It’s Sunday, the final day of the 21st NMRA Spring Break Shootout here in Bradenton, Florida. We’re ready for eliminations and a full day of side by side racing. Many of the heads-up classes have the top contenders separated by thousandths of a second. Today, anyone who was holding back during qualifying is going to be forced to show their full hand if they want to go rounds. It should be an interesting day to say the least.
Joe Cram found the limits of his head gaskets at 29 pounds of boost and 9,500 rpm. “Oh well, I’ll take it out, ship it to Holbrook, and I’ll be ready for the next one,” Cram says.Hopefully, the shipping company he uses this time will treat him right.
Wayne and Debra Vance now have two Mustangs to show at events. Wayne has his usual SVO with a blown Coyote swap, but Debra now has a ’15 GT to enjoy, as well. Bradenton always has a strong car show, and this year was no exception.
Bart Tobener’s Renegade ride had a mysterious smoking issue Sunday morning, but it seems that issue was worked out. Unfortunately for Tobener, Frank Varela had his car running a little better, and ran a 7.75 at 180 mph to take the semi-final round win over Tobener. It’s Varela vs Brian Devilbiss in the ‘Devil’s Reject’ in the Renegade final.
Shiftin’ Shane Stymiest didn’t have a great start to the 2015 NMRA season. He had struggles all weekend, and the car shut off after the launch during eliminations. We know Stymiest will be ready for Atlanta.
One of the quietest people in NMRA competition is Super Stang racer Lloyd Mikeska. Mikeska rolls with Joe Cram, and we all know Cram can carry the conversation of two people. Therefore, Mikeska doesn’t usually have to say much. We call them Joe and Silent Lloyd, and for this year Mikeska has “Silent Lloyd” on the window. Mikeska didn’t do too well at Bradenton with a quick exit in round 2.
Okay, Jeff Smith, here ya go. The Orlando, FL resident won the Tremec Stick Shift Shootout in 2013, and was in the final last year, where he lost to Anthony Heard. While other competitors have become quicker, Smith hasn’t been able to keep up. He’s still having fun, though, which is the object.
First time drag racer Jeff Scofield came to the Spring Break Shootout not really knowing the landscape. Thankfully for him, he can drive. His ’14 GT500 makes over 1,100-rwhp, and usually runs deep into the 9s. The weekend’s heat, and the use of drag radials in the True Street class had him chasing the launch. Still, he made it the final of the Tremec Stick Shift shootout, where he was unable to beat Anthony Heard. However, he also made it to the semi-finals of the Terminator/GT500 Shootout. The weekend was a learning process for Scofield, but maybe he’ll do a little more drag racing in the future.
During Sunday’s eliminations, classes sorted themselves out as the day went on. There were some surprises, some that shouldn’t have surprised us, and some that appeared to signal that even though it is a new year, the players are the same. Many performances tell us that as the year goes on, that at some of the faster tracks on the NMRA tour, there are going to many record runs, and maybe on a race-by-race basis.
In the Street Outlaw final, it was familiar foes John Urist and Phil Hines; ProCharger vs Precision turbo. At the hit Hines went up in smoke, blowing the tires off, and Urist cruised to the win to start the season. Urist ran consistent 6.90s on Sunday to get past Chip Pike, Dan Saitz, and Hines in the final.
What a Renegade debut for Frank Varela! He did the B-Team proud by qualifying in the top spot, and running consistent 7.70s on Sunday with his Precision single turbo motivated GT. Varela barely made it to Florida after having truck issues in Texas on the way to Bradenton. Thankfully, he was able to get the truck fixed, and make it to the race.
In Coyote Modified, Johnny Lightning was the only racer capable of beating a member of the Hellion 3. Lightning’s Cobra Jet was able to nose out Haley James with an 8.28 over James’ 8.29. Lightning had a better reaction time than James, which helped keep him out front for the win. In an NMRA first, Lightning also won the Truck class at Bradenton. He is the first NMRA competitor to win two classes at the same event. Well done, sir.
In Pure Street, it was the Teddy Weaver show, again. Weaver has the suspension sorted out pretty well on his car, while it seemed final round opponent Jimmy Wilson is still looking for the sweet spot. Wilson has the horsepower, you can see that, so once he gets the suspension set-up down, he could really give Weaver some stiff competition.
Steve Gifford picked up where he left off in 2014 when he closed out the NMRA season with a Coyote Stock win at the World Finals. Gifford was able to do some testing at Bradenton leading up to the event, and he put that testing to good use. His times were a little inconsistent, but quick when it counted in the semi-final against Joe Marini and the final round against Michael Washington.
The Coyote -swap cars in Factory Stock still have to get through Matt Amrine’s little Two-Valve. Amrine won Factory Stock over James Meredith with a 10.73 vs a 10.86.
This is why you race on Sunday; you never know what can happen on the track during any given run. Case in point, Adam Kuffel didn’t have the fastest car in the Spring Break Shootout class, but when the smoke cleared, his ’85 GT with a 363-inch combination was the last man racing. Kuffel’s Four-Eye is capable of high-8s, and that’s what he used to win the class.
One class that appeared to be a foregone conclusion was the Turbo Coyote Shootout. If Bradenton was any indication, it does appear JPC Racing runs the Coyote game. Justin Burcham simply dominated the class from start to finish. No one else was even close. Though we greatly respect Joey Basile’s 8-second runs on 20s, Burcham owned the class on this weekend.
In the VMP Tuning Terminator GT500 shootout, the class was dominated by the Terminators. A few of the GT500 players have moved over to heads-up categories, which has left just a few GT500s to battle the ’03-’04 Cobra crowd. Scott Waters and Shane Halleman were the class’ heavy hitters, and both pilot Terminators. Waters had issues on Sunday, and Halleman took it from there, running 8s seemingly at will, even during the heat of the day.
In the Tremec Stick Shift Shootout, Anthony Heard was able to successfully defend his title. Heard’s Fox coupe has a naturally-aspirated 363-inch combination for power, and he was able to drive his way to victory over Jeff Scofield. Heard was ready when the tree came down, unlike Scofield. Heard won thanks to a huge starting line advantage, and was able to stay out front, even though Scofield ran four-tenths quicker.