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Mustang and Ford Icons Head NMRA 25th Anniversary Reunion Parties in Norwalk

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Mustang and Ford Icons Head NMRA 25th Anniversary Reunion Parties in Norwalk
By Evan J. Smith
If you were a Mustang fan in the 1980s and 1990s, it’s likely you were glued to the pages of magazines like Super Ford, 5.0 Mustangs, Mustangs & Fords, Cars Illustrated and of course Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords magazine. It’s likely you drove a Foxbody, and for many, modifying it was a must. The Foxbody craze grew into a full-blown movement and from that Pro 5.0 was the king of all classes.
Along with the cars, the era spawned a new generation of racer, one willing to dive into unknown territory with EFI and a 302-inch small-block engine. It also opened the door to manufacturers willing to make parts specific to the 5.0L Foxbody platform.
Rather than compete in local brackets or in NHRA Class competition, which was the norm at the time, most 5.0 Mustang racers were in it to see how fast they could get a 5.0 to go—and to whip up on the enemy of the time—the Buick Grand National. This led to crazy combinations, including high-compression NA, nitrous, turbos, blowers and even twin centrifugal blowers.
And like the early days of drag racing, drivers became the stars of the show. Stormin’ Norman, Racin’ Jason, Gene Deputy and a host of characters made regular headlines as they pushed technology and performance on a weekly basis. Even Ford employees like Brian Wolfe shared in the innovation and pioneering of what ultimately led us to the creation of the NMRA, which is going strong after 25 years.
In those early days the goal was basic, go as fast as you can with a 302-based engine and 10.5-inch tires. Friday nights at tracks like Englishtown Raceway Park were legendary, and the hobby grew with support from hosted events, aftermarket manufacturers like BBK, Paxton, Vortech and many others, and with sanctioning bodies like the AMRA, Fun Ford Weekend and NMRA.
So with NMRA in its 25th season, it was the perfect time to gather many of the original drivers, fans and magazine editors for what turned out to be an incredible weekend at the NMRA Ford Homecoming at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The gala event also featured a Foxbody Reunion, 55th Anniversary Cobra Jet Reunion, Saleen and SVT Reunions plus all the great NMRA drag racing you’re used to.
The evenings were filled with great after-hours activities. Friday evening was the Racer Reunion Party sponsored by Edelbrock with special support from Granatelli Motor Sports and on Saturday special guests enjoyed the NMRA Founders Party celebrating the first 10 years of NMRA, which was sponsored by Edelbrock with support from Granatelli Motor Sports.
And as anticipated, it was a who’s who of Pro 5.0, NMRA racing, industry leaders and media members from past and present. We competed on the Port-A-Tree Reaction Time Simulator, a tasty beverage or two was consumed and great prizes were handed out. Adding to the atmosphere in the car show, were original race cars, including those of Lidio Iacobelli, Ed Smith, Bill Devine, Joe DaSilva, Mark Harwell;s KFC machine, Joel Howard and Mike Charles brought the Racin’ Jason convertible along with three Saleen race cars. It would be impossible to list all the great friends who attended, so instead enjoy our photo gallery, spot your favorite people, share on social media and we hope to see you there next year!

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