The 34th Annual NMRA Ford Expo, held at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, is usually bursting at the seams with all forms of vehicle from the Blue Oval family as in addition to the normal NMRA race and car show, there are special classes for Nostalgia cars and Y-Blocks. Of course, Mother Nature likes to throw a monkey wrench into the gears now and then, and the remnants of Hurricane Isaac threatened the race from the get go. Fortunately, the NMRA race staff was on the ball and was able to get the race completed in the dry spells.
ProCharger Super Street Outlaw was light, with one of the always-there racers in the class, John Urist, at home with his very-pregnant wife, leaving Phil Hines as the only class-regular. Hines was joined by class newcomer Brian Green, who had spark plug issues all weekend. Hines didn’t go easy on the newbie, carding a 7.18 at over 203 mph in qualifying while green sputtered to a 13.86 at 129 mph. In eliminations, Hines took the win unopposed, as Green didn’t get his issues sorted out to his satisfaction.
Blow-By Racing Renegade had a 10-car field with a first-timer in the bunch. After two rounds of abbreviated qualifying, “Titanium Bob” Cook sat on the pole, with a blazing 8.54 at over 160 miles per hour. As eliminations rolled through, Cook was out in the semis against Chad Allmandinger while on the other side of the ladder, Brian Mitchell worked his way into the final round to meet Allmandinger in the final. The pair left with near-identical reaction times, but Mitchell pulled ahead down track to take the win light, 8.49 to 8.64.
AFCO Drag Radial only had one competitor brave the elements and come out, and that was the man wearing the number 1 on his windshield, Jason Lee. He qualified with a best run of 7.64 at over 187 miles per hour and just took the beams for the win.
Edelbrock Hot Street fielded three cars, with Charlie Booze, Jr leading the pack after an 8.62-second trip down the quarter-mile. That gave Booze the bye into the final round, where he faced Don Bowles, who is back after a crash in his other car last weekend. In a stellar final-round race, Bowles and Booze left the line onle .003 second apart, and crossed the stripe with only .010 separating the pair, with booze taking the win light.
Strange Engineering Coyote Stock was lead into eliminations by “HiPo Joe” Charles, with an 11.06 at 122 miles per hour. Charles defeated Shane Stymiest in the semis, while Justin Burcham defeated Jacob Lamb in the semis with a stellar 10.86 to meet Charles in the final. The final round was all Burcham from stripe to stripe taking the win with almost a two-tenths MOV.
In Nitto Tire Factory Stock, Carlos Sobrino led the 9-car field with an 11.06 at almost 123 miles per hour. He cut through his half of the ladder after a brief scare in the first round to make it to the final, while on the other side of the ladder, Kermit Buffington was like a bracket car en route to his first final round appearance. However when the tree dropped it was the Sobrino show, as he lead stripe to stripe and took the win light.
Jason Henson led the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle class in qualifying with a .001-second reaction time. Henson Fell in the first round to Susan McClenaghan who was on her way to the final. Gary Parker made his way through the field to meet her in the final. There a .006 redlight ended McClenaghan’s chance and turned on Parker’s win light.
The Detroit Locker Truck and Lighting number-one qualifier was locked up early on as Patrick Hooper posted a perfect light in the first round of qualifying. In eliminations, it came down Bob Cochran and Joseph Matthews. Cochran ran into problems and slowed over two seconds, allowing Matthews’ 12.64 on a .61 index to take the win.
Charlie Atkinson led the 25-car Trick Flow Open Comp field with a .002 second reaction time. The field shook out to just Dennis Corn driving a 1988 Roush Thunderbird and Greg Essen driving a ’71 Maverick. At the stripe, Corn turned on the win light with a reaction time win over Essen.
Roush Performance Super Stang qualifying was led by Chad Wendel after round one, with a .062 reaction time. However, the final came down to two folks familiar with the final round, Al Miller and Miles Wagoner. In a tight race, it came down to the reaction times as Miller went 12.033 on a 12.03 dial, and Wagoner went 10.909 on a 10.90 dial with Wagoner’s win light coming on.
In Tremec True Street action “Pistol Pete” Ricart took the overall win with a 9.210-second average. Troy Lee runnered-up, averaging only .020-second slower than Ricart. Taking the 11-second title was Ryan Moran with an 11.033 average. Brandon Gray took the 12-second win, while Chad Miller took the 13-second plaque. Fred Carlier took the 14-scond class win, and Melanie Blacker won the 15-second bracket.
With the condensed schedule, the two-day bracket program was condensed down into one day, and the payouts for both days were combined and redistributed to each class. In Bracket 1, William Statczar defeated Dwayne Smith. In Bracket 2, Duane Keiser defeated June Suain and in Bracket 3 Paul Jordan defeated Glenn Reis. In the Nostalgia bracket Larry Berry defeated Stephen Risch, and in the Y-Block Bracket Greg Dietrick defeted Harry Hutten, Jr.