Friday is always a reason to celebrate, but for those attending the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, the start of the weekend will bring a host of exciting action to Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. If you are a fan of Ford performance, this is the place to be.
Yesterday saw the track fill with participants and the drag strip went hot with test ’n tune runs in preparation for the quarter mile quest for the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. However, there will be much more action this weekend courtesy of Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, including Autocross, 3S Challenge, and Grand Champion competitions; Mustang drifting exhibitions Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa; The Nitto Tire Ultimate Burnout Contest with participation from Cleetus McFarland; and Dyno Shootouts.
Here’s a look at the scheduled action on the drag strip today, which closes out with passes by participants the Holley Grand Champion completion, which will also compete on the road course and autocross.
You can’t question the street cred of Lloyd Mikeska’s 2016 Mustang. He drove the car to Bowling Green from Richmond, Texas, and even suffered damage from an inconsiderate driver in a parking lot, but he is on the property to build on the success he had in Joliet, where he won the Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle class and helped the Ford cause by winning his round in the Bob Curran Memorial Super Bowl Shootout. His S550 runs a 2018 intake manifold, a Circle D torque converter, a JLT cold air intake, and a custom tune courtesy of Danial Pachar at Triangle Speed Shop.
John Leslie Jr. just can’t seem to keep those front tires down. He is trying some new stuff out this weekend, but promises to keep playing with the tire pressure and suspension settings until the car leaves more predictably. Even with the big launch, his test hit was one of his best runs in recent memory, so he is looking to go rounds in Richmond Gear Factory Stock.
Four-digit street cars are undoubtedly cool, and Jim Ault is coming to compete with one on the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle class. His 2016 Mustang GT is powered by an MMR long-block boosted by an LPF twin-turbo system with tuning from Palm Beach Dyno. An Extreme Auto Turbo 400 bangs the gears in this BA Motorsports-prepped machine. It will put the power down via a BMR Suspension and Viking dampers, and Ault will find out how the new setup works this weekend as it makes first hits on the new combo.
Clyde and Catherine Dunphy brought out a pair of classic ’Stangs this weekend. Their 1969 Mustang will compete in the car show, but Clyde is racing this 1972 Mustang. Catherine worked three jobs to buy the car new back in the day for $3,180. These days it runs a 514-cube big-block backed by a C4 transmission. It puts down 750 horsepower. It runs on a 10.50 index in the Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle category.
This weekend the vendor midway is packed with companies offering a wide variety of hardware to improve your Ford project, including specialty companies like Coyote swap specialists, MARS.
One of the coolest cars running the autocross as part of the Holley Grand Champion class is this widebody 1982 Mustang GT. Owned by husband and wife Mike Trenkle and Kelley Jaeger, the classic Fox wears custom carbon fiber fenders that Trenkle built himself. That allows for wide rubber to harness the 550 rear-wheel horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque delivered by a 363-cube Windsor under the hood. The car rides on a double-wishbone front suspension and an independent rear, but it is still a streetable machine with air conditioning, stereo, and a full interior.
It’s been a crazy ride for Advanced Fuel Dynamics Limited Street racer Samantha Moore since she won in Joliet. In testing after the event, her Coyote engine’s crankshaft snapped and took out everything but the rods and the block. The robust Bear aftermarket block survived, but she had to scramble to get the parts needed to rebuild the engine. Many of her sponsors pulled through to make that happen so her team at Vector Motorsports could get the engine back together, which they did late last week. Then in break-in testing earlier this week, the supercharger let go. Undaunted they cleaned out the mess and VMP Performance came through with an overnight delivery of a Gen 3 TVS so she could run this weekend. They arrived on Thursday with little sleep, and today’s first test hit was an 8.74 at 175 mph, which the car’s best run to date. Samantha wants to push into the top-five in points this year, and make a championship run next year in a car she still drives on the street with all the creature comforts.
As part of the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival portion of this weekend’s festivities, drifting superstars Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea Denofa were on hand making exhibition drift runs and giving thrill rides to a few lucky fans.
We spotted this Fox Saleen yesterday, but today it was holding court in the Torq Storm display. One look under the hood revealed the car was indeed equipped with one of the company’s blowers. Torq Storm offers supercharger systems for almost every Ford engine from Flathead to Coyote. The blowers are built in Michigan, carry lifetime warrantees, and the kits start at under $3,000.
Dave Leffel brought out this crazy 1964 Ford pickup to run on the drifting circuit. Powered by a 363-cube small-block boosted by two Garrett 30/76 turbos to the tune of 1,000 horsepower thanks to a Holley EFI setup. That engine is backed by a G-Force T101A manual trans that feed power to a 2015 Mustang GT IRS setup boosted by Ford Performance halfshafts. It definitely laid waste to some tires with ease.
What better place to debut a new EFI system for Fox Mustangs than the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival? That’s just what Holley did with the company revealing its new Ford Terminator X and Terminator X Max systems at the show. On display in a Fox Mustang, these systems are available in a Fox-specific kit with a longer harness designed to route through the factory firewall opening and a bracket that allows easily mounting the ECU under the passenger seat of a Fox Mustang. The system is designed to work with Ford sensors and connectors, so users can plug it in, answer a few questions on the handheld, and be up and running in no time.
YouTube sensation Cleetus McFarland is on the property for the big Nitto Tire Ultimate Burnout Contest, but he also got in on the drifting exhibition fun in his big Crown Vic. He likes these cars so much, McFarland put a call out to his followers to find another one, and one met him at the Nashville airport, where he bought a second Vic.
Making the trip up from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Eric Eaton entered his beautiful Fox in the True Street QA1 class, and it really his a street car. He and his lady even take it to brunch, but this weekend it is fresh off a converter change in the C4 auto behind the turbocharged Dart 331. The coupe makes four digits on just 12 pounds of boost, and he is hoping the new combo will run in the low nines this weekend.
Len Robertson came out with a clean silver Fox to compete in the Edelbrock Renegade Class. Running what he describes as a ‘low-buck’ combo centered on a 440-cube Windsor topped by Trick Flow R heads and a single fogger, the carbureted combo is old-school and reliable.
Adam Cox (center) says he is ‘tickled’ with the way his Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle machine is performing. He’s been dialing in the clutch with help from Coyote Stock stalwart Jacob Lamb (right), who was studying the data when when stopped by.
There were well over 100 QA1 True Street entries on the property today, so the action should be hot and heavy tomorrow with racers vying for a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. Tomorrow’s competition will set the stage for the first-ever IDIDIT Performance King of the Street quick-eight heads-up battle on Sunday.
Check out the full results from the first round of qualifying RIGHT HERE.