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Horse Crazy: Look out, Ashley Smiley can take any horse and make it perform
MUSTANGS! - speed, performance, and winning are what we demand from them. It's an affliction which a large number of guys seem to get caught up with in their youth and never seem to out grow. No matter how fast we go, no matter how much money we spend, and no matter how much our significant others want to kill us, we're just never satisfied. We just have to go faster and we'll sell our souls to do it. You know how it is when your driving down that certain hi-way with her and Joe Camaro pul...
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[10/02/2002] NMRA World Finals run down


Perfect weather was the setting for the 4th Annual NMRA Ford World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway, and attendance records were broken! Over 280 show cars entered the NMRA All-Ford Show Spectacular, and the action in the racing classes was incredible! The 2002 NMRA Holley Ford Drag Racing Series, presented by Ford Racing Performance Parts, has come to a thrilling end here in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with some of the best racing the Ford world has ever seen.

An enormous crowd of spectators filled the gates to watch 320 heads-up cars go at it for the last time in 2002, many of them looking to win a coveted NMRA class championship and go into the 2003 season with a big number 1 on their windows. Over 14,000 spectators watched the action packed event, one of the biggest spectator events in Beech Bend Raceway history!

Let¹s start with the top dog class, Mr. Gasket Pro 5.0. Billy Glidden had already sewn up the championship prior to this race, but that didn¹t stop 5 other racers from trying to take him down. Glidden qualified on top, and proved to be unstoppable once again. The final came down to him and "teammate" Derrick Smith, and Glidden took the win light with a 6.900 at 202.73mph to put a big stamp on his 2002 Mr. Gasket Pro 5.0 championship.

MSD Super Street Outlaw had 22 insane 10-inch-tire freak shows gunning for the glory, and the championship was up for grabs. Mike Murillo came into Bowling Green leading the points, with Mike Smith and Vic Williams hot on his heels. A good finish by Smith could have theoretically turned the tide and earned him the championship, but Smith and his partner Jason Cohen lined up against each other in the semifinals so only one was going to the final. Cohen was having a fantastic weekend, running consistent 7-second e.t.s, so he wasn¹t about to hand his partner an easy win. When the lights came down, it was all Cohen, who streaked to a 7.93 at 180mph to Smith¹s 8.01 at 175. In the other semi, John Urist had a bye run, setting up a turbo versus blower final round. Urist got a slight holeshot but drifted toward the wall in the left lane, while Cohen was on another straight-as-a-string pass. Cohen lit up the boards with a 7.844 at 180 to Urist¹s slowing 10.76 at only 87. It was Cohen''s first-ever NMRA victory, and a very sweet way for him to end the year.

Edelbrock Hot Street had one of the closest and wildest finals of any class this year, when Kurt Neighbor faced off against Kenny Compton. Neighbor has Glidden power, Compton carries the Livernois colors. At the flash of yellow, both cars left hard with the advantage going to Compton. Both cars carried the wheels to about 100 feet out, and Compton maintained his lead. But at the top end, Neighbor inched ahead and took the win with a 9.347 at 145mph to Compton¹s 9.429 at 142.

ProCharger EFI Renegade should have seen a great final round, but Bart Tobener broke in his semifinal victory over Mike Post and couldn¹t make the call, giving Jimmy LaRocca a single in the final. Looking for the 8-second run that everyone was hoping for, LaRocca let it all hang out in the cool night air, but could only muster a 9.14 at 151mph. The points are still being tallied as we write this, so we don¹t who the champion is yet. Stay tuned!

Tremec Pure Street had the most intense race of the year, bar none. Gene Hindman and John McGowan have traded wins and seats atop the points all year long, and when they both won their semifinal races, that meant the entire year would come down to one round, the final at Bowling Green. After doing their burnouts, both racers inched up to the tree and prestaged. Then began the burndown! Both racers sat in the prestage bulbs, refusing to bump in. Hindman even shut his car off! As the crowd roared and tensions built, McGowan finally bumped in. In one deft move, Hindman started his car, bumped in, and left, all in the span of about one second! The pressue must have been too much for McGowan, as he redlit with a .112-second reaction time, handing the win, and the championship, to Hindman.

BFGoodrich Factory Stock also had determined its champion before Bowling Green. Justin Burcham came to Beech Bend with "2002 Factory Stock Champion" on his windows, but was still hungry to win. He proved that in the semifinals when he lined up against his wife, Melanie and showed no mercy. His win sent him to the final to face arch-rival Robin Lawrence. Looking to avenge his second place finish in the points, Lawrence was set on kill and put a light on his rival with a .525 to Burcham¹s .565. But the champ got around the veteran and won with an 11.832 to Lawrence¹s 11.964. The speeds were identical, at 113.64mph!

Vortech Modular Muscle had a huge field of 53 cars, but one name stood out when it counted, the same name that took all the glory in the 2000 season. Jim Breese took the win in the final at Bowling Green, beating Lupe Davila and sealing up his second NMRA Vortech Modular Muscle championship!

5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Real Street had 25 cars entered, the biggest turnout yet for this first-year class. The finals came down to Bruce Hemminger and Steve Torkelson, which Hemminger won with a 10.28 at 130mph to Torkelson¹s 10.31 at 132. The champion, however, appears to be Fred Felt. The numbers have not all been crunched yet, but it looks like Felt is your 2002 5.0 Mustang Real Street champion.

Toyo Tires Open Comp rocked the house with 83 Fords entered! Other than some of the brackets, this was the biggest class of the year in the NMRA, and the final round came down to two racers who had not made it to a final all year. Ron Cates and Rob Marvin faced off, and Cates came out the winner with an 11.166 on an 11.14 dial-in, to Marvin¹s 12.155 on a 12.06. Again, the champion has not been determined, but Cates has a good shot at the title.

BFGoodrich Drag Radial saw the emergence of two unexpected people at the top of the tree, when Peter Cha

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