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Saturday Coverage—21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival—Presented By Edelbrock

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The 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival action is revving up today at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The NMRA Ford Drag Racing machines will have two more rounds of qualifying, while the QA1 True Street contenders will head out on a cruise followed by three grueling, back-to-back passes to determine the quickest Ford street machines around.

While the drag racers are working hard to earn a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle tomorrow, the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival action — including Autocross, 3S Challenge, and Grand Champion competitions; Mustang drifting exhibitions from Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa; The Nitto Tire Ultimate Burnout Contest with participation from Cleetus McFarland; and Dyno Shootouts — is in full swing today.

There is something for everyone at the track this weekend, so keep checking back here on our social channels for updates on all the action.

Cars will be in action all over the property today, and this is how the drag racing schedule looks.

You might remember this Fox Mustang from its heyday as a SEMA show machine called Top Notch. These days it is actually being driven by Ken Kelley on the street and running in competitions as far and wide as the Texas Mile and the Holley Grand Champion class in Bowling Green. Motivated by 630 horsepower from a Vortech-blown, 5.2-liter Coyote engine, this Fox rides on tube chassis and only weighs 2,800 pounds. Running 50/50 weight distribution thanks to an engine setback of 18 inches, Kelley’s car could be a player in this three-pronged class.

Neal Alder has owned this gorgeous 1988 Mustang GT for nearly 20 years, and he loves competing with it in the QA1 True Street class. He has a few past category wins, and the car is pretty enough to bring home car show awards. Instead it fights it out with the fastest street cars around utilizing power from a 400-cube Dart small-block fitted with AFR 225 heads and hit with the juice courtesy of a Nitrous Outlet Stinger plate. With low-9-second credentials, Alder could be in the mix today.

Yesterday we showed you Dave Leffel’s pickup destroying some tires, but he also brought out another drift machine to run inside the Beech Bend Oval. Running on Holley EFI, a 434-cube Dart engine boosted by Garrett 35/82 twins pushes this S197 to beyond four digits on just 8 pounds of boost to ensure longevity during grueling drift runs. Leffel bangs gears in a unique, four-speed TREMEC Magnum XL manual transmission prepped by D&D Performance.

Yes, the original Bigfoot monster truck is on the property this weekend. They even swapped on the big tires so everyone could enjoy the wow-factor of the massive 4×4 in person, and a few lucky people went for a ride in the bed.

After thrashing to change converters, Terry “Beefcake” Reeves’ efforts paid off in the first round of qualifying. His Vortech-boosted 2018 Mustang GT topped the qualifying sheet in the McLeod by Raybestos 6R80/10R80 Throwdown class, which has the quickest modern six- and 10-speed auto machines vying for a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. With two more qualifying rounds today, we’ll see if Reeves’ 8.95-second, 156 mph hit is enough to retain the top spot heading into tomorrow’s eliminations.

Matt Hagan drove an hour up to Beech Bend Raceway to display two cars used in the filming of the John Wick movie series. A mega-fan of the films who collects memorabilia, Hagan said “what better place to display the cars” than the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival? After buying another car from the film, he tracked down the Mustangs and worked a package deal to buy the ‘camera car’ and ‘stunt car number two,’ which are on the property this weekend.

Nickelus and Christina White are out racing their modern Mustangs in the QA1 True Street category. His orange 2016 Mustang runs a Lund Racing tune, a JLT cold air intake, a Roush Exhaust, and a GT350 intake. Meanwhile, her striking 2018 sports a PMAS cold air intake, Texas Speed headers, an MBRP race exhaust, and a Palm Beach Dyno tune with transbrake functionality. Both cars might be in the mix in the 11-second class, but Nickelus’ ‘full bolt-on’ car is a little bit quicker.

A former Factory Stock racer, Trevor Thome’s 1987 Mustang LX made the trip down from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to run in the QA1 True Street class. He is hoping to build on his success from the Gateway NMRA race, where he took home top honors in the 11-second class. His coupe is one of just 371 built with this Shadow Blue paint, and the Coyote looks right at home under the hood. Thome is still working out the bugs on his manual trans setup, but he is enjoying being out at the races.

The UPR Products Car Show is off the chain this weekend at Beech Bend Raceway. With this year’s expanded event offerings, the massive lineup of fetching Fords greets everyone driving into the facility. The car show judges will have their work cut out for them today.

Jeremy Holbrook’s 1989 Mustang LX is running a classic powertrain combo in QA1 True Street this week. Its 306-cube Boss 302 block boosted by a Vortech S-Trim blower pumps out 587 ponies to the rear wheels courtesy of a custom Kurgan Motorsports tune flashed to the factory A9L processor. That S-Trim delivers 15 pounds of boost and the results escape from a set of JBA Shorty headers — no long-tubes on this ride.

Redline Motorsports at the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival running its mobile dynamometer, and there are plenty of cars spinning the rollers. We captured Kevin Barnes’ naturally aspirated 2011 Mustang GT California Special putting down 372 horsepower to the rear wheels.

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Heinz Stock tells us “the only thing stock about me is my last name.” His 2019 Mustang GT is a true sleeper thanks to the Hellion Turbo Systems Sleeper twin-turbo system under the hood. It boosts his stock — save for billet oil pump and crank gears — Gen 3 Coyote 5.0-liter beyond 900 rear-wheel horsepower. Riding on Weld wheels and Mickey Thompson rubber, the S550 is good for high nines even though it tips the scales at a 4,280 pounds. Heinz is hoping to repeat his Joliet success in the 10-second QA1 True Street class today.

Fresh out of the shop, Dwayne Hickman’s recent acquisition dubbed “Blacksnake” (far) has been laying it down in the NMRA Mickey Thompson Terminator/Cobra vs GT500 Shootout this weekend with Chad Epperson behind the wheel. The ’10 GT500 was originally built by London Chassis Dyno and is powered by an engine from BES with an 88mm turbocharger boosting the bullet. Hickman is pictured here with his own entry, a 2012 model (near), that’s he’s also driving in the Cobra vs GT500 category.

Jim “Ribeye” Ault’s 0.026-second reaction time during the first qualifying run put him sixth in the 29-car class, quite an impressive feat considering it’s his very first race with the NMRA. Piloting a ’16 Mustang with multi-time NMRA champion Brandon Alsept of BA Motorsports overseeing car chief duties, and with Palm Beach Dyno managing the tune, Ault also runs an Extreme Automatics turbo 400 transmission with a ProTorque converter. His engine was built by Barker Machine, and it features a twin turbo kit from LPF. Ault accidentally ran 8.89 at 157 mph earlier and was too quick for the category, so he will need to slow things down a bit to stay in the game this weekend.

There’s an old name in a new class this weekend, as longtime NMRA hot shot Charlie Booze Jr has his Justin Fogelsonger-owned Booze Brothers Racing-backed Fox entered into NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock for the first time since his ProCharger Modified Street package just isn’t where he wants it to be at the moment. Unsurprisingly, Booze took the top spot after the first qualifying round and was holding strong after the second session with a 10.315 at 129.14 mph time slip in his hand. The ’86 Mustang is running on radials at the moment, with a Gen 1 Coyote engine backed by a G-Force Racing G101-A transmission and weighing in at 3,325 pounds. His engine builder, Jim Kuntz, recently passed away and so Booze is still reeling from losing a good friend but is committed to honoring his memory and continuing to work with Kuntz & Company Racing Engines.

An issue with the transmission in his ’01 Mustang prompted NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock racer Steve Kurimchak to have to swap his spare in this morning, but it was a quick process thanks to help from friends. He’s racing this weekend with his family here to support him, and was ninth after the second qualifying round on a 10.330 at 128.26 mph pass with hopes to move up.

NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock regular Jacob Lamb is thrilled that his Fox body is running the best it ever has in the past two years. Why? “We don’t know,” laughed Lamb, who did some work on his transmission that freed it up a bit and may have contributed to the performance, along with his clutch working well, his tried-and-true JLT Performance cold air intake, and new LAT oil in the engine. Additionally, a set of “the same but different” Mickey Thompson stiff wall tires have been recently bolted on. A 10.283 at 128.68 mph run in the first qualifier put Lamb seventh on Friday night. “It’s all coming together finally.”

Just a quick gear change for Louis Sylvester’s NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock ’03 Mustang Mach I “Modzilla” was in order this morning, as the BES Racing Engines-powered car has been sitting for three years and only has a few hits on it in its recently resurrected form. Sylvester, who hails from Illinois, bought the car from Jay Dold earlier this year and went 10.964 at 124.48 mph on Friday night and improved to 10.828 at 124.73 mph today after the change to hang out in the ninth spot in qualifying for now.

Everyone’s favorite sausage slinger, Vinnie Telesco of Whitehouse, New Jersey, and his Premio Sausage-backed ’87 Ford Ranger were just one spot out of the top slot after the first round of NMRA Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning qualifying thanks to Telesco’s 0.006-second reaction time but slipped into fourth after the third round standings had been finalized. He recently changed up the whole front suspension on his truck, adding new QA1 struts in the front and shocks in the rear, along with a new cooling system from Arts Radiator. In testing, Telesco went 10.05 and 10.06, so he’s feeling confident about his odds as he moves into eliminations tomorrow.

Friday’s qualifying hit in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade sure was an interesting one for Bart Tobener. Early in the run, Haley James in the other lane found herself with a stuck throttle and wound up taking a hard hit into the wall. She was able to avoid collecting Tobener, who had slowed both as a result of seeing her cross the center line in front of him and due to the fact that his car was breaking up – if his Tobener Motorsports S550 had been running better, it could have been a lot worse for them both… Now, though, Tobener is hopeful that he’s found the reason the run was less than stellar. A (now tightened) loose ground wire, and a change to the ECU, coils, and plugs, will hopefully rectify the issue.

A fuel pump issue popped up right as Dave “The Sprinter” Ginter was trying to fire up his turbocharged Fox in the lanes to run last night, so he missed the first round of NMRA Edelbrock Renegade as a result. He got a new one installed today so his AES-built 5.4L engine is running smoothly, and was able to go 4.990 at 140.34 mph on the last qualifying run of the weekend. His Team Z rear end was set up by Scott Black at Chassispro, and the whole car was built in just six weeks. Fun fact: it’s actually Bart Tobener’s old Renegade ride and has recently been christened as “Leftovers.”

We can’t share much about it just yet, but John Leslie Jr. is running a new engine in his ’89 Mustang. He has nothing but good things to say about his 5-year-old, reliable, untouched MV Performance bullet, but when his father decided to have an MPR Racing Engines built and offered it up, NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock’s Leslie figured it was worth a shot to at least give it a try. Installed only a week ago with one test session prior to this weekend’s race, Leslie has already run 10.507 at 126.57 mph and qualified sixth.

Tony Hobson recently wrapped up a whole host of changes on his NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw ’14 Mustang including a switch to a ProCharged pushrod powerplant, but a problem with the cam in the motor meant JPC Racing’s head honcho Eric Holliday got to be a hero when he put a new one in on Thursday before qualifying began. Hobson currently sits seventh with one more round of qualifying to go.

After running 8.81 at 153.88 mph in NMRA Advanced Fuel Dynamics Limited Street qualifying to wind up third and clinch the season championship for the second consecutive year, proud poppa Mike Ciborowski (right) stood by and watched as his son, Kyle, raced in QA1 True Street. Clearly success runs in the family, as Ciborowski’s other son, Keith, qualified fifth in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade.

It got crazy this evening as the Cleetus & Cars Torq Storm Burnout Contest went down on the Beech Bend Raceway oval. This Aussie style contest awarded a set of Nitto Tires, a $500 Holley gift certificate, and $1,000 in bonus cash from Nitto Tire to the car with the best crowd reaction. From our vantage point it was David Leffler’s turbocharged F100 that generated the loudest roar, but it was fun to watch all the cars get wild Aussie-style.

Here’s a preview of tomorrow’s schedule. Take note that ARP Open Comp will run its round two before the heads-up classes start rolling with their first round.

Check out the full qualifying results RIGHT HERE.


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