Some trivia for the Ford Mustang racing buffs out there: what is the oldest continuously operating all-Mustang racing organization in the United States? If you answered the NMRA, you would be wrong. And if you said Fun Ford Weekend, you would also be wrong. That distinction in fact goes to a small organization that few have heard of, but has played an integral role in igniting the careers of many of street legal drag racing’s best, both past and present.
The Mustang on Mustang Shootout, better known as MOMS, was formed seventeen years ago, back in 1994, to make the streets of the Rochester and Syracuse area safer by providing local street racers a venue to legally race their cars. Bob Metcalf, the owner of Empire Dragway in Leicester, was approached about the idea of forming a pro-tree, heads-up racing series for Mustangs.
“He was a little leery at first, because he’d had other clubs that thought they could do it and they failed every time, but he gave us a chance,” explains Pat “Mom” Meyer, who has been the figurehead of the series for most of it’s seventeen years. “That first race that we organized, there were maybe six racers.” The basis of the series, as according to Meyer, is to provide pro-tree racing in a safe environment away from public roads.
“I’ve enjoy every minute of it,” says Meyer. “It’s a really family reunion-type of atmosphere, because we do it once a month to make it very novel, and we race on Friday nights, so it gives it more of a Friday night, street racing type of environment.”
MOMS doesn’t award any prize money, but rather, trophies and a myriad of prizes made possible by several supporters and sponsors of the series. Prizes range from tools, to steaks from a local restaurant, and leather jackets are awarded at seasons end to the champions in each of the six classes. But more important than the money, prizes, and swag, MOMS is about bragging rights, and today, anywhere from 60 to 100 racers come out once a month for Friday night events with the MOMS series at Empire Dragway to strut their stuff.
MOMS contests six races annually at Empire, two of those being invitationals. “So if anybody wants to come out and try to beat a Mustang, they’re invited to do so,” says Meyer. The series opened its 2011 season with a Sunday race on May 22nd, and on July 15th, held its annual Super Shootout event, complete with a barbeque dinner from which all proceeds are donated to Mercy Flight - the medical flight team on-site at all MOMS races.
Says Meyer, “We’re small, but we’ve got a lot of big-hearted people who are very supportive of the series.”
The series is fully non-profit, with the only money taken in coming from the spectator admissions accumulated by the track, part of which is then given back to the series through prizes and awards. In order to compete with MOMS, racers pay their general admission to enter the track, plus an additional five dollars in order to compete with MOMS. That five dollar fee goes directly to MOMS, which allows it to cover its operating expenses.
“None of our volunteers earn anything,” says Meyer, “They work their butts off when they come and their satisfaction is watching everybody have a great time.”
While one may think that a local, single-venue racing series that awards trophies and prizes would appeal only to the smaller-buck street racers, the series in fact boasts some competitors with some rather impressive vehicles.
“We have some really good, exciting, competitive, challenging racing,” explains Meyer. “We’ve got a couple of cars that run in the sevens and two or three in the eights. To be in the top 20 anymore, you’ve got to have a car ten seconds and quicker. So the cars are all getting faster, and it gets more exciting each year.”
With seventeen years of history, the MOMS series has seen a huge progression in the technology and advancement of street legal Mustangs, from the early days of 11 and 12-second street machines to the seven-second, turbocharged and supercharged race cars of today. And having been there from the beginning, Meyer has seen that evolution first hand.
“My biggest impression anymore is that they’re so much quicker, and because of the safety regulations and everything, the cars are much, much safer. Bob is very strict with the racers and ensuring they have roll cages, helmets, five-point belts, and all of the other required equipment are in place. The cars are just so much faster, and they’re all beautiful.”
The Mustang on Mustang Shootout series has two races remaining on its 2011 schedule, including one this Friday, August 19th, and the season finale on Sunday, September, 11.
Among the six aforementioned classes is Street, for essentially stock vehicles on DOT tires with only mild, bolt-on modifications. From there, Street Limited allows for up to 306-inch 50, 4.6, and 4.0L powerplants, also with mild bolt-on (no power adders) modifications acceptable. Street Extreme brings power adders and Drag Radials into play, and from there, it steps into what MOMS calls their “big boy” classes.
In the D.O.T. category, anything goes as long as the stock wheel wells remain intact and a stock-style suspension is utilized. The Naturally Aspirated class requires slicks and mufflers with any engine modifications outside of power adder use acceptable. On the flip side, the Power Adder category makes room for backhalf cars with slicks and mufflers, with “whatever you want after that” as the golden ticket guideline.
At the events, each competitor makes three qualifying passes and one competition pass, for a total of four runs. The best qualifying elapsed time is used to sort the cars from fastest to slowest, with the slowest pair racing first and working up to the quicker cars. These pairings are generally fairly close, giving everyone a chance for a tight-heads-up race following the pro-tree start. MOMS keeps a points system in place to crown season-ending champions, with points awarded for qualifying positions to encourage racers to run as quick as possible.
To learn more about the Mustang on Mustang Shootout series and how you can get involved as a racer, sponsor, or volunteer, log on to momsracing.com.