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Thursday Coverage—10th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport


NMRA Edelbrock Renegade racer Dom DiDonato (at right) and his crew chief Chuck Wrzesniewski (at left) have been thrashing on a new ride for the class, as his 2008 GT500 Mustang that he campaigned last year is being converted to X275 specs. The SN95 Mustang he has this weekend formerly belonged to Jim Breese, and has been repainted and refitted with DiDonato’s 76mm turbocharged, 5.8L, 4V engine from last year’s ride. The build has consumed most of the hours of the last six weeks, but they were ready to tech the car today and look to be a contender with help from Triangle Speed Shop.

Former ARP Nitrous Pro Street racer Jeff Rudolf has moved up to the VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod ranks for 2018 with a brand new twin-turbocharged Camaro. He’s had just a few runs on the Larry Jeffers-built, Steve Summers-wired, and PTP Racing-tuned machine, but things are moving forward as expected. The engine combination is identical to the one that Summer’s won the 2017 championship with in his Camaro, so Rudolf should be well equipped once he gets more seat time.

2017 Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle class champion Bryan Parker decided to give himself a prize for winning the championship in the form of a 1968 Mustang fastback. the Springtime Yellow machine was a stock restoration when Parker purchased it, and he simply tossed in his 347 small-block Ford engine and C4 transmission, right after he bolted on a new set of Fox-Lake-ported Air Flow Research 165 cylinder heads. The fastback weights about 50 lbs lighter than his coupe, and the new heads improved engine performance quite a bit. Where his coupe was a solid 12-second car, his fastback with the improved engine airflow has run 11.20s.

The NMCA’s 2017 Stock/Super Stock Combo and Open Comp champion Ricky Pennington decided he needed a new challenge for 2018, so he’s put together  a new Chevrolet Performance Stock machine for the heads up class that he is adding to his roster this year. The 1969 Chevelle packs the DR525, LS3-based crate engine and Pennington just finished it up this week.

Brian Mitchell is back on track for 2018 and his time in Adam Arndt’s Edelbrock Renegade is continuing as Wizard 1.5 isn’t finished yet. The team tried to go testing at Cecil County Dragway last weekend but the cold temperatures prevented Mitchell from posting up anything worth reporting. The goal is to run 2.99 to the 330 clocks this weekend, which should put them dangerously close to breaking the current Renegade record held by Bart Tobener with a 7.338. The Arndt/Mitchell machine runs a 390ci small-block Ford with a ProCharger F-1A-94.

Why is Al Davis smiling? Because he can spend quality time at All-You-Can-Eat buffets and not worry about being underweight in Steeda Limited Street. Immediately following the Spring Break Shootout last month the NMRA tech officials added weight to turbocharged combinations to keep the new category from getting out of control. JPC Racing’s crew chief Eric Holliday broke down his personal gym and donated the barbell weights in order to get the turbocharged machine up to the new minimum. The team did ask if they were allowed to have a passenger in the car during competition but it is against NHRA rules.

2017 Holley EFI Factory Super Cars champion Scott Libersher brought 4 of his COPO Camaros to the All-Star race here in Atlanta. He’ll be driving one on Factory Super Cars and another in the Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo, while his son Lenny will be driving the newly repaired Collector’s Package COPO in Factory Super Cars and son-in-law Dan Condon is driving the Ed Rinke COPO in Factory Super Cars. David Barton (pictured) continues to tune on all of the Ray Barton Racing Engines COPO powerplants that the team uses.

VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod racer Billy Harper is back in action with his nitrous-enhanced Dodge Viper. After a great NMCA debut in Kentucky last year where he went to the final round of eliminations, Harper said the Viper’s performance fell off and they have been trying to get it back ever since. Recent testing has revealed other issues that they have resolved, but are hopeful they are on the right track to achieving maximum.

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Neuenschwander is debuting his new Mustang in the Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle category this weekend and it couldn’t be a cooler ride. The restored 1979 Pace Car pony is packing a Vortech-blown two-valve 4.6L Mod motor under the hood that is backed by a T45 five-speed transmission. Dylan has only had the car a few months but is already planning a Coyote swap for the future. It’ll be a naturally aspirated combination that will keep in line with his father Chad Neuenschwander’s ARP NA 10.5 Mustang and his mother Joy Neuenschwander’s Coyote-powered Richmond Gear Factory Stock Mustang.

Gary Wilson and his nephews Allen and David of the Brighton/Inkster areas of Michigan are here making their debut in ARP NA 10.5 competition with their 1991 Mustang. Allen will be driving the Fox body, which packs a 461ci Windsor with CFE Pro King heads and an SV1 carburetor, and the car has been 8.60s in previous outings. The ATeq and ALLIGATOR machine with family friend Brandon Nicks helping turn the wrenches should find the air conditions this weekend good for the naturally aspirated combination.

Dennis Harmon of Cape Coral, Florida, and his friend Cory Penton of Ball Ground, Georgia, are competing in Exedy Racing Clutches Modular Muscle this weekend and they are both making passes on track to obtain their competition licenses. Harmon’s Fox-body Mustang packs a twin-turbocharged, 4V 4.6L engine that has pushed the car into the 8.80 range, while Penton’s 2004 Cobra has been upgraded with a 5.4L-based engine with Precision Turbo boost. Penton is the original owner of the Terminator, which was turned into a race car with just 600 miles on the odometer. Both cars rely on stout Moser 8.8 rearends to put the power down to the pavement.

Testing the Edelbrock Xtreme Street waters this weekend is Shaun Arnold, who is piloting his 1969 Ford Falcon, which is equipped with a Bennett Racing 400ci engine with a Precision 76mm turbocharger and an M&M Transmission Turbo 400. The bird has been 4.68 already, which is a very competitive time for the class.

The All-Star race here at Atlanta Dragway will be the second race for the Dodge//Mopar Hemi Shootout, and we’ve already seen a few Demons on the property, including the Indigo Blue 2018 model belonging to Rick Stimson. A previous HellCat Challenger owner, Stimson traded in that ride for the new Demon, and this is the first track outing for the duo. Stimson, a resident of Bradenton, Florida, is still getting a handle on the electronic drag racing features that the Demon offers.

The NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport also plays host to the opening round of the 2018 Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series. 2017 LME Street King champion Kurt Anderson, who also competes in the NMCA’s MagnaFuel Open Comp class, made some modifications to his ’69 Camaro in the off season that have made it a bit too quick for his index. Thinking quickly, he hit up the manufacturer’s midway for some Champion racing oil, which pays contingency money to the winners, and poured in some thicker weight oil to hopefully slow the engine’s reciprocating assembly a bit and reduce the engine performance to where he needs it to be.