Street, Track, or Show, it is all good at Ponies in the Smokies. And the 2023 Mustang gathering in the mountains of Tennessee was one for the books with Ford enthusiasts riding into town for relaxing entertainment and fun.
As the Holley NMRA Ford Nationals series embarked on its 25th Anniversary season, there was a fresh but familiar location for the storied 29th Annual RYNO Classifieds NMRA Spring Break Shootout Presented by Nitto Tire — Orlando Speed World.
In 2018, NMRA’s sister series, NMCA, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Cobra Jet, and ever since then Cobra Jet owners and fans have clamored for another gathering of Ford’s storied, purpose-built machines.
At any given Holley All Ford NMRA event, you’ll find women of all ages competing in every class, including the top ranks of Renegade, to gear-jamming Coyote Stock, 8.60 Street Race, Open Comp, True Street and more.
The GT500 class was a big hit as fans saw some of the quickest GT500 Mustangs in the country ripping in stock and modified trim. With 760 horsepower from the factory, Ford has made it easy for anyone to hop in and runs 10s at 130-plus mph.
Like many of the NMRA teams, me and my wife, Becky Moldenhauer, have been working hard all winter on our SN95 Coyote Stock Mustang. We made the switch this winter to new front struts, new steering column and the big change going to a 9-inch rear end.
During high school and college, I lived the Mustang dream vicariously through the pages of magazines. Eventually, I bought my first Fox and started modding it as best as a college kid could, but I lived for the days when the magazines would arrive in my mailbox.
After getting back into Factory Stock racing with the NMRA this past year and attending three races, my goal for the winter, and into the 2023 race season is to find at a minimum the 2 mph and two-tenths I'm lacking from being mid-pack in the class.
Bob Barker, The Price Is Right’s beloved former host, made famous the concept of “closest without going over.” The newly minted NMRA SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race class, however, took the iconic idea and reversed it — the closest in the heads-up category to run the number without going under gets the win.
With the off-season coming to a close, we reached out to the NMRA failthfull to see what racers had in store for the upcoming season opener and the 2023 NMRA season. Chris Rusch responded, telling us about the upgrades to his familiar Orange Fury 2018 Mustang GT.