TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout gear jammers were thrust into center ring at the Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals September 27-30, 2018, at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This was the second TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout of 2018.
The shootout is open to any NMRA True Street participant using a street-type manual transmission. From new to old, any stick-shift equipped Ford vehicle can be entered and will have the special opportunity to qualify. The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout is made up of the quickest eight racers rowing a manual transmission.
TREMEC sweetened the pot by handing over $100 in cash to the first 25 QA-1 True Street racers to go through tech inspection with a manual transmission.
“As soon as an NMRA tech official signs off on a tech card of a stick-shift racer, that person will receive a crisp $100 bill, courtesy of TREMEC,” said Rollie Miller of the NMRA.
Simply qualifying for the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout is an honor. To even the playing field, the race format used each racer’s True Street average as an index to determine the handicapped start. The handicapped start promoted close racing, but a quick reaction time and all-out performance was paramount. And since there’s no breakout rule in effect, the first racer to cross the finish line wins each race.
What was up for grabs? The finalists in the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout received awesome prizes from McLeod Racing. The winner received an RXT clutch and flywheel worth approximately $1,200, and there was a $500 product certificate for the runner-up. Each finalist received a commemorative Top 8 Qualifier TREMEC jacket.
Nicholas Shortridge drove his awesome Redfire SVT Cobra to a 9.240-second average during True Street competition, which put him on the pole. Shortridge took on alternate Michael Thomas in the opening round when Kenneth Dillon couldn’t make the call. Shortridge’s Cobra was strong, posting a 9.04 at 168 mph to Thomas’ 12.46 at 127 mph. Next up, Jeff McCool and his Coyote-swapped 1981 Mustang faced Jeff Smith’s familiar TREMEC-equipped Competition Orange SVT Cobra. McCool got the jump, posting a far better light, and ran a strong run of 11.01, which was quicker than his qualifying time to hold off Smith’s 10.33 at 138 mph. They were followed Tyler Baker, who ran 9.72 to defeat James McCool’s quick 10.87. And in the last pair, Bob Myers was a winner against Mike Niehaus who’s 1986 GT bogged off the line and could only muster a 10.00 on his 9.62 index, while Myers streaked to a 10.44 on his 10.39 index.
With four racers remaining, Taylor Baker launched before the tree was activated, handing Jeff McCool of Galloway, Ohio the easy win. Myers was next, running against Shortridge with a berth to the final on the line. Myers took his handicapped start with a green light then Shortridge left and the chase was on. Myers had the better tree and drove his Capri to a 10.43 (10.39 index) to hold off Shortridge who ran 9.61 on his 9.24 index.
The final came down to a pair of awesome Fox Mustangs, with completely different engines. Despite having only four cylinders (with a turbo, of course), Myers gave chase, as McCool got to leave first. McCool was red hot off the line with a .032 light, putting a big holeshot on Myers, who was late with a .224 reaction. McCool then rowed his TREMEC TKO 600 to through the gears, crossing first in 11.13 seconds at 125 mph to best Myers’ 10.46 effort at 129 mph.
McCool walked… well… drove away with the awesome McLeod RXT clutch/flywheel clutch, plus the $100 bonus from TREMEC for being one of the first 25 entries in True Street. Myers, despite losing, was all smiles, as he pocketed a $500 product certificate from McLeod and $100 from TREMEC.
“My car is all motor so my only chance was to kill them on the tree,” said an elated McCool. I was able to focus on the tree because of my index. I knew if was going to beat Bob, my only chance was to get him on the light. He is a very good drag racer and I thought he was going to up his boost and outrun me. It looked like he was late on the light and I think that’s where I beat him,” said the runner from Columbus, Ohio.
“I’m on my third season with this transmission,” boasted McCool. “I shift at 7,600 rpm and it’s fast and reliable. It’s a TREMEC TKO 600 modified by Liberty Transmissions and it’s a wonderful trans. In the final, I remember being pretty good on the tree, but it didn’t 60-foot that good because I felt it spin. I thought Bob would catch me because of that, but I never gave up. I ran through Second, Third and Forth and he never passed me so it was pretty exciting. I started pumping my fist and screaming. I won a few races but never one like this, and never with TREMEC and McLeod offering such prizes. Last year I was in the final, but there was no handicapped start and I had no possible chance of winning, so it was cool to have this format and I can’t thank NMRA, TREMEC and McLeod enough for putting on the race and offering such a great prizes.”