TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout at the 2023 NMRA Spring Break Drag Race
The first TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2023 had drama, firsts, and plenty of great drag racing action!
Participants with a manual-transmission car competing in NMRA’s most popular racing class, True Street, are eligible to compete in the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout. If you’re not familiar with the True Street class, it’s open to any street-legal, Ford-powered and Ford-bodied vehicle that is street legal. From bone-stock cars and trucks to street-legal street/strip vehicles, regardless of driving experience anyone can enter and become a participant instead of just spectating at an NMRA event.
After passing inspection to verify street legality per the rules, all entries then go on a 30-mile road cruise to prove they really can be driven on the street. If a car can’t complete the street cruise, it is not allowed to compete. After returning to the track all surviving entries get a 30-minute cooldown before time trials start. During cooldown, vehicles can’t be worked on or tuned other than adjusting tire pressure, adding ice to intercooler tanks (if said tank is in the trunk), and turn on nitrous bottles. Hoods must remain closed, no computer tuning or fueling is allowed.
For the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout, the fastest eight manual transmission cars are selected based on their True Street E/T average. Only H-pattern shift manual transmission cars are eligible; Lenco-style or air-shifted transmissions are not allowed. Unlike True Street, the Stick Shift Shootout is run with staggered-start eliminations using a “pro tree” on the starting line. There is no breakout disqualifier, cars can run at their maximum speed and E/T but must be NHRA-legal when it comes to roll cages, parachutes, and driver’s racing license for any cars running faster than 9-seconds.
For the first time, the NMRA Spring Break Shootout and TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout was held at Orlando Speed World Dragway. The unseasonable hot 90-degree temperature and sunny day combined with 20-30 mph winds made an impact and required drivers adjust accordingly. At one point it was a strong headwind going down the track. On Sunday the ambient temperature was down around 80 and the wind had slacked off considerably, so drivers had to adjust their tune and launch mindset accordingly. Partly cloudy skies had the sun on the track going in and out, which gave racers another variable to deal with from round to round.
For the NMRA Spring Break Shootout, here were our Stick Shift Shootout Quick 8:
First round on Sunday started with some unexpected drama as the starting line tree was accidentally in bracket-race mode instead of pro. This caused two drivers to red light. After NMRA Director of Competition, Rollie Miller, evaluated the situation, he spoke with the drivers and it was agreed that all of the Stick Shift Shootout competitors would run the first round again.
The field was tight, with just over 1.5-seconds separating top to bottom. Kyle Miller was number one qualifier with a 9.585 E/T average, followed by five 10-second cars and two very low 11-second racers. The racing was tight between each pairing. Against tough competition, 2016 Stick Shift Shootout winner, Jeff Smith, came out on top beating number one qualifier Kyle Miller, Andrew Sheridan, and Karl Goin. Details of how each round and pairing went can be found in the photos and captions.