By Mary Lendzion
Clair Stewart has commanded a lot of attention since settling into NMRA G-Force Racing Coyote Stock a few years ago.
He flew to a ninth place and third place finish in points in the category in 2017 and 2018, and then, he was more determined than ever going into 2019.
In his Mustang packing a Gen 2 Coyote engine and G-Force G101-A four-speed transmission and flying Watson Racing and Lucas Oil banners, he began the year by qualifying in the second spot with a 10.18 and finished as the runner-up with a 10.24 against Tim Matherly at the 25th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
The Michigan-based driver then led qualifying with a 10.18 and rowed gears to the Aerospace Components Winner's Circle with a 10.20 against Darin Hendricks at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway, and led qualifying again with a 10.19 before turning on the red light against Jacob Lamb in the semifinal at the Inaugural NMRA Ford Gateway Rumble presented by HPJ Performance in May at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois.
On a roll, he set the pace with a 10.21 and finished as the runner-up with a 10.31 against Carlos Sobrino at the 19th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals in June at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania.
Stewart then qualified in the second spot with a 10.21 and exited in the first round of eliminations with a 10.23 against Randy Soper, who wasn't quite as quick on the top end but had the holeshot on the tree at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.
All eyes were on drivers who had a chance to cement a season championship at the last event on this year's NMRA tour, the 21st Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals in September at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, and Stewart was among them. In his wild wheelie machine, he qualified in the fifth spot with a 10.26, and despite exiting in the second round of eliminations with a 10.37 against Chad Stephens, he earned the 2019 NMRA G-Force Racing Coyote Stock championship.
I've waited twenty years for this, and I couldn't be happier with how the whole team came together to make it happen, said Stewart. My first NMRA win came at the Battle at the NMRA race in Bowling Green in 1999, and it's very cool that we were crowned the champions at the same place.
Stewart will be recognized for his remarkable racing at the NMRA Muscle Car Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components, Dec. 13 at the Indiana Convention Center.
(Please watch for stories on all NMRA champions to be posted on the NMRA and Race Pages Digital websites and in Fastest Street Car in the days to come.)