The smell of spring is in the air and, in Florida, that smell is tire smoke as the fastest Fords in the country are blasting down the 1,320 at Bradenton Motorsports Park. One of the most storied venues in Ford drag racing history, BMS is playing host to the 23rd Annual NMRA Nitto Tire Spring Break Shootout, which really gets into the powerband today with the first round of qualifying.
If you can’t be here this weekend, our friends at SpeedVideo are on the property broadcasting every last moment of the racing action right to your screen. There will be plenty of action, as the full repertoire of NMRA classes are accented by a number of special events. From a Saturday night showdown between Street Outlaws TV racers, Bobby Ducote and BoostedGT, to a host of specialty classes, including Outlaw True Street, Modular Xtreme, EcoBoost Battle, and the Spring Break, Terminator/GT500, Turbo Coyote, and Stick Shift Shootouts.
If that weren’t enough there’s huge midway and a substantial car show to check out and we’ll be on the property bringing you the hottest stories and coolest cars, so be sure to check back here for periodic highlights from the weekend and stay tuned to the SpeedVideo stream for all the Ford drag racing action as it happens.
The entire Hellion Power Systems racing team hit Bradenton with revamped combinations. Frank Varella’s Renegade machine has a new suspension and a smaller turbo, while Haley James’ Coyote Modified machine is totally reworked from the fresh Coyote engine to its patriotic wrap. However, the wildest upgrade in the Hellion pits is the all-new, MMR billet block-equipped Coyote under the hood of John Urist’s Outlaw machine. It is totally untested, but it looks like its ready to put up some big numbers this weekend. John’s car ran into some issues before a test hit, so we’ll see if it gets sorted out.
One of the coolest Renegade race cars you will see running at Bradenton is Alex Hickman’s modular-powered Renegade racer. It his first foray in competition after making the switch from LS-powered machines to a turbo modular. He says it drives great going down the track and he is looking to put down some quick e.t.’s after he sorts out some electrical gremlins.
Ford drag racing legend Jimmy LaRocca is back for a run in Coyote Modified, helping out with Tommy Annunziata’s ’14 Cobra Jet entry. The team completely worked over his combo for the new season. A constant is the Whipple 3.6-liter supercharger atop a robust Coyote engine. Along with the new driveline upgrades it sports a new, aerodynamic front end and some relocated weight. Jimmy expects it to run well this weekend.
With Adam Arndt too busy to race this season and Brian Mitchell’s program in flux while he waits for a new motor, the duo teamed up to run the full series with Brian driving Adam’s Fox. Adam said he learned a lot about tuning from Brian over the years, so it felt strange giving Brian tips. While he had to fly out today to get back to things, Adam was able click off one pass on Thursday just to get a little fun in.
Leroy Nabors Jr. just picked up his turbo Fox drag and headed to Bradenton to try out its new combinations. The team is dialing in the new Fueltech EFI and seeing how the car will fare in NMRA competition.
The turnout for the Cobra Jet Showdown is huge in Bradenton. It is awesome seeing these factory hot rods running against each other in the Florida sun.
The competition should be fierce in the new Modular Xtreme class. Brian Devilbiss already put down some strong, 7-second hits in testing, so we’ll see how quick these mod-motor machines can run.
There are lots of Cobras and Shelbys doing battle in the Terminator vs. GT500 shootout. Which platform will take the crown at the season opener?
Of course, don’t forget that our friends at SpeedVideo are streaming all of this weekend’s action live, so head over to their site to check out the live coverage.
2017 SBSO Top Qualifiers
Coyote Modified: John Kauderer, 7.74 at 174.96 mph
Coyote Stock: Darin Hendricks, 10.07 at 134.34 mph
EcoBoost Battle: Bill Putnam, 9.46 at 144.46 mph
Renegade: Frank Varella, 7.41 at 183.03 mph
Factory Stock: John Leslie Jr., 10.51 at 125.97
Ford Muscle: Stephanie Davies, 10.51 on a 10.50 dial-in
Modular Muscle: Susan McClegahan, .003 reaction time
Open Comp: Mel White, .000 reaction time
Outlaw: Manny Buginga, 4.33 at 177.47 mph
Super Stang: Marvin Knack, .002 reaction time
Terminator vs. GT500: Brian Devilbiss, 7.49 at 186.06
Truck & Lightning: Bob Dill, .002 reaction time
Turbo Coyote Shootout: Justin Jordan, 7.89 at 181.48 mph
Today the racing action is back in full swing at Bradenton Motorsports Park, with two more rounds of qualifying in many of the heads-up classes. Yesterday was full of exciting passes, from Brian Devilbiss epic save in Modular Xtreme to some insanely quick passes in classes with limited engines.
In Coyote Stock, Darin Hendricks ripped of the quickest pass yet in the sealed-motor class. His bolt-on Coyote knocked on the door of a single digit pass in the cool evening air as he ran a 10.07 a 134 mph. Meanwhile, Bill Putnam blasted off a 9.44 at 144 mph in his UPR-backed EcoBoost Mustang.
That was just in the first day of qualifying, so thing should get serious today as the second and final qualifying runs take place, while some of the specialty classes, like the Cobra Jet Showdown have their eliminations. As the air cools this evening, the cars should be flying today.
Street Outlaws starts Bobby Ducote and Chris ‘BoostedGT’ Hamilton are set to square off tonight in a grudge race. However, in their first test passes, Bobby’s Fox struggled, while BoostedGT’s Cobra sailed down the track, so it seems the yellow Cobra might have a bit of an advantage at the moment.
By now you have seen Brian Devilbiss make an epic save during Friday night’s qualifying, but if you haven’t be sure to check out the SpeedVideo Race Day Replay of the wild ride. After riding a big wheelie, the car came down hard and unloaded the rear tires and the rest is history. However, he drove the Devil‘s Reject off the track without a scratch and is back in competition today.
You are looking at the quickest Coyote Stock race car so far after Darin Hendricks rocketed his Cobra to the top of the qualifying ladder last night with a 10.07 at 134 mph to take the top spot so far. In the second round today he ran in the teens, so we’ll see what he can do in the cooler air later.
Mark Duber’s space-age Shelby GT500 is competing in Modular Xtreme, but his team is chasing some ignition problems that have limited its performance. Once he gets this car sorted, the 1,700-rear-wheel-horsepower machine should run deep in the 7-second zone.
There are 14 Cobra Jets on the property at Bradenton making for one of the most entertaining classes around. These Ford Performance-prepped racers still yank the front tires while flying down the track and make all the right noises while doing so. This specialty class is into eliminations today, so the top of the CJ heap will soon be decided. Be sure to catch all the action live over on SpeedVideo.
Coyote Stock racer Carlos Sobrino knows what’s up. He generously added a Ford Muscle sticker to his race car, The Joker. We all know stickers make cars go faster, so look out for Carlos to improve on his car’s e.t.’s with this new addition. He is still adjusting to his Fox being at full CS-legal weight after running light and in the nines a the World Cup Finals.
John Leslie Jr. put the Factory Stock field on notice with a 10.56 at 125 mph in the first round of qualifying last night and he actually improved on that pass with a 10.51 at 125 mph rip in the heat. Having even a tenth advantage over the field is huge in this limited class.
The energy level is high in Bradenton. The weather is beautiful, the spectators were lined up for miles this morning and the car show is just brimming with great cars.
John Kauderer blasted off the quickest pass in Coyote Modified history to claim the top qualified spot with a clean 7.74 at 174.96 rip.
After working 44 hours straight with no sleep to revamp his ride for the event, Justin Jordan showed up today and put his Hellion Turbo-boosted Mustang right to the top of the Turbo Coyote Shootout qualifying sheet with a 7.89 at 181 mph pass.
BoostedGT took and easy win in his afternoon matchup with Bobby Ducote, whose Fox was still having issues.
Michelle Bongiovanni battled through the 14-car field of Ford Performance Cobra Jets—including defeating her won dad, Anthony, along the way to take the crown in the Cobra Jet Showdown class.
Coyote Modified: John Kauderer, 2014 Cobra Jet, 7.82 at 172.91 mph
Coyote Stock: Drew Lyons, 1988 Mustang, 10.11 at 130.98 mph
EcoBoost Battle: Bill Putnam, 2015 Mustang, 9.51 at 142.56 mph
Factory Stock: Dan Ryntz, 1989 Mustang, 10.70 at 123.30 mph
Ford Muscle: Danny Towe, 1970 Mustang, 11.92 at 110.05 mph
Modular Muscle: Susan McClemnaghan, 2010 Mustang, 9.34 at 146.69 mph
Modular Xtreme: Brian Devilbiss, 2013 Shelby GT500, 4.84 at 152.15 mph
Open Comp: Mel White, 1966 Mustang, 10.39 at 125.06 mph
Renegade: Dom Didonato, 2008 Mustang, 7.63 at 178.18 mph
Spring Break Shootout: Cal Hayward, 1991 Mustang, 7.23 at 191.20 mph
Stick Shift Shootout: Anthony Heard, 1999 Mustang, 9.19 at 149.15 mph
Street Outlaw: Manny Bugina, 1991 Mustang, 4.36 at 169.68 mph
Super Stang: Kent Nine, 2016 Mustang, 10.40 at 117.15 mph
Terminator vs. GT500: Brian Devilbiss, 2013 Shelby GT500, 7.38 at 188.99 mph
Truck & Lightning: Randy Conway, 1984 Ranger, 10.58 at 105.06 mph
Turbo Coyote Shootout: Sai Li, 2012 Mustang, 8.35 at 179.24 mph
One of the biggest NMRA season openers ever has reached its last day. Yesterday the property was packed to the rafters with car show participants, racers and spectators who came out to soak up the beautiful show cars and insanely quick race cars.
While some of the specialty classes, like the Cobra Jet showdown, wrapped up their eliminations on Saturday, most of the classes just finalized their qualifying runs in the two rounds run. That allowed the NMRA to set up the ladders for today’s elimination rounds. From the heads-up points classes to the semi-regular specialty classes, it’s all on the line today.
If you can’t make it out to Bradenton Motorsports Park, you are still in luck. The crew at SpeedVideo is streaming the race live today as they have been all weekend, so you won’t have to miss a moment of the action. And, if you weren’t able to watch the whole race live, they will archive the race over on SpeedVideo.com so you can re-live all the exciting action from the first NMRA race of the season.
Likewise, you can scroll down and see more photo highlights from our gallery at the bottom of the page.
When Brad Gusler told us we was going to leave with the EcoBoost record or push his car onto the trailer, he meant he was ready to run it on the edge. However, he had misfortune in eliminations. His front tires came way up and when the car came back down the rear tires unloaded putting him in a spin. He hit the wall and will have to bring the car back and try for the record another day.
Mo Makki (left) defeated Terry ‘Beefcake’ Reeves in a late-night grudge race on Saturday, but his luck didn’t continue today. He squared off with Joey Basile in the Turbo Coyote Shootout and Joey drove to the win with an 8.36 to Mo’s 8.84, as Mo suffered from a blown fuel injector O-ring that caused a minor fire. Mo was OK and the damage was limited.
Bill Putnam continued his incredible run this weekend by winning the EcoBoost Battle class. He bested Alexis Fruggerio, 9.51/142 to 10.29/132.
After a dramatic near miss in qualifying, Brian Devilbiss proved his GT500 is anything but a reject. He took home wins in both the Modular Xtreme and GT500 vs. Terminator classes!
Drew Lyons might not have had the quickest Coyote Stock machine in qualifying, but he was consistently quick all weekend. In the finals he edged the number-one qualifier, Darin Hendricks, 10.11 to 10.15.
It wasn’t easy, but Dom Didonato put together a consistent race to top the highly competitive Renegade class. “This last weekend at the NMRA season opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park in beautiful Florida was such a roller coaster. We ended last year rolling a consistent, well running, FAST racecar on the trailer. “What we rolled off the trailer Thursday was anything but. Fighting traction issues Thursday and Friday, we couldn’t even get off the starting line,” he said. “Saturday, we got that fixed and get off the line, only to have it shut down before we even shifted.” Clearly he got it together to run the table.
What a great way to kick of the Ford drag racing season. The track was packed and the times were quick. Here are the results from all the classes.