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Martin Connelley Celebrated as NMCA Xtreme Street Champion

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff
Martin Connelly is a very successful racer who has earned several championships in several series, and what he wanted more than anything was to earn one in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street in 2023.
Quite committed and capable, he paired the proven 1990 Mustang he owns with his wife, Michelle, with the powerful big-block Ford owned by Terry Wilson and built by BES Racing Engines. It is enhanced by a Nitrous Express Fogger System by Fast Lane Nitrous, and backed by a TH400 by RPM Transmission and a ProTorque converter. Barely Able Racing uses a  Haltech Nexus R5 VCU for tuning.
Connelley, of Salyersville, Kentucky, was off to a good start at the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Orlando Speed World Dragway in Florida. He set the pace in qualifying with a 4.53 and ran an even quicker 4.52 on a solo pass in the first round. He won the second and third rounds with a 4.55 and 4.52 before steering to the NMCA Winner’s Circle with a 4.49 against the always-tough Bill Trovato.
Focused on another final round finish, Connelley pulled into the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. He qualified in the second spot with a 4.58, and won the first round with a lifting 6.71 when his opponent had trouble. He won the second through fourth rounds with a 4.71, 4.61 and 4.56, and he finished as the runner-up with a 4.89 against Jeff Kinsler, who turned in a 4.64.

The following month, Connelley cruised into the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. He qualified in the fourth spot with a 4.56, won the first round with a 4.55 and exited eliminations in the second round when he was forced to get out of the throttle. Making that loss a little easier to take, he won the event’s Testo Super Bowl Shootout against Terry Wilson.
After making the long trip, Connelley took on the TorqStorm NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Paul’s High Performance in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan. He qualified in the third spot with a 4.54 before winning the first through fourth rounds with a 4.60, 4.59, 4.59 and 4.55, and he went to the NMCA/NMRA Winner’s Circle with a holeshot reaction time and a 4.54 against Terry Wilson’s slightly quicker 4.53.
In the heat of summer, he headed to the 2nd Annual Mickey Thompson NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Sick the Mag in August at Summit Motorsports Park. He set the pace in qualifying with a 4.56, and won the first round with a 4.57. He won the second round when his opponent couldn’t complete his pass, and he lifted to a 7.73 on a solo pass in the third round. He won the fourth round with an impressive .017 reaction time and a 4.78, and he faced longtime racer Bob Cook in the final round and pulled off another win, that time with a 4.71 to Cook’s 4.88.

At the last event of the year, the 22nd Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana, Connelley won the first and second rounds with a 4.63. He won the third round with a quick .009 reaction time and a 4.64, and the fourth round with a 4.67. From there, he finished as the runner-up with a 4.63 against Stephen Barnett, who clocked a 4.58.
All of the wisdom, and all of the work, helped Connelley capture the 2023 NMCA Edelbrck Xtreme Street championship. Incredibly, Connelley also earned the 2023 NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade championship, and the story about that NMRA championship will be featured on
“Years ago, my wife, Michelle, and I went to an NMCA race at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois to watch racing,” said Connelley. “I was very interested in running in the series, and I was always reading about the series and the racers in the series in the magazines. All these years later, I finally got to do it. That makes this NMCA Xtreme Street championship even more special. It was years in the making. I want to thank my wife, Michelle, my son, John Martin, and my daughter, Izzy, as well as Eric Mitchell, Dalton Winfield, Ron Winfield, Cory Brooks, Jason Waterman, Brent Daniel, Terry Wilson, Eric Gash of Barely Able Racing, Tony Bischoff of BES Racing, Robert Lane of Fast Lane Nitrous, Rodney Massengale of RPM Transmission and Jason Martin. I would also like to thank Pro Torque, Haltech, Trick Flow Specialties, Tin Soldier Racecars, Menscer Motorsports, T&D Machine, Hyperaktive Performance Solutions, TRZ Motorsports, Red Horse Performance, Paint By Krusty, VP Racing Fuels and UPR. Without the dedication and sacrifice from these people, we couldn't do this.”
Connelley will be celebrated among his fellow NMCA champions at the Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Nationals Awards, held during the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Dec. 8, 2023, at the Indiana Convention Center, and in the upcoming Champions Issue of Fastest Street Car.


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