Wilson, Moore, and Bowen kick off 25th NMRA season with Spring Break Shootout Titles
Terry Wilson, Samantha Moore, and Mike Bowen were among the champions crowned as the Holley National Mustang Racer’s Association (NMRA) kicked off its Golden 25th anniversary season at the RYNO Classifieds Spring Break Shootout presented by Nitto Tire USA.
Wilson claimed the win in VP Racing Fuel Renegade while Moore was victorious in WIT Transmissions Limited Street and Bowen earned the title in Richmond Gear Factory Stock.
The event marked a triumphant return to historic Orlando Speed World Dragway for the NMRA series and additional winners included Casey Shotwell (Suncoast Performance 8.60), James Meredith (Exedy Clutch Mod Muscle), John Butsko (Ford Muscle), Adam Kuffel (BBK Spring Break Shootout), Mike Roup (Truck and Lightning), Vincent Dastra (Coyote Stock), Kevin McKenna (HP Tuners Super Stang), Dennis Hilliard (ARP Open Comp), Geoffe Maze (Watson Racing GT500 Street), and Jeff Smith (Tremec Stick Shift Shootout).
Wilson, of Pittsboro, Ind., drove his ’95 Mustang to a narrow win against former series champ Haley James in the VP Racing Renegade final. Wilson won with a 4.589 to James’ 4.623 in a race decided by just .012-second at the finish line. Wilson’s path to the final included wins against Eric Eaton and Jason Spina.
Sammie Moore made the lone trip from Brighton, Mich., pay off with another victory behind the wheel of her boosted ’14 Mustang. Moore, the reigning series champ in WIT Transmissions Limited Street, fought early issues but ultimately scored a decisive 8.131-to-8.349 win against Larry Starost in the final round. Moore also topped Stacy Roby on her way to the final round.
Bowen, who resides in Girard, Pa., went to the winner’s circle in his popular stick-shift Ford Maverick after driving to a 10.173 to stop final round opponent Matthew Williams. Bowen began his day with a win against Gary Windsor and also received a bye run in the semifinals.
The Coyote Stock class featured a deep and talented field, which made the road tough for Vincent Dastra, who was declaired the winner after Charlie Booze Jr. was disqualified for a technical infraction. (Booze Jr’s infraction will be reviewed by the NMRA Technical Committee this week.) In a class that requires sealed 5.0 Coyote Engines and manual transmissions, Dastra shifted his way to the win in the all-Foxbody final.
The Suncoast Performance 8.60 class continues to grow as we saw a robust 17-car field in Orlando. The last man standing was Casey Shotwell, of Carlisle, Ohio, who drove past Leticia Hughes in the final round. Shotwell ran 8.617 for the win after Hughes ran under the 8.60 standard with an 8.550. Shotwell also topped Brian Holloway, Casey Flora, and Luis Mellado Jr. on his way to the final round.
Some of the best drivers in the entire NMRA series are found in the Exedy Clutch Mod Muscle class, and race winner James Meredith is certainly among them. Meredith, of Carrollton, Ga., wheeled his unique ’73 Capri past a 24-car field to race Adam Cox in the final. Meredith got a slight lead at the start and drove to a 9.817 against his 9.78 dial for the win, while Cox slowed from his 9.96 dial to a 10.011. Meredith beat Chris Hammon, Brian Hingle, and Charlie McCulloch to reach the final.
With nearly 30 entries, ARP Open Comp was the biggest Index class in Orlando, which meant that eventual winner Dennis Hilliard, of Durango, Colo., had to win five tough rounds before reaching the winner’s circle. In the final, Hilliard, who is a distinguished member of the original 5.0 Mustang and Foxbody era, grabbed a big lead against opponent Paul Svinicki and never looked back with a 10.159 against his 10.12 dial. James Johnson, Eric Williams, Junior McKensie, and Charlie Atkinson also fell to Hillard’s ’19 Mustang GT.
Former Spring Break Shootout winner and NMRA class champ McKenna, of Avon, Ind., scored a season-opening win in the HP Tuners Super Stang class when he topped Mike Moistner in the final round. Both drivers ran quicker than their predicted elapsed times, but McKenna’s 10.836 against a 10.92 dial prevailed over Moistner’s 14.377 against a 14.50 dial. McKenna’s path to the final included wins against Don Helms, Dale Aldridge, and Anibal Hernandez.
The Truck and Lighting final was a great battle between last year’s top points finishers. Reigning series champ Mike Roup, of Lockhart, Texas, topped former champ Johnny Lightning in another double-breakout race. Roup, driving his Ranchero, won with an 11.311 on his 11.33 dial, while Lightning, who wheeled his Gen2 Lightning, was even quicker with an 8.793 against his 8.84 prediction. Roup also beat Andrew Money and Fred Wade during Sunday’s eliminations.
John Butsko, another former champion, prevailed in the Ford Muscle class when he defeated Cindee Hall in the final. Butsko, of Pataskala, Ohio, won the all-Falcon final after Hall red-lighted. Butsko topped Dana Keyes, and Bill Worstell on his way to the final round.
Jeff Smith of Ocala, Fla., continued his mastery of the Tremec Stick Shift Shootout by wheeling his Mustang to a 9.272 to 9.971 win against Karl Goin in the final. Smith’s awesome Competition Orange SVT Cobra still utilizes the DOHC engine, manual Tremec transmission and IRS rear!
The 2020-Up GT500 Unlimited Shootout brought out some of the quickest 2020-present Shelby GT500 Mustangs in the country. Pedro Porto used a holeshot to take the win over Chris Tino in a tight 9.18 to 9.14 final. This class was sponsored by Coastal Chassis Dyno & Performance, Palm Beach Dyno, Beefcake Racing and ZPE GripTec.
The event also offered a GT500 Street Battle that went to Geoff Maze of Tampa, Fla. Maze downed Yassel Orea in the final. The Tampa resident drove his ’21 Shelby GT500 to a 9.905 for the win after Orea red-lighted. GT500 Street was also sponsored by Coastal Chassis Dyno & Performance, Palm Beach Dyno, Beefcake Racing and ZPE GripTec.
The BBK Spring Break Shootout went to Adam Kueffel of Orlando, who stopped Jason Wagoner in the final, 8.873 to 8.796. Kueffel was a fan favorite with his bright yellow four-eyed Fox that gulps nitrous oxide.
The event also included three E.T. Bracket classes that were won by Shane Williams (Bracket 1), Rafael Urdaneta (Bracket 2), and Rick Doern (Bracket 3).
True Street is one of the most popular classes in all of NMRA and the Spring Break Shootout included an All-Female True Street to kick things up. Winners were Mike Jovanis (8.00); Dean Santiago (9.05); Adam Kuffel (9.30); Jeff Smith (10.07); Chris Rusch (11.07): Chris Parisi (12.02); Mason Blosser (13.05); Mary Ann Mammen (14.01); Marc Consic (15.12).
All-Female winners were: Gaby Lujan (9.67); Runner-Up Deneen Segura (10.17); Jessica Moulden (12.13); Mary Ann Mammen (14.01); Luan Walker (15.17).