12th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals
NMRA racers put it all on the line for a chance at World Finals Glory
From the May, 2011 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Steve Turner
Photography by Paul Rosner
After torching a cylinder...
After torching a cylinder head in qualifying, John “Johnny Mac” McDonald and his team hustled home to Michigan (an 8-hour drive from Bowling Green), made repairs that included creating a valve seat from scratch, and returned to Beech Bend Raceway Park in time to have Johnny’s ProCharger-blown ’01 GT in the lanes for the first round of eliminations. Despite the yeoman’s effort, another engine failure in Round 2 ended Johnny’s race day, and dashed all hope of him winning the Super Street Outlaw points title.
It’s a wrap! While it’s common knowledge that the Nitto Tire World Finals marks the end of each Mustang racing season, the close of 2010’s schedule brings another bittersweet ending of sorts for the NMRA. The sanction’s Pro Outlaw 10.5 class will have a limited schedule in 2011. However, the void brings the always-exciting Super Street Outlaw class to the forefront as NMRA’s flagship eliminator, which, along with other changes in the organization’s class structure, has us looking forward to all the exciting wheels-up action that’s sure to come in 2011!
Victory is every racer’s number one objective when he or she brings their Mustang to the starting line. And, in a drag race, finishing on top is the direct result of eliminating, or in basic racerspeak, taking out all opponents.
Despite admittedly being one...
Despite admittedly being one of the underdogs in Super Street Outlaw, Chip Havemann ultimately proved to be the biggest take-out artist at the 12th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals. Using a transmission borrowed from John Urist, Chip’s stunning first-round upset over Sam Vincent and semifinals victory against John McDonald (broken/failed to show) helped “teammate” John earn the event win, and more importantly, his sixth SSO world title.
Methods of achieving take-out success on the dragstrip are varied. Of course, simply beating the brakes off the ’Stang in the other lane is the most-preferred tactic. However, wins can also come as the result of a competitor’s driving error, a problem with his car, or even through alliances made with other racers (blocking), in an attempt to help clear a path in eliminations that eventually leads to the Promised Land.
The 5.0 Mustang & Super Ford team witnessed all of the above at the 12th Annual Nitto Tire World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, last October, as event titles and NMRA class championships were earnedand lostby racers who pulled out all the stops to win the ultimate prizes in all-Ford drag racing. We salute each World Finals winner and 2010 NMRA champion.
Through the following photos and captions, we offer a small glimpse of some of the hot happenings that went down in Bowling Green. For more images from the most-exciting weekend in all-Ford drag racing, please visit our website www.50mustangandsuperfords.com.
After several years away from...
After several years away from the NMRA scene, Former ProCharger president Dan Jones returned to Bowling Green to say a few words of remembrance about the late Jim Summers.
In the first round of Real...
In the first round of Real Street eliminations, Dave Ginter must have been eager to take out Craig Baldwin. Dave dropped the hammer and immediately put his SN-95 in the air. He tried to ride it out through Second gear, but once he bailed out of the throttle, the car came down hard and took out a shock and a caster/camber plate.
Associate Editor Mike Johnson’s...
Associate Editor Mike Johnson’s shades provide a cool perspective of our King of the Street contestants. The 2010 KOTS competition featured nine of the baddest street Mustangs on the planet. See the story on page 42.
How many track officials does...
How many track officials does it take to change a lightbulb in a Christmas Tree? At the NMRA World Finals, a bulb malfunction required replacing the entire ‘tree. The fix proved to be ineffective and ultimately led to eliminating the green bulbs on both sides, bringing new meaning to the saying, “Leave on the last yellow!”
Scoring hot Mustang deals...
Scoring hot Mustang deals on the Internet is one thing, but the swap meet area at the NMRA World Finals is really the place to find outrageous bargains on cars and killer parts. We caught this crew as it wheeled a mostly finished, 25.5-certified New Edge roller into the trailer—soon to become a new SSO or Drag Radial car, we’re sure.
Farmer Steve Gifford reviews...
Farmer Steve Gifford reviews video of the wild ride he had in the first round of eliminations. A blown engine sent oil spraying and Steve’s ’98 Cobra spinning. It tagged the wall a few times, and ultimately removed Steve from contention for the Pure Street point championship.
Pro Outlaw 10.5 In a weekend...
Pro Outlaw 10.5
In a weekend that saw Conrad Scarry set new—and final—national records for the category (6.57/220), Conrad, his Kooks-sponsored ’Stang, and the Scarry crew literally could do no wrong in their march to a World Finals victory over Mike Murillo. The win was the team’s fourth of the season, and it secured Conrad’s second-straight points title in Pro Outlaw 10.5.
Super Street Outlaw It seemed...
Super Street Outlaw
It seemed like John Urist’s SSO reign was all but over coming into Bowling Green. John faced stiffer competition from Sam Vincent and John McDonald, and more mechanical issues than in years past. Still, you can’t win five SSO championships without a little luck. He’d need all of it at Bowling Green, but the chips fell his way. John qualified in the third slot with a 7.387 at 188.91. In eliminations, the ladder fell his way and John’s competitors eliminated each other, clearing a path for a Bowling Green win and a scant 10-point victory in the championship points.
Drag Radial Sean Lyon capped...
Sean Lyon capped off a tremendous late-season run with a second final-round appearance—and win—over 2010 Drag Radial champ Jason Lee. Sean’s ’93 coupe ran with picture-perfect consistency throughout the 12th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals, laying down a pole-earning, record-setting 7.82/179.61 qualifying shot, and then running through three rounds of eliminations within a tenth of that super-quick e.t.
EFI Renegade Brian Mitchell...
Brian Mitchell was mathematically out of the championship hunt by the Bowling Green race, but he and Bob Cook were in the mix for second place. Brian needed a strong race to take the spot, and finish strong he did. Brian put his Vortech supercharged New Edge in the number-two qualifying spot with an 8.45, just behind Bob Cook’s 8.42. Chad Allmendinger did Brian a favor by taking out Bob Cook in Round 1, and Brian took care of his side of the ladder, including class champ Chris Van Gilder, en route to the win.
Hot Street “That ring will...
“That ring will have my name on it,” said World Finals winner and 2010 Hot Street champion Charlie Booze Jr., who earned his fourth Nitto Tire Diamond Tree champion’s ring by defeating Keith Courtney, Rick Riccardi, and Don Bowles in the high-rev, naturally aspirated eliminator. Charlie’s Kuntz-powered ’92 GT set the bar in qualifying (8.44/158.93) and improved on that mark in eliminations, posting a best-ever (NMRA-legal) run of 8.38/160 in the final against Don.
Real Street Tim Matherly...
Tim Matherly must have called in a favor with Mother Nature to order up some cool, dry air. In other words, the weather was born for boost. To hear Tim tell the tale, he’d need every advantage to run with number-one qualifier Bruce Hemminger, who laid down a staggering 9.230 at 144.72. By the time the titans clashed in Round 3, Tim found a little power and took out Bruce, 9.24 to 9.30. The final was anticlimactic as Tim put 0.2 on Craig Baldwin to take the win and reclaim the Real Street championship.
Pure Street Shawn Johnson...
Shawn Johnson took over the driving duties of Jim St. Charles’ Pure Street ride midway through the season and didn’t look back. Shawn finished the season by winning the last three races of the year over Brandon Alsept each time. Doing so allowed Shawn to take the 2010 Pure Street championship. We hear Jim’s car is for sale as of this writing. Who wants a championship-winning car?
Factory Stock We should...
We should change Tommy Godfrey’s name to Mr. Factory Stock. Tommy’s dominated the class ever since he entered it. This year wasn’t as easy as previous years for Tommy, but a Bowling Green win catapulted him out of reach of fellow competitors. Tommy let Matt Amrine and John Leslie Jr. battle it out in the semis. John triumphed, but Tommy turned the tables on him in the final.
Modular Muscle After qualifying...
After qualifying 16th with a 0.033 reaction time, Susan Roush McClenaghan marched her ’10 Roush Mustang through eliminations. Locked in with a 9.87 dial-in, Susan started out in the 9.90s, but as the money rounds approached, she synced up with the number on the window. She ran 9.87s in the third and fourth rounds before taking out Gary Parker in the finals with a 9.89.
Open Comp Matthew Paul’s...
Matthew Paul’s road to the Open Comp final included a semifinals showdown with 2010 points champ Brent Blacker, which Matt won when Brent’s GT got majorly crossed up at midtrack. The final proved to be a battle of the quickest as both Matthew and Saul Walker II ran below their indexes, with Matt breaking out by the lesser amount and taking the win.
Trucks Gary Windsor and...
Gary Windsor and his clean black first-gen Lightning ran dead-on an 11.71 index in the Truck and Lightning final, sending Steady Paul Gamino back to Texas as a World Finals runner-up. Gary is another “double-down” racer, as he not only won the eliminator in Bowling Green, he also earned the number one overall ranking for 2010.
Super Stang Terry “Beefcake”...
Terry “Beefcake” Reeves is a Mustang racer after our own heart. Not only did Terry win the Super ’Stang eliminator at the 2010 World Finals, he did it in a 5.0-powered, Vortech-supercharged, 10-second 2011 Mustang GT that he drove to Bowling Green from his home in Amelia, Ohio. That’s hardcore! 5.0