Were here in Milan, Michigan again for the second and final day of the 9th Annual NMRA Ford Nationals. we’ve got a third round of qualifying and the full compliment of eliminations scheduled for today.
In Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, class-veteran Jeff Stafford is currently sitting in the top spot with a .001-second reaction time from the first round of qualifying. It’ll take a perfect triple-zero light in the next round to bump Stafford, and while a tall task, we’ve seen plenty of perfect lights from this bunch.
Nitto Tire Factory Stock is a dogfight for the top spot, with less that four-hundredths of a second separating the number one and number three qualifiers. Matt Amrine’s 10.925 is currently the high-water mark with Louis Sylvester and Carlos Sobrino literally a tick behind. Today should be an interesting one for the nine-car Factory Stock class.
The Blow-By Racing Renegade class is eight competitors strong after the second session, with a ninth pulling in the gates this morning. The combination of class newcomers and veterans has made Renegade exciting to watch so far this weekend . Leading the field thus far is four-time class-champion Brian Mitchell. His 8.42-second qualifying blast puts him a tenth ahead of the number-two qualifier, Chad Allmandinger.
Bart Welte joins the Factory Stock ranks this weekend with his ’89 Mustang, powered by a 309 cubic-inch engine and T5 transmission. With no testing under his belt, he ran in the 11.80s three times yesterday, but says the combination is not optimized and he hopes to see 11.20s or 11.30s soon. “I had been running 10.30s in bracket classes in my other Mustang for a while, but I’ve always been fascinated with these cars so I was glad when I finally got the chance to build one,” said Welte.
John Leslie , Jr. struggled with hitting the tires too hard yesterday. To remedy the situation, and improve his performances, he and his crew chief are in the process of swapping out the pressure plate to one with a lighter clamp load for the final qualifying rounds and eliminations. That should soften the hit and improve his short times.
After a fuel fire swept over Super Street Outlaw racer Phil Hines’ car while it was in the shop a few days ago, he wondered whether he should even attempt to make the trip to this weekend’s event, but ever the racer, he did. While attempting a burnout in his one and only qualifying pass last night, he heard a loud pop and saw water spray everywhere, including his windshield. “The intercooler blew, but you know, that’s racing, and I’ll be back,” said Hines. He may be back sooner that anyone thinks – in time for the next qualifying session, in fact – as Drag Radial racer Jason Lee of PTP Racing rode up to Hines’ pit area on the golf cart and offered a spare intercooler.
About half an hour after we stopped by Hines pit, we stopped by the pits of SSO’s number one qualifier John Urist to see what he was up to. We found him in his trailer wearing a welding helmet and wielding a TIG torch. He’s helping out fellow Super Street Outlaw competitor Phil Hines weld up the replacement intercooler he got from Jason Lee. The pair were working diligently, as Hines has yet to break the beams on an official qualifying pass.
Larry Prykucki, who made his Super Street Outlaw debut at the Florida race, continues his run here in Michigan. Under the hood of his ’92 Mustang is a 360 cubic-inch ProCharger F2 combination being tuned by Drag Radial racer Jason Lee of PTP Racing. An oil leak kept him from making the first two qualifying passes, but he remedied it and was able to make the third hit and ran to the eighth-mile. “It’s a new combination, but we feel the car can go faster than 7.20s and we’re being patient as we work at it,” said Prykucki, whose co-crew chiefs Mike Gabrysh and brother Bryan Prykucki, as well as his family, are helping him out this weekend.
Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning racer Jim Roberts broke his transmission on the starting line in the first round, leaving him concerned about dropping from his current third place in points. “It was frustrating, to say the very least, but I’ll get it fixed up and be back for the next race,” said Roberts.
David Witt made the long haul from Texas to continue his quest for a win in the Super Stang class. His Mustang, which boasts a 302 cubic-inch Brenspeed engine and has been steady in the 10.50s, is tuned by Triangle Speed Shop. “I made it past first round and I want to get to the next round and win, but there are a lot of good racers in this class, so it’s not easy,” said Witt.
FINAL QUALIFYING (ROUND 4)
FINAL ELIMINATION RESULTS: