Bart Tobener Shakes Off Wreck, Sets Record, Steers Toward NMRA at Summit Motorsports Park

Bart Tobener is a name synonymous with NMRA Edelbrock Renegade, as he has gone rounds, won races and set records since he began competing in the high-revving, wheels-up class more than twelve years ago.

His latest build is a 25.5-certified and mini-tubbed ’89 Mustang which he and Scott Black of Chassis Pro built to roll on stock-style suspension using UPR components and Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pro 275/60-15 tires.

While he had long run — and had great success with — a Vortech YSI supercharger and Big Stuff 3, he now relies on a ProCharger F-1C 10.5 and a Holley Dominator EFI set-up for engine management to compliment his 5.4 32-valve Shelby GT500 engine stuffed with Manley billet rods supplied by MPR and wearing Shelby heads and a Sullivan intake massaged by Wilson Manifolds and Billet Atomizer injectors. It was designed and built at MV Performance, where he works with fellow driver Tim Matherly, and backing it up is an ATF converter and Powerglide transmission.

He made the switch just prior to the 20th Annual NMRA Nitto Spring Break Shootout in Florida in March, ’14, where he qualified in the second spot with an 8.26 and made it to the second round of eliminations.

“I was taking baby steps and learning about the new ProCharger combination, which takes a little less boost down low but more up top,” said Tobener, of Georgia.

He followed that with the 6th Annual NMRA/NMCA Nitto All Star Nationals in Georgia in April, ’14, where he posted an 8.05 after raising the launch rpm and adding timing, but he ran into trouble during a qualifying pass.

“The wrist pins got pulled out of a piston and I ended up with a hole in the block from the rod,” said Tobener. “It came out so hard that it bent the steering rack, which stopped it from going further. I had a diaper under the engine, but there were ten quarts of oil, and I went into the wall at about 200 feet out. The front-end was moved in an inch and a half from the frame.”

Tobener, who was not injured in the wreck, immediately pulled the engine out of the car to inspect it, and determined that two valves had been broken and two valve guides had been bent, and the block was split. So, he and Matherly built an identical replacement engine at MV Performance. In the meantime, he also had set out to secure replacement body panels for the car.

“I had to cut from the shock towers forward, and I got a bumper and hood from Shoneck Composites; fenders and sheetmetal for the firewall-forward from Prestige Mustang and suspension parts from UPR,” said Tobener.

Soon after, he delivered the car to Richard Garrett, who laid fresh paint on the front half of it in just a day, and he loaded it up and headed to the 14th Annual NMRA SCT Ford Nationals in Maryland in May, ’14, where he shook off the wreck and qualified in the top spot with an 8.02, became the first Edelbrock Renegade driver in the sevens, won the event and recorded a 7.943 and 173.47 mph as new class elapsed-time and top-speed records.

“I’m very proud of my team and everyone at MV Performance,” said Tobener, whose crew includes his wife, Kristie Tobener, Wade McGowan, Phillip Patch and his sons Brandon, Billy, Matthew and Chase Tobener. “We have a lot of hours in that car, and the fact that I accomplished what I did after I wrecked made it even more meaningful.”

Tobener, who also receives help from DiabloSport, sits in first place in points as he goes into the 11th Annual McLeod Racing NMRA Ford Super Nationals, June 12-15, ‘14, at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio, and he hopes to keep his momentum while gunning for a championship.

“Norwalk is awesome and the Baders are great,” said Tobener. “I have good memories of eating a pound of ice cream for a dollar there on more than one occasion, and since my car has to weigh 3400 hundred pounds to fit class rules, I figure I can eat more of it when I'm there for the NMRA race.”

By Mary Lendzion



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