Saturday Coverage — 22nd Annual NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival

After an exciting Friday at Beech Bend Raceway, the 22nd Annual NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival hits its stride today. Heads-up competitors make their last two qualifying runs to establish a ladder for tomorrow’s eliminations action as racers vie for a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.

The massive field of QA1 True Street competitors run their cruise and three back-to-back passes today determining the event category winners. Some of the top True Street racers will fill the final slots for tomorrow’s titanic GForce Performance Engineering King of the Street competition.

Additionally, the UPR Products Car Show, dyno challenge, Burnout Challenge, and Mustang Hub magazine Autocross Shootout pump up the excitement. Competitors in the Holley Grand Champion classes — Vintage, Late-Model, and Truck — make their drag strip runs tonight as part of the competition’s three-pronged event, which also includes autocross and 3S (speed, steering, and stop competition).

And if all that weren’t enough, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea Denofa are wowing the crowd with drifting demonstrations, Cletus McFarland is slaying tires, and even Bigfoot makes an appearance.

The action is hot and heavy in Bowling Green this weekend, so keep checking back here and on our social channels for further updates on all the action at the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival.

This is how the action will unfold today at the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival  
If you had to work yesterday, you missed an action-packed day at the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival capped off by the wild action in Cleetus McFarland’s Ford Festival 50 — a 50-lap race between equal, NOS-injected Crown Victorias driven by the likes of Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea Denofa, and Cleetus himself. We won’t say they ran a clean races, but it was definitely an entertaining spectacle that ended in a multi-car burnout sending a plume of smoke skyward. Another round of this insanity is happening today on the oval.

How do you make sure your G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock engine is inhaling maximum airflow? The secret is in the bucket. One look down into Jacob Lamb’s engine compartment revealed one of his tricks that we never noticed before. His air filter is surrounded by a bucket that is cut open to form a scoop that rams air into the filter. He started looking for a solution that stated with an orange safety cone and ultimately resulted in the current solution — a customized bucket from a hardware store. Lamb earned the second spot in the first round qualifying thanks to a 10.04 at 131 rip last night.

Making the trip down from Michigan, Rob McCarter says the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival is his favorite event of the year. He loves drifting his 1991 Mustang on the Beech Bend oval, not only because of the plentiful track time, but the throngs of fans enjoying the tire-shredding antics. Powering his Fox is a stock-block 5.0-liter filled with good rods and pistons and topped by Trick Flow heads and boosted by a 76mm turbocharger. He bangs the gears with the stock T-5 sending the power to a 5.14-geared rear.

The autocross heats up today at the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, Ron Schoch’s 347-powered ’65 is one of the many competing in the Grand Champion class. He really got into the brakes hard navigating the cones on this run.

VP Racing Madditives racer Phil Hines found himself in an odd situation during testing yesterday when part of his ladder bar rear suspension failed. Looking more like a rock crawler than a drag car, Hine’s ProCharged Mustang got twisted up shortly after the launch, but Hine’s backed out of the throttle sensing something was definitely wrong. He reached out to chassis builder Steve Matukas to repair the bar and get his BES Racing-powered Mustang ready for the second round of qualifying today.

The Bigfoot name is a legend in the monster truck world, and even if you’re not into the car crunching antics, it’s still a site to behold and get your picture taken with.

Looking like the favorite to win the GForce Performance Engineering King of the Street competition, Donato Sierchio clicked off a 7.34 during testing for the NMRA World Finals + Holley Ford Fest at Beech Bend Raceway Park. His turbocharged Mustang is currently the only car on the KOTS ladder that is capable of running in the 7s, but there are still three spots to fill and this event has brought in several cars that look like they could mount a substantial challenge.

The 2020 NMRA season opener in Bradenton saw performances across the categories, and one of the biggest was G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock driver Frank Paultanis posting the first 9-second elapsed times in the crate-motor-based class. The rest of the class has been hunting for 9s all year long, and Chester Drake was the first to get there, running 9.98 at 132 mph during the first round of qualifying to take the top spot going into Saturday.

Ford Performance engineers are on the scene at the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival making exhibition passes in the Cobra Jet 1400 and looking to run even lower in the 8-second zone with this all-electric drag car. It clicked off an 8.33 on Saturday afternoon, which was the quickest it had run so far in public. The CJ 1400 might be electric, but it still makes race car moves and sounds when it runs down the track.

Doug Johnson is just out having fun at the NMRA World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. He hit the chassis dyno with the 2017 Mustang GT he is running in QA1 True Street. Thanks to the addition of a ROUSH Performance calibration and a GT350 intake, the car put down 419 horsepower and 342 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. Yesterday he ran a 12.639 at 113.69 mph personal best in Time Trials, and is eyeing the 13-second category in True Street eliminations today.

It felt like something was off. Lloyd Mikeska just couldn’t figure out why his 2006 Mustang’s performance fell off in Race Pages Digital Ford Muscle. He was ready to start making changes, but had to jump into his 2016 Mustang to run in ROUSH Performance Super Stang. After he completed that run he realized that he was carrying about 100 extra pounds, in the form two fans and a generator, in the trunk of his S197. He was happy it was a simple fix, but he said the lesson learned was “Never get out of your routine.”

Coming off the disappointment of a broken rearend in last year’s Mickey Thompson Cobra/Terminator vs. GT500 Shootout, Ryan and Susan Aycock put his 2012 GT500 at the top of first round qualifying with a personal-best run of 7.70 at 158 mph. Powering the red Shelby is a built, 5.4-liter Modular boosted by an 88mm turbo. These days it has a Racecraft 9-inch out back to ensure it plants all the power controlled by a Triangle Speed Shop-tuned Holley EFI system.

After selling his turbocharged machine to fund his next Fox Mustang racer, David Purlee went old school to earn some points in VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw. He dusted off this original-paint 1995 Mustang that sat under a cover for 10 years. He changed out the injectors, installed some new blower tubing, and bolted on a vintage Vortech XX-Trim supercharger. Running an original FAST EFI setup, this time capsule’s mission for the weekend is getting down into the upper 4-second range.

A rare nitrous racer in the Edelbrock Renegade class, Tim Knieriem was sitting pretty in the number-two qualified spot after round one on the merit of a 4.61 at 155 mph. He hopes to equal that in the warmer air in qualifying today.

Sitting since the Commerce race, Bart Tobener’s Edelbrock Renegade S550 qualified in the middle of the first round pack last night with a 4.77 at 149 rip. Too busy to race or work on the car, he just pulled it out and changed the oil to make it race ready. We walked up as he as using a vacuum bucket to suction out the impurities associated with burning methanol.

Hollywood Gary Parker continues to fight the good fight in the Exedy Mod Muscle class and he has a new sponsor helping him get to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. RC Components provided Parker with a set of its American-made, chrome-plated Torx wheels for his RGR Racing Engines Coyote-powered Mustang.

Bill Putnam set the JDM Engineering Limited Street class ablaze on Friday after laying down an 8.300-second pass at 163 mph in qualifying to take the top spot. Samantha Moore covered second with an 8.42, but the class has its work cut out for it trying to catch the orange UPR Performance Products machine.

Cleetus McFarland and his band of merry Crown Victoria drivers are entertaining spectators on the circle track here at Beech Bend Raceway Park as part of the NMRA World Finals + Holley Ford Fest.

Sean Bryk (pronounced Brick) has owned this 2003 Terminator Cobra for 15 years and told us he was one of the first in his state to convert it from a blower to a turbocharger way back in the day. The Holley EFI-assisted and Chad Epperson-tuned, 4.6-liter-powered snake is boosted by a Precision 76mm turbo and the Bargersville, Indiana, resident has his wife Ellen, and sons Logan, Michael, and Carson here as his crew. Bryk will be giving his good friend Carlos Martinez, who passed away,  a final sendoff when he pulls the parachute today.

New-car blues keep piling up for the Dragzine-sponsored Mustang of James Lawrence, but the championship-cailber team continues to push on. After losing one of its Vortech V-24 superchargers to an errant volute yesterday, the team lost another blower and supercharger driveshaft when the car wouldn’t shift into high gear during qualifying. In addition to the blower carnage, the team decided that the engine should be swapped out for the spare as well, so they have been busy today, but are currently qualified 10th as of round 2.

This is the debut event for Mike Ciborowski’s new Edelbrock Renegade Mustang and the team is happy with the 4.90 run on only its second pass. The team thrashed to get the car ready for this event, but have more plans in the off season to get it ready for the 2021 NMRA season opener in Bradenton in March.