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Friday Coverage | Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming

Posted By: Event Coverage Team

Today we hit the track with both kits as the Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming drag racing action transitions from testing to qualifying across the championship, index, and specialty classes running this weekend. Those specialty classes include the 2020+ GT500 Shootout presented by Coastal Dyno, Palm Beach Dyno, Beefcake Racing, and ZPE GripTec along with the TREMEC All-Female True Street class, the Cobra Jet Showdown.


As the action winds down today, racers, crew, media, and fans will kick it old school at the NMRA Pre Party gets things warmed up for the Sticker Dude NMRA Reunion Bash Presented by Edelbrock. These shindigs bring the party back to the pits just like the old days of the NMRA at the Granatelli Motor Sports Hospitality Zone with ice-cold beverages and snacks.


Along those lines, the NMRA Reunion will gather racers, media members, and sponsors from the early years of the series along with iconic figures and cars from the formative years of Ford drag racing propelled by the 5.0 Mustang movement. Those in attendance are sure to engage in some epic bench racing about the good old days to occur while current competitors blast down the Summit Motorsports Park racetrack.


There is so much action this weekend, but don’t forget the massive Manufacturer’s Midway and the huge UPR Products Car Show. These regular features are joined by a host of special features this weekend, including the Anderson Composites Off-Road Alley, the Maximum Motorsports Autocross, the 40th Anniversary Saleen Reunion, the 2020+ GT500 Shootout, 30th SVT Reunion, the Harland Sharp Fox-Body Reunion presented by Foxy Events, and the Cobra Jet Reunion.


Stay tuned to this site and our social channels for updates from this epic Blue Oval celebration throughout the weekend.


Leticia Hughes is committed to having a very competitive racing program. She expects a lot, and as a result, she excels. The racer from Kentucky is currently in second-place in SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race points, and trust us when we say she wants to move up this weekend at the 3rd Annual Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming  at Summit Motorsports Park. Hughes, who relies on a Coyote engine on a TKM shortblock, Whipple supercharger, Turbo 400 by Whatever It Takes Transmission Parts and a Circle D converter to power her Mustang, laid down an 8.65 in the second round of qualifying, after being forced to get out of the throttle in the first round of qualifying, and she and her husband, Rick Hughes, will make sure her car is ready to go for the third round of qualifying. Sharing her passion for racing are her son, Ashton, 19, who is competing in TorqStorm Supercharger True Street and Bracket this weekend, and her daughter, Abbey, who is competing in Tremec All-Female True Street this weekend, both in Ashton’s Mustang.

"Uncle" Robin Lawrence airs out his stick-shift Cobra Jet. Lawrence is competing in the Cobra Jet Showdown this weekend.

Michigan-based racer Tom Hoffman is currently leading NMRA MagnaFuel Open Comp points in his Mustang powered by a 427 cubic-inch bullet by Holbrook Racing Engines,  and he will work to hold onto that lead at the 3rd Annual Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park. Hoffman, who ran to a 9.87 and 9.85 yesterday, and a 9.93 in warmer weather today, has his car dialed in, and rather than feeling extra pressure to maintain the lead in points, he is approaching each round the way he always does. “I have given a lot of thought to the lead in points, and I decided that nothing is different, because I have to try very hard with each and every round, regardless of where I am in points, because everyone in this category is so tough,” said Hoffman. “As always, I’m taking it one round at a time.”

With the old-school meets new-school theme at this year’s Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming event, it is fitting that former NMRA Pure Street racer Jarrod Richards is back at the track this weekend with his OG Pure Street ride. However, this weekend his 17-year-old son Elijah is behind the wheel and racing in the Circle D Specialties True Street class. After a break from NMRA action, the Fox coupe is back in action with the classic engine combination that Jarrod ran back during the 2000 season. The only change is the 289-headed combo now breathes through a carburetor.

A regular on the NMCA circuit running in the MagnaFuel Open Comp class, Mike Winters is the original owner of his ’82 Mustang race car. He joined the NMRA Ford Homecoming part this weekend to compete in ARP Open Comp. He says he is humbled to be here running with a bunch of great racers. He is also hosting his swap meet in the pits with a variety of vintage Ford bits and some pristine vintage oil cans up for sale. 

Part of this weekend’s vibe is celebrating the 5.0 Mustang racing movement that laid the groundwork for NMRA to launch its 25-year run. Not only will the Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming bring together a group of luminaries from the old days, but some of the cars that made a splash back in the day. One of the standouts is the one-time fastest 5.0 Mustang in the world, formerly owned by Racin’ Jason Betwarda and piloted by Mike Ragusa.


Tripp Carter is passionate about racing and the rush he gets from climbing into the cockpit of a race car and competing. He has certainly proven that in his 7-second Mustang Cobra Jet in NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars competition, and this weekend, he is making his NMRA Coyote Stock debut in the 9-second, wheel-standing Mustang he purchased from 2021 NMRA Coyote Stock champion Nathan Stymiest. The car features a Gen III Coyote engine and G-Force Racing Transmissions’ four-speed, and Carter is already rowing those gears Coyote Stock-style, like he has been doing it for years, though he is planning to make a small adjustment to his seat as his arm is hitting it, resulting in bruising. Carter, who was joined by Stymiest for a recent test session, has already put 9s on the board, and he and his girlfriend, Wanda Hunsucker, are focused on getting the new-to-them car dialed in this weekend.

While David Garton usually competes in NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, he is racing his 1968 Cobra Jet in the Cobra Jet Reunion presented by this weekend. The car is powered by a factory 428 Cobra Jet engine and a C4 transmission, and Garton gunned to 10.90, 10.89 and 10.83 in testing yesterday. The Spring Hill, Florida resident has raced other Cobra Jets in NMRA throughout the years, but this is the first time he has raced this Cobra Jet in the series. “The car is running pretty consistently, so I’m not going to make any changes to it, but I’m working on better reaction times today,” said Garton, who has help from his wife, Patty, and longtime friend, Russell Gearhardt

We are set for an exciting weekend of Ford action at the Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming. Not only is the Original Bigfoot here for photos, but this competition truck strapped on the big boots to crush some Brand X machines in the Anderson Composites Off-Road Alley. 

There is some incredible hardware on the property as part of the Cobra Jet Reunion. Brent Hajek brought out a fleet of cool CJs, but one of the unique machines in his collection is this classic F-100 pickup converted to a full Cobra Jet powertrain with a Whipple-charged 5.4-liter engine underhood and a TREMEC manual in the tunnel. His F100CJ was built as a potential SEMA display vehicle for Ford, and it is inspired by an F-100XL package offered by Stu Willson Ford back in the day. That truck was motivated by a 427-cube big-block backed by a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual.


It’s not often that you see one Fox Capri these days, but there are two on the property racing at the Mickey Thompson Ford Homecoming. Matt Harget is running his silver example in Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, while David Woodside is competing with his Destroyer Gray, big-block-powered machine in ARP Open Comp. After chasing a master cylinder issue in Rockingham and missing St. Louis, Harget is making his first trips down the track off the transbrake this weekend, and he hopes not to scrape the bumper. Meanwhile, Woodside is getting closer with each race, having made it to the semis in St. Louis. However, he has the itch to run quicker, so you might see him in a Coyote Stock Thunderbird at some point.

With his usual ride down for engine work, Dennis Hilliard brought out this gorgeous, Grabber Blue 2010 Mustang Cobra Jet to compete in the Cobra Jet Showdown this weekend. Built to Super Cobra Jet specs from a body in white number 30, this car lived a pampered life before Hilliard acquired it. Since then he has put 40 or so passes on the car, but none since he added a Kenne Bell intercooler, a ported lower intake, Strange adjustable coilovers, and radial tires. It should run quicker than its previous-best 8.92 this weekend. 

Here’s a look at how the action unfolds on Friday during the Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming.

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