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Sharon Manduley's 1997 Mustang Cobra
One of our newest members Sharon Manduley, is one very lucky lady. Not only is she the new mother of a healthy baby boy but she is also the enthusiastic owner of a beautiful Cobra. As if that wasn't enough, she is married to a man so wonderful he is the barer of both gifts! Yah, makes me sick too. haha! Brian Manduley brought Sharon to my attention, telling me of the graduation gift he built and gave to his adored wife, a 1997 Mustang Cobra. As her cool vanity license plates tell, Sharo...
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[06/12/2023] Revving Up the Enthusiasm: An Exciting Recap of the 2023 NMRA Ford Homecoming

By: Dan McCain & Dustin Wood - Editors

The 2023 National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) Ford Homecoming, sponsored by Mickey Thompson, was an unmissable four-day event that lit up Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The event, held from June 8th to 11th, drew a passionate crowd of racing enthusiasts and industry professionals alike, giving them a weekend packed with high-speed excitement and close competition.


2023 NMRA – Norwalk – Photo Album

The homecoming kicked off on Thursday, June 8th, with an electrifying display of raw horsepower during the opening round of qualifying. A procession of sleek Mustangs, each more powerful than the last, dazzled spectators as they roared down the track. Drivers jockeyed for top positions in the leaderboard, testing their machines and their skills in a spectacle of smoke and thunder.

As the dust settled on Friday, some familiar names emerged at the top of the charts, showcasing their mastery over both machine and track. However, it was not all smooth sailing as the day had its share of surprises and upsets. Mechanical issues plagued a few, while others faced tough competition, making for an intense day of qualifying that set the stage for the weekend's high stakes.

The eliminations on Saturday brought a whole new level of anticipation. The competition became fiercer, as the day was marked with head-to-head battles and nail-biting finishes. The crowd watched with bated breath as racers were eliminated one by one, leading to a tightly packed leaderboard with only the fastest and most skillful drivers left standing.

Sunday brought the ultimate showdown. Tensions were high as the top contenders took to the track for the final time, battling it out for the prestigious championship title. Each round saw fierce competition, with fractions of seconds making the difference between victory and defeat. The roar of the engines echoed across the park, amplifying the anticipation of the spectators.

In the end, it was a spectacular weekend of close competition, with several stand-out performances making for memorable moments. The final races were breathtakingly close, with winners clinching their victories by mere split seconds. The cheers of the crowd echoed across the park as the winners took their victory laps, marking the end of an exhilarating four-day racing extravaganza.

In the VP Racing Madditives Renegade, Martin Connelley and Terry Wilson stole the show. Both qualifying in the top two spots, Connelley emerged victorious with a time of 4.61 seconds, besting Wilson's near-identical 4.59 seconds.

The Whatever It Takes Transmissions Parts Limited Street saw reigning champion Samantha Moore set the pace at the event with a 7.83-second run, winning over Stacey Roby's commendable 7.99 seconds.

The Coyote Stock was abuzz with Chad Stephens's excellent 9.76-second qualifying run in his T-Bird, a Bob Glidden tribute car. However, in a thrilling finale, Ed Bennett surpassed Stephens with an identical 9.76-second performance, compared to Stephens's 9.88 seconds.

In Richmond Gear Factory Stock, Matt Williams leaped into the final round, leading with a 10.14-second run in qualifying. He clinched victory in a thrilling finish with a 10.15-second run, edging out Mike Bowen's close 10.17 seconds.

SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race saw Brian Larsen lead the qualifying round with an 8.607-second run. However, the final round witnessed an intense competition between Gavin Black and Rick Baum, with Black taking the trophy home with an 8.76-second run, compared to Baum's 8.79 seconds.

In the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, Chris Graff triumphed over Adam Cox with a 12.37-second run on a 12.27, while Cox broke out with a 9.97 on a 9.99.

2023 NMRA – Norwalk – Wheel Stander HP Tuners Super Stang concluded with a dramatic finale where Andy Ransford narrowly beat Marvin Knack, timing 13.46 on a 13.44 dial as opposed to Knack's 12.51 on a 12.40 dial.

The CJ Pony Parts Truck and Lightning saw Bryan Parker victorious in a double-breakout match against Mike Motycka with a 12.22 on a 12.25 against Motycka's 12.04 on a 12.13.

In the ARP Open Comp, Gordon Harlow defeated Jon M. Pickering, with Harlow recording a .005 reaction time and running right on his 10.22 dial.

The Ford Muscle champion Danny Towe overcame pre-race nerves to defeat John Butsko, clocking 11.78 on an 11.75 index, compared to Butsko's faster-than-index 12.25.

In the 30th-anniversary edition of the Circle D Specialties True Street, Mike Jovanis was the overall winner with an impressive 8.13 average, while Chris DeRoss was the runner-up with a 9.55 average. Also victorious were Jeff Smith (10-second), Felix Del Iglesia (11-second), Steve Hansen (12-second), Timothy Miller (13-second), Mike Cathan Jr. (14-second), and Procopio Cusumano (15-second).

King of the Street saw Mike Jovanis top the eight quickest drivers with a 4.95-second blast in the eighth mile, defeating Jeff Maggs, who timed a 6.31.

In the Watson Racing Cobra Jet Showdown, Ed Brown won over Steven Hall with an 8.75-second top-end time compared to Hall's 10.27.

The tenth edition of the TREMEC Stick-Shift Shootout had Scott Triolo of New Jersey win with a 10.49 over Jeff Smith's 9.38.

TREMEC All-Female True Street saw Gabby Lujan win with a 9.28 average, while Danielle Post was runner-up with a 10.28 average. Other winners included Kelly Bartlett (10-second), Kimberley Wood (11-second), Andrea Woolard (12-second), Danielle McGraw (13-second), Heather Flanagan (14-second), and Elaine Moistner (15-second).

In the GT500 Street, Dylan Royer defeated George Tisdale in the finals with a 10.25-second run after Tisdale tripped the red light.

2023 NMRA – Norwalk – Car Show GT500 Shootout Unlimited saw Jamey Holcombe compete against Billy Franklin in the final round, but Franklin turned on the red light and experienced a potential parts damage.

The Bracket Mayhem on Saturday ended with Nick Schecklhoff defeating Jerry Spoor in Bracket 1, John Gregory defeating Nick Schecklhoff in Bracket 2, and Bill Saylor defeating Daniel Imhoff in Bracket 3. Sunday's results included Gary Varney outrunning Scott Maschari in Bracket 1, John Gregory's second win in Bracket 2, and Brian Flanagan defeating Kevin Flanagan in Bracket 3.

Finally, the Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales Jr. Street saw a red-light final with Jaden Dietsch winning over Hayden Roby with a 9.51 on a 9.40 in the eighth mile.

In conclusion, the NMRA Ford Homecoming was not just about high-speed thrills, but also a celebration of the racing community. Beyond the track, there were car shows, pit parties, and plenty of opportunities for fans to meet their favorite drivers. It was a perfect blend of fierce competition and community spirit, making it an event that will be remembered for years to come.

Overall, the 2023 NMRA Ford Homecoming was a roaring success, filled with memorable moments and thrilling races. The performances showcased at this year's event are a testament to the skill, dedication, and passion of all the drivers involved. As we look forward to next year's event, we are reminded of the exhilarating journey that is the NMRA Ford Homecoming, a weekend where champions are born and legends are made.

2023 NMRA – Norwalk – Founders Party

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