Continuing the 2021 Holley NMRA Ford Nationals drag racing series with the second stop of the tour for the season, the 13th Annual Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport at Atlanta Dragway over the weekend of April 9-11 also marked the final time that either series will run at the facility, as the property has been sold and is slated for demolition at the end of the year.
With the threat of rain looming and the forecast showing Saturday as almost a guaranteed washout, race officials pushed hard to get two rounds of qualifying completed on Friday. However, the day’s events ran so smoothly that the schedule actually completed early, and a third session was run on Friday as well. Saturday morning broke with skies clearer than expected, so qualifying continued until afternoon showers ultimately forced race officials to call the day a wash.
By Sunday, though, the sunshine had returned and eliminations were contested without interruption so that the rightful winners of each category were able to enjoy their celebrations in the winner’s circle. Fans showed up in droves to watch one of the last events in Atlanta Dragway’s storied history and enjoyed the on-track action as well as the UPR Products car show, manufacturer’s midway, swap meet, and so much more.
Joining forces with the NMCA contestants, Alan Felts topped the qualifying list of NMRA VP Racing Madditives/NMCA Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw with his 4.290 at 168.09 mph run behind the wheel of his turbocharged ’91 Mustang. Felts went out in the semi-finals, while the finals paired the number-three qualified driver, Steve Halprin, against the number-five driver, John Urist, for a rematch of the same showdown at the previous event. The men staged, but Urist’s Hellion-turbocharged ’15 Mustang pushed through the beams and triggered a foul to gift the win to Halprin, who cruised to an easy victory in his ’02 Mustang.
NMRA Edelbrock Renegade ran in conjunction with NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street, and a 4.573 at 152.95mph pass from the Buick-powered Fox Mustang driven by Dave Fiscus was the quickest of them all. Eric Bardekoff put his ’16 Mustang into the number-two position, while last season’s NMRA champion, Joel Greathouse, was eighth. Fiscus wasn’t able to advance past round two, but Bardekoff and Greathouse both worked their way to the finals. Greathouse had the starting-line advantage, but it was Bardekoff’s blast of 4.538 at 154.86 mph that enabled him to drive around the champ to earn the win while Greathouse settled for second with his 4.579 at 152.73 mph run.
“You can never let your guard down in this class. For the final round we sent it, and the track and weather came around for a new personal best. Needless to say, we gave it everything we had knowing Greathouse was going to also, so we had to go for it — and it worked. The car stuck and ran like an animal! We break our asses on this car, and it is finally showing,” says Bardekoff.
Repeating her number-one qualifying performance from the previous race in Florida, Samantha Moore took the lead once again in JDM Engineering Limited Street this time going 8.319 at 164.29 mph pass in his supercharged ’14 Mustang. She red-lighted in round two, so the final round was open for the 2020 season champion and number-two qualifier Bill Putnam to face off against Stacey Roby who qualified fifth. Roby had trouble with his ProCharged S197 Mustang and wasn’t able to make a pass. Putnam enjoyed earning more points toward defending his title behind the wheel of his UPR Products-backed ’94 Mustang.
The G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock wheelie exhibitions were in full swing, but Randy Soper stole the show in qualifying when his ’04 Mustang covered the quarter-mile in just 9.815 seconds at 137.67 mph. In eliminations, it came down to Nathan Stymiest who had qualified second and Tim Matherly who was ninth. The two left the line hard, but Matherly had the advantage all down the track and it was his ’03 Mustang that crossed the finish in front, posting a winning 9.887 at 136.14 mph number on the scoreboard over the 9.985 at 136.06 mph belonging to Stymiest’s ’92 Mustang.
Matherly, who does not normally test new parts at the track, has been so busy at his MV Performance shop lately he hasn’t had much time to get to the track lately.
“We’re still trying to find the happy spot where this engine [the Gen 3 Coyote] likes to run. We tried changing gear ratios — lower in the rear and higher in the transmission — and that slowed it down. Then we lost Saturday to rain, so we made the decision to throw the kitchen sink at it. We went from the 26s to the 28s in the back, changed gears accordingly, and changed the gears in the transmission all at the same time. It responded with a 9.92, 9.92, 9.88, and 9.88 in eliminations. Consistency is what we’re after. You do everything you can with what you have to work with,” says Matherly.
Justin Fogelsonger was the number-one qualified driver in Richmond Gear Factory Stock when he earned a 10.295 at 128.93 mph time slip with his Coyote-powered ’86 Mustang, and he scored two round wins in eliminations to earn a seat in the finals against last year’s champion, John Leslie Jr and his ’89 Mustang. Although Leslie had qualified behind Fogelsonger in third, he had his game face on at the starting line and treed the other driver by three-hundredths of a second to take the win for the weekend on a holeshot, going 10.291 at 130.10 mph over Fogelsonger’s quicker 10.281 at 128.87 mph run.
The always competitive ARP Open Comp class had three drivers cut 0.001-second reaction times in qualifying; Eddie Colwell, Brent Blacker, and Charles Atkinson occupied the top three spots as a result. Five fierce rounds of eliminations whittled down the pack to just two men — Greg Cole and Dennis Corn — both piloting ’88 Ford Mustangs with low 9-second dial-ins. With close reaction times, the win was up for grabs but, in a double-breakout scenario, it was ultimately Cole who got to celebrate his success in the winner’s circle.
Tons of drivers came out to compete in Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle and Dean Snow with his ’04 Ford Mustang was the number-one qualifier courtesy of a stellar 0.002-second reaction time. Snow exited before the finals, but Susan Roush-McClenaghan and Jason Henson held strong. Henson captured the better reaction time, but Roush-McClenaghan had him at the stripe where it mattered most when she ran 9.327 at 137.81 mph on her ’10 Mustang’s dial-in, while he went 12.064 at 109.36 mph on the 12.08 estimate for his ’03 Mustang. Roush-McClenaghan was deemed the winner while Henson went home as the runner-up.
Chris Parisi proved he was the quickest off the line in Fastest Street Car Super Stang qualifying, leaving just 0.003 seconds after the green illuminated. That put his ’20 Ford Mustang in the number-one spot. Parisi’s prowess paid off in the finals when he defeated Marvin Knack by running 12.196 at 108.13 mph on his 12.05 dial-in to Knack’s 11.910 at 116.52 mph on a dial-in of 11.84 for his ’11 Mustang.
Bob Dill’s 0.005-second light during qualifying earned him the top spot in Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning with his ’01 Ford F-150 for the second race in a row. However, it was Dave Cole and Randy Conway who stayed in the eliminations game all the way through to the finals. Fielding ’84 and ’85 model Ford trucks, respectively, Conway went 10.192 at 124.24 mph on his 10.16 dial-in, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the nearly dead-on onslaught of Cole, whose 11.341 at 116.58 mph pass on his 11.34 dial-in made him victorious.
Running on an 11.75 index and going 0.004-seconds over gave Lloyd Mikeska the advantage in RacePagesDigital.com Ford Muscle when eliminations began as the top qualified driver. However, he went out in round one, while Danny Towe and Chris Parisi both advanced into the finals. There, Towe aimed for an 11.75 and Parisi was going for a 12.00-second run, but both men went under and it was Towe whose 11.741 at 106.93 mph pass illuminated the win light in his lane to take home the top honors.
Cars cruised 30-miles of Commerce, Georgia, roads and then made three back-to-back passes down the track for the last time in QA1 True Street competition at Atlanta Dragway. Scott Oshinski took the win with an 8.77-second average in his TorqStorm-supercharged ’72 Oldsmobile Cutlass with Bill Unkel not far behind clocking a 9.055-second average to claim the runner-up honors. Additional winners include Eddie Fleeman (9-second), David Bleigh (10-second), Ben Bramlett (11-second), Dale Aldridge (12-second), Lonnie Sinclair (13-second), Mark Smith (14-second), and Jayton Dugger (15-second).
Sunday’s Bracket Open category hosted six rounds of eliminations. Ultimately, it came down to Gary Youngblood Jr. and Michael Garner, both driving Fox Mustang entries. Garner was close to his 6.63-second dial-in when he went 6.643 at 103.03 mph, but Youngblood bested him with a 7.063-second at 94.99 mph pass on a 7.06 dial-in.
The 2021 Holley NMRA Ford Nationals drag racing series will continue at the 16th Annual NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by HPJ Performance at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri, on May 13-16. For more information and advance tickets, visit NMRAdigital.