Excitement builds today at Route 66 Raceway as the 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by FST Carburetors gets into the thick of the action. With a round of qualifying on the slate, racers will have their last crack at jockeying for position on the ladders in the morning before round one of competition kicks into gear as racers strive toward a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
In addition, competitors in the QA1 True Street class will settle the score today, and the winner will lock down a slot in the IDIDIT Performance King of the Street shootout held at this year’s 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival.
You can keep up with all the action right here and live over on SpeedVideo.com.
Who doesn’t love a clean sleeper? It doesn’t get more steal that a former straight-six 1981 Mustang that now runs mid-10-second passes in the QA1 True Street class. The car in question is owned by Jeff McCool, who bought the clean, 50,000-mile Fox with the intent of Coyote swapping the car. He used to race a 1986 Mustang in the category, and he swapped all the brakes and suspension into this car to complement the 5.0-liter engine. McCool bangs gears with a Jerico Performance DR4 four-speed manual, which he says makes it fun to drive.
Judy Staton, who started our pleasant conversation with “I’m a racer from way back,” is behind the wheel of her chock-full of character 1964 Fairlane this weekend. It’s as cool as they come, and we can’t wait to see it in the combined NMCA Gear Vendors True Street/NMRA QA1 True Street category this weekend, and as a special feature of this event, the cruise will include laps on the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR oval beginning at approximately 12:30 p.m. today. With a big smile, Staton, who has owned the car for more than 40 years with her husband and fellow racer, Bill Staton, said she can’t wait.
Edelbrock Renegade racer Curtis Catalon is still tweaking the new combo in his 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra. After hurting his tried-and-true 4.6-liter modular engine, he stepped up to a sleeve 5.8-liter combo and made the change to a Holley EFI system. At this race he is running a new 1.56 low gear, and he only got in one clean pass in yesterday’s session, so he hopes to get a handle on it as we move into eliminations today and make a run toward the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
The UPR Products Car Show is brimming with cool machines today. We spotted Lee McGuffie’s sharp ’89 Mustang LX coupe, which rocks an old school Weiand supercharger topped by an Edelbrock carburetor. It feeds boost to a stock 5.0 short-block fitted with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. His boosted engine is framed by a clean bay adorned with just about every panel offered by Scott Rod Fabrications. The car is McGuffie’s hobby car, and he drives to cruise-ins with his club, Moving Violations.
EB Custom Works’ own Eric Bardekoff is hoping to make moves in NMRA ProCharger Modified Street but converter issues are thwarting his plans. The man from Long Island’s supercharged and Coyote-powered ’16 Cobra Jet ran an 8.05-second pass at Maple Grove when its stator was too loose, and this weekend the 8.464 at 164.57 mph trip in qualifying was the result of a stator that was too tight. A package is scheduled to be delivered with a stator that is hopefully “just right” and Bardekoff will be busy putting his ATI Turbo 400 back in. Fortunately, he’s got help as his father, Jeff Bardekoff, is pitted right next door and running his own ’09 Mustang in NMRA ARP Open Comp.
Also running in the BA Motorsports camp this weekend is Terry Eshman. A new Whipple Gen 5 Cobra Jet blower has been added recently, but the installation of a JPC Racing TH400 trans kit had the guys working until midnight Thursday night. Arriving at Route 66 Raceway at 6 AM on Friday, Eshman’s first hit in NMRA Exedy Racing Modular Muscle wasn’t ideal as all he managed was a burnout before his 2016 Mustang’s two-step decided it wanted to stay on for the long haul. Fortunately, tuner Brandon Alsept turned things around for the latter tries and the car went with all of the horsepressures from its BES 302 ci engine running strong. Now, the guys will focus on working their way up from their “wagon wheel” sized pulley to the “party pulley” and are hopping for low 8s.
Over in Doug Johnson’s NMRA G-Force Racing Coyote Stock pit, a clutch change was just wrapping up this morning. Johnson, who resides in Maryville, Tennessee, noticed his ’99 Mustang was lagging when it left the line no matter how much power he put in it, so it was time for a new Fidanza clutch in hopes of improving in the third qualifying session from his earlier 10.708 at 126.36 mph effort. Over the winter, Johnson also upgraded to a Team Z Motorsports 9” rear end and added all new rear suspension, which may also be contributing to the team chasing their tails as they get things dialed in.
A massive QA1/Gear Vendors True Street field of over 120 cars got underway with a meeting before moving to the cruise, which took a fun ride to Chicagoland Speedway for laps around the NASCAR oval. Then racers hit Route 66 Raceway for three back-to-back laps down the quarter mile.
NMRA ProCharger Modified Street hot shoe Bob Cook has been having a heck of a weekend already, and we haven’t even started eliminations yet. On Thursday, he hurt his ProCharged ’90 Mustang’s transmission, got it fixed thanks to on-site help from Dave Klaput of Proformance Racing Transmissions, and then proceeded to hurt it again yesterday. The issue was that it kept pulling a bushing out of the pump, so now a new bushing with more clearance and a resolution to the issue that Cook believes was causing it should hopefully have him in the clear. He runs a 314 ci engine that he built himself, with machine work from Rich Groh Racing and is currently working on a 427 ci engine for his Fox body to be able to get back to NMRA Edelbrock Renegade competition where he first ran in ’99.
The first qualifying session for Andy “The Abuser” Johnson in G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock was good despite the driver not quite hitting all his shift points spot on. The Oklahoma-based plot pushed his ’91 Mustang to the quickest pass of the class in the second qualifier, but was a little over eager at the start and left before the green came on so the run wasn’t official. Nonetheless, he still got good data and is hoping to duplicate the run later on this weekend. His battery swelled and died, too, but NMRA/NMCA Technical Director Roger Conley came through with a loaner replacement XS Power battery instead. Additionally, adjustments in the bellhousing have helped get Johnson where he wants to be, along with revalved struts and rebuilt shocks by Yancey Rodriguez at Santhuff.
Next door in Canada, Chad Stephens (left) has been busy chasing electrical gremlins in his NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock “dirty bird” ’87 Ford Thunderbird. He’s had no tach, no shift line, and no data all weekend long so he’s been having to run old school. Fortunately, Stephens has a good family of friends to rely on and it’s been a group effort to pitch in and save the day. Torrey Brown stepped up by overnighting an EFI interface, Andy Johnson lent Stephens a transmission just so he could try out some different gearing, and both Tim Matherly and Jacob Lamb have also helped out with miscellaneous components. Additionally, the Thunderbird’s original owner and builder, Tony Vece (right) came out for the weekend and is pitching in to help get Stephens back on track.
One of the things the Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by FST Carburetors is famous for is a runoff between NMCA and NMRA drivers who won in their categories, and equally famous are the incredibly impressive Nitto Diamond Tree Rings that each member of the winning team receives. Additionally, for the event this weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, the family of late longtime NMCA racer Bob Curran will generously give $500 to each round winner of the match races that will now be known as the Bob Curran Memorial Super Bowl Shootouts.
Longtime Hellion Turbo B-Team crewman and comic relief, Brian Warcup, is finally getting to head down the track himself this weekend. In November, Warcup’s ‘15 Mustang was shipped out from New Jersey to New Mexico where the Hellion mastermind himself, Mr. Dwayne James, tore down its aluminator engine and upgraded everything to his liking. Dyno Edge in Albuquerque did the install work, including the Hellion Power Systems twin turbo kit featuring 55mm snails, and a full UPR Products rear suspension with BMR Springs and sub-frame brace. A Stifflers drivershaft loop was also added, along with The Driveshaft Shop half shafts and carbon fiber driveshaft. Additionally, the ’15 intake was upgraded to a ’18 piece, and a set of killer JMS wheels were bolted on. Warcup’s Mustang put down 600 wheel horsepower on the dyno, but due to the altitude, James believes it’s more realistically in the 750 neighborhood. John Urist himself transported the completed car back here to Joliet this weekend for Warcup, who is running in NMRA QA1 True Street, and Vinny Palazzolo will be carrying it back to New Jersey.
Over 120 QA1/Gear Vendors True Street competitions duked it out today, but after three back-to-back passes on the Route 66 quarter mile, it was Eric Olson’s sneaky-quick 1983 Ranger that took the overall win and earned a spot in the IDIDIT Performance King of the Street shootout held at this year’s 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. He did so with an 8.54-second average, which edged runner-up Randy Thomas, who averaged 8.72 seconds in his 2010 Shelby GT500. Unfortunately, Olson won’t be able to make the trip to Bowling Green, so another KOTS entry will be drafted from the True Street field there.
The beauty of QA1 True Street is that you don’t have to have the quickest car on the property to take a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. Belinda Moore has 19 such victories to her name, such that some call her the True Street Queen. Today she won the 15-second class with a 15.032 average in her 1995 Mustang GT.
As a result of some on-track incidents and an off-track medical emergency, the schedule has been adjusted for today. Most notably, the first round of eliminations for heads-up categories has been moved up. “The fans have hung out all day and we want to give them a great show. We lost a few hours due the incidents, forcing the change in schedule. Therefore, instead of closing the day with the heads-up cars, we are running them a few hours earlier,” said Rollie Miller, General Manager of NMRA/NMCA.
For results hot off the press qualifying results, click HERE
For ELIMINATIONS results, click HERE
Here’s how all the action will go down tomorrow at the 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by FST Carburetors.