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Roush-McClenaghan Took On Tough Competition to Reach NMCA Open Comp Championship

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff
There are many things that Susan Roush-McClenaghan cherished about going to tracks to watch her father, Jack Roush, race.
The competition and the camaraderie were among them, and years later, she is experiencing all of that and more in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp.
When her daughter, Josie McClenaghan, recently went from racing junior dragsters to door cars at the same events as Roush-McClenaghan, the experience became even more special.
In 2023, Roush-McClenaghan was focused on NMCA MaghaFuel Open Comp, and her daughter was focused on the NMCA Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout. They discovered they had more in common than ever before, and they shared the same drive and determination. They also stood by each other’s side, and Roush-McClenaghan certainly had her daughter’s support as she chased her second NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp championship.
At the first NMCA race of the year, the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Orlando Speed World Dragway in Florida, Roush-McClenaghan qualified in the fourth spot with a .005 reaction time and put a 9.28 dial on the windows of her Mustang powered by a supercharged Coyote engine by Roush Competition Engines, propane for fuel and a Powerglide transmission by Coan. She won the first round with a 9.29 and the second round with a 9.30. She exited eliminations in the third round with a break out time of 9.25.
Roush-McClenaghan had a very successful outing at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. She qualified in the fourth spot with a super-quick .002 reaction time and dialed 9.38 for the weekend. She won the first through fourth rounds with a 9.40, 9.37, 9.42 and 9.44, and then she went to the NMCA Winner’s Circle after recording a 9.40 against Jody Blalock,  who broke out. Impressively, she doubled up at this event, as she also won in NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle.

“The race at Rockingham Dragway was surreal because we had raced there when Josie was racing junior dragsters, and now she is very successfully racing in the NMCA Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout,” said Roush-McClenaghan. “The lady at the ticket shack remembered us and gave me thumbs-up when I won rounds and approached the ticket shack. It was pretty great.”
Next up was the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, where Roush-McClenaghan qualified in the seventh spot with an .014 reaction time and dialed 9.36. She lost in the first round with a 9.59, but she still secured a runner-up finish in the Testo Super Bowl Shootout against Steve Satchell, and she also won in NMRA Exedy Racing Modular Muscle at this event.
The TorqStorm NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Paul’s High Performance was a few months later, in July, at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan. Roush-McClenaghan qualified in the eleventh spot with an .015 reaction time and dialed 9.42. She won the first round with a better reaction time than her opponent and time to lift to a 9.54, and the second round with a 9.45. She then exited eliminations in the third round with a break out time of 9.37.
The 2nd Annual Mickey Thompson NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Sick the Mag in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio was just a two-hour drive for Roush-McClenaghan. When she arrived, she qualified in the tenth spot out of 55 cars with an .012 reaction time and dialed 9.41. She won the first round with an .014 reaction time and a dead-on 9.41, and she had room to lift to a 9.59 to avoid breaking out on her way to winning the second round. She lost in the third round despite an .015 at the hit as she didn’t run as close to her dial as her opponent did.

Hoping for an outstanding outcome, Roush-McClenaghan headed to the final race of the year, the 22nd Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana. She qualified in the 35th spot with an .035 reaction time, which shows just how tight on the tree she and her fellow racers are, and she won the first round with 9.35 on the 9.39 dial she chose for the weekend. She won the second round when she ran right on her number, followed by the third through fifth rounds with a 9.40, 9.42 and 9.36. She then went back to the wonderful NMCA Winner’s Circle after David Rickey turned on the red light.
On an even grander scale, Roush-McClenaghan secured the 2023 NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp championship. She also locked up the 2023 NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle championship, and a separate story about that championship can be found with the NMRA champion coverage.
“This is my first time earning a championship in the NMCA and NMRA in the same year, and it feels a bit surreal,” said Roush-McClenaghan. “This is the most phenomenal year we have had. My mom and dad, invited by my daughter, Josie, came to the race in Indiana, and for them to be there when I went into the race in second-place and came out in first-place means a lot to me. I was happy to be able to share that experience with them, as well as my daughter, Josie, my husband, Dale and my crew, including Steve Fackender, his wife, Cathy Fackender, Cal Hartline and his wife, Holly, Donnie Bowles, Cameron Bowles and my staff at the Roush Automotive Collection Museum, including Andy Robinson, Lynn McClenaghan, Tyler Wolfe, and the others who keep the museum running smoothly all the time. This is certainly special.”


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