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Roush-McClenaghan Motors to NMRA Modular Muscle Championship

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMRA Staff
Susan Roush-McClenaghan is an experienced and exceptional competitor who knows what it takes to win in NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle.
The caliber of competition is high, and many racers put down near-perfect and perfect passes, but she is completely committed and capable of doing the same in the cockpit of her Mustang set up with a supercharged Coyote engine by Roush Competition Engines, propane for fuel and a Powerglide transmission by Coan.
“Often, twenty or more racers will have .000 or .00 reaction times in qualifying, whether they are footbraking or transbraking, and that shows how tough it is,” said Roush-McClenaghan. “You have to have great passes, as well as a little luck along the way.”
Ready to give it her all in 2023 and go after her fourth championship in NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, Roush-McClenaghan left her home in Michigan for the Ryno Classifieds NMRA Spring Break Shootout presented by Nitto in March at Orlando Speed World Dragway in Florida. She qualified in the seventh spot out of 24 racers with an .013 reaction time, and won the first round when her opponent had issues. She then exited eliminations in the second round with a 9.42 on her 9.35 dial.
Determined to go deeper into eliminations, she headed to the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. She qualified in the seventh spot with an .026 reaction time, and got by the first round. With a 9.40 as her chosen dial, she won the second round with a 9.59 and the semifinal round with a 9.38. That set the stage for the final round of eliminations against Charlie McCulloch, and Roush-McClenaghan went to the NMRA Winner’s Circle with a 9.42 after McCulloch broke out. Impressively but not surprisingly, Roush-McClenaghan also earned the win in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp at this event.

“I love the dual NMRA/NMCA events,” said Roush-McClenaghan. “I’m energized by them and I don’t have time to get nervous at them. I couldn’t believe we went to the final in NMRA Modular Muscle and NMCA Open Comp in North Carolina. It was special because we had raced there with my daughter, Josie, when she was racing junior dragsters.”
The following month, she made way for the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. There, she ripped off a perfect .000 reaction time to lead qualifying and recorded a 9.39 on a solo pass in the first round. With that 9.39 as her dial for the weekend, she won the second round with a 9.50 and the third round with a better light than her opponent and a 9.43. A little later, she landed in the NMRA Winner’s Circle again, this time after her opponent turned on the red light.
After arriving in the Buckeye State for the 3rd Annual Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming in June at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio, Roush-McClenaghan qualified in the fourth spot with a .004 reaction time out of 16 racers and dialed a 9.37. She won the first round with an .012 reaction time and a 9.41 before exiting in the second round with a break out time of 9.36.
From there, she traveled to the TorqStorm NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Paul’s High Performance in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan, where she qualified in the third spot with a .006 reaction time, and lost in the first round with a 9.53 on a 9.44 even though she had her opponent on the tree.

Hoping to hit it out of the park, she headed to the last NMRA race of the year, the Whipple Superchargers NMRA World Finals presented by Competition Clutch featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival in late September, early October at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky. She qualified in the fourteenth spot out of 26 cars with an .025 reaction time and chose a 9.36 as her dial. She won the first round with a 9.37 and had the track to herself in the second round. She then won the third round with a 9.38 and the fourth round when her opponent clicked it red. That set her up for a final round appearance against Charlie McCulloch, and Roush-McClenaghan won the double break out race with a 9.33.
With that, she was also ceremoniously crowned the 2023 NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle champion. She also worked hard to earn the 2023 NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp championship, and a separate story about that is included in NMCA champion coverage.
“There is a lot of expertise in the Modular Muscle class, and the more racers you face, the better you become,” said Roush-McClenaghan. “I didn’t start the season with any expectations other than to do the best that I could do, because honestly, it is very hard to be the last person standing in this class, but I am very happy to have earned my fourth Modular Muscle championship. I would like to thank my husband, Dale, my daughter, Josie, and the rest of my crew, including Steve Fackender, his wife Cathy Fackender, Cal Hartline and his wife, Holly, Donnie Bowles, Cameron Bowles, and my staff at the Roush Automotive Collection Museum, including Andy Robinson, Lynn McClenaghan, Tyler Wolfe, and others. This means a lot to me.”
Roush-McClenaghan will be feted among her fellow champions at the Holley NMRA Ford 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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