2009 NMRA World Finals - Final Draw
2009's Final Stop At Beech Bend Raceway
From the March, 2010 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson, Steve Turner
Photography by Michael Johnson, Paul Rosner, Steve Turner
Another NMRA World Finals...
Another NMRA World Finals means another King of the Street competition in the books. We had yet another over-achieving group of Mustangs ready for judgment and several firsts this year. We had our first 1,000hp Mustang, our first 9-second competitor, our first competitor to suffer a damaged car (and not at the hands of Associate Editor Johnson!), and our first car to eat itself not once, but twice. Oh yeah, and we almost had our first KOTS fight, but thankfully, a jawin' session turned out to be the extent of it. This car, owned by Britten Gilbertson and built by Dan Schoneck, was a Johnson favorite. It looks just like Johnson's Cobra back home, give or take fresh paint-and about 500 extra hp.
Get your calendars set-the 2010 NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is set to take place September 30 to October 3, 2010. As such, our annual King of the Street competition will most likely take place September 30 and October 1. Get your Mustangs ready! See More At 50mustangandsuperfords.Com
Bowling Green, KY
With most sports, you go through a full season before reaching a playoff; then a final game to decide a winner. There is the NFL's Super Bowl, the NHL's Stanley Cup, Major League Baseball's World Series, the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament, and soccer's World Cup, just to name a few. Even NASCAR has a "playoff" system to garner more excitement for that sport. (It's too bad we can't talk about college football's playoffs, but that's a debate for another magazine.)
The NMRA doesn't really have a playoff system like these sports-its season is similar to stick-and-ball sports. Racers go through a season trying to pile up points by getting tech'd in, qualifying number 1, setting records, and winning events. But similar to all the mentioned sports, the NMRA season comes down to its World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Though some racers pile up enough points to clinch a championship prior to the World Finals, that's usually a pretty rare occurrence, and happens in maybe 1 or 2 classes out of the NMRA's 12 points-based classes.
As is also the case in many sports, there are those that are always at or toward the top of their respective games. That is also the case with the NMRA. Racers like Dan Millen, John Urist, Don Burton, Conrad Scarry, Don Bowles, Robbie Blankenship, Chris Tuten, Tim Matherly, Bruce Hemminger, Ryan Hecox, Tommy Godfrey, and any of the Motycka boys are always there fighting for a championship at the end of the season. The same was true of the 2009 season, and we were there to document it for the history books.
We saw our old friend Chip...
We saw our old friend Chip "Chris" Havemann in Super Street Outlaw at Bowling Green. Although it wasn't his greatest outing, he has purchased Dwayne James' Calypso Green coupe for the 2010 season. The car sports a Behind Bars Race Cars chassis and cage, and a big single turbo. We look forward to seeing Chip, a former Fun Ford champion who's been racing for years, race in 2010.
Dan Millen finished second...
Dan Millen finished second in points last year in 10.5W, but he rebounded in 2009 to take the Turbonetics Pro Outlaw 10.5 championship. Dan and the Livernois Motorsports' team worked hard at figuring out the car's clutch, which really held back the car's consistency at first. In 2009, we don't remember too many off-pace passes; most of his passes were in the 6-second zone. Though he didn't do well at Bowling Green with a second-round exit, Dan was far enough out front in points to take the championship. We can't wait to see what the Livernois Motorsports' crew does for an encore.
At Bowling Green, AJ Powell...
At Bowling Green, AJ Powell was back at the wheel of his familiar Super Street Outlaw coupe. AJ drove the former Jason Smith, ProCharger-equipped ride to a 7.60/181-mph pass to qualify in the seventh spot, but he wasn't able to make it past Round 2 of eliminations. We recently learned that AJ's eyesight has failed to the point that he's unable to compete anymore-a result of AJ's ongoing battle with diabetes. He had both his cars and all race-related hardware up for sale. We send our best wishes out to AJ!
JPC Racing had Robert Fortin's...
JPC Racing had Robert Fortin's twin-turbocharged '05 Mustang GT at Bowling Green, but because of its combination, it was a bit out of its element racing in Pro Outlaw 10.5. Constructed at JPC Racing, the "sTreet car" features a Rich Groh Racing-built 322ci Three-Valve via a Ford Racing Performance Parts block, and boasts JPC's own intake manifold. The engine receives boost courtesy of twin Precision Turbo 67mm turbos, while suspension needs are addressed by products from Anthony Jones Engineering (front suspension), and Racecraft and Metco (rear suspension components). Aerospace Components' binders bring the car to a halt after making passes in the high-8-second range.
Pro outlaw 10.5
Pro outlaw 10.5
It wasn't the way he'd dreamed of taking his first race win in Pro Outlaw 10.5, but a win is a win. In the end, Jim Brown took the win on a coin flip, but he had to do the work to get to the finals to make that possible. It wasn't just his first win, but the first time he's made it out of the treacherous first round. It was a tough road, as Jim qualified in the middle of the pack with only a 7.54/182 pass in his big-block-powered 'Stang. After Dennis Bailey gave him the easy win in Round 1, Jim had to face the music against Conrad Scarry in Round 2; luck was on his side again as the Scarry team had troubles. As the weather delayed the race, Jim and his final-round opponent both had to get home to face the daily grind, so they agreed on the coin flip. Lady luck was in Jim's corner.
After an absence from the...
After an absence from the class, nitrous maven Sam Vincent took advantage of the home-cooking to return to SSO racing at Bowling Green. Sam revamped his 450ci combo with twin Dominators, a one-off sheetmetal intake, and three blasts of Nitrous Express juice. The mods certainly paid off, as Sam was right in the thick of the qualifying action thanks to a 7.48/184 pass. In Round 2, Sam had his first test against fellow local Joel Greathouse. Joel got the jump, but Sam had a 0.2 upper hand at the stripe. Sam rode a bye into the finals against John Urist, but he spun the tires early in the run and it was all over.
Keith Neal started of the...
Keith Neal started of the 2009 season strong with a big win at Bradenton. He was working hard to close it out in fine fashion too. He qualified just a couple ticks behind eventual champ Dan Millen with a 6.91/200 rip. That ranking squared Keith's twin-turbo, small-block '04 Cobra against Dwayne James in Round 1. Fortunately for Keith, Dwayne was way off pace with an 11-second pass, so Keith cruised to the win. Round 2 found Keith taking on Dan "The Desert Eagle" Millen. Both racers were a bit off their qualifying pace, but Keith was quicker on the Tree and faster to the stripe for the win. Alas, the flip of the coin didn't fall his way.
Super Street Outlaw
Super Street Outlaw
Hellion Power Systems main man John Urist can only wish that his Giants were trying to get one for the thumb. Instead, John cemented himself in the history books as one of the most dominant racers in Mustang racing lore by taking the Bowling Green win and earning his fifth Nitto Diamond Tree ring. This season hasn't been the cakewalk of year's past, however. John had plenty of worthy challengers, and he only qualified in the fifth spot with a 7.52/194 run. However, he would find his e.t. stride in eliminations running a bracket-like string of 7.30 passes every round. While a few racers actually beat John at the Tree, his closest challenger, Don Burton, only got within 0.2. The final round was an anti-climactic race that found John running a 7.31 when he could have coasted to the stripe for another win.
Alton Clements made the switch to modular power this year, and he rode that change to a Bowling Green win and an EFI Renegade championship! The South Carolina racer relied on a little luck when Dan Rawls went out in Round 2 due to a transmission failure, which meant Alton could take the championship if he won the event. Alton utilizes a Sutton HP powerplant, but MV Performance's Tim Matherly provides technical support as well. Alton relies on Vortech power and Pro-Formance Transmissions to help get the power to the slicks. At Bowling Green, Alton ran 8.30s-8.40s on his way to the win.
Jason Lee has flown the ProCharger...
Jason Lee has flown the ProCharger banner for a few years now, and now he can add a Drag Radial championship to his racing resume. Jason pretty much had the championship wrapped up coming to Bowling Green, but he wasn't going to take it easy. He didn't have his best qualifying effort, but he was able to get the car tuned up for eliminations. It was relatively smooth sailing until the final round against Sean Lyon. Sean laid down an impressive reaction time, and Jason, even though he ran an identical 7.97 pass, wasn't able to come around for the victory. However, he does have the championship to take with him into the 2010 season.
Many Drag Radial...
Many Drag Radial racers spent quality time with the tech department at Bowling Green because of turbocharger issues. Sean Lyon even ran into problems with the turbocharger on his Drag Radial ride, but he and the Panhandle Performance crew were able to get them straightened out and repaired in time for eliminations, where Sean was pretty much unstoppable. It wouldn't be till the finals against Jason Lee that Sean would get a side-by-side drag race, but thanks to a 0.421 reaction time, Sean was able to stay out front for the win.
Making it an all-modular final...
Making it an all-modular final round, Bob Cook drove the Sutton HP car to the final thanks to 8.50s all weekend. EFI Renegade was a fun class to watch at Bowling Green with the championship battle still being fought at the event. Bob was doing his part to play spoiler since he didn't figure into the points championship. When Bob races, he's not one to drive like Miss Daisy. He even ran a stellar 8.46 in the semis against Larry Hourcle. He needed another 8.46 or quicker to win the event over Alton Clements, but the car didn't have for the final.
Like EFI Renegade,...
Like EFI Renegade, Hot Street was up in the air at Bowling Green. Usually Charlie Booze Jr. is right in the thick of things, but it was a tough season for the former champ. Charlie simply dominated the race from start to finish, maybe setting the stage for another championship run in 2010. Charlie's Kuntz and Company 400ci combination ran 8.50s all weekend, and when combined with his usual work at the Tree, Charlie's hard to beat. At Bowling Green, it didn't happen.
Early on it...
Early on it looked like Bruce Hemminger had come to dominate. He laid down a blistering 9.49/141 pass to set the tone in Real Street. However, it didn't really surprise anyone that Tim Matherly answered with a 9.47/144 blast to announce that he wasn't going away quietly. At least part of the reason for Tim's impressive performance is the emergence of the Trick Flow Two-Valve parts, but Tim always seems squeeze maximum performance from whatever combo he's running. That played out in eliminations, as Tim blew past Matthew Johnson in Round 1 and edged teammate Jim Breese in Round 2. It was his final-round hit against Paul Wiley that would ring throughout the off-season as he cut down the Tree and put up an astounding 9.43/145 to take the win.
Don Bowles needed some help...
Don Bowles needed some help to win the 2009 Hot Street championship. Defending champ Robbie Blankenship was the only one standing in Don's way, and Max Gross took out Robbie to pave the way for Don's championship run. It wasn't easy for him at Bowling Green. The team had to work on the car quite a bit during the event due to engine damage. Don was able to rally to make it to the final and take the championship in the process.
Packing a fresh bullet from...
Packing a fresh bullet from Roush Competition Engines, Paul Wiley wasn't playing at Bowling Green. However, he did start off in the middle of the qualifying pack thanks to a 9.64/141 pass. Paul has run Real Street longer than anyone in the class, so it's nice to see him pushing toward the top. That's just what he did when it counted. He took out returning racer Craig Baldwin in the first round, before blowing away Kevin Scott with a 9.44/142 pass that showed he can run with the big dogs. He took that swagger to the finals, but Tim Matherly cut down the Tree and ran the low e.t. of the weekend to spoil Paul's storybook ending.
Kevin Scott is our hero. He...
Kevin Scott is our hero. He brought back the spirit of the class rocking a stock-block combo against the race blocks and mod motors, and he's proven he can go rounds. At Bowling Green, Kevin qualified his four-eyed Fox sixth with a 9.81/137. This ranking had him drawing defending champ Bruce Hemminger in Round 1. Bruce had to have everything go his way to have an outside shot at another championship; things went far from his way against Kevin. Bruce reached for the sky and slammed his oil pan into the pavement to give Kevin the easy win. His luck ran out against Paul Wiley's Roush-powered machine in Round 2.
Mark Anderson continued in his dad Ron's footsteps at Bowling Green. Ron always ran well here and the apple didn't fall far from the Tree. Mark had the coupe running 10.teens to put the car in the top spot. Evidently, Mark's shifting issues are a thing of the past. It seems the team has figured out the right cable/quadrant setup to use for quick shifting. At Bowling Green, Mark shifted his way right through the field with 10.teens every pass. In the final, he bested Ryan Hecox to take the event win.
Ryan Hecox was supposed to...
Ryan Hecox was supposed to be retired this year. Instead, he attended every event and did a ton of testing in between races. Ryan tested different components and combinations all year to try and get a leg up on the combination. He started out the year using Associate Editor Johnson's Cobra to get points at Bradenton, and that could've been what kept Ryan in the mix all year. He is your 2009 Pure Street champion by a mere 25 points. To accomplish this feat, he had to go as far as he could at Bowling Green, and the final-round appearance sealed the deal. Though he lost the battle to Mark Anderson at Bowling Green, Ryan won the war in overall points.
Jim Breese is always so close...
Jim Breese is always so close to taking over a race, always at the top of the qualifying list. He runs consistently competitive numbers and does good work at the Tree. Because he's usually near the action, he often runs into teammate Tim Matherly on the way to the finals. Jim qualified right behind Tim and Bruce with a 9.53/142 pass. He took out fellow modular racer Dave Ginter in the first round, and then it was a clash with Tim. These guys don't take it easy on each other. Once they are on the track, it's a race. Jim cut down the Tree on Tim, but Tim had the steam to drive around him on his way to another championship.