By Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMRA and courtesy of Alton Clements
When Alton Clements was competing in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade, he was a force who had his combination figured out and fine-tuned.
In fact, he had earned two championships in the category before surprising fellow racers and fans by announcing that he was going to give NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw a go in 2018.
He climbed into the driver’s seat of fellow racer Manny Buginga’s famous Mustang known as Little Red, and was well on his way to winning races when a terrible turn of events occurred and he wrecked at a track in his home state of South Carolina in October of that year. Most importantly, Clements was not hurt, but the car, which he had ended up buying from Buginga, was.
“The frame in the front of the car was pretty damaged, and so was the rear quarter panel on the passenger’s side,” said Clements, whose sister, Valerie Clements, holds her own in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade.
Clements delivered the well-built 25.5-chassis car to Lyons Custom Motorsports, where Tim Lyons repaired the front subframe, mounted a new spindle in the right front of the car, and replaced the Weld wheels on the right side of the car that were damaged during the wreck.
Lyons also installed a new passenger’s side rear quarter panel that Clements had removed from a salvage car, and a wing he fabricated for the car rolling on Mickey Thompson drag radials.
Clements’ friend, Kyle Kudukis, mounted a fiberglass front end by Schoneck Composites, fiberglass doors and hood, and Clements secured Optic Armor windows from Derek Craft of Speedcraft Racing.
While that work was being completed, Clements had his DiSomma Racing Engines-built small-block Ford freshened, and Lyons helped him place the engine further back in the engine bay of his car. It was then paired with a new Vortech V-30 105A supercharger.
“It was after talking with Lance Keck from Vortech that I decided to go with the 105 supercharger,” said Clements, who completed his powerplant with a Turbo 400 and a converter by Neal Chance Racing Converters.
With a handsome wrap designed by Greg Russell and made by Chris Smalley of Logos, Signs and Screen Printing, he headed to Shadyside Dragway in North Carolina on Feb. 9, 2020, where he rolled his rebuilt car out of his trailer and prepared it for some shakedown passes.
“We went through the motions of going racing and made sure that the car was watertight and worked well,” said Clements. “We didn’t make full passes, but it was an awesome experience, and I can’t wait to drive the car again.”
Clements plans to be back in NMRA action at the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Feb. 27-March 1 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, where he’ll be one to watch.
“I would like to thank UPR for the support through the years, my mom and dad, Janet and Alton Clements, for all of their help, and Manny Buginga, for giving me the opportunity to drive for him before going on to own this car,” said Clements.