Event: NMRA vs. NMCA Super Bowl

NMRA vs. NMCA Super Bowl Featured

Reign In Blue

The NMRA and NMCA clash at Route 66 Raceway and the Blue Oval boys come out on top again

By Steve Turner

There’s nothing better than a crossover. Whether it is your favorite movie hero, comic book character, or racing sanctioning body, it’s always fun to see how residents of different worlds compare. Fortunately both the NMRA and the NMCA are owned by the same promoter—Promedia—so it was easy enough for them to host an event where both sanctioning bodies racers can compete.

While we were on hand to cover the NMRA side of things, we couldn’t help but check in on the Mustangs running over on the NMCA side of things. One of the most significant NMCA Mustang passes of the weekend was by MMR-sponsored racer Greg-Seth Hunter running his GT500 in Pro Street. He laid down a 6.09/242 rocket blast that reset the record for the fastest modular Mustang so far.
While we were on hand to cover the NMRA side of things, we couldn’t help but check in on the Mustangs running over on the NMCA side of things. One of the most significant NMCA Mustang passes of the weekend was by MMR-sponsored racer Greg-Seth Hunter running his GT500 in Pro Street. He laid down a 6.09/242 rocket blast that reset the record for the fastest modular Mustang so far.

Nine years ago, they created the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Since then, this race has become a must-attend event on both circuits. What makes the clash so unique is that both sanctioning bodies’ racers run in their usual classes. However, once each sanctioning body crowns a class winner, those racers are pitted against one another in the Super Bowl Shootout and the respect winners take home a coveted Diamond Tree ring presented by sponsor Nitto Tire.

To put it politely, the NMRA has dominated this battle of the brands. This year there were several new class configurations, so the classes that would clash were lined up as such:

We met up with NMCA racer Willard Kinzer in Joliet to check out his 4,000hp Drag Radial Wars ride. The 85-year-old racer stepped up from at street-style Fox to this pure racer. It is powered by a Proline engine and tuned by Mr. Steve Petty. After qualifying fourth with a 4.48/178 run, Willard clashed with Paul Major’s ’01 Corvette and unfortunately lost, but stay tuned for a full feature on Mr. Kinzer right here at SVTP.
We met up with NMCA racer Willard Kinzer in Joliet to check out his 4,000hp Drag Radial Wars ride. The 85-year-old racer stepped up from at street-style Fox to this pure racer. It is powered by a Proline engine and tuned by Mr. Steve Petty. After qualifying fourth with a 4.48/178 run, Willard clashed with Paul Major’s ’01 Corvette and unfortunately lost, but stay tuned for a full feature on Mr. Kinzer right here at SVTP.

NMRA Street Outlaw vs. NMCA Pro Mod
NMRA Renegade vs. NMCA Radial Wars
NMRA Coyote Modified vs. NMCA Street Outlaw
NMRA Pure Street vs. NMCA Nitrous Pro Street
NMRA Coyote Stock vs. NMCA Xtreme Street
NMRA Factory Stock vs. NMCA NA 10.5
NMRA Modular Muscle vs. NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock
NMRA Super Stang vs. NMCA Nostalgia Muscle Car
NMRA Truck & Lightning vs. NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock
NMRA Open Comp vs. NMCA Open Comp
NMRA True Street vs. NMCA True Street

Now, while adding all these inter-sanction battles definitely adds a level of cool to the Joliet event, it also adds a bit of time and complexity to the schedule. It’s really the last place that you want weather to have an impact, but that’s just what happened this year. After getting work done on Friday night, the weather rolled in and doused the area. It continued on an off for most of the day on Saturday. Still the track staff and event crew were able to get the track prepped and the event running again for some rounds before more weather rolled in on Saturday night.

Brad and Nina Gusler of BG Racing both had an early exit out of the Truck & Lightning class, but they had a nice turnout for their informal truck gathering around their display on the midway. While Nina lost in the early rounds, the rookie driver was still leading in the points heading into the World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Brad and Nina Gusler of BG Racing both had an early exit out of the Truck & Lightning class, but they had a nice turnout for their informal truck gathering around their display on the midway. While Nina lost in the early rounds, the rookie driver was still leading in the points heading into the World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

To say the there was some concern about finishing the event would be putting it mildly. However, when Sunday rolled around the clouds parted, the sun came out, and the exciting racing continued.

Clearly we were on hand to cover the Fordcentric NMRA side of things, but we did pay some attention to the NMCA Fords. However, when it came to the Super Bowl Shootouts, we were pulling for the NMRA. It came down to the final pairing, but Bad Bart Tobener sealed the deal, making the reign in blue three in a row for the NMRA and seven out of nine since the Super Bowl race began.


Street Outlaw

Laying low, Andy Manson qualified his 440-cube ’96 Mustang in the fourth spot with a 7.14 at 197.39 mph. With Steve Wardlow and Tony Alm having issues in the first two rounds, Andy’s path was clear until the final where he lit the red bulb and handed the win to Phil Smith’s Trans-Am. Andy ended up representing the NMRA in the Super Bowl race, and he squared off against Pro Mod winner, Steve Summers. Andy got to leave first, but Steve was able to catch up and pass him to notch a win for the NMCA.
Laying low, Andy Manson qualified his 440-cube ’96 Mustang in the fourth spot with a 7.14 at 197.39 mph. With Steve Wardlow and Tony Alm having issues in the first two rounds, Andy’s path was clear until the final where he lit the red bulb and handed the win to Phil Smith’s Trans-Am. Andy ended up representing the NMRA in the Super Bowl race, and he squared off against Pro Mod winner, Steve Summers. Andy got to leave first, but Steve was able to catch up and pass him to notch a win for the NMCA.

Renegade

Bart Tobener had his modular-powered Fox working, so he was determined not to fix what wasn’t broken. He just kept up with maintenance between rounds and didn’t get too fancy. His plan worked as he started on top and stayed on top. His 8.02/172 qualifying rip put him atop the qualifying sheet and it was nearly two tenths quicker than Charles Cooper’s number-two qualified Cobra Jet. In eliminations, Bart kept his ’91 coupe in the bottom-eights all the way through the winning run in the finals. Only Brian Mitchell put up a real fight in the third round. Better yet, Bad Bart took out NMCA Radial Wars winner Keith Berry to give the NMRA another Super Bowl victory by a margin of 6 to 5.
Bart Tobener had his modular-powered Fox working, so he was determined not to fix what wasn’t broken. He just kept up with maintenance between rounds and didn’t get too fancy. His plan worked as he started on top and stayed on top. His 8.02/172 qualifying rip put him atop the qualifying sheet and it was nearly two tenths quicker than Charles Cooper’s number-two qualified Cobra Jet. In eliminations, Bart kept his ’91 coupe in the bottom-eights all the way through the winning run in the finals. Only Brian Mitchell put up a real fight in the third round. Better yet, Bad Bart took out NMCA Radial Wars winner Keith Berry to give the NMRA another Super Bowl victory by a margin of 6 to 5.

Coyote Modified

The self-proclaimed Most Hated Man In Drag Racing, Terry “Beefcake” Reeves started out the race in a far less controversial fashion. He qualified at the bottom of the list with a 9.32 at 156.77 mph. However, once eliminations began, the controversy ensued. During a staging battle with Hellion-turbocharged racer Frank Varela, Terry eschewed staging etiquette and lit both bulbs. He says it was inadvertent, but when Frank timed out and gave him the win, the ire of the Coyote Modified brotherhood was raised. Riding a bye into the finals, Terry faced Dyno Joe Cram. While Joe ran quicker, Terry got the edge at the tree and took home the win, setting the stage for some compelling racing at the World Finals.
The self-proclaimed Most Hated Man In Drag Racing, Terry “Beefcake” Reeves started out the race in a far less controversial fashion. He qualified at the bottom of the list with a 9.32 at 156.77 mph. However, once eliminations began, the controversy ensued. During a staging battle with Hellion-turbocharged racer Frank Varela, Terry eschewed staging etiquette and lit both bulbs. He says it was inadvertent, but when Frank timed out and gave him the win, the ire of the Coyote Modified brotherhood was raised. Riding a bye into the finals, Terry faced Dyno Joe Cram. While Joe ran quicker, Terry got the edge at the tree and took home the win, setting the stage for some compelling racing at the World Finals.


Pure Street

Rolling on new beadlocks, Teddy Weaver topped the qualifying charts with 1 9.90 rip at 136.07 mph. His Mystic-hued ’01 ’Stang has remained perfect this season and it looked to remain that way at the Super Bowl. He laid waste to a trouble Scott Barker (9.98 vs. 11.87) before coasting on a bye run into the finals. There he met with stiff competition in the form of number-two qualifier, Tommy Godfrey. Teddy left second, but he was able to drive around Tommy for the win. In the Super Bowl race, he clashed with NMCA Nitrous Pro Street winner, Don Baskin. Quick on the tree, Teddy took the win for the NMRA and took home a Nitto Diamond Tree ring.
Rolling on new beadlocks, Teddy Weaver topped the qualifying charts with 1 9.90 rip at 136.07 mph. His Mystic-hued ’01 ’Stang has remained perfect this season and it looked to remain that way at the Super Bowl. He laid waste to a trouble Scott Barker (9.98 vs. 11.87) before coasting on a bye run into the finals. There he met with stiff competition in the form of number-two qualifier, Tommy Godfrey. Teddy left second, but he was able to drive around Tommy for the win. In the Super Bowl race, he clashed with NMCA Nitrous Pro Street winner, Don Baskin. Quick on the tree, Teddy took the win for the NMRA and took home a Nitto Diamond Tree ring.

Coyote Stock

Qualifying just a few ticks behind HiPo Joe Charles, Darin Hendricks landed in the number-two slot with a 10.53 at 127.59 mph. With a stout 10 cars in the Coyote Stock ranks, meant Darin would have to go four rounds for the win. After putting a second on Matt Williams in the first round, Darin’s first real fight came against Mike Bowen in the second round. Darin got the jump and the race was over right away. He rode a bye into the final where he met up with Joe Marini’s ’11 GT. Darin left first and ran the quicker e.t. to take the win (10.55 vs. 10.57). Darin also chalked up another win for the NMRA by besting Dave Hutnik’s Xtreme Street Camaro.
Qualifying just a few ticks behind HiPo Joe Charles, Darin Hendricks landed in the number-two slot with a 10.53 at 127.59 mph. With a stout 10 cars in the Coyote Stock ranks, meant Darin would have to go four rounds for the win. After putting a second on Matt Williams in the first round, Darin’s first real fight came against Mike Bowen in the second round. Darin got the jump and the race was over right away. He rode a bye into the final where he met up with Joe Marini’s ’11 GT. Darin left first and ran the quicker e.t. to take the win (10.55 vs. 10.57). Darin also chalked up another win for the NMRA by besting Dave Hutnik’s Xtreme Street Camaro.

Factory Stock

Despite all the turmoil with the weather, there was no shaking some of the racers at Joliet. Case in point was Factory Stock number-one qualifier, Matt Amrine. He claimed that spot with a 10.83 at 123.29 mph. From there it was smooth sailing for his ’98 ’Stang. After easing into competition with a bye in the first round, Matt had a scare in round two versus Jay Dold (10.97 vs. 10.98). Unfortunately things didn’t go as well for Matt versus NMCA NA 10.5 winner Mike Demayo. Mike ran down Matt to take a win for the NMCA.
Despite all the turmoil with the weather, there was no shaking some of the racers at Joliet. Case in point was Factory Stock number-one qualifier, Matt Amrine. He claimed that spot with a 10.83 at 123.29 mph. From there it was smooth sailing for his ’98 ’Stang. After easing into competition with a bye in the first round, Matt had a scare in round two versus Jay Dold (10.97 vs. 10.98). Unfortunately things didn’t go as well for Matt versus NMCA NA 10.5 winner Mike Demayo. Mike ran down Matt to take a win for the NMCA.

Modular Muscle

While there was a definite trend of number-one qualifiers running the table to win their classes, that’s less important in the open-comp style classes, where you qualify by reaction time. Case in point, Donnie Bowles qualified at the bottom of the sheet in Modular Muscle with a red-light start. He definitely shook that off in eliminations, however. He was deadly consistent in going rounds, and he definitely got on his game against fellow Roush racer, Susan McClenaghan in the third round. There, Donnie cut a perfect light. In the finals against number-one qualifier, Jason Henson, Donnie got the jump and ran right on his 10.12 dial-in for the win. Donnie kept up that consistency versus NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock winner, Dave Shultz. Donnie got the jump and ran the number to win for the NMRA.
While there was a definite trend of number-one qualifiers running the table to win their classes, that’s less important in the open-comp style classes, where you qualify by reaction time. Case in point, Donnie Bowles qualified at the bottom of the sheet in Modular Muscle with a red-light start. He definitely shook that off in eliminations, however. He was deadly consistent in going rounds, and he definitely got on his game against fellow Roush racer, Susan McClenaghan in the third round. There, Donnie cut a perfect light. In the finals against number-one qualifier, Jason Henson, Donnie got the jump and ran right on his 10.12 dial-in for the win. Donnie kept up that consistency versus NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock winner, Dave Shultz. Donnie got the jump and ran the number to win for the NMRA.

Super ’Stang

In the S197-centric Super ’Stang class, Larry Firestone qualified fifth thanks to a .082 reaction time. Despite letting John Mummerty get the jump, Larry was able to drive around him for the win in round one. Back on his game in the second round, Larry left Brent White snoozing at the tree and took the win into the finals against Rockin’ Al Miller of BMR Suspension. Larry left first again and edged Al for the win. In his clash with NMCA Nostalgia Muscle Car Winner Jerry Stamps, Larry was the one that got left at the tree, which meant the NMCA notched a win.
In the S197-centric Super ’Stang class, Larry Firestone qualified fifth thanks to a .082 reaction time. Despite letting John Mummerty get the jump, Larry was able to drive around him for the win in round one. Back on his game in the second round, Larry left Brent White snoozing at the tree and took the win into the finals against Rockin’ Al Miller of BMR Suspension. Larry left first again and edged Al for the win. In his clash with NMCA Nostalgia Muscle Car Winner Jerry Stamps, Larry was the one that got left at the tree, which meant the NMCA notched a win.

Truck & Lightning

There are a few Rangers running in the Lightning-dominated T&L class, and Gerry Van Veen is one of the Ranger pilots. He qualified in the 11th slot with a .055 reaction time. With a pretty clear path to the finals, Gerry met 19th-qualifier William Gehrke. Ultimately William ran a little closer to his dial-in, but Gerry made up for that by chopping down the tree to take the win. Sadly things didn’t go as well in the Super Bowl race, falling to NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock winner DW Hopkins.
There are a few Rangers running in the Lightning-dominated T&L class, and Gerry Van Veen is one of the Ranger pilots. He qualified in the 11th slot with a .055 reaction time. With a pretty clear path to the finals, Gerry met 19th-qualifier William Gehrke. Ultimately William ran a little closer to his dial-in, but Gerry made up for that by chopping down the tree to take the win. Sadly things didn’t go as well in the Super Bowl race, falling to NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock winner DW Hopkins.

Open Comp

With 26 cars qualified in Joliet, the Open Comp class was off the chain at the Super Bowl. Sure this isn’t a head’s up class, but these racers can drive. The qualifying was just brutal as the reaction times were separated by hundredths of a second. Mike Olencheck took the number-five slot in his ’82 Fairmont thanks to a .004 light. In competition Mike kept honing in on his dial-in for the better as he approached a clash with Mr. Open Comp, Larry Geddes, in the final. There, Larry left first, but Mike broke out just enough to keep the run clean and drive around Larry for the win. Versus NMCA Open Comp Winner Phil Timm, Mike had it easy as Phil redlit, handing him the win and the Nitto Diamond Tree ring.
With 26 cars qualified in Joliet, the Open Comp class was off the chain at the Super Bowl. Sure this isn’t a head’s up class, but these racers can drive. The qualifying was just brutal as the reaction times were separated by hundredths of a second. Mike Olencheck took the number-five slot in his ’82 Fairmont thanks to a .004 light. In competition Mike kept honing in on his dial-in for the better as he approached a clash with Mr. Open Comp, Larry Geddes, in the final. There, Larry left first, but Mike broke out just enough to keep the run clean and drive around Larry for the win. Versus NMCA Open Comp Winner Phil Timm, Mike had it easy as Phil redlit, handing him the win and the Nitto Diamond Tree ring.

Car Show

Despite the roller coaster weather, the car show crowd represented strong on Sunday. Your author’s favorite ride in the show was this clean Coyote ’93 LX coupe sleeper owned by Ryan Wallington of Davenport, Iowa. With hidden wiring, a smoothed engine compartment, and a carbon fiber JLT intake, this Coyote swap is done right.
Despite the roller coaster weather, the car show crowd represented strong on Sunday. Your author’s favorite ride in the show was this clean Coyote ’93 LX coupe sleeper owned by Ryan Wallington of Davenport, Iowa. With hidden wiring, a smoothed engine compartment, and a carbon fiber JLT intake, this Coyote swap is done right.

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