We’re here, and team NMRA is ready to swing for the fences. After NMCA won the Super Bowl shootout in 2016, the Ford folks are chomping at the bit to bring the honors back home to blue oval territory. The 12th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag racing will officially begin shortly, as qualifying at Joliet, Illinois’ Route 66 Raceway is just moments away.
Among the drivers introducing themselves and their cars to NMCA and NMRA competition at this weekend’s race is Gary Roeben, who had been racing X275 across the country but is now getting to know the all-star category that is VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw. In his London Chassis Dyno-built 2004 Mustang Cobra motivated by a BES-built small-block Ford, 85mm Precision turbo, M&M Transmission-built TurboGlide and billet Neal Chance converter, he blew the tires off on his first test hit yesterday, but followed it with what he referred to as a decent second test hit after pulling out some power. With today’s weather conditions being more favorable than yesterday’s, however, Roeben, who declines to share exactly what he laid down in testing, said he’ll likely bring in some power for today’s first round of qualifying.
Running in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade this weekend is Robert Rodgers (right) behind the wheel of Eric Kenward (middle)’s ’91 Ford Mustang. When the engine got hurt at the NMRA/NMCA race in Atlanta earlier this year due to a fuel management system, the guys yanked the EFI and replaced it with a new unit from Haltech instead. McCarty Performance was tasked with rebuilding the engine itself, fab work was done in-house at Eric’s Auto, and an FTI Powerglide transmission with PTC bolt-together converter was slapped on. The combination, which features a Forced Inductions 76mm turbocharger and Chiseled Performance intercooler, was dyno tuned over at Pressurized Solutions while later testing in Huntsville Dragway in Alabama yielded an eighth-mile pass of 4.81 at 151 mph. Yesterday, at Joliet, Rodgers ran a quarter-mile pass of 7.62 at 174 mph with a soft tune and the guys plan to turn up the wick this weekend.
Ryan Rodgers, 12, is the son of proud father and NMRA Edelbrock Renegade racer Robert Rodgers. The family-owned Rodgers Racing Fuel company proudly distributes VP Racing Fuels, and while dad is busy racing and wrenching, son is solidly holding down the fort at the VP truck answering questions and making sales.
Why is Andrew DeMarco’s ’86 Mustang silver? What’s that massive Vortech supercharger doing up front? Why is there a bandage on Andrew’s knee? Why has he disappeared over the past few months? WE HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. Fortunately, DeMarco has answers. Feeling the need for a change, the Boston bad boy went into stealth-mode. He overhauled the Mustang that he’s had since high school and transformed it from black to silver. Under the hood, the ProCharger is gone and a NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw-legal Vortech V28-112 supercharger sits in its place. The massive new unit is plumbed to an SC1-headed 430 ci engine built by ABT Machine, while a new carbon fiber Schoneck Composites front end was installed by Dennis MacPherson at DMC Racing. The weight reduction resulted in a seventy-two pound loss and the new Menscer shocks will help DeMarco make the most of all that horsepower.
The guys in Russel Stone’s pit area were just standing around because, according to the NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw driver, “Kuntz & Co. builds such good motors that we don’t need to do much.” The Mustang he’ll be driving this weekend is actually his old nitrous car from the 2016 season, but the new turbocharged setup is a recent development that’s only got three passes on it to date. The diminutive 360 ci Kuntz engine packs quite a punch considering the car weighs in at only 2,700 pounds.
While Richmond Gear Factory Stock driver Bryan Gardner was looking for a clean A to B hit in this afternoon’s first round of qualifying, he didn’t get it, as the tires on his 1979 Mustang spun at the 60-foot. Unable to turn it into something worth saving, he got off the throttle and got back to his pit area, where he planned to mull over his data to determine what the chassis and combination consisting of a Coyote engine, new converter and C4 transmission, might want for tonight’s second round of qualifying. “I’ll probably begin by making shock adjustments, and then go from there,” said Gardner.
Bart Welte comes to this race seventh in Richmond Gear Factory Stock points, and he’s looking to move up. In his Mustang motivated by a Coyote engine and C4 transmission, he put a 10.78 on the board in today’s first round of qualifying, despite what he referred to as a sluggish 60-foot on a hot track surface, and hopes to coax a 10.76 or so out of the car sooner rather than later. His right-hand man this weekend — and most weekends — is his son, Grant Welte.
2016 NMRA ProCharger Coyote Modified champion Joe Guertin is thinking outside the Fox, er, box when it comes to finding ways to get every ounce out of his ProCharged ’95 Mustang. He had noticed that his previous bumper was forcing air below his intercooler, rather than through it, so he got the blessing from the NMRA rule makers and tech team to use a factory Saleen front bumper. The Saleen seemed like it would direct the air the way he wanted it to in order to produce lower intake temperatures, and the initial data showed a solid drop although further testing will be needed to confirm the findings. Worst case scenario, the car just looks a hell of a lot cooler.
The Hellion Turbo “B-Team” is smoking tires and smoking pork butts over in the pits – thanks to chef Dan Garcia for keeping the team well-fueled.
Do we have a future NMRA racer in the making? NMRA’s 2016 G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock champion Drew Lyons and his wonderful wife, Kristen, welcomed a new member into their family recently – her EcoBoost-equipped 2015 Ford Mustang. We hope to see you out there soon, Kristen!
Andy Manson returned to NMRA/NMCA competition with his VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw machine. The SN95 Mustang spent the week testing at US131 Motorsports Park with PTP Racing’s Jason Lee. The team was sorting a new DiSomma Racing Engine 430ci powerplant that was built specifically for Street Outlaw competition. Armed with a ProCharger F-1X-12R supercharger, Manson ran 4.40s in testing on the Mickey Thompson ET Radial Pro 275/60-15 DOT tires. He event stuck around Michigan to run a Wednesday night No Time Shootout where he advanced to the final round and finished as the runner-up. With one round of qualifying completed in the NMRA/NMCA race, Manson currently sits third on the list of 21 racers with a stout 4.472 at 168.58 mph. That is currently the high speed of the event in the small-tire category. With the night session coming up, the team expects to run even quicker and take a shot at going in the 4.30s.
QUALIFYING RESULTS <<HERE>>
We get started at 8:30 am on Saturday, starting with the third and final round of qualifying action. Check out the schedule here: