Mild weather and conditions prime for record-setting runs graced the racers and crowds attending the 22nd Annual NMRA Ford Performance Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park over the weekend of June 10-12, 2022. When the forecast shifted to show rain on Sunday, though, officials pivoted to push through two rounds of eliminations on Saturday evening and the wise decision enabled the race to be run to completion well ahead of the original schedule.
Outside of the requisite on-track action and exciting winner’s circle festivities, there was a lot to see over the weekend as the UPR Products Car Show was filled with stunning late-model and vintage Fords of all types with the top-12 being invited back for the exclusive Ring of Fire competition.
Additionally, the original Bigfoot 4×4 monster truck that revolutionized off-roading and the Ford Model T Club International were both on hand to show contrasting creations while the Ford GT Gathering showcased their supercars for all to see.
Back-to-back NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade champion Joel Greathouse continued to extend his points lead for the season when he ran 4.600 at 153.67 mph to take the top spot in qualifying with his turbocharged 1993 Ford Mustang. Greathouse held on strong throughout eliminations, and his Bennett Racing Engines power put him in the finals against Jason Riley who had qualified third. The two men, who both fly the KBX Performance flag, left the line together and carried the wheels in a side-by-side rip to the 660-foot mark but it was Greathouse who got there first with his 4.640 at 152.33 mph run to Riley’s 4.709 at 147.88 mph pass.
Stacey Roby shot to the front of the JDM Engineering Limited Street pack during qualifying with a huge run from his 2014 Ford Mustang and reset the class elapsed time record to 8.030 at 170.75 mph, but Michigan’s Samantha Moore (feature image) was hot on his heels in second with her 2014 Mustang California Special. After having chased each other all weekend long, the two met in an all-ProCharger final round and while Roby had the advantage at the start, Moore was able to power past him just before the stripe with an incredibly slim margin of victory going 8.112 at 170.51 mph to his 8.155 at 168.51 mph pass to keep her perfect season intact.
Top qualifying honors in the new SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race category once again went to William Lujan whose Vortech supercharger-equipped 1990 Fox body Mustang ran a cool 8.601-second pass, just 0.001-seconds away from perfection. The final round, however, was occupied by the number three qualifier, Tim Flanders of Michigan, and the number four qualifier, Dan Ryntz of Pennsylvania. It was a battle of the Fox body Mustangs as the two were each doing their best to get as close to the 8.60-second mark as possible, but ultimately it was Flanders whose turbocharged 1986 model got it done with an 8.653 at 159.85 mph run while Ryntz went 8.697 at 157.52 mph to take the runner up honors.
Nearly twenty high-flyin’ G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock cars were on the property but Shane Stymiest shifted his way to the lead in qualifying after producing an impressive 9.780 a 136.95 mph time slip. In second and third, respectively, were Charlie Booze Jr. and Nathan Stymiest, and it was those two who hung on through to the final matchup of the weekend. With side-by-side wheelies at the starting line from their 1990 and 1992 Mustangs, the two Pennsylvania residents ran neck-and-neck down the home stretch to the finish where it was Booze’s red ride that got it done with a 9.899 at 139.63 mph pass to Stymiest’s second-place 9.9440 at 135.82 mph finish.
Making it three races in a row now, Richmond Gear Factory Stock’s number one qualifying spot was taken by Mike Bowen whose Gen 1 Coyote-powered 1971 Ford Maverick blasted the strip in just 10.141-seconds at 143.24 mph. Bowen enjoyed a bye run on his way into the last run of the weekend in eliminations where the number three qualifier, Chris Niebauer. Both hailing from Girard, Pennsylvania, both wanted the win but the race was over at the start when Bowen unexpectedly spun in a big way and Niebauer chopped down the tree with a stellar 0.004-second light to capture a Victor award with a 10.281 at 129.23 mph final blast.
Dalton Winkler landed in the Evolution Performance’s 2020 GT500 “Villain” in the number one spot after the qualifying order for the TREMEC Shelby/GT500 Shootout group had been finalized thanks to its 9.411 at 149.38 mph. Winkler spun in round one, though, which left the door open for Pedro Porto and Ron Martin to meet in the finals. There, Porto of New Hampshire blasted his way through the traps to illuminate the win light with a 9.982 at 131.06 mph hit from his 21 GT500.
A near-perfect 0.001-second reaction time behind the wheel of his 1993 Ford Mustang had Chris Hammon in the top position of the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle qualifying list, but he exited eliminations in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Shane Williams and Andy Russell continued on to the final round. Working hard to run on their 11.97 and 10.14 dial ins accordingly, it was Williams who nailed the challenge and took the win with an 11.987 at 109.95 mph pass while Russell ran 10.174 at 134.63 mph for to end the weekend as the runner up.
Claiming the number one qualifying position in SCT Ford Muscle, Geary Bates had his 1969 Mercury Cougar tuned to perfection as he ran dead-on his 11.50 dial in with an 11.500-second pass. Reigning champion Danny Towe showed just why his 1970 Ford Mustang carries a number one on its windshield, however, as the man from South Carolina cruised easily through four rounds of competition running nearly dead-on his 12.00 dial in. In the finals, Towe took another win with a victory over David Mormann who had been running on a 10.75 dial in.
Just a hundredth away from a perfect reaction time in HP Tuners Super Stang qualifying, Marvin Knack and his 2011 Ford Mustang occupied the number one spot in the sheet once all rounds had been run. He was right on the money with getting his car’s performance dialed in throughout eliminations, and turned four consecutive win lights on while racing on an 11.90 index, the final of which was against Chris Parisi at the end of eliminations.
Cutting a perfect light in ARP Open Comp qualifying with his 1979 Ford Mustang, Junior McKenzie was awarded the number one spot. With thirty-four individual entries all trying to get down to the final two, it was Dennis Corn and Charlie Atkinson who were able to do the deed. Both were quick on the tree and running in the 9-second zone, but it was Corn whose 9.134 at 143.89 mph effort that proved victorious and he got to pack up his 1988 Ford Thunderbird and head home to Michigan with a well-deserved smile on his face.
Mike Roup was deadly on the tree in Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning qualifying as he left the line with his 1970 Ford Ranchero just 0.002-seconds after the green bulb lit and scored the number one ranking as a result. Having qualified tenth, though, Gregory Collins gave it his all when it mattered most and his 1991 Ford Ranger responded positively with consistent 11-second passes. In eliminations, Collins ran the gauntlet and took down every racer who dared line up against him – including Bryan Parker in the finals – and both men made the short drive home to Centerburg, Ohio, with some great new memories.
Three big fields of bracket cars were on the property to see who could put together winning packages for the weekend. On Saturday in Bracket 1, that honor went to Ohio’s Kim Moritz whose 1987 Ford Mustang ran consistently close enough to its 6.77-second dial in to capture the win through five fierce rounds. In Bracket 2, Ohio-based racer John Gregory did the same but stayed in it for six rounds instead to earn win with his 1991 Mustang on a 606-second dial in. Finally, in Bracket 3, Ohio resident Daniel Imhoff and his 1985 Mustang captured five round wins in a row while running on an 11.81-second dial in to end the weekend with a trip to the winner’s circle. On Sunday, it was Shane Williams who doubled up from his Mod Muscle win with a second triumph in Bracket 1 on a dial in of 7.54-seconds in his 1999 Mustang, John Gregory who tasted sweet success after five round wins in a row running his 1991 Mustang on a 6.08-second dial in during Bracket 2, and once again Daniel Imhoff got the win in Bracket 3.
After completing the required 30-mile cruise, competitors in TorqStorm Superchargers True Street blasted down the 1,320 three times in a row to earn an average elapsed time. A frequent winner, Mike Jovanis, showed why his turbocharged 1989 Ford Mustang is one of the baddest street cars in the country when he ran 7.813-seconds across his three passes and was the only driver to break into the 7-second zone. Luis Mellado Jr. captured the runner up position with an average of 8.853-seconds. Additional winners included Jason Wagoner (9-second), Bill Unkel (10-second), Bill Elliot (11-second), Chris Parisi (12-second), Phil Anielski (13-second), Jason Siek (14-second), and Mike Baker (15-second).
The All-Female True Street Presented by Baer Brakes specialty category was dominated by Leticia Hughes, who had trouble with her Whipple-supercharged 2018 Ford Mustang’s rear end early in the race but refused to quit and was able to make the repairs in time to win outright with an average of 9.201-seconds across three runs. Taking the runner up spot was Lauren Stoney who averaged 10.284-seconds with her Mustang while individual section wins went to Danielle Post (11-second), Elaine Moistner (12-second), Danielle McGraw (13-second), Whitney Kirkbride (14-second), and Beth Fitzgibbons (15-second).
The quickest eight manually-shifted racers from TorqStorm Superchargers True Street were invited back for the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout specialty race. Each participant received a specialty TREMEC award to commemorate their achievement, and the elimination pairings were done randomly in the staging lanes with no breakout in effect. New Jersey’s Scott Triolo made it to the finals with his 1985 Ford Mustang and his easy 10.854 at 132.88 mph run earned him a McLeod Racing RXT Twin-Disc clutch with flywheel, valued at approximately $1,300, while Jason Epstein took the runner up honors and received a $500 McLeod Racing product certificate for his efforts.
Summit Motorsports Park’s pristine facility and hospitable staff helped make the 22nd Annual NMRA Ford Performance Nationals, the fourth stop on the Holley NMRA Ford Nationals tour, a true success for all involved. Next up, the series heads to US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, for the 2nd Annual Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by TorqStorm Superchargers on July 22-24, 2022. For more information and advance tickets, visit NMRAdigital.com.