Two of the modern-day factory drag racing wars’ perennial contenders, Drew Skillman and Chris Holbrook, waged a back-and-forth battle on the record book at last weekends NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals at the US 131 Motorsports Park In Martin, Michigan — one in which many of the class’ heavy-hitters clocked career-best performances on repeat.
Skillman and Holbrook, both of whom are virtually synonymous with the modern incarnation of the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet drag racing program, entered the weekend’s festivities as two of the quickest cars in the history of the NMCA Factory Super Cars/NHRA Factory Stock Showdown categories — Holbrook, in fact, had set the mark to beat at the NMCA season opener at Bradenton, Florida in March at 7.66-seconds.
But at Martin, he wasted little time supplanting his pre-pandemic performance, clocking the quickest run in the history of the class at 7.645-seconds at 182.11 mph in Friday’s opening qualifier. The Livonia, Michigan engine builder then backed up his record in the second session with a 7.684 at a faster 182.78 mph speed — only to watch Skillman, nine pairs later in the final session, uncork an even better 7.623 at 183.15 mph.
The pair traded jabs again in the opening round of eliminations, as Holbrook stunned the field (and anyone paying even the slightest attention to factory shootout racing) with a 7.565 at 184.35 mph — the quickest and fastest run ever, by a long shot.
For his part, Skillman clocked a career-best 7.612 in a winning effort.
The following round, the two were virtually locked….Holbrook carding a 7.664, Skillman a 7.666 (in a round that saw Chuck Watson sneak into the picture with a right-there 7.670, we should add). In the semi-finals, though, Skillman fired the final salvo, running 7.559 at 183.90 mph in a defeat of J. Betz, punching his ticket into the final. On the opposite side of the ladder, Drew’s father, Bill Skillman, did his part in dispatching of a slowing Holbrook, 7.66 to 9.48, setting up what proved to be a rather anti-climactic finale, when Drew was unable to make the bell, handing an easy victory parade to the ‘ol man.