It has all come down to one more day. After a full season of competition, racers are headed into eliminations at the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. Not only are racers vying for a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle today at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but they are jockeying for position in the season points chase seeking those elusive top-10 finishes and championships.
While the index and heads-up classes will crown champions as they always at the finals, today will also see the debut of the heralded IDIDIT Performance King of the Street competition. This eight-car eliminator lines up the quickest True Street machines from this season in a heads-up battle for street-car supremacy and a healthy prize package to boot.
Alongside the drag action, the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival fun rolls on with 3S Challenge, Dyno Challenge, Bigfoot Monster Truck Parade, and Drift Exhibition action. Of course, we will keep you posted on all the action right here and on our social channels throughout the day, so keep checking back.
Here’s a look at how the drag strip action will play out today as competitors strive for a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. Keep in mind that ARP Open Comp runs its first and second rounds before the heads-up cars run their first round.
Mike Jovanis blasted his way to overall-winner status in the massive QA1 True Street Class on the merits of an 8.28-second average. That means he and his Fox will battle it out with the quickest True Street machines of the season in the IDIDIT Performance King of the Street eight-car eliminator.
Don’t try to pull a fast one on this middle-school assistant principal. Wes McPeake loves teaching kids, but when he wants to have fun, he blasts down the drag strip in his 1989 Mustang GT. Powered by a 572-cube big-block topped by Super Cobra Jet heads and a Trick Flow intake, this Fox is good for high-eights on the quarter mile. Normally McPeake runs the bracket class, but he is running ARP Open Comp this weekend. If things go well, he is considering his first trip down to the Spring Break Shootout next March.
There is everything from mild to wild machines packing the UPR Products Car Show this weekend at the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. Among those in the wild category is this ‘Boss 600” owned by Randy and Jill Powe/Joey and Becky Hinckle. As you can imagine a 600-cube big-block powers this back-halved classic, which pounds the pavement with more that 1,000 horsepower. With striking paint by Dave’s Body Shop this classic stallion stands out on the crowded show field.
Though he saw fluttering oil pressure at the starting line Saturday afternoon, John Pickering managed to get his ARP Open Comp machine down the track. Upon returning to the pits he discovered a busted oil pickup tube and the thrash was one. His team pulled the pan, removed the tube, and carried it to Cameron Bowles who welded it up. Then they reinstalled it and put the engine back together. The whole process took about and hour and a half, but it was worth it to have the car race-ready for eliminations today where he picked up a first-round win en route to his quest for a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. and teammate Chelsea Denofa wowed the crowd all weekend with tandem drifts as part of the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival’s drift exhibitions, which continued during today’s program.
Brian Mitchell recently resurrected his old Renegade “Wizard” Fox body, and he and team mate Adam Arndt have been fighting the ProCharged Mustang after changing the transmission and gear ratios to accommodate the eighth-mile racing surface. It’s no fault of the car’s, though, Arndt asserts, as the Tim Lyons Custom Motorsports-built 25.3 SFI chassis always responds to changes and lets the guys know what it likes and what it doesn’t. With the combined skill of Mitchell and Arndt, there’s no question that they’ll get it sorted – just hopefully before today’s NMRA Edelbrock Renegade eliminations begin as they’re going in qualified sixth with a 4.899 at 139.52 mph pass
On the last NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw qualifying run of the day last night, bad boy Phil Hines had a bit of a fire under his ProCharged ’01 Mustang and wound up in the sand. The blaze burnt up a bit of his Big Stuff 3 powertrain management system, but thanks to help from friends – including Vinny Palazzolo and Nicky Notch – Hines got it rewired and is ready to hit it hard today in eliminations as he starts from the number one spot thanks to his 4.435 at 160.10 mph effort.
Speaking of incidents, NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw points leader Vinny Palazzolo’s turbocharged ’09 GT500 was involved in a trailer wreck on the way back from the 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing in July and sustained serious damage. The whole roof, quarter panel, and driver’s side were crushed while many key components were broken, but Palazzolo (second from right) and crew man Nicky Notch (right) doubled down and got the car fixed in record time. Thanks to expert body work by Chris Hare at Fatal Finishes, the damage has been completely erased and the car looks better than ever. Surface Systems Installations and Coatings for Industry have both also stepped up to help tremendously with Palazzolo’s program. This weekend, Palazzolo can rest easy he is going into eliminations with the 2019 season championship already locked up.
A recent partnership with Crower has been a huge help for Keith Rhea who claimed the number one spot in the NMRA Hellion Turbo Battle qualifying this weekend with his Wonder Racing ’04 Mustang SVT Cobra. Going 7.097 at 195.68 mph was no easy feat for the Pennsylvania-based driver, as he had to swap in his spare twin turbo 5.4L bullet and bolt on his Coan three-speed TH400 transmission on Thursday before the fun began.
Ben Callimer, of Callimer’s Transmissions, picked up a race-ready car and jumped into the Richmond Gear Factory Stock ranks. He added Belak wheels, Strange rear brakes, Strange double-adjustable front struts, and Viking rear shocks. Just two weeks ago a local race the hood flew up and smashed the car’s sunroof, but get got it repaired and ran his best e.t. in Factory Stock trim last night after dialing in the car’s Clutch Tamer.
For his first time to the event, Larry Lowe is keeping busy at the 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. Yesterday his automatic 2012 Mustang clicked off a string of mid-14s in the QA1 True Street class. The car runs a tune and cold-air intake, and he hopes to add an exhaust in the near future. He also has the car entered in the UPR Products Car Show.
It was a daunting to the race for Martin Connelley and his team. Their tow rig broke down and they weren’t sure how to get the race car to the track. A stranger saw their plight online and came by and towed the car to Beech Bend Raceway for the race. Upon arrival, the team then swapped from a belt-driven blower to a gear-driven ProCharger, which gave them a little more performance to compete in ProCharger Modified Street. While Connelley drives, it is a true team effort as you can see here. From left to right are Brent Daniel (fabricator), Dalton Winfield, Eric Mitchell (tuner), Eddie McCarty (owner), Martin Connelley, and Cory Brookes.
Ron Schoch was putting his 1965 Mustang to work in today’s 3S Challenge, which tests speed, stopping ability, and steering. His classic stallion runs a 347 stroker backed by a TREMEC five-speed manual transmission and an IRS. It features a Mustang II front suspension, Ridetech coilovers, and more. Its body is fully painted — even underneath — and has 2005 Mustang door handles, and quarter glass. He is in the running for the Holley Grand Champion class thanks in part to a second-place finish in the autocross segment.
Believe it or not, Charlie Booze has never competed in the Richmond Gear Factory Stock class before this weekend. He is piloting Justin Fogelsonger’s Fox, which most recently ran in G-Force Racing Transmission Coyote Stock, but they believed the car’s Gen 1 Coyote was out of its league. As such, they cracked the seals, added a 2018+ Mustang intake manifold, and moved over the Factory Stock. The car ran strong, mirroring the class’ lowest e.t. yesterday, but a wonky transmission needed replacing and it was a bit tighter than the outgoing unit. Booze said he wasn’t sweating setting a record, he just wanted to make it through rounds.
Hellion Turbo Battle racer Justin Jordan said his car has been sitting for months so he said his driver and tuner were a little rusty. Since he does both of those jobs, he had to blow the rust off and get the car running back on pace. He won the first round, so it didn’t take long to get back in the groove.
In the inaugural IDIDIT Performance King of the Street eliminator made up of the quickest QA1 True Street racers of the season, it was Jeff Bloem who wore the crown after besting his friend and fellow True Street standout Mike Jovanis with a smooth 7.65 hit in the heat. It wasn’t all clear sailing, as the team repaired several small things leading up to the final, including blown header gaskets, a loose lash cap, and a disconnected relay. Once those were in order, builder and tuner Stewart Gerbino dialed in the tune to manage the power downtrack, and it worked. The two racers were side by side, but Bloem had the steam to pull ahead at the stripe and take home the win, plus $2,500, an IDIDIT Performance steering package, and a Victor award.
Several of the championships were locked in (pending review) before the eliminations ended today, and Clair Stewart earned top honors in the hotly contested G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock class. After qualifying in the fifth spot with a 10.26 run, things went Stewart’s way, and he celebrated in style with a Victor Award and some champagne in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
It was a near-perfect season for ProCharger Modified Street racer Brad Schehr and he capped it off by taking a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle and taking hope the season championship in the process. There is a lot of interest in this class headed into the 2020 season, so any newcomers will have to be ready for stiff competition from the defending champ.
Check out the full results from eliminations RIGHT HERE.