Kayla Morton was crowned the champion of the special No Prep event held during the opening day of qualifying for the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Morton drove her Hot Mess Express ProCharger-equipped Ford Mustang to a final round win over Barry “the Godfather” Nicholson, and his nitrous assisted Chevy Camaro. This was the second-straight year that some of the biggest stars of the popular Texas-based Redemption No Prep series were invited to compete in a special eight-car exhibition during the NHRA SpringNationals. Morton left first by two-tenths of a second on the instant green start and extended the lead on the eighth-mile course while Nicholson shut off early.
“We hurt the engine in the semi’s and I went to the starting line on six cylinders,” said Morton. “I still thought I might have a chance to win; I just wasn’t sure if the car was going to start. When we fired the car up in the pits it was smoking so bad that we had to close off two cylinders, so they wouldn’t fire. Sometimes you do what you have to do. I’m actually surprised at how good we ran on just six cylinders."
Morton, who has been prominently featured on the popular Street Outlaws television program, opened eliminations with a victory over Larry Baker’s turbocharged Chevrolet. Morton reached the final round after a win over Frankie “Madman” Taylor, who had to shut off after his Hemi-powered Camaro went into a big half-track wheelstand.
Nicholson, who returned to racing this year after crashing his Camaro last season, made his way to the final with wins against Shannon Coan’s supercharged ’53 Corvette and a semifinal win over Frankie “Madman” Taylor. Nicholson got a free pass in the semifinals after Chuck Parker’s nitrous-assisted ’55 Chevy stalled on the starting line.
The Redemption No Prep series, founded by promoter Shannon Morgan, features some of the quickest full-bodied cars in the sport of drag racing. Events are run on an unprepped racing surface and elapsed times are not recorded. The series features six events at tracks across Texas.
"These [NHRA national event exhibitions] are so cool,” Morton said. “We get so much exposure and it’s a cool experience to be out here running with the big boys. We have a lot of fans that follow us and I hope we also made a few new ones this weekend. I absolutely love it. We hurt the car and we've got a race next week but it was totally worth it.”