After Upgrades, Kevin McKenna Ready to Unleash Car at Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout

By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Kevin McKenna and by NMRA

In his eye-catching and enviable Mustang, Kevin McKenna motored to a win, a runner-up and a semifinal finish while competing in the NMRA Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle category the past couple of years.

But after giving NMRA ROUSH Performance Super Stang a try at the Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing last summer at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois, he decided that he wanted to move to that category in the 2020 race season.

“I sometimes struggled with the full tree used in Ford Muscle, but I feel like I can be competitive with the pro tree in Super Stang,” said McKenna, who has under the hood of his car a stock Coyote engine topped with a VMP supercharger. “I’m better suited for it.”

Recently, McKenna drove his car, which traps 10-second times at the track, from his home in Indiana to Florida. The trip put 1,000 miles on the odometer of the car that gets 20 miles per gallon of gas, and it took fourteen hours, but it was worth it, as Dennis Ramsey of Ramsey’s Performance in Lutz, Florida, performed some very worthwhile work on the car.

He upgraded its stock rear-end with a new Eaton TrueTrac, Richmond gear, Strange axles, QA1 shocks and a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft. He also installed a new FTI converter to complement the car’s stock transmission.

“The converter should help make the car a little faster, and that’s one of the reasons we thought it would be a good idea to strengthen its rear-end components,” said McKenna, who also races his car, which has stock exhaust, in the Street Machine category during Hot Rod Drag Week. “The car has been amazing, and we haven’t had any problems, but we would like to do what we can to try to prevent any.”

With that, McKenna — Senior Editor for National Dragster and, whose wife, Jill McKenna, is Hospitality Manager for John Force Racing — is ready for the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Feb. 27-March 1 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. After pulling through the gates of the beloved race track for the highly-anticipated first event on this year’s NMRA tour, he’ll swap his street tires with Mickey Thompson drag radials wrapped around JMS wheels.

“I’ve had my car for five years, and this will be the fourth year that I’ve driven it from Indiana to Florida for this race,” said McKenna, who has help from friends and fellow racers Evan Smith, Anthony Bongiovanni, Joe and Becki Cram, Jason Henson and Lloyd Mikeska at NMRA events, and Mark LaCroix at Hot Rod Drag Week. “I like driving it to each race. It works for me.”