By Mary Lendzion
There are a number of things that draw Larry Firestone to NMRA ROUSH Performance Super Stang, and among them are the competition and the camaraderie.
He has been a part of the category for more than ten years, and while he earned an admirable fifth place finish in points last year, he wanted to achieve more than ever this year in his Mustang GT boasting a 4.6 Valve engine by Brenspeed topped with a ROUSH Performance supercharger.
He began by qualifying in the fifth spot with an .059 reaction time and exiting in the semifinal round of eliminations with a breakout time of 10.98 on an 11.02 dial against Marvin Knack at the 25th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
He then qualified in the fifth spot with an .053 reaction time and exited in the semifinal round of eliminations with an 11.27 on an 11.05 dial against Andy Ransford at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway.
The Leesburg, Indiana resident proceeded to qualify in the sixth spot with an .064 reaction time and exited in the second round of eliminations with an 11.16 on an 11.09 dial against Robert Ball at the Inaugural NMRA Ford Gateway Rumble presented by HPJ Performance in May at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois, and then qualified in the fourth spot with an .033 reaction time and exited eliminations in the semifinal with a breakout time of 11.12 on an 11.25 dial against Ball at the 19th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals in June at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania.
“We had been having issues with the car cutting out all season long, and we didn’t figure out what the problem was until after the race in Pennsylvania,” said Firestone. “After that, the car ran well.”
Firestone went on to qualify in the eighth spot with an .047 reaction time and exited in the third round of eliminations with an 11.26 on an 11.00 dial against Knack at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois. Holding down third place in points going into the final event of the year, the 21st Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals in September at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, he was fierce. He qualified in the eleventh spot with an .078 reaction time, arrived at the always-appealing Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a perfect and ready-to-put-up-a-fight .000 reaction time and an 11.25 on an 11.25 dial against Ball, and secured his first NMRA ROUSH Performance Super Stang championship.
“This was the first year in a long time that I was able to commit to making all six races on the schedule, and I used sheer determination from beginning to end,” said Firestone, who is supported in his racing by his wife, Kristen, as well as Brenspeed. “The competition was very tough. The top four in points are grouped so close together, which shows just how tight the competition was.”
Firestone and his fellow champions will be celebrated 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.)