Jeff Smith Wins First TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024

Jeff Smith Wins First TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024

The first TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024 was action packed and featured one of the tightest fields ever at the 2024 NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Gainesville Raceway. With fierce competition and a few surprises, it was no easy task for TREMEC-equipped racer Jeff Smith to take home his fourth TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Title.

For all three TREMEC Stick Shift Shootouts in 2024, TREMEC has partnered with McLeod Racing to sweeten the pot. If the winner is running a TREMEC transmission the racer will get an additional $1,000 from TREMEC. Racers who have a McLeod clutch system will get a bonus $1,000 from McLeod Racing. This gives racers the opportunity to take home up to an extra $2,000 for winning the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout. But wait, there’s more!

TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout 2024 Championship Ring

Announced at this event, there will be an overall TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout season champion! The Stick Shift Shootout racer who makes all three events and has the lowest qualifying E/T average from those events will be crowned TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Champion and receive a championship ring like other NMRA season champions. If no racer qualifies for all three events, then the racer with the lowest qualifying E/T at two events will win the championship.

The 2024 NMRA Spring Break Shootout was held for the first time in NMRA history at the legendary Gainesville Raceway. This track in Northern Florida has been host to the NHRA’s Gatornationals for over 50 years and has seen numerous national records be broken. It was the perfect venue to launch the 2024 NMRA season and TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout series. While Friday of the event was rained out, the weather for Saturday and Sunday was perfect for track surface and fast E/Ts that led to one of the tightest shootout fields ever.

The photo captions have details on the round-by-round action. Here’s how our field of eight qualified, showing their E/T for each True Street qualifying round and their average E/T.

Dannie Addair – 1987 Ford Mustang – 9.22, 9.341, 9.335 = 9.26 E/T Avg.

Rob Thompson – 2001 Ford Mustang – 9.431, 9.525, 9.38 = 9.44 E/T Avg.

Alex Martinez – 1995 Ford Mustang – 9.655, 9.546, 9.335 = 9.51 E/T Avg.

Kyle Miller – 2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1 – 8.905, 8.946, 10.756 = 9.53 E/T Avg.

Jeff Smith – 2004 Ford Mustang Cobra – 9.30, 9.796, 10.041 = 9.71 E/T Avg.

Jon Miller – 2019 Ford Mustang GT- 10.23, 9.747, 9.723 = 9.90 E/T Avg.

Karl Goin – 1992 Ford Mustang – 9.687, 10.693, 10.189 = 10.18 E/T Avg.

Chris Rush – 2018 Ford Mustang GT – 10.357, 10.284, 10.47 = 10.37 E/T Avg

The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout is a special class inside the NMRA True Street class. You can read the full True Street rules here, but the basics are the car has to be Ford-bodied, Ford-powered, have DOT approved tires, a full interior and have a current tag/registration. All entries go on a 30-mile street cruise to show they’re street worthy.

After returning to the track from the street cruise, the cars are lined up in the staging lanes for a 30-minute cooldown where hoods must stay closed, computer tuning or fuel adding is prohibited with the only actions allowed are changing tire pressures and turning on nitrous bottles. Each racer must make three full quarter-mile passes to build an elapsed time (E/T) average that determines the overall winner as well as a winner of each E/T class; 9- through 15-second.

The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout takes the eight quickest H-pattern shifted manual transmission racers from True Street (plus two alternates) to face off in Elimination for the shootout title. First round pairings are selected by random chip draw, with a staggered start format based on each racer’s True Street average.

The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout takes place at three NMRA national events: the Spring Break Shootout, NMRA 25th Anniversary Ford Homecoming at Summit Motorsports Park and the NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway. The winner of each of these receives a $1,500 product voucher from McLeod Racing, while the runner up gets a $500 McLeod voucher.

Jeff Smith Wins First TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024
The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout pulls the top eight quickest H-pattern manual transmission cars from the NMRA True Street category (plus two alternates). The class is open to any street legal Ford-bodied and Ford-powered vehicle that meets all DOT standards for street use. To verify this, all entries go on a 30-mile street cruise. Once back at the track racers can’t open the hood, do any computer tuning or even add fuel before making three back-to-back passes.
TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout drag racers
Here are the eight TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout qualifiers at the 2024 NMRA Spring Break Shootout (from left to right): Robert Thompson, Alex Martinez, Jon Miller, Chris Rusch, Jeff Smith, Dannie Addair, Karl Goin, and Kyle Miller with TREMEC’s Mike Kidd in the middle of the stick-shift Manwich!
TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Chip Draw
The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout is run on Sunday of the NMRA event using a staggered start format based on each racer’s True Street average E/T. The first round bracket is set by random chip draw.
TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Quick 8
The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout racers assemble in the rear of the staging lanes before their first round of elimination. There were two Fox Bodies, three New Edges, one SN95 and one S550 Mustang in the competition. It was the tightest field ever for average E/Ts that saw six 9-second cars and two low-10-second cars.
Jeff Smith Wins First TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024
The chip draw for round one of the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout is random, but somehow Florida racers Kyle Miller and Jeff Smith once again drew each other in round one just like in the 2023 shootout at the NMRA Spring Break Shootout. The fierce rivalry between these two always makes this matchup exciting. Jeff had the advantage off the line with his 9.71 E/T average against Miller’s 9.53 E/T. Kyle’s black 2004 Mach 1 easily had enough to match Jeff’s orange 2004 Cobra and erase the 0.18-second head start. But the Mach 1’s alternator decided to finish the weekend early, with the battery voltage dropping low enough to drop fuel pressure dangerously low at the eighth-mile mark just as Kyle caught Jeff. With no choice but to lift, Jeff broke the beams first and headed on to round two but not without some drama of his own.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
Dannie Addair (left) was so pumped for TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout eliminations he could’ve probably run the race on foot and broke into the 9s – picture the Futurama coffee episode. Dannie’s Fox Mustang runs a boosted pushrod motor and was the number one qualifier with a 9.29 average E/T. In the other lane was Alex Martinez in his yellow 1995 Mustang GT with a 9.45 average that gave him a 0.16-second starting line head start. Alex cut a lightning quick .071 light against Dannie’s .162 reaction time (R/T). Dannie fought traction issues off the line and was trying to reel Alex in, but the yellow Mustang was on a rail for an 8.86 at 157.48 pass. Dannie was pedaling all the way, never giving up and hoping for a break, but it just wasn’t to be as he crossed the line with a 10.68 at 93.39. Alex lit the winner light and was headed for the second round.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
Next at the line were Jon Miller (left) in the 2019 Mustang GT against Chris Rusch (right) in his orange 2018 Mustang GT. Chris had the advantage with his 10.37 average E/T compared Jon’s 9.90. The yellow S550 launched with a .131 R/T, while Miller went further in the hole with a .519 R/T.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
Undaunted Jon quickly started reeling Chris in and became a growing menace in the yellow Mustang’s rearview mirror. But the 10.01 at 145.85 run Jon was on wasn’t enough, with Chris crossed the finish first with a 10.29 at 144.95 pass.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
The battle of silver Mustangs and pushrods versus overhead cams saw the 1992 Fox Body Mustang of Karl Goin running against Robert Thompson in the 2001 Mustang. Karl got to leave first with his 10.19 average to Robert’s 9.45 mark. Both drivers had similar reaction times that didn’t provide any additional advantage.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
Robert was on a 9.50 pass that had him closing the gap quickly on Karl. But Karl was spot on, running 10.191 at 135.02 mph on his 10.19 average to trigger the win light while Robert broke the beams at 145.48 mph with a 9.509 E/T.
TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Final 4 Drag Racing Cars
And then there were four! A last minute change had the four remaining drivers drawing chips again to reset the pairings for round two of eliminations. It would be Jeff Smith versus Chris Rusch and Karl Goin versus Alex Martinez. Smith had the biggest question mark amongst the four, with concerns about his axleshafts holding up for the final two rounds after having an issue with one showing excessive play and causing a wear issue against one of the rear wheels.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
The surprise of round two was both Karl and Alex posting super-quick runs. Alex’s yellow Mustang lit the left lane board with a 8.72 at 160.46 pass, but Karl had the starting line advantage with his 10.19 average over Alex’s 9.45 was the decisive factor as the right lane scoreboard showed a 9.26 at 146.77 run with the win light.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
Chris Rusch’s 10.37 set him up to get the green before Jeff Smith (9.71). Two weeks before the event, Jeff Smith had broken into the 8s during Sick Week 2024, meaning “The Pumpkin” was capable of firing off a pass that would negate Chris’ head start advantage. Chris cut another solid reaction time with a .175 and jumped against Jeff’s .240 R/T.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
It wasn’t an 8-second pass, but Jeff’s 9.22 at 149.20 (his best of the weekend) got the job done to get the win light against Chris’ 10.20 at 142.00, which was also his best pass at the 2024 NMRA Spring Break Shootout. This made the final round a matchup of 9.22 versus 9.26 E/T Mustangs for the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout title.
Ford Mustang NRMA Drag Racing
Karl, with the 10.19 average, had the advantage over Smith (9.71 average) at the starting line. The track had been baking under the Florida sun all day, and surface temps meant the potential for traction issues. Karl cut a .209 light and spun a bit off the line, fighting to hook before Jeff got the green.
Jeff Smith Wins First TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024
Jeff hit the gas with a .514 R/T that gave Karl an extra three-tenths advantage off the line. There was no time to worry as Jeff’s 2004 Cobra also fought traction issues off the line and forced Jeff to pedal the car hard.
Jeff Smith Wins First TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2024
Despite having to pedal and overcoming a more than half-second head start, Jeff reeled in Karl and tripped the win light with a 9.41 at 159.31 to beat Karl’s 10.46 at 141.25 effort. It was Jeff’s third TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout title and a stout payday thanks to McLeod Racing’s $1,000 bonus for running a McLeod clutch and the TREMEC $1,000 bonus for the Magnum 6-speed that he shifted to victory.