Fords Dominate at NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals

The sounds of drag racing filled the night air into the early hours of Monday morning when the NMRA and NMCA put on the Arrington Performance All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering this past weekend in Martin, Michigan. The joint event began with testing on Thursday, August 28, 2020, concluding four days later at US 131 Motorsports Park. A total of 653 across both sanctioning bodies took to the track for a chance at a win. The event encountered a wide range of weather conditions, from heat and sun to chilly temperatures and power outage-causing storms, forcing racers to make changes constantly in an effort to get ahead.

Limited Street winner Bill Putnam. Photos courtesy of Promedia.

Seeing as the NMRA and NMCA combined many events throughout the 2020 season due to COVID rescheduling, the overlapping classes from each series were combined. For instance, NMCA’s VP Racing Maddatives paired up with NMRA’s Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw. Rob Goss, piloting his 2010 Dodge SRT Challenger Drag Pak took the top qualifying spot in a large field of strong Ford competition including Dom DiDonato, Tony Hobson, Alan Felts, and more, but managed to defeat them all to take the win in the finals with a 4.27 at 169 mph in the eighth-mile.

Left to right: John Leslie Jr., Martin Connelley, Nate Stymiest.

Edelbrock Xtreme Street and Renegade came together for a total class count of 23 cars. The 275 radial category saw a qualifying sheet with the top 16 competitors falling within a .15-second gap. While Brian Keep and his Camaro ended up at the top of the qualifying sheet with a 4.66 at 149 mph, Martin Connelley and his Fox-body Mustang went to the finals against George Farkouh’s 2010 Camaro, beating him with a 4.64 at 153 mph.

Meanwhile in JDM Engineering Limited Street, Bill Putnam’s UPR Products-sponsored SN95 Mustang continued on its winning streak. He qualified in the top spot with an 8.52 at 161 mph, with Chad Wendel’s Mustang in the number two spot. The pair would advance to the finals, where Putnam’s perfect reaction time and record-breaking 8.51 at 161 mph drove him to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle for the fourth event in a row. His performance locked in his first NMRA national championship for the 2020 season.

Coyote Stock competitor Mark Anderson and Limited Street competitor Chad Wendel.

Mark Anderson found himself at the top in the all-Mustang Richmond Gear Factory Stock class with a 10.20 at 128 mph, beating out a field of Coyotes with his 4.6-liter Two-Valve combo. John Leslie Jr. would clench the win at the end of the weekend however, with a 10.28 at 129 mph to Anderson’s 10.35 at 115 mph.

The G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock class was dominated by Drew Lyons behind the wheel of Clair Stewart II’s notchback Mustang, who beat out Nate Stymiest’s red light run. Lyons pulled a wheelie and ran a 10.14 at 130 mph with his sealed Coyote engine in the final matchup.

On the Index side of the series, ARP Open Comp saw 27 competitors take to the track to qualify based on reaction times. Joe Talarico accomplished a .0004 reaction time, while a Ford Falcon piloted by Bill Jones took the second slot with a .0007 reacion. Gordon Harlow would take home the trophy at the end of the weekend with a 10.19 on a 10.14 dial-in.

Mod Muscle winner Charlie McCullough and Open Comp winner Gordon Harlow.

A 1973 Mercury Capri driven by James Meredith qualified number one in Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle after a .0007 reaction time, but it was Charlie McCulloch and Adam Cox in the final round. Defending champion McCulloch ran an 11.08 on a 10.96 dial to take the stripe.

Also qualifying based on reaction time was ROUSH Performance Super Stang, with Kevin McKenna at the helm thanks to a .0122 reaction time from his footbrake 2013 Mustang GT street car. In the end, Levi Wendel would reign victorious over defending champion Larry Firestone after nailing down an 11.38 on an 11.29 dial.

While Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning is still missing long-time class competitor Vinnie Telesco who is recovering from a battle with COVID-19, the competition carried on. Randy Conway’s Coyote-powered Ranger topped the 12-car ladder with a .007 reaction before taking the win in the finals against Mike Roup in his 1970 Ranchero. Conway ran a 10.29 on a 10.27 dial over Roup, who ran an 11.39 on an 11.33.

Super Stang champion Levi Wendel.

Race Pages Ford Muscle competitors must declare their pre-determined index before the conclusion of qualifying. It was David Mormann who would continue on his quest for a championship in Michigan. Mormann accomplished a 16.14 on a 16.00 index for his second win of the season over Danny Towe with an 11.91 on an 11.75 index.

Have you ever wanted to go drag racing, but only own a street car or don’t know where to start? QA1/TorqStorm True Street begins with a 30-mile street cruise before returning to the track for three consecutive passes, which are averaged together to give racers their final “score.” It was Rick Baum who took the overall win with a 9.23 in his Mustang, while Shawn McAlees took runner-up with a 9.75 average. Jason Wagoner’s GT500 took the top spot in the 10-second category, and Bob Hoffman’s Buick took the 11-second spot, Billy Meier’s Mustang dominated the 12-second category, and Michael Town was the 13-second winner with his Challenger. A Mustang driven by Cody Dronkers won in the 14-second spot, while Rodney Ward’s Fusion took the 15-second win.

The next and final stop in the NMRA circuit is the Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals + Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky from October 1st to 4th. We’ll see you there!

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About the author

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff got her start in automotive media while attending Rutgers. She worked for Roush Performance for a while, before eventually landing here at Power Automedia. Her Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox-body drag car is her prized possession.
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