The racing world is full of characters.
As you follow the ins and out of a race series, be it at the track, on TV, or in the pages of your favorite magazine (Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, cough cough, wink wink), you begin to get to know the racers, and they become more than just eyes through a helmet.
One guy we've come to know well is Reggie Burnette Jr., driver of this silver, green, and red '00 GT. Reggie has become one of the more recognizable racers in the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle class of NMRA competition. (It's hard to miss the flash of color, even as it passes you at almost 130 mph). His racing accomplishments and approachability in the pits make him a star, on and off the track.
Reggie Jr. hails from Rougemont, North Carolina, and has been racing for much of his life. "My dad (Reggie Burnette Sr.) raced when I was younger," Reggie tells us. "He blew up the motor in his '98 Mustang after only about 5,000 miles, and that's when he started racing it."
Reggie picked up this (then) silver '00 GT when he was 16 from the local Ford dealer, and it wasn't long before he was at the track. "I started racing the car in March of 2001," Reggie adds. "I thought, It can't be that hard to bracket race-but I was wrong. It's very tough!"
For the next few years, the GT served as Reggie's transportation to and from school, as well as handling race duties. The car remained relatively unchanged for a few years as Reggie honed his on-track skills. When he was ready to go faster, a nitrous kit from NOS raised the power level, and Reggie was consistently running mid-12s.
In 2004, Reggie made the decision to retire his Pony from street duty and concentrate on racing. Although the nitrous Two-Valve combo remained unchanged for the next three years, the car now served as a race-only vehicle. Reggie also wanted the car to look the part, so he turned to Tony McPeters at Southern Paint to add the green and red graphics, which sets his GT apart from the other racecars in competition.
In 2007, Reggie moved from a nitrous Two-Valve to a supercharged Four-Valve. A stock Terminator engine was lowered between the fenders and was backed by a Dynamic Racing Transmissions C4. Power is transferred through a 4,800-stall TCI converter, and gear selection is done via a Hurst Pistol Grip shifter. The 8.8-inch rearend has been fortified with a spool and Moser axles, which distribute power evenly to both rear wheels. The FAST engine management system was tuned by Caleb Skinner at Fastlane Motorsports in Benson, North Carolina.
With the timing and fuel maps set, Reggie's GT laid down a healthy 408 rwhp and 465 lb-ft of torque. On track, the power equated to a best e.t. of 10.56 at just under 128 mph, which Reggie ran this past March at Bradenton Motorsports Park during the NMRA Spring Break Shootout.
Over the course of the last two years, Reggie and his tribal-flamed New Edge have visited the winner circle four times, and took home the class championship in 2009.
"I knew we could contend for the championship in 2009," Reggie explains. "We finished in the runner-up spot in 2008, and we were really looking forward to 2009." Unfortunately for Reggie, a broken ankle in the winter took away his ability to test prior to the season opener, and his '09 season got off to a rocky start; Reggie spent the first half of the season trying to find his groove on track. It finally came together in Columbus, where he qualified in the top position and took home his first win of '09. He scored again at the NMRA Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he also sealed up the '09 championship.
After a successful season in 2009, Reggie and his team looked to carry momentum into the '10 NMRA season. Although Reggie found himself in the winner's circle on two occasions, the rest of his season was plagued with mechanical issues and part failures. After finishing Fifth for the season, Reggie and his team are gearing up for the '11 season opener in Bradenton, Florida.