Despite the disparity in weight, the two cars went toe-to-toe, and it looked like a championship heavyweight bout. By night's fall, the two racers had their engines tuned to perfection and the chassis ready to dig the 28x10.5-inch slicks into the Atco surface. As if it were scripted, Booze hung the wheels and rolled to an 8.82 at 152 mph, which is the quickest pass in class history. As soon as Booze cleared top end, Hanlon rolled his classic Mustang racer to the starting line and threw down an even quicker 8.80 at 152 mph. The old-school Mustang laid claim to the national record as he secured the top qualifying position.
The rest of the racing action was equally as close as the NMRA band of regulars invaded the track. It was no surprise that Toyo Tires Open Comp was enormous-New Jersey is birthplace to that type of racing. A total of 43 competitors made qualifying passes. The Modular Muscle eliminator also had a great showing with 23 cars-all without pushrods. The Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning class was also an Open Comp format eliminator. This year, the NMRA moved to a new qualifying system for those classes. Based on reaction time, it has been an effective technique to even out the field. Open Comp-style racing is not about being the quickest; now some of the slower cars have a chance to grab the bonus qualifying points for top qualifier. Eliminations were tough for these competitors because of the variance in weather between qualifying and elimination rounds. It threw a curveball even to the veteran racers.