The second weekend of March marked the NMRA season opener in Bradenton, Florida, and racers came out of their winter hibernation to set the ol' 1,320 on fire with fast times and record performances.
Bradenton '06 also saw the rebirth of NMRA Pro 5.0, as attendance reached a stout 14 entries-all tube-chassis cars capable of running in the 6s. The field was tight, as less than a tenth of a second separated the top five qualifiers. Mike Hauf ran 6.64 to take the UPR Top Qualifier money, but it was Don Walsh Jr. who grabbed the class win on Sunday. Walsh wasn't the quickest in the field, but his prowess on the Tree earned him the victory.
The other classes were equally competitive, with Super Street Outlaw turning into a dogfight that rivaled something out of the early days of Pro Modified. You just never knew what was going to happen as 17 overpowered race cars hit the track in mid-7-second form. Drama ran high on the track and in the pits as 16 Drag Radial competitors fought for supremacy in that DOT street tire class. The rest of the classes took their cue from the top categories. Renegade and Hot Street proved to be a wheelie competition, while Real Street, Pure Street, and Factory Stock had record-setting sessions during qualifying and eliminations.
Heads-up racing wasn't the only thing going on at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Fords of all generations were on hand at the Laurel Mountain Mustang Car Show. And if bracket racing is your pleasure, three different categories made up the Superchips Racing Bracket Showdown.