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NMRA Championship Battles Rage Heading into Bowling Green World Finals

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
NMRA Championship Battles Rage Heading into Bowling Green World Finals
By Evan J. Smith
Following the successful conclusion of the TorqStorm NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Paul’s High Performance in Martin, Mi., the Holley NMRA Drag Racing Series championship picture coming into focus. With just the Whipple Superchargers NMRA World Finals presented by Scott’s Trailer Sales remaining, two championships have officially been decided, while one other is close to being clinched. The rest will be decoded in Bowling Green as the 2-23 season races to a thrilling conclusion Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Ed Bennett III has turned in a world-class performance and having won the last three races in Coyote Stock, he’s locked in his first NMRA world championship. Bennett II, driving Clair Stewart II’s Stiffler’s-backed Mustang LX Coupe, has wins in St. Louis, Norwalk, and Martin to go with a runner-up in Rockingham. With a robust score of 2,930 points, he’s got a lead of more than 1,000 points over second-ranked Vincent Dastra.

The other title that’s been clinched is in Whatever it takes Transmission Parts Limited Street where Samantha Moore has successfully defended her 2022 title with a season that has already produced four wins. Moore’s only loss this season came in the Rockingham final to second-place Stacey Roby.
After finishing No. 2 last season, Johnny “Lightning” Wiker has clinched the championship in Truck and Lightning after reaching the final round in Martin. Wiker scored wins in Rockingham and St. Louis and has 2,600 points on his scorecard. Second place Mike Roup, the reigning champ, is 655 points behind, which means the race for the title is almost over. 

Following his second victory of the season in Martin, Mi., Kevin McKenna is also on the verge of clinching his second championship in the HP Tuners Super Stangclass. McKenna leads reigning champ Marvin Knack by 720 points, meaning that he just needs to enter the final event in Bowling Green in order to make it official. 
Terry Wilson and Martin Connelley have traded punches in VP Racing Madditives Renegade all season long and as they head to the final event of the season, Wilson is holding on to a 170-point lead in the standings. Wilson got off to a fast start with wins in Orlando and St. Louis, but Connelley has closed the gap significantly with wins in Norwalk and Martin. In order to complete the comeback, Connelley will likely need to win two more elimination rounds than Wilson, who has helped himself by earning bonus points for an elapsed time record twice this season.
Mike Bowen is the leader in Richmond Gear Factory Stock with 2,385 points and he’s fresh off a runner-up finish in Martin, but there is still work to be done as Mark Anderson and Matthew Williams are in the hunt with 1,930 and 1,915 points, respectively. With a lead of more than four rounds, Bowen will most likely need to win just one elimination round to make the title official, something he has done at each event this season.
There is a great battle brewing in the race for the championship in Suncoast 8.60 Street Race with multiple drivers still in the running as the popular new class heads towards a thrilling conclusion. Casey Shotwell is the leader, and the favorite with 2,200 points, but Casey Flora and Leticia Hughes are well within striking distance, while Paul Seinkiewicz and Bo Webb are both mathematically still in the running. Shotwell, the winner in Orlando and St. Louis, leads Flora by slightly more than two rounds and is slightly more than three rounds ahead of Hughes.
Not surprisingly, there is a great battle brewing for the title in Exedy Racing Clutch Mod Muscle with five drivers still in the mix. Adam Cox, Susan Roush-McClenaghan, Charlie McCulloch, Pete Blosser, and James Meredith are all separated by just 285 points, which means any one of them could be wearing the No. 1 next season. Cox has been consistent this season with runner-up finishes in Orlando and Norwalk to go with a semifinal in Martin. Cox is 45 points in front of McClenaghan, who has a pair of wins in Rockingham and St. Louis. Blosser missed the Rockingham event, but his win in Martin, where there was a big field, helped him remain in title contention.
There is also a multi-way battle for the championship in ARP Open Comp with Dennis Corn looking to win his second-straight title. Corn has 2,165 points after his recent win in Martin, but Jon M. Pickering Jr., Charlie Atkinson, and Tom Hoffman are each 355 points or less out of the lead. Second place Pickering is just 215 points back and given the competitive nature of the Open Comp class, almost anything can happen. 
After missing the first event of the season, Danny Towe knew he had a lot of work ahead to defend his title in Ford Muscle, but he may well pull it off following an impressive mid-season charge. Towe has won the last two races in Norwalk and Martin to pull ahead of second-place Lloyd Mikeska, who is just 70 points back. That likely means whichever driver advances the furthest in Bowling Green will win the title although John Butsko, Cindee Hall, and Anthony Jager are mathematically in the running for the top spot.

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