While Becki Belcher had been competing in NMRA Roush Performance Super Stang in her 2008 Saleen Mustang, she decided to purchase a 2010 Mustang as a roller late last year and make it a 9-second machine for NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle.
She and her fiance and fellow racer, Joe Cram, began working around the clock to ready it for the 2017 race season, but when it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to complete the car in time to compete in it this year, Cram’s longtime friend and fellow racer, Lloyd Mikeska, invited Belcher to climb into the driver’s seat of his 2006 Mustang.
“When Joe and Lloyd told me that was on the table, I thought it was an awesome offer, but at the same time, I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable driving someone else’s car,” said Belcher. “After giving it some more thought, I decided that honestly, I would be taking even better care of Lloyd’s car than I do my own car.”
Mikeska, who had been competing in his other race car, a 2016 Mustang, handed the keys to his 2006 Mustang over to Belcher after the final NMRA race of the season last year, and while she sat in it over winter, she didn’t get to make any laps before making her debut in the car powered by a 4.6L engine, Saleen supercharger and Circle D Specialties 5R55 transmission at the NMRA race at Atlanta Dragway in April.
“I’ve always driven a stick-shift car, so my first time going down the track in Lloyd’s car at the race in Atlanta, I was reaching for a stick-shift and pushing for a clutch pedal that weren’t there,” said Belcher, with a laugh. “That was more than a little frustrating.”
What wasn’t frustrating for Belcher, however, was going from a 13-second car to an 11-second car rolling on JMS wheels wrapped around Mickey Thompson tires, and before long, she was completely comfortable cruising in the blue beauty, and no longer reaching for a non-existent shifter and clutch pedal.
Belcher went on to attend the NMRA races in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, and learned a lot along the way.
“I wasn’t going rounds, but after Joe (Cram) told me to not let it get to me, I reminded myself that the car is new to me, the class is new to me and I’m competing against amazing drivers who know their cars and the class,” said Belcher. “I also reminded myself that this is a good opportunity to challenge myself.”
With that in mind, she headed to last weekend’s 16th Annual SDPC Raceshop NMCA World Street Finals, Sept. 21-24 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, and gave MagnaFuel Open Comp a go for the first time. She recorded an .012 reaction time to qualify in the twenty-second spot, and won three rounds in the tough-as-nails category with quick reaction times on the tree and consistency on the track.
Now, Indiana-based Belcher, whose crew includes her daughter, Maci, Cram, Mikeska and Jason “J Smooth” Henson, is preparing for the19th Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals, Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, where she’ll compete in the car for the last time this season before turning it back over to Mikeska, who will drive it home to Texas.
“This has been a whole new ballgame, but it has made me even more confident going into a new car,” said Belcher. “I’m ready, and I’m excited.”
SpeedVideo will broadcast the race live RIGHT HERE. This broadcast is made possible via support from presenting sponsor ProCharger, along with BMR Suspension, UPR Products, FAST, TCI, E3 Spark Plugs, PRW Industries, Max-Fire Ignition, GoodGuys Rod & Custom Association, Racepak, Hellion Turbo, Nitto Tire.
(Photos by Mary Lendzion)