Friday Coverage—23rd Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout


It’s about to get crazy here at Bradenton Motorsports Park as the Spring Break Shootout gets underway. There are already over 260 cars tech’d in and as always, the QA1 True Street contingent is loaded up and we’ve already seen at least a half-dozen competitors drive deep into the 8-second zone. If you can’t be here, be sure to check out the live video feed >>HERE<<

Haley James and the Hellion Racing B-Team showed up with a significantly new look to their ProCharger Coyote Modified ride. The patriotic theme isn’t the only upgrade to the potent coupe, which won back-to-back championships, one with Frank Varela behind the wheel and one with James. A fresh MMR Coyote 5.0 engine sits between the frame rails along with a custom designed Hellion Power Systems air-to-air intercooler system. James saw some success late last year at the Street Car Super Nationals when she ran in the 4.90s on 235 radial tires, and while the turbocharger wasn’t legal for NMRA use, crew chief Dwayne James felt they learned some valuable chassis tuning data that will apply to Coyote Modified.

Three-time VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw champion Phil Hines is the lone supercharged entry in the category this weekend. As the turbocharged camp is well represented, Hines has a bit of a surprise for them in the form of a new, nasty powerplant by BES Racing. The engine was enlarged to 441ci while a new pair of Edelbrock SC1 cylinder heads and a Visner Engine Development (VED) billet tops it. The engine also has a revised camshaft profile and an extra point of compression. With a smaller ProCharger F-1X supercharger on board two weeks ago, Hines ran 4.47 right off the trailer. This weekend it has the larger F-1X-12R unit on it as he looks to run quicker than a best of 4.43 at 170 mph in NMRA trim.

Cal Hayward is making his return to NMRA QA1 True Street competition this weekend with an updated and upgraded “Pinky” Mustang. While normally set up to use Mickey Thompson 315mm drag radials, Hayward’s twin turbo Fox body was wearing a pair of 275mm radials and he plans to possibly run ididit Outlaw True Street should he be able to get the power down to the small tires. Between the pair of wheelies and a couple of passes where it broke traction is where Hayward will hopefully find the right tuneup.

Front-mount intercooler, check. Front-fender turbo exhaust exit, check. Roll cage, check. All Stock, maybe not so much, but it sounded cool nonetheless.

Whether you have a tow rig or just need your car detailed, Mr. Clean Mobile is on the premises offering his services to competitors.

Having traversed the continental US from his home in Innisville, Ontario, Canada, Jeff Bloem debuted his new True Street ride yesterday and made its maiden voyage down the 1320, creeping up on the tuneup. Bloem finished 3rd last year in his convertible Fox body and put together the notchback to both drop weight (it’s 550 lbs lighter) and to preserve the droptop as well. The new car went from running and driving 5.0-liter to running and driving 8-second monster in just 3 months, with Bloem and his friends donating parts to the car, or selling and scrapping parts for money for the build. Powering the coupe is a PSP Engines-built 331 based on an A4 block, with Big Stuff 3 tuned by Maximum Performance of Toronto managing the turbocharged combination.

VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw racer and 9-time NMRA champion John Urist debuted “the most high-tech engine ever built for NMRA” with his 360ci billet MMR Coyote power plant. Urist assembled the engine using the new MMR billet aluminum block and stock Coyote heads have been reworked. Gabby Labiosa of EIC Motorsports designed the beautiful intake manifold and Naiser Racing Components fabricated the work of art that directs the boost from the Precision 94mm turbo.

New year, new car—sort of. Vinnie Palazzolo is driving a 2008 Shelby GT500 in VP Racing Fuels, which belongs to Benny Ortiz. The car is normally run in X275 with Palazzolo driving it, but with his machine still getting winter upgrades, they tossed the GT500 and a Precision 98mm turbocharger in the trailer and headed south. According to Palazzolo, they needed to spend more time getting the car to run properly. The Bennett Racing Engines/KBX Performance engine combination is running well, it is the rest of the car that needs fine-tuning. The team is working with a factory-style 3-link, as opposed to the popular ladder bar or triangulated 4-link found under the Fox generation of Mustangs. The team had a successful Thursday test with a best of 4.39 a 170 mph.

Can a racer ever have too much safety gear? In the case of a 10-second G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stocker, adding a SFI 25.5 isn’t required but that didn’t stop Darin Hendricks from having Pro Tree Race Cars add one to his 1993 SVT Cobra. The car is stiffer, safer, and has Hendricks eying up a possible step up to the newly announced Limited Street in 2018. But first, he is focused on chasing after the Coyote Stock championship.

Having won the Tremec True Street Stick Shift Shootout twice, Anthony Heard knows what it takes to be successful in a street car. After stepping away from True Street competition for a couple of years, Heard is back with a brand new car that he only finished a couple of months ago. The faux Terminator still packs a hand shaker, but this time the engine is a fuel-injected, turbocharged 331 small-block as opposed to his previously carbureted Windsor combination. Heard is still getting the setup right in the new ride and is taking advantage of the test and tune runs today to sort it out.

Attending their first NMRA Spring Break Shootout event is Madison, Ohio’s Daniel Watts (at right) and his friend Tom Llewellyn. Watt’s is a former Roush Performance employee who has equipped his 2003 Zinc Yellow Terminator Mustang with a Roush P-51 crate engine, which is tuned by Full Throttle Customs of California. Watts will be banging the gears in his Fidanza-clutched, Tremec Magnum T56 transmission and has already run as quick as 10.24 today.

Last year, long-time NMRA racer Tim Matherly suffered a fire at his MV Performance automotive shop that left both of his race cars burned considerably. Putting the racing community into high gear, Bart Tobener organized a raffle to raise funds for Tim and his plight. Hellion Turbo Systems, UPR Products, Schoneck Composites, Downs Ford, JLT Performance and numerous other companies and racers all contributed to the cause to get Tim back into competition. As his own cars aren’t quite ready yet, Matherly has partnered with Craig Baldwin, who provided his clean 28,000-mile LX Mustang along with its Coyote powerplant. Matherly dropped in his G-Force 101A- four-speed gearbox and this weekend is the first test for the new combination.

G-Force Transmissions Coyote Stock has been growing in popularity since the class’ inception several years ago, and joining the class this weekend is newcomer Mike Nisi of Holiday, Florida. Nisi dropped by the Spring Break Shootout two years ago and decided that he wanted to race with the NMRA. What turned out to be a bracket project grew into a Coyote Stock entry, with Nisi building the car from a $1,500 beat up Mustang GT. Dressed in Highland Green, the Mustang currently sports a TKO, but Nisi said he’ll be switching to the G-Force 101A transmission soon. With barely more than a dozen hits on the ride, Nisi will have his work cut out for him this weekend.

Walter Baranowski of Freetown, Massachusetts, had a recent on-track incident with his ’86 Mustang at Cecil County Raceway last November and it required a new front clip, paint, and a water pump and pulley for his Ford Performance Coyote crate engine. 508 Customs handled the paint and bodywork, which included welding in Scott Rod Fabrications panels to smooth out the engine bay. The quality of work is beautiful and Baranowski is ready to jump back into G-Force Coyote Stock competition this weekend.


The first round of qualifying for the 23rd Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout is in the books. Check out the results <<<<HERE>>>>