated ride was the odds-on favorite to win. Leading up to the zMax event, Don had good success, and he hoped to carry that through the event. Well, Don made it to the final round, but we know he wanted the outcome to be different. He ran into problems against John MacDonald, who took the big win.
Super Street Outlaw
Super Street Outlaw
The Super Street Outlaw class was a little low on contestants at zMax with only five racers showing up to battle it out in the heat. As usual, John Urist jumped to the front of the line with a 7.40 at almost 195 mph, but a red-light start against Don Burton in the semis meant someone else would get a shot at victory at zMax. John MacDonald was looking for his first NMRA victory, and he took advantage of the opportunity by taking out Chris Tuten with a 7.54, earning him a spot in the final. John had the least problems in the final against Don Burton to take get his first NMRA victory. It wasn't pretty, but a win's a win.