2011 NMRA Bradenton Shootout Event - Gate Changes
The NMRA made changes to its class lineup right out of the gate for 2011
From the August, 2011 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Steve Turner
Photography by Steve Turner
After lower car counts last season, the NMRA knew it had to make adjustments to bring more racers into the fold yet still keep its existing racers in attendance. At many events, there were only three to four cars competing in several of its top classes. So for the '11 campaign, the sanction revamped its class list to get more racers and fans through the gates.
Those outside the metal community...
Those outside the metal community might not know that John Urist’s favorite band, Judas Priest, has announced the members are retiring from world touring. They’ll still make music but the days of big tours are coming to an end with this final Epitaph world tour. To celebrate, John will emblazon his Hellion Power Systems ride with a different Priest album cover at every event this season. First up for the season was Priest’s landmark British Steel cover. John, of course, is far from retirement, but he’s certainly unhappy with the current SSO rules. He qualified well, but spun the tires in round three versus eventual winner Kenjo Kelley, but if you are counting John out, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.
Answering the sudden popularity of 275 drag radial racing, the NMRA made changes to its existing Drag Radial class to open it up to different drag radial brands. With nine Afco Xtreme Drag Radial competitors at the first race, we'd say it was a step in the right direction for the class. Jason Lee was able to get the win with his ProCharger-equipped machine. However, judging by the initial times and mph, it appears the turbo combo may have a slight edge under the current rules, which may necessitate a revision. Either way, we're sure Xtreme Drag Radial will be a hugely popular class in 2011.
Another class to get a shot in the arm was Factory Stock. With the popularity of the '11 Mustang GT, the NMRA legalized use of the Coyote 5.0-powered 'Stang in the class. Several '11 GTs across the country have broken into the 11.0 range, but those numbers have been on slicks. Since Factory Stock is run on drag radials, it's going to take a few races--maybe all year--to see a competitive '11. With Carlos Sobrino crackin' the 10-second zone with his pushrod-powered coupe, and the '11s in the mid-11s at Bradenton, the Coyote crowd has an uphill battle ahead.
Most of the other heads-up classes had the usual suspects, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. As the season heads north, we hope Real Street and Pure Street pick up some steam. Those two classes started off with modest car counts, so hopefully as we go through the season, more racers will show up to do battle.
Until then, check out the captions for the details for the 2011 NMRA season opener.
Horse Sense: NMRA racer Jimmy Wilson got his Pure Street Fox Mustang running the Saturday of the event and thanks Trick Flow for keeping him in the game. Jimmy runs a Trick Flow Box-R intake with Brodix heads atop his 311ci combination. He ran 10.20s each pass except in the Pure Street final, where he slowed to a 10.40.
The overwhelming buzz entering...
The overwhelming buzz entering the NMRA season opener was the introduction of the ’11 Mustang GT to the Factory Stock ranks. Knowing the potential of the Coyote 5.0 powerplant, the old guard of pushrod FS racers had good reason to bristle at the thought of being outmoded by the new kids on the block. The poster child for this movement is Evolution Performance’s purpose-built ’11 GT. As it turned out, there is still a steep learning curve for the new race cars, as both the Evo and Blow-By Racing ’11s fell to the pushrod establishment in the first round.
He made a few races last year...
He made a few races last year to get his SSO feet wet, but Andrew DeMarco is on a mission to make major waves in 2011. He ran strong numbers in testing leading up to the race, even coming way south from his Malden, Massachusetts, hometown just weeks before to make some laps. Andrew runs a Proline Racing Engines combination with a single turbo, so you know this thing hauls. However, the 414ci engine broke a lifter tie-bar (or tie-bah, in DeMarco-speak) during qualifying, which wiped out the camshaft, as well. Andrew dropped off the engine at Proline on the way back home, and the issue was fixed mere days later.
Since our May issue came out...
Since our May issue came out right before Bradenton, our boy and Super ’Stang racer Joe Cram got to see his King of the Street finishing spot while at the event. He wasn’t too happy to see us, but he still brought Associate Editor Johnson a Kangol from Puerto Rico, regardless. He also brought Tech Editor Jones a Kangol Fedora, which Johnson wanted to steal, as well. (Thanks Joe!) As for racing, Joe had to sit at the Tree a little too long in Round 2 against Larry Firestone’s 13.15 index. Joe’s 10.14 index means he sits there for 3 seconds, which does nothing for cutting a stellar reaction time. The first one out of the gate usually has the advantage, and that was exactly the case for Joe at Bradenton. We still love ya, Joe.
Xtreme Drag Radial The NMRA’s...
Xtreme Drag Radial
The NMRA’s drag radial class may have a new name, but many of the same names are still in the mix. Afco Xtreme Drag Radial is basically a 275 class, which is the hottest thing right now in drag racing. Competitors are allowed to use their choice of 275 drag radial, leading to many choosing a Mickey Thompson radial. In one of the more popular heads-up classes at Bradenton, Jason Lee once again rose to the top, even though he wasn’t there at the end of qualifying. Forehead ran in the 7.60s all weekend to take home the win over Sean Lyon in the final. He still relies on ProCharger power to get him down the track.
Super Street Outlaw No stranger...
Super Street Outlaw
No stranger to fireworks, the 10-inch-Tire Freak Show is home to some of the wildest action in the NMRA. This year the class really kicked things off in style with Chris Tuten breaking the 200-mph barrier in qualifying with a 7.20/201 shot. Further down that qualifying sheet was Kenjo Kelley of Brazoria, Texas. Rather than going lights out, Kenjo took a consistent, measured approach to grab the victory. His qualifier, a 7.429-second 192-mph pass, was quicker than any of his elimination passes. That said, he still took out Billy Driscoll, Chris Tuten, and John Urist on his way to the finals. There he squared off with Phil Hines. Kenjo chopped down the tree and Phil didn’t have the steam to reel him in.
Pro Outlaw 10.5 It looks...
Pro Outlaw 10.5
It looks like Tim Essick has figured out his twin-turbocharged, 449ci combination. There’s always room for improvement with every combo, but Tim has made huge strides with his Pro Outlaw 10.5 car. Even with heavy-hitters Dwayne James and Conrad Scarry in the field, it was Tim who qualified head of the pack with a 6.85 at 210 mph. Tim had a pretty easy path to the win on Sunday since Dwayne had catastrophic mechanical issues, and Conrad’s whip was way down on power for the final.
EFI Renegade Though he considered...
Though he considered moving to a faster class this season, it was a different move that kept Brian Mitchell running his tried-and-true combination in Renegade. Instead of building a new race car, Brian Mitchell moved his family into a new house. We can’t argue with his priorities, but his Renegade competitors should have considered chipping in for that new race car. Brian qualified in the number two slot with an 8.55 at 161 mph, which was the top qualified mph. With only five competitors, Brian’s path to a final round against Bart Tobener was short. He needed only to dispatch Bryan Muth in Round 1, but that was no easy task. Bryan was actually quicker than Brian, but the race was won at the Tree. In the final, Bart looked formidable coming off an 8.57 in Round 2, but in the finals, Bart had issues and Brian cruised to the win (8.42 versus 12.52).
Hot Street In recent memory,...
In recent memory, there are always a select few racers that personify a class. When it comes the high-rpm, naturally aspirated maniacs in Hot Street, the poster boy is Charlie Booze. Of course, being successful means you have a target on your car. Charlie is cool under the spotlight, however. He qualified at a familiar spot atop the sheet with an 8.469/154.18 crack, and he was hanging the hoops high on nearly every pass. After driving around the formidable Don Bowles in Round 1, Charlie rode a bye run into the finals against Tim Eichorn. Charlie chopped down the Tree and Tim lit the red bulb, so it was all over just as it started. Chalk up another one for Mr. Hot Street.
Real Street For the past...
For the past few seasons, it was easy to describe Real Street a two-man race, but for the season opener, racers decided to take it literally. The Bruce and Tim show was in full effect, and Bruce proudly told us to scope out the back of his ride for a new addition—a parachute! Though he didn’t crack the 8s, Bruce captured the top spot with a 9.448/143.12 hit. Tim Matherly, who brought his ’01 Bullitt out of retirement, was hot on Bruce’s heels thanks to a 9.478/143.44. In the final and only round of eliminations, the start was dramatic. Tim got the jump, then both cars reached for the sky. With Bruce’s raising higher, it seemed anyone’s race—until Tim couldn’t get his car into Third gear and it was all over. In his first Bradenton appearance in several years, Bruce took the convincing win 9.41 to 16.31.
Pure Street Brandon Alsept...
Brandon Alsept came to Bradenton with a new wrap on his Pure Street ride but the same basic combo from 2010, which is a carbureted Two-Valve powerplant—with a stick. Brandon ran 10.20s pretty much all weekend. For the final round against Jimmy Wilson, he played with his carburetor’s jetting, which picked up the car for a 10.15 at 131 mph. For Jimmy’s part, he was also running 10.20s, but fell off in the final to a 10.40, also at 131 mph.
Factory Stock The influx...
The influx of 2011 Mustang GTs in Factory Stock added numbers to the class, but for the first race out, the usual suspects still ruled the roost, minus several-time-champion Tommy Godfrey. However, there’s still good ol’ Carlos Sobrino to battle it out with John Leslie Jr. and the gang. Having looked under the hood and inside Carlos’ car, the thing doesn’t look like it should make it 10-feet, but amazingly, it does. At Bradenton, Carlos ran a 10.98 at 122 mph to qualify at the top. In eliminations, he ran bottom 11s to get the win.
Open Comp Tech Editor Jones...
Tech Editor Jones is the resident Pinto expert—we’re sure he’ll love the ’73 model carried into Open Comp battle by Brent Carver. We’ve known a few Pintos in our lifetime, but none that featured a 289 under the hood like Brent’s. The little small-block motivates the Pinto into the 12.20s, and Brent’s talent at the Tree handles the rest. Brent’s work rewarded him with the Bradenton win.
Truck & Lightning He must...
Truck & Lightning
He must be a wild and crazy guy to haul his ’99 Lightning all the way from Gorchester, Ontario, Canada. Of course, it’s not that crazy for a Canuck to fly south for the spring to soak up some good luck. Steve Martin qualified in the fourth spot of the 18-truck field with an 0.021 reaction time. Once eliminations started rolling, SVT Steve honed in on his 10.54 dial-in, taking out Robert Cauhran, Joseph Matthews, Brian Owens, and Mike Motycka on his way to a final-round clash with former champ Bob Cochran. There Steve was on his game, getting a slight jump at the Tree and running a 10.61 to take his first NMRA victory.
Modular Muscle Susan McClenaghan...
Modular Muscle Susan
McClenaghan was on her game at Bradenton. Susan debuted this propane-fueled ’10 Mustang last year, but now the car features a 5.4-based, 374ci, Roush-built powerplant. In this form, Susan’s dial was a 9.75, and she was right on it all weekend. However, the girl can cut a light as well, but everyone already knew that. Each round, she combined stellar reaction times with dead-on passes to take the win.
Super 'Stang Starting out...
Starting out the season with a robust 23-car collection in the all-S197 class, the two-time returning champ Chris Parisi had yet to win at Bradenton. Would that open the door to his competitors? Not so fast my friends. Chris hovered around his 14.50 dial-in through every round of eliminations, chopping down the Tree on his way. His competition knew they had to get the jump on him, so three of them lit the red bulb, including his final-round competitor, Lloyd Mikeska. Chris took home the easy win, his first at the season opener. 5.0