Today the day is the day the Ford universe has been longing for as the gates opened for the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. For the first time in the storied history of the NMRA’s season finale, the event’s traditional drag racing, manufacturer’s midway, car show, and swap meet aren’t the only draws. Joining those features are Autocross, 3S Challenge, and Grand Champion competitions in between wild Mustang drifting exhibitions from Mustang stars, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa. The Nitto Tire Ultimate Burnout Contest will fill the oval track with smoke thanks to Cleetus McFarland, and there will also be special Dyno Shootouts. Today it gets underway with test and tune runs for the drag racing competitors, as the track is already brimming with participants, and the other action will heat up tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Here’s a look at the schedule for today’s action on the drag strip.
It’s hard to miss Terry Eshman’s bright orange 2016 Mustang GT, which runs a stout combo of a Bischoff-built Coyote topped by a Cobra Jet-spec Gen 5 blower from Whipple Superchargers. It puts down 1,200 horsepower — courtesy of a Palm Beach Dyno tune — though a Turbo 400 trans set up by Eric Holliday at JPC Racing. Built by BA Motorsports, this S550 has the capability of running eights, which is more than enough to run in the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle class this weekend.
We caught up with Ryan Aycock in the tech line. He put a fresh bullet in his ultra-clean 2012 Shelby GT500. Last year in Bowling Green the car blew the charge pipes off in the first round, which cost him the race. The car hurt the engine earlier in the spring, but he rolled into 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival with a new 5.4 bullet behind twin turbos. Craig Pachar at Triangle Speed Shop will dial in the tune so Aycock can make a run for the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle in the Mickey Thompson Cobra/Terminator vs. GT500 Shootout.
Ready to hurt some V8 feelings in the Grand Champion competition, Mike Gallagher’s Focus RS puts down 520 horsepower, courtesy of a Tune Plus-built 2.3-liter engine, to all four wheels. Those hoops are fitted with massive 315 rubber that required a great deal of custom work by Gallagher. It also features a built trans, coilovers, and suspension bits from Cobb, Eibach, and Steeda. He says this will be his toughest event yet, so it should be fun to see the hot hatch go up against the V8 muscle.
The Hellion B-Team entry driven by Haley James rolls into the finals on solid ground in the Edelbrock Renegade points chase, but that doesn’t mean her team is ready to rest on its laurels. There were multiple boxes of suspension bits ready to go on the car, and a new set of scales to help with the setup. James obviously wants to perform well at Bowling Green, but the B-Teamer also has her sights set on running a few more events after the season.
With the championship out of reach, Bill Putnam plans to swing for the fences in his UPR Products-backed SN-95 Mustang. At Joliet the car destroyed its 8.8-inch rearend and hurt the transmission in the process. As a result, Putnam upgraded the car with a Strange 9-inch rearend. With the stout solid axle in back and the preferred VMP Gen 3 TVS supercharger under the hood of the Coyote-powered machine Putnam and his team are gunning to reset the record in Advanced Fuel Dynamics Limited Street category.
Normally Chad Cornish runs his 1991 Mustang in the bracket category, but this weekend he is competing for the first time in the ARP Open Comp class. A 393-cube Windsor backed by a Powerglide motivates this Fox Mustang, which he expects to run 10.70s after a gear change to 4.56s. Cornish hasn’t run quarter-mile since high school, so it should be an exciting weekend for him. Of course, he was sure to apply plenty of contingency stickers in case he takes a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
After his VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw Mustang was damaged in an accident on the trip home from Joliet, Vince Palazzolo didn’t give up. The car was tossed around the trailer in the accident, but major components survived unscathed. As such, the class points leader heading into the last race found a donor car and swapped over the needed parts to make his car race-ready again. It is on the property at the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival ready to finish strong.
At the close of the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival festivities on Thursdays, racers, families, crew, and sponsors enjoyed a beverage and a slice at the Nitto Tire Pizza & Beer Racer Appreciation Party.