The NMRA Ford Nationals season is just weeks away and it has a lot to offer
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of the NMRA
It’s true. The holidays are over and we’re all back to work, but there’s something to look forward to. Yes. Ford drag racing enthusiasts can set their sights on the kickoff of the 2016 NMRA Nationals season in Bradenton, Florida, on March 3-6.
That’s just weeks away, so you better pull the cover off that race car and start prepping it for the new season. This year the NMRA will once again host a number of specialty classes in addition to its stalwart points classes Street Outlaw, Renegade, Coyote Modified, Coyote Stock, Factory Stock, Pure Street, Open Comp, Truck & Lightning, Modular Muscle, Super Stang, and True Street. Three of the specialty classes—EcoBoost Battle, Terminator vs. GT500 Shootout, and Turbo Coyote Shootout—will be held at three events over the season, and all will kick off at Bradenton in March.
Making a return to the first race is the popular Turbo Coyote Shootout, which puts the powerful combination of turbochargers and Ford’s latest 5.0-liter in the spotlight.
“We’re thrilled to announce that the Turbo Coyote Shootout will be back in 2016 at three of our biggest events,” National Event Director Rollie Miller, said. “Ford Performance built an awesome platform in the Coyote engine and it provides loads of excitement for our racers and our fans.”
Likewise, one of the most storied specialty classes in the NMRA returns in Bradenton and continues on at Maple Grove and at the World Finals in Bowling Green. That class is the VMP Performance GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout. This heads-up battle for SVT supremacy is adding a new wrinkle for the 2016 season.
“These high-end, special-production Mustangs bring another level of racing to our events,” Rollie added. “With a separate purse for the UPR Products Quick 8 this year, we’re giving everyone a chance to race and compete.”
Of course the newest specialty class, the Livernois Motorsport EcoBoost Battle presented by SVTPerformance.com, follows up its successful debut at last year’s World Finals by expanding to three races in 2016. After the season opener, it will continue at Hebron, Ohio, and Bowling Green, Kentucky events, so fans of Ford’s Gas Turbo Direct Injection machines will have a few chances to run heads-up in the new year.
Further ramping up the excitement for the season opener is the addition of Grudge Night on Saturday night alongside a guest appearance by a reality TV star.
“The NMRA team is proud to announce two exciting new additions to the Spring Break Shootout. On Saturday night, the time slips are put away and the clocks are shut down for an exciting after-hours Grudge Night,” says the sanction. “Racers will race for cash and the ultimate in bragging rights in no-holds barred, heads-up format. In addition, Street Outlaw TV star Chris ‘BoostedGT’ Hamilton and his Cobra SVT Mustang will be available all day Saturday to sign autographs, race in the Grudge Night and take pictures with his fans.”
That should get some fans in the seats, and when they arrive, they just might see some new entries in the points classes, like Coyote Modified. It seems the crew at Juggernaut Power have joined on as NMRA sponsors and they plan to race one of their machines in the class.
“A huge percentage of people buy them for the performance associated with the brand. What we do here is take the S550 and modify it to the customer’s specifications. We’re not about fancy badging. We take each car and build it by hand into a performance machine, not just an aesthetic vehicle. We want to make sure each of our customers see the value for what they are paying for,” Juggernaut Power President Rey Rivera said. “I think we have something for the rest of the guys. Hopefully we’ll do really well.”
Of course we all approach a new season with hope, but if you haven’t made your plans to hit the first race of the season, you better get moving. Your friends at SVTP will be on the property at Bradenton Motorsports Park covering the event, so we hope to see you there and at several events this season…
2016 NMRA Ford Nationals Schedule
March 3-6, 2016
NMRA Spring Break Shootout
Bradenton Motorsports Park, Bradenton, Florida
April 7-10, 2016
NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals
Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Georgia
April 28-May 1, 2016
NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, Pennsylvania
June 9-12, 2016
NMRA All-Ford Supernationals
National Trail Raceway, Hebron, Ohio
July 28-31, 2016
NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing
Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Illinois
Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2016
NMRA All-Ford World Finals
Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky