The sun is shining, the race cars are rumbling, and the 2021 BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout is underway at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Starting with test hits in the morning, racers roll into afternoon qualifying sessions.
Here is how the action unfolds on a beautiful Friday at the 2021 BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
During the off-season Johnny Lightning overcame some serious health issues, but he wanted to kick off the season at the 27th Annual BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout. Before heading down to Bradenton Motorsports Park for the race, he discovered a bad piston and swapped it out. The change restored 100-plus horsepower, so he is hoping to run in the eights this weekend in Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning.
Bill Putnam did so much testing in his UPR Products-backed SN-95 that it needed some refreshing and maintenance. After concluding a successful season last year in Bowling Green, his team made some suspension upgrades to improve the 60-foot times to compensate for the new pulley mandated for his combo. The car is down on power, but his crew chief Sharad Raldiris is confident the car will perform in JDM Engineering Limited Street this weekend.
Running in QA1 True Street at Bradenton Motorsports Park is Kyle Quigley’s 2018 Mustang GT. It pumps out 1,500 horsepower courtesy of a built motor and a Hellion Sleeper twin-turbo system outfitted with Boostlab 67mm turbos. Built by RI Automotive in Tampa, Florida, his ride puts the power down with BMR Suspension. He is gunning for the 10.0 category this weekend.
Running for the first time in competition with the NMRA this weekend, Robin Lawrence’s ride clicked off its quickest run ever — a 10.25 at 129.31 mph — in the first round of qualifying in the Watson Racing Cobra Jet Showdown. The car is running 100 pounds heavy this weekend and the Holley EFI Sales Manager is still getting back into the groove of driving a stick car, so it is off to a strong start.
James Gordon of Tuning by James picked up this Lincoln MKZ to see what the 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine under its hood can do. Totally stock save for a fresh set of NGK spark plugs and one of his custom calibrations, it put down 450 horsepower to the wheels and ran a 12.7 at 107.5 mph. He hopes to lower that time this weekend in QA1 True Street.
Chris Kuhl almost didn’t make it to the 2021 BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout, but when he saw his R-code 1969 Mustang Mach 1 on the event flyer, he knew he had to make the trip down from Michigan. The 49,000-mile example ran a 9.44 on Thursday and he hopes to keep that momentum going in the Watson Racing Cobra Jet Showdown.
Marcelino Sotolongo of Miami, Florida, keeps pushing his Fusion Sport to the limit. In testing on this weekend it ran its quickest elapsed time yet — 11.51 seconds. He says that is a new record for the Fusion Sport.
A veteran of every BMR Suspension Spring Break Shootout event and competing regularly in QA1 True Street and the Ace Racing Spring Break Shootout classes, Tony Whetstone, recently swapped out the AOD automatic transmission in his familiar blue droptop Mustang GT for a Powerglide and is seeing positive results already. The car has previously run a best elapsed time of 7.9 seconds at 33 lbs of boost, and has gone as quick as 8.15 with the two-speed and five psi less boost pressure. So far this weekend, he’s spun twice, and thinks a suspension change may be in order before making the 30-mile street cruise and 3 back-to-back True Street runs tomorrow.
When driver Tommy Annunziata and PHL Racing partner Jimmy LaRocca of LaRocca’s Performance took the 2017 championship title in ProCharger Coyote Modified, the guys decided they needed a new challenge – a whole new car and a move to NMRA Edelbrock Renegade. Instead of cutting up their old ’14 Cobra Jet, they purchased Tony Hobson’s former ’14 Mustang and got to work. The entire suspension was redone by Farks Supercars, weight was taken out, and the car was set up specifically for the target class. Additionally, things such as a removable front nose and larger transmission tunnel made working on the SN95 more “user friendly.” On its maiden voyage, their new-to-them Coyote-powered and Whipple-supercharged car went 4.73 at 149.75 mph with a 1.10-second 60-foot time, and Annunziata is wanting to see some low-4.60-second hits this weekend.
Usually seen over on the NMCA side of things with their Edelbrock Xtreme Street Camaro, Louie Filippides of American Racing Headers fame and his father, Nick (pictured), are running in the NMRA Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown Presented by Watson Racing category this weekend instead. Fielding an entry on behalf of Clifford Pashcal from Paschal Performance, the guys also ran in Martin, Michigan, last year but have already improved this weekend from 8.52 to 8.45. Recent modifications include putting in “a real ice tank” along with a gear change from 3.70 to 3.90, as well as some minor tweaks.
When it was discovered that NMRA Edelbrock Renegade Joel Greathouse’s Mustang had a lifter issue, the KBX Performance crew hustled to get it fixed. Everything was reassembled in time for this weekend’s event, but a leakdown test showed that problems persisted. Thinking it might just be a stuck piston ring, the group decided to make a half-run in hopes it would “unstick itself” but the plan didn’t pan out. Instead, a scuffed piston meant a swap had to be done on Thursday evening in preparation for today’s qualifying sessions.
NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw driver Steve Halprin ran a new personal best of 4.27 at 172 mph in January at the U.S. Street Nationals race at here Bradenton Motorsports Park, and he ran the number again this morning in testing at the 27th Annual BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout. Halprin recently switched his turbocharger over to a new unit from Harts and his Mustang and picked up a few numbers as a result. Managed by the 2019 NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod champion, Don Walsh Jr. of D&D Performance/Walsh Motorsports, Halprin’s combination consists of a 430 ci BES-built engine and M&M Transmissions gearbox.
Drew Lyons of NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock fame is a bit distracted this weekend, as the smile on his face is a result of him thinking about his beautiful new baby girl. Lyons’s Fox body, though, is still getting its own share of attention as it ran like a bracket car when it went 9.86, 9.83, and 9.81 in testing yesterday. Lyons put in a new Gen 3 Coyote engine towards the end of the 2020 season and has been working on keeping the suspension and clutch tuned up to work with the factory-sealed powerplant.
Coming in second in the championship points chase for NMRA Edelbrock Renegade in 2020 prompted Jason Spina to make a few adjustments in hopes of finding an advantage. All new UPR Products rear suspension components went in, along with the AFCO shocks and Moser rear end, to lower the back of the car while also correcting the ride height and instant centers. A new upper intake and a refreshed engine rounded out the changes, but things haven’t gone to plan and now Spina is struggling to combat spinning the tires.
Reigning NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock champion John Leslie has had a hell of a time, and the event has barely started already. Fortunately, he’s got good help from MPR Racing Engines and his crew guys Eddie Bennett and Joe McKernan. After a ton of upsetting circumstances had him and the guys at MPR thrashing nonstop to swap engines to be ready for the race, it seemed the worst was behind him – except it wasn’t. When he finally got to the track early to test, his fuel pump burned up before he could make a run. He overnighted one on Monday but it got lost, so he overnighted a second on Tuesday, and then both showed up on Wednesday. He swapped it, along with his complete clutch setup, and made a run – but put two holes in the engine and then his golf cart died. Tim Eichhorn at MPR generously offered up Tyler Eichhorn’s engine as a loaner, so Leslie hauled down to the shop to throw it in. He came back to Bradenton, and then his trailer jacks stopped working. The overall situation was so unbelievable that the MPR team even gave Leslie a bit of holy water to try and help exorcise any demons and, hopefully, the worst is now behind him so he can be free and clear for the remainder of the event.
On the property at the 2021 BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout with its new street K-member for 2015-2020 Mustangs is none other than BMR Suspension. Weighing in at 26 percent lighter than stock, this unit will accept all the factory suspension bits, motor mounts, and steering racks as well as the available BMR upgrades. This unit can shave up to 24 pounds from the front of a Mustang and Lethal Performance already has the first 50 examples up on its site for preorder.
Mickey Thompson Tires used the massive turnout of competitors and fans to make a new product announcement at their trailer on the NMRA Manufacturer’s Midway. The company pulled the wraps off the ET Street Front, a lightweight radial-constructed front-runner that is DOT legal. According to Mickey Thompson Tires Senior Product Development Manager, Jason Moulton, the team looked at the market and noticed there were plenty of front-runner options for street rods and muscle cars, but the market lacked a lightweight version for street cars. Until now, the modern muscle cars and serious street/strip vehicles relied on the heavier DOT tires or bias-ply skinny tires that aren’t suited for street use. This tire slides into that void in the market and compliments the company’s ET Street S/S and ET Street R drag radials. The ET Street Front saves anywhere from 4 to 8 pounds, depending on which tire you compare it to and also carries a DOT stamp. It is currently available in 5 sizes—26×6.00 (15- and 17-inch wheel diameters), 27×6.00 (15- and 17-inch wheel diameters), and 28×6.00R18. The tire will soon be available from Mickey Thompson Tires dealer as racing season heats up and the country thaws out.