As soon as it was announced that Steeda Limited Street would be introduced at the 19th Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals last fall at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, Kelly Shotwell made plans to be there.
Then, he promptly set the pace in the promising new category with an 8.93 and went to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with an 8.89 in the 1995 Mustang he had purchased from his brother, Casey Shotwell, a few years prior.
The car with a full interior packs a lot of punch with a 347ci engine built by Nyes Racing Engines and topped with Trick Flow 11R heads and a Trick Flow intake. A Precision 7675 turbo takes it to the next level, a JW Powerglide is there to transfer the power to the pavement and Complete Auto Repair and Performance maximizes all of it with a Holley EFI system.
Committed to the category and to being competitive in it, Shotwell, whose crew chief is Bo Webb, proceeded to lead qualifying and land in the winner’s circle at the first three events on this year’s NMRA tour, including the 24th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, the 10th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway and the 18th Annual CJ Pony Parts NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals presented by Vortech in early May at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania.
“The Florida and Georgia races were pretty trouble-free, and as a matter of fact, at the Georgia race, a friend and I took the car to get barbecue and returned with a backseat and trunk full of food for everyone,” said Shotwell. “But at the Pennsylvania race, I wasn’t able to qualify in the first two rounds of qualifying because I was having electrical issues. I had a bad crank sensor, and after we switched it out and we were warming the car up for the third round of qualifying, we heard an exhaust leak and discovered a hole in the crossover from a previous backfire.”
Not willing to let it wreck his weekend, Shotwell, a co-owner of Kil-Kare Dragway in Xenia, Ohio, improvised in a most imaginative way.
“We used a hose clamp and a Dr. Pepper can to fix it, and then I ran to an 8.85 to lead qualifying,” said Shotwell, who holds the category’s elapsed-time and top-speed records with an 8.61 and 159 mph in the car rolling on UPR suspension and Mickey Thompson radials. “Then, I left it there, and went on to win the race.”
Now, Shotwell, who said he does plan to replace the Dr. Pepper can with the appropriate parts, is preparing for the next race on this year’s NMRA tour, the 15th Annual NMRA Ford Super Nationals, June 7-10 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio, where he hopes to go five for five and hold onto his points lead. He’ll have his work cut out for him, however, considering the level of competition in the category and the fact that Complete Auto Repair and Performance will give $250 to whomever sets the pace in qualifying or defeats Shotwell in competition.