Today is the big day, as we move hot and heavy into eliminations. As the season comes to a close, many of the championships remain in play and several racers calculated just what they must achieve to move up the rankings in the final tally for 2021. Even those out of contention for the top spots are jockeying to move into the coveted Top 10. Meanwhile, there is a full slate of activities within the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. From the Bigfoot Parade and the Off-Road Experience to the Ford Festival 50 Circle Track race and the Burnout Challenge, the action is non-stop on the Beech Bend Raceway Park property, so stay tuned to this page and our social channels for updates throughout the day.
With wet weather on the horizon, the goal is to complete as much of the racing as possible today. This is how the Saturday action unfolds at the Whipple Superchargers NMRA All-Ford World Finals Presented By Competition Clutch & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival.
After being plagued by tossed belts for much of the season, Chris Holbrook located the issue. It seems the crankshaft was flexing enough to throw off the belts, which is obviously bad for a blower car. With a Sonny Bryant billet crank now holding down the fort in his 327-inch Coyote, the car keeps the belts on and lets the Whipple 3.8-liter supercharger eat. Moreover, it can now breathe deep as the team discovered its throttle body was flexing and closing when more air rushed through. As such, they bolstered the mechanism to allow maximum flow. Putting that power down through a Joel’s on Joy Turbo 400 automatic with a Neal Chance converter, Holbrook clicked off a 4.58 at 161 to qualify in the fourth spot. A regular on the NMCA circuit, he hopes to perform well enough this weekend to end up in the NMRA Edelbrock Renegade Top 10 this season.
This Coyote engine, which once motivated an F-150, is powering a total blast from the past. Formerly owned by Nick Bacalis who raced it in the Hot Street ranks, this classic pony car is now owned by former Renegade racer, Scott Lovell of Swill Racing fame. His longtime partner in crime Dale George worked the magic setting up the car and assembling the Rich Groh-machined engine, which benefits from Stage 3 COMP Cams. Tim Donathen rewired the car with Spaghetti Menders gear. Lovell says the car is a work in progress that he wants to get dialed in before making it pretty. It’s been 12 years since he was behind the wheel of a race car and Lovell ran a 10.50 right off the trailer in ARP Open Comp. The experience left him a bit emotional.
Inspired by riding in a friend’s autocross car, Dakota Pack built the Fox Mustang of his dreams. With the help of his father, Bill, he achieved that goal and brought it out for the first time to run in the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival autocross events. Bill owns a body shop, so he did the work on the car, which is slathered in Abyss Gray paint — a factory F-150 color. Powered by a carbureted, 408-cube Windsor with a solid-roller cam, this coupe is ready to run, but Dakota is still getting the hang of carving up the cones.
As always, there is a strong turnout in the UPR Products Car Show and among the head-turning machines on display is James Graham’s stunning, 1963 1/2 Galaxie. Riding low and sprayed in Pearl Orange, this machine is more than just a looker. It showcases a TVS-boosted Coyote 5.0-liter in its immaculate engine compartment.
It’s not too often that you will see an Ultra 4 Bronco in a four-wheel drift, much less in tandem with Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s Mustang RTR. That’s just the kind of tire-slaying shenanigans that periodically takes place on the oval track during the Whipple Superchargers NMRA All-Ford World Finals Presented By Competition Clutch & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. In addition to the pro drivers, several amateurs are on the property showcasing their car-control skills in drifting exhibitions.
After losing an engine to rods that weren’t up to the task at Norwalk, Del Holbrook’s S550 is back and ready to rock in ARP Open Comp at Beech Bend Raceway Park. Sporting a fresh, Holbrook-built Coyote with rugged Bill Miller aluminum rods this time around, the naturally aspirated machine blasted to a 9.56 with dad, Chris, behind the wheel. Breathing through a Cobra Jet intake and Holbrook-ported Shelby GT350 heads, it puts down 800 horsepower in detuned form. It stays that way for now until Del is ready to take advantage of its full capabilities.
Eliminations begin today and in 16-car Edelbrock Renegade field, Haley James leads the charge with a 4.554, with Joel Greathouse in second at 4.56 and points leader Eric Bardekoff in third with a 4.57.
Fresh off collecting his 2021 NMCA Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw championship at last weekend’s season finals in Indy, Alan Felts arrived at Beech Bend Raceway 6th in points for the NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw class. Felts posted a 4.315 to oust John Urist and his 4.331 from the top qualifying spot.
Ford Performance content creator JoAnna Iacobelli and her husband Bryan Reid are here competing in QA1 True Street this weekend with her 2018 Mustang GT. She bought the car new after moving on from a 10-second Cadillac CTS-V, and being attracted to how easy it is to make power with the Coyote platform. In addition to covering the Ingot Silver paint with a vibrant wrap, Iacobelli added a Whipple supercharger, a built 10R80 transmission, and E85 to get the Mustang to run 8.75 at 160 mph. Iacobelli’s father, Lidio, of Alternative Auto Performance fame handles the tuning duties.
Got street cars? The NMRA’s QA1 True Street class never disappoints at the season finals, and as of Friday, there were 107 cars teched in. New for this event is the Mickey Thompson Street Car Challenge, which is a heads-up eliminator the currently is chock full of 7- and 8-second cars, many of which are also competing in True Street.
After taking in the sights and sounds of the NMRA All-Ford World Finals last year, and competing with his GEN II Coyote-equipped Mustang in another class, Bob Cosby joined the G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock class this year with new GEN III power under the hood of his notchback Mustang. Cosby just recently got the car together and still has a way to go in whittling down his elapsed times. He’s working on the clutch setup currently, but has already been 10.23 at 131.75 mph.
A new addition to the Whipple Superchargers NMRA All-Ford World Finals presented by Competition Clutch and Holley Ford Festival is the off-road section where Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Loren Healy are taking their Ultra 4 Broncos to the dirt and into the air. There is also entertainment from the HooptieX drivers who have brought an interesting assortment of machinery to torture test.
The manufacturer’s midway at the Whipple Superchargers NMRA All-Ford World Finals Presented By Competition Clutch & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival features wide array of companies showcasing their wares. Helping those displays standout from the crowd are some really cool project cars. Painted in bright orange, John Brooks’ 1987 Mustang definitely did the trick in the Stifflers display. Converted to four-eye style, this Fox benefitted from 40 hours of work in converting the floorpan to accept S550 front and rear seats. Under the hood is a pushrod 5.0-liter augmented by an old-school Ford Performance B303 cam, GT-40 heads, and an Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake. It puts down 395 horsepower with a hot tune.
Holley’s own Uncle Robin Lawrence entered his 2012 Mustang Cobra Jet in the ARP Open Comp class. Not only was he competing, but the runs served as test hits for his next NHRA Stock Eliminator event. He bowed out in the first round as Greg Cole took the win, but Lawrence collected good data from his Holley EFI system during the 10.42 at 128 rip.
Among the plethora of Holley Ford Festival activities is a Dyno Challenge where participants look to put down the biggest number to the rear tires. Seeing the cars running wide open on the rollers always attracts a crowd of onlookers.
It’s not every day that you see a widebody Focus, but this one is a true unicorn. One peek under the hood of Jeremy Allison’s 2016 and you will do a double-take. That’s because the EcoBoost engine is long gone. In its place is a Whipple-supercharged Coyote engine. If boosted V8 powered isn’t enough to heat up this hot hatch, there is an NOS nitrous bottle lurking in there to provide a little extra firepower.
Jeff Zissulis of SKYCHARGER is having a blast in the Holley Grand Champion class with his Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. First, he tossed the keyfob to Vaughn Gittin Jr., who had some fun slaying its formerly factory fresh tires. Then Zissulis ran in the top 10 during the autocross competition and posted what could be the quickest Mach-E GT drag strip run to date with a 12.45 at 102.12 mph.
Things didn’t go Frank Varella’s way this weekend in VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw. After breaking a transmission in qualifying, he and Dwayne James hustled to repair it in time for eliminations. Unfortunately, his oil pump then took the opportunity to seize up, which ended his frustrating weekend. However, Varella plans to return better than ever at the 2022 season opener in Bradenton.