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Connelley Has Strong Start to 2023 Season in Renegade & Xtreme Street

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff
Martin Connelley approaches racing the same way he approaches life, and that is with a cool head and composure.
It works for him, as he is seriously successful behind the wheel and at work, and every step of the way, he is supported by his family, including his wife, Michelle, their children, John Martin, 13, and Izzy, 4, and his friends and fellow racers.
After competing at a few events last year, Connelley, of Salyersville, Kentucky, decided to start winding down the season at the 24th Annual Whipple Superchargers NMRA Ford World Finals presented by Competition Clutch featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival in October at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he secured a semifinal finish in VP Racing Madditives Renegade in his friend Jason Martin’s Mustang. Just a few weeks later, he headed to the Haltech World Cup Finals — Import vs. Domestic at Maryland International Raceway, where he went as quick and fast as 7.22 and 187 mph in Wild Street and earned a trip to the winner’s circle in his own silver 1990 Mustang powered by Terry Wilson’s big-block Ford by BES Racing Engines, Nitrous Express system set up by Robert Lane of Fast Lane Nitrous Racing Systems, Turbo 400 by RPM Transmission and a ProTorque converter.
“Winning that race at the end of the year made us want to give it everything we have in 2023 in NMCA Xtreme Street and NMRA Renegade,” said Connelley, whose car spends time on the hub dyno with Eric Gash of Barely Able Racing, who uses a Haltech engine management system.
Over winter, Connelley took his car, which flies on Mickey Thompson drag radials, to Tin Soldier Race Cars for some chassis upgrades and for some massaging on his TRZ rear suspension and Mark Menscer Motorsports shocks and struts. 

He also made some gearing changes in his transmission, and a stator change in his ProTorque converter. Additionally, Robert Lane of Fast Lane Nitrous Racing Systems tweaked his nitrous system and facilitated the switch from a plate system to a fogger system.
When the work was wrapped up, Connelley headed to the 29th Annual Ryno Classifieds NMRA Spring Break Shootout presented by Nitto in early March at Orlando Speed World Dragway in Florida, where he qualified in the third spot with a 4.59 in VP Racing Madditives Renegade and exited eliminations in the semifinal round when he was forced to lift.
“We had some trouble with spinning tires, and with advice from Rodney Massengale of RPM Transmission, we made some more gearing changes after the NMRA race,” said Connelley.
Those gearing changes were a huge help, as Connelley led qualifying with a 4.53 in Edelbrock Xtreme Street and won with an amazing 4.49 against Bill Trovato, who had a close 4.51, in the final round of eliminations at the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in mid-March at Orlando Speed World Dragway.
“On paper, our weekend looked flawless, but we had some challenges, and those were hard-fought rounds,” said Connelley, whose crew includes his family, Eric Mitchell, Dalton Winfield, Jason Waterman and Cory Brooks. “The weather change on the last day of the race made things more challenging, but everyone was in the same boat, and Eric Mitchell and Jason Waterman worked together to tune the combination during eliminations, and they put together the passes that we needed to go rounds, and to come up with that 4.49 in the final round of eliminations. That was the quickest we had been in that trim, and it was a great race. Bill Trovato was so close to us. When you race everyone to the stripe, it makes a big difference in how you feel about winning the race.”
In addition to being featured in the NMCA race wrap, Connelley’s efforts and win were acknowledged in his local newspaper, the Salyersville Independent. He also has a lot of support from the residents and businesses in the small town he is proud to call home.
Connelley, who also relies on close friend Krusty Ramsey and Red Horse Performance for support, is now preparing for the next race on the NMCA and NMRA tour, the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport, April 14-16 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. 


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