The 16th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem is here and yesterday’s test session showed lots of promise from racers looking to get started on their runs at the class championships.
As the session wound down yesterday, there was a scramble among the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars racers to get to the lanes. We saw ever-improving performances in the 8.0 range, and then Geoff Turk clocked a 7.97 at 170 mph. It was a small miracle that Turk is here this weekend, but support from his family at home and companies like FCA and Coan—who in a pinch rebuilt his transmissions in the pits—made sure he was here, and he didn’t disappoint. Today is when the 7-second run will count officially, and as per the rules, the top ten in points from last year set the initial run over in qualifying. Turk sits just outside that group, but he was also the only one to run the number yesterday.
The Pickering family is a staple in the NMRA and NMCA series, with father Jon H Pickering and his son, Jon M. Pickering both competing in a variety of classes. Yesterday, with some help form the folks at Roush, Jon M. presented his father with a new race car to celebrate his 80th birthday. The Maverick sports a 557ci big-block Ford engine and is set up to run several classes. Gary Rohe Race Cars handled the chassis work, while Randy Auwarter wired the car up and Ben Wolf sprayed the Pickering Purple paint.
Glenn Pushis’ rowdy red and black 2016 COPO Camaro is rocking a new 350ci engine by the School of Automotive Machinists and Technology (SAM Tech) paired with a new Turbo 400 by RPM Transmissions and a new Coan converter. While the multi-time champion has spun the tires on each of his test hits this week, he and his crew chief, Doug Thompson, and crew member, Steve Hilterbrand, have made adjustments to car’s suspension that they hope will translate to low 8s in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, where drivers are known for pushing the envelope.
While Camp and John Stanley had been competing in PDRA Pro Extreme, they’re making their NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod debut this weekend in their Larry Jeffers Race Cars-built 2016 Cadillac CTS-V featuring a 521ci Noonan Hemi, screw blower and Quick Drive B&J transmission. With fans watching and listening in their pit area this morning, father and crew chief Camp was proudly boasting that they recently claimed the Supercharged Outlaw Pro Modified speed world record with a 266.74 mph, while son and driver John was oiling the rockers.
Adding to a robust roster of racers taking part in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars this weekend is category newcomer Robert Falcone of New York, whose 2016 COPO Camaro is powered by a supercharged Ray Barton Racing Engines-built 350ci engine and who has competed in NHRA Factory Stock Showdown. With his daughter, Danielle, as his crew chief, he achieved an 8.30 in testing yesterday, but is looking for 8.0s or 8.teens by the end of the weekend, and giving him the best shot to do that is his tuner — and fellow racer — David Barton.
Rather than throwing in the towel when the engine in his toterhome blew three hours from home on the way to this weekend’s event, VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw standout Andrew DeMarco put out a call for a replacement rig and Angelo Tranquillo answered. Despite the fact that it subsequently took twice as long to get here, DeMarco is ready to throw down, as he always is. His Mustang, which was recently painted white by Bruce Pinkham, is packing a new small-block Ford which John Kolivas helped design and Jon Bennett built, and it’s fronted by a 112mm Vortech supercharger. A Proformance Racing Transmissions-built Turbo 400 is in place to help plant power in the Mustang which is outfitted with shocks and struts massaged by Menscer Motorsports and which recently spent time at DMC Racing to have the front half and anti-roll bar updated. PTP Racing uses Haltech to whip up the tunes. “In a test session last month, we ran 1.0 in the 60-foot and 4.30s, and the car didn’t spin at all in 11 passes,” said DeMarco, whose wife, Melissa DeMarco, and crew chief, Jason Sabo, are also ready to roll this weekend. “She feels pretty peppy.”
MagnaFuel Open Comp racer Kurt Neighbor put a hurtin’ on the rear differential carrier in his Mustang yesterday, and we caught him in the process of rebuilding it this morning. He’ll be competing in both Open Comp as well as Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo with his FE-powered Fairlane.
Patterson-Elite brought two COPO Camaros to run in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars last year, with Ted Hughes running his blue COPO and Erica Enders driving Patterson-Lite’s own red COPO. This weekend, Hughes will be once again campaigning his COPO, and he’s debuting a new 2017 CRC Camaro in the Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center category. The latter is a new build, but the team feels it will be competitive this year.
Returning to NMCA competition is former NMCA EZ Street racer Brian Criste. The Deltona, Florida, resident dusted off the 1989 Camaro Z28 and once again turned to Graham Jones and Fast Times Racing Engines for a potent powerplant. With Rick Dawkins turning the wrenches, the team has put together a turbocharged combination with a 427ci small-block Chevy and a Precision turbocharger to compete with in Vortech Superchargers Street Outlaw. Criste is hoping for mid 4-second times to start with and then working on improving performance from there.
Marty Stinnett fought a tough battle in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars in 2017, but came up just a round or two short at the last race of the year and ended up second in the championship race. His Mustang coupe is back with its twin Garrett turbochargers pressurizing the “small”-block engine under the hood, and the car looked good in testing on Thursday.
Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Bill Trovato is on the property and we caught him raising the ride height on his LS-powered and nitrous enhanced Camaro. Trovato recently went to a smaller tire to improve his reaction times, and he’ll be using this event to assess his program for the rest of 2018. He may opt to sell the car and buy something with a different combination, but we’ve also heard that he’ll be piloting James Lawrence former Outlaw 8.5 Mustang in Vortech Street Outlaw competition sometime later this year.
Jason Hamtra set the standard for the class here last year with consistent performances in the 3.7-secn range. He recently moved to a PSI C-rotor twin-screw blower combination and logged a 3.77 at 205 mph yesterday during testing.
With help from Jon Bitler at IRD Racing, Pinellas Park, Florida’s Mike Rimar and his father/car owner Tony Rimar have put together a unique combination for local Ultra Street and NMCA Xtreme Street competition. Rimar’s Fourth-Gen Camaro packs a Scotty’s Racing Engines 434ci LS-based small-block with a ProCharger blowing through the IRD Racing-tuned carburetor. Rimar posted a 4.78 yesterday during testing, quite possibly making it the quickest blow-through combination in the class to date.
Chris Holbrook (right) of Holbrook Racing Engines has partnered with Jim Welch this season, with Chris piloting Welch’s Mustang while welch himself is driving his 2015 Dodge Drag Pak. Holbrook clicked off an 8-flat this morning in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars during today’s first test hit, an improvement on the 8.04 he ran yesterday. Later this year, Welch will jump behind the wheel of a second Cobra Jet that is currently under construction.
While he’s been racing his ’72 Maverick for 23 years now, largely with the Ozark Mountains Super Shifters group, Craig Hejda of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, decided to join the fray that is the NMCA’s NA 10.5 class. The Maverick was his high school car—originally a six-cylinder-powered ride with three on the tree—and he’s been refining every day since 1979. These days the all-steel car packs a 427ci small-block Ford engine backed by a Liberty’s Gears five-speed transmission. It’s been as quick as 8-teens in the quarter-mile.
2017 LME Street King champion Kurt Anderson often borrows one of his customer cars to compete in MagnaFuel Open Comp here in Bradenton, so the Wisconsin native doesn’t need to haul his Camaro all the way south. This year, local Florida resident and AutoKraft customer Jim McMillan has loaned him his big-block-powered Buick Regal GS to use, and McMillan himself will pilot the car in the brackets this weekend as well.
Earlier today, Haley Rounsavall ran the quickest pass ever in a Chevrolet Performance Stock entry with a 10.08 performance. The Camaro Rolling Chassis ride is owned and maintained by her grandfather, Ronnie Hackelton, who definitely found some ET in the off season.
After Fastest Street Car NA 10.5 driver Chad Neuenschwander wrecked in his Mustang in 2016, some people feared that it was too far gone to be rebuilt, but because he had had it for more than 25 years and it meant a lot to him, he chose to begin the painstaking process of piecing it back together, with help from his wife, Joy, and son, Dylan, as well as Jay Nelson, Scott Waters, Steve Rinard and others. Cory Roth freshened the car’s 400ci engine, and the Indiana-based driver — who teases that he wouldn’t know how to take an automatic transmission-equipped car down track — kept his G-Force GF-2000 five-speed transmission. Now, nearly two years later, he’s back in action at this weekend’s 16th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem at Bradenton Motorsports Park, and while he had an issue and had to be backed off on his very first test pass this afternoon, he and his crew are going over the car now in an attempt to be ready for tonight’s first round of qualifying. For a story about the rebuild which ran on Dragzine to advance this event, please click HERE
While we haven’t seen Tony Orts in Edelbrock Xtreme Street since 2010, the multi-time champion is back at it this weekend at Bradenton Motorsports Park. His very familiar and fast 1968 Firebird flies with a 440ci Chevy bullet by Precision Engine in Illinois and a single-plate nitrous set-up. When we asked Orts, whose crew chief this weekend is “Rocket” Ron Bochenek, what he’s been up to, he had this to say: “Life, family and a little bit of 8.60 index racing, but that was boring and now I can get back to racing to see who gets to the finish line first, and while I can’t run with the top of the pack yet, I’ll get there.”
History was made this afternoon when Geoff Turk became the first Holley EFI Factory Super Cars driver to run a 7-second pass in his Blackbird Challenger Drag Pak. Provided he passes the tech inspection currently underway, he’ll be eligible to receive the $5K from Holley for running the 7-second pass, as well as the $5k for running a Holley EFI system on the car. Here are some of the other runs leading up to Turk’s record-setting pass—Scott Libersher—8.12, Chuck Watson—8.05, Gardner Stone—8.09, Paul Roderick—8.14, Carl Tasca—8.09, David Barton—8.02.
The first round of qualifying is in the books. For results, click HERE