There is a new fad sweeping the country in drag racing-racers are trading the mushy-sidewall slicks for purpose-built drag radials. BFGoodrich Drag Radial has become the biggest, most-contested class of the series. You'll see lots of seemingly slow launches, but watch-out as these guys have a tendency to put it on the bumper at about the 330-foot markers as the frightening amounts of power kicks in, making for some breathtaking side-by-side action.
2009 Class Records
E.T.: Sean Lyon, 7.95 seconds
MPH: Dave Guy, 182.18 mph
Jason Lee's '86 'Stang spent most of the '08 season on the bumper, but he settled it down in 2009, marching to his first championship. Lyons Motorsports helped put Canadian Enzo Pecchini's ProCharged '88 coupe in four final-round appearances and captured his first win. Now he's focused on number one. David Guy changed his supercharged '96 Renegade to a turbocharger to run Drag Radial and laid down a blistering 7.91 in his first season. Sean Lyon finds consistency in his Panhandle Performance turbocharged coupe, tickling the 7-second zone at nearly every event, downing the champ at the season finale. The turbocharger gang of Matt Bell and his wild wrapped Fox hatch, Orson Johnson's wheelstanding SN-95 drop-top, and Ken Ewer's Fox coupe (pictured) will be hunting the ProCharged ponies. Keep an eye out for the surprise performance from Steve Thompson's stock-appearing, nitrous-powered coupe.
It will be standing room only, 'cause no wheelie bars are allowed in this class. At this power level, at least one or two of the players usually end up dragging the bumper cover off. EFI Renegade is reserved for fuel-injected, automatic-transmission cars-no turbochargers allowed. If you want to win in this class, you will have to choose from the list of acceptable non-intercooled street-oriented blowers or multiple stages of juice.
2009 Class Records
E.T.: Alton Clements, 8.38 seconds
MPH: Alton Clements, 165.27 mph
The Clements family's 4.6 Four-Valve-powered Fox coupe earned a trip to the finals in the last two '09 events, set both ends of the record, and won the championship. Big Dan Rawls set the record several times in 2009 with his giggle-gas-enhanced, Lightning-laden Fox en route to a two-out-of-three final-round record. Bart Tobener's Vortech-blown, Navigator 5.4-powered '93 coupe rocketed it's way to three consecutive finals. Brian Tuten's docile-looking, nitrous-injected coupe picked up a win and Larry Hourcle's Ed Thomas-tuned, blown'88 LX hatch stomped the competition on the back half of the season. Chris Van Gilder's blown convertible may be the dark horse of the class.
No whining allowed, 'cause old-school horsepower is the only path in Hot Street. You will adore the sweet sounds of a small-blocks wound up to 10,000 rpm. These cars feature powerplants from the top engine builders in the country. These builders showcase their talents in the NMRA's version of Pro Stock-small-block Ford-style.
2009 Class Records
E.T.: Charlie Booze Jr., 8.55 seconds
MPH: Charlie Booze Jr., 157.89 mph
Coal-miner Don Bowles resurrected a '70 Maverick, made five finals, and collected two wins and his first championship at 71 years young! Robby Blankenship introduced a gorgeous '04 Cobra and won the 2008 title. He won two final rounds in 2009, just missing a title repeat. Mad Max Gross left his coupe at home to pilot the Team Powerhead '89. Former champ Charlie Booze backed up both ends of the record for the second consecutive year. He's been NMRA and NMCA champ simultaneously-a dangerous threat. Manual-transmission wizard Bangin' Bob Hanlon's infamous slapstick '79 is capable of out-rowing any of the autos. Roush engine builder Ben Mens is always a threat, and Downs Racing Rick Riccardi's Capri knocked down some pretty stout numbers by year's end.