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Saturday Coverage | NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing

Posted By: Ainsley Jacobs


Today in St. Louis NMRA and NMCA racers battle in the Testo Showdown where the winners will take home prizes including the beautiful Nitto Diamond Tree Rings. NMRA/NMCA president Steve Wolcott says "Come win my rings!"

Piloting a pristine 1993 Ford Mustang LX that belongs to his son, Derek Grove, wheelman Scott Grove is staying super busy this weekend as he’s driving two separate entries in two classes. His son’s Fox body is entered into NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock for the first time in well over a year, and the car carries a two-valve 4.6-liter engine built by Tony Bischoff between its frame rails with a recently installed Holley Terminator X EFI system. Grove is having a bit of trouble with the combination’s C4 transmission this weekend and is trying to get the car down to competitive weight, but he’s got a plan to hopefully resolve some things despite starting eliminations from a disadvantageous position. Grove is also running a nitrous-injected 2000 Mustang in NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade/NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street and has been working with Chris Ball to get that setup all dialed in as it’s the first time the Ford has been run on radials.

Along with his family, friends, and son Chase, David Purlee is on the property with his 1995 Ford Mustang after nearly two decades off for both car and driver. Under the hood of the SN95 sits a 360 cubic inch engine backed by a clutchless 5-speed manual transmission, the same combination Purlee last ran in Hot Street many moons ago. He revived the entry so that he could attend the upcoming NMRA Ford Homecoming and all its once-in-a-lifetime special events, but decided to first have some fun in NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade/NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street this weekend so he could start proactively collecting championship points as he has another, more purpose-built Fox body still in the works for the class. The latter, a 1993 model which he purchased new, will be powered by a ProCharger-supercharged 420 ci small block Ford running on alcohol.

The quality of entries in the NMRA UPR Products Car Show this weekend have definitely raised the bar, as the fine Fords are turning heads even as they roll through the pits on their way to display.

Keith Ciborowski, current NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade/NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street class contender and son of two-time NMRA Limited Street champion Mike Ciborowski, brought his 2014 Ford Mustang out for its first outing in a few months. The Team Kubota family’s last event was the DXP No Mercy race in late 2022, after which they pulled the car’s transmission and stuck the S197 in a corner of their shop. Two weeks ago, they put the trans back in, bolted on Harts Turbo’s latest 76mm Ultra Street-legal snail, and started the car up. So far this weekend, Keith has gone as quick as 4.594 at 156.17 mph during qualifying to put himself fifth in the large, combined NMRA/NMCA category and he’s still got another shot to improve even further this afternoon.

NMRA Factory Stock racer Damien Stephens’s 1989 Ford Mustang has been doing wheelie well, er, really well lately. After three sessions of qualifying, Damien had gone as quick as 10.193 at 131.64 mph to sit in the number three spot with one session still left to go. Having gone from 2,590-pounds to 3,025-pounds and finally to the current competition weight of 3,325-pounds, Damien has had to make no changes to the Fox body’s suspension bar angles or anything other than some minor tweaks to keep the front end down and is extremely pleased with the “absolutely phenomenal” performance he’s been enjoying recently, adding that the car is “some type of anomaly with the way it works.” Don’t jinx it, Damien!

Driving his son Aaron Worstell’s old high school ride and former NHRA bracket car, Bill Worstell was having fun in NMRA FSC Ford Muscle up until the 1989 Ford Mustang dropped a valve on Thursday evening in testing. Despite the unfortunate incident, Bill wasn’t too upset – especially considering the abundance of passes he and his son had previously put on the aluminum-headed, standard-bore 351 cubic inch Windsor powerplant over the years – and simply got to work making the necessary repairs without much fuss. Just like his son, Bill’s racing efforts are backed by both Team Z and GS Performance.

Somehow, Canadian sensation Chad Stephens talked his brother, Damien Stephens, into doing the dirty work on his Team Dirty Bird 1987 Ford Thunderbird on Friday morning. Chad made a pass during Thursday’s testing to seat a new clutch in his NMRA Coyote Stock entry, but did so without the assistance of his clutch tamer and spun as a result. For the second pass, he added some tamer back in but the ‘Bird took flight with a huge wheelie and ran out of gear still with 200-feet left to go before the stripe. As a result, Damien got to pull the center section so that the guys could make a pinion change and get back in the game in time for qualifying. Fortunately, the family works well together and Chad ran 9.770 at 137.64 mph which put him ninth in the field going into the fourth and final qualifier.

The schedule for Saturday's day of racing will be as follows:

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