The Quickest Field Ever for TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout
The stage was set at the Whipple Superchargers 2023 NMRA World Finals for the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout drag racing finale of the season. The build up for the third shootout of the season had everyone revving with anticipation to see who would show up, if any grudges from the previous 2023 shootouts would carry over to the season showdown and, when the tire smoke cleared, would we see a repeat or first-time winner?
The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout takes the quickest eight H-pattern manual transmission cars from the NMRA True Street class and pits them against each other in a staggered-start elimination format that gives all eight qualifiers a shot at winning the title and taking home the top prize. Normally that prize is a McLeod Racing RXT clutch kit for the winner and a $500 McCleod gift certificate for the runner up, but for the last shootout of 2023 both TREMEC and McLeod Racing decided to sweeten the pot by adding $1,000 each for the winner if the car is equipped with a TREMEC transmission and/or a McLeod Racing clutch. That put an extra $2,000 up for grabs to the winner!
It was one of many firsts we saw at this event. In addition to such a big cash purse, it was also the quickest ever TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout field with an average qualifying E/T of 9.558 seconds. Besides one entry from West Virginia, it was exclusively a battle of North versus South racers with three qualifiers from Florida and four from Ohio.
Multiple racers added their own variables to the competition. Ohio’s Dan Watts had just fired up a new engine in his car for the first time the night before showing up on Friday of the event. He was also chasing a fuel pressure gremlin. Mike Niehaus from Ohio detected a possible clutch or clutch-cable issue during test-n-tune on Friday. Florida’s Kyle Miller encountered a heat issue affecting his clutch during the True Street cruise that had him fighting to get an average E/T good enough to qualify.
All eight racers who made the final TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2023 didn’t hold anything back during their True Street runs. This put on quite a show and gave us a tight field where the staggered start wouldn’t be as large a factor as in our previous two shootouts this year. It also gave us one more first: this was the quickest field ever for TREMEC Stick Shift Shoout, with qualifying cars running between 8.717 and 10.125 second E/Ts.
Who would come out on top? Would there be any huge upsets? We didn’t know, but it was certain this was going to be the most exciting TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout from start to finish ever! Follow the action in the photos and captions for run-by-run details.