By Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMRA and courtesy of Kevin McKenna
If Kevin McKenna gets rattled while going rounds at races, he doesn’t show it.
He was completely composed on his way to a runner-up finish, a win and ultimately the NMRA Super Stang season championship last year in his Mustang, which he drives to each and every race from his home in Indiana.
It scoots with a stock Coyote engine, VMP supercharger, stock transmission and FTI converter, as well as an Eaton TrueTrac, Richmond gear, Strange axles, QA1 double-adjustable shocks and QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft installed by Ramsey’s Performance in Florida.
And to pump up his program for this year, McKenna recently drove his car, which hauls to high 10s in the quarter-mile, all the way to Coastal Dyno in Florida, where BMR Suspension upper and lower control arms and a front radiator support were put in. The trip took thirteen hours, but his strong street-strip car had no trouble.
“We felt as though we had gone about as far as we could go with an almost stock suspension,” said McKenna, who left his car in Florida, flew home to Indiana and will fly back to Florida this week to make test passes in his car in preparation for the highly anticipated BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout, which is this weekend at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
“At this point, we’re mostly playing with shock adjustments,” said McKenna, who also wrapped his JMS wheels with a new set of Mickey Thompson tires. “Honestly, I think the car will be fine with the upgrades and the new Mickey Thompson tires, which were much needed. The old tires were pretty much used up by the final round in Bowling Green last year.”
The annual BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout is a time-honored tradition for most of the racers taking part in it, including McKenna, who has spent time in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle there.
“Bradenton is special because I grew up there and worked at the track when I was a teenager,” said McKenna. “I have a lot of great memories there that go well beyond winning the 2018 Spring Break Shootout.”
McKenna, a writer for NHRA.com and National Dragster, hopes to make all six events on this year’s NMRA tour, and while he wants to put down plenty of solid passes, he’s not going to pressure himself to back up his 2020 NMRA Super Stang championship.
“Winning the championship was a complete surprise,” said McKenna. “Sure, I’d love to win another one but they’re not easy. My real goal for the season is simply to drive better than I did last year. If I do that, and somehow don’t get the same result, I’ll be okay with that.”
McKenna, who will be flying new banners for Kenny Koretsky of Nitro Fish and Tom Stalba’s AA Auto Salvage on his eye-catching car this year, has a lot of support from family and friends, as well as from prominent companies in the racing industry.
“I do have an extensive list of supporters including my wife, Jill; Joe and Becki Cram, Jason Henson, Lloyd Mikeska, Evan Smith and Mark Lacroix, and companies VMP Performance, JMS Chip, Mickey Thompson, QA-1, FTI Converters, Stiffler’s, BMR Suspension, JEGS and JLT.”
In addition to NMRA Super Stang and other championship-chasing categories, the BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout will boast the Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Watson Racing, Mickey Thompson Street Car Challenge, which is new for this year, QA1 True Street, Ace Racing Spring Break Shootout and so much more.