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12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals — Saturday Coverage


Today the path to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle gets clearer at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals. Racers finalize the qualifying order and kick off eliminations at Atlanta Dragway. Competitors in the Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout, True Street classes will decide the winners in each index category today. Tomorrow the eight quickest machines in the Dodge // Mopart HEMI Shootout will move on to the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 presented by Red Line Oil.

Here is how the action will unfold on Saturday at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals.

After racing to a best of 4.46 and 161 mph and two runner-up finishes in his 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler clone in ARP Nitrous Pro Street last year, Randy Dolensek praised his crew consisting of legendary NMRA Pro 5.0 driver Chuck Samuel, Steven Michael and Jeff Seemann, and then put his focus on this year. He asked Samuel to freshen his nitrous-enhanced 632 cubic-inch Ford engine, and he installed an air dam under the front bumper of his car for aerodynamics and personally lost weight to help the car lose weight. Then, the Wisconsin-based driver signed up for this weekend’s event, his first NMCA event of the year, and is currently leading qualifying with a 4.54. While Michael and Seemann are on-site, Samuel is tackling the tune-up remotely, and it appears to be working well for the talented team.

Tobener Motorsports’ Bart Tobener changed his Coyote 5.0-powered S550 Mustang to run on VP Racing Fuels M1 Methanol over the winter, and he’s still creeping up on the tuneup. In the hefty 24-car Edelbrock Performance Renegade/Xtreme Street field, he qualified 9th with a 4.828-second run.

Tripp Carter had an amazing weekend at the invitational race held at Dragway 42 a few weeks ago. He told us it checked all the boxes for him as he won the event, won the biggest purse ever for these cars, ran the quickest elapsed time, ran the fastest top speed, and defeated last season’s NMCA and NHRA champions. After getting hooked on the NMCA in the early days, he vowed to participated when he could, and he is making that happen now. This season his goal is a Holley EFI Factory Super Cars championship. Giving huge credit to his support team at Watson Racing, Carter is working on that goal at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals after running a 7.76 at 178 in the second qualifier. Carter says he started off soft and is getting after it now, so it will be interesting to see how quick these cars run in the Georgia heat.

After some challenging passes that resulted in suspension damage earlier in the season, Richmond Gear Factory Stock racer John Leslie Jr. is feeling confident this weekend. And he should after topping the charts in the second round of qualifying courtesy of a 10.40 at 127 rip. With a fresh suspension hardware and geometry issues rectified, the car is running straight and in control. It ran deeper in the 10s during testing, so he is hoping to improve and make moves at Atlanta Dragway.

Laura Willingham caught the drag racing bug by taking advantage of the Dodge-provided entries in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout. She didn’t know much about drag racing at that time. After entering in the class, however, she learned a lot about drag racing and has competed for the past three years in her manual-trans, 5.7-powered Challenger. Her car is mildly modified with a Borla exhaust, a hotter tune, and a Hellcat air intake, which she says made a huge difference. She is gunning to win the 14-second class and take a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.

Edelbrock Performance Xtreme Street competitor and engine builder Tim Knieriem said this weekend will be about who can turn the power down the most, as teams balance the power versus traction equation. Knieriem’s nitrous-fed small-block Ford engine put him at the top of the qualifying sheet after round one with a 4.78 performance.

With a history of attending this race, Bryan Lester didn’t bring his quickest Mustang to the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals. Instead he entered the QA1 True Street class with his 1998 SVT Mustang Cobra. It was built by Gene Evans back in the day and it sports a Vortech supercharger, MagnaFlow mufflers, Maximum Motorsports suspension upgrades, and 4.10 gears. He says it is a blast to drive.

There are several 2019 Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320s on the property at Atlanta Dragway, but Jason Andrews special ordered his and it was the first one built in black. He is competing in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout with his stock machine that runs consistent 12-second elapsed times.

Edelbrock Performance Xtreme Street racer Brian Keep took home the Victor trophy at the season opener inBradenton with his 4th-Gen Camaro clicking off 4.5-second runs in the crisp, dry air. He’s had problems since, however, and after reloading the firmware in his ECM and fixing a broken rocker, Keep feels the F-body will be ready to lay down a good run in qualifying today.

While a great many folks are glad to be racing, there is no shortage of those who have been affected by the Covid-19 situation, and the NMRA’s Vinnie Telesco is one such person. The Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning racer was stuck by the virus a few months ago and is just now emerging from the battle. Fellow NMRA racers, including Brian Warcup, Joe and Becki Cram, Brad and Nina Gusler, and more banded together to create the #greenlightsforvinnie sticker you see here on Haley James’ Hellion B-Team Mustang as well as many others here on the property at Atlanta Dragway. We hope to see you soon, Vinnie!

A former Richmond Gear Factory Stock machine is reappearing in the class with a new driver behind the wheel. Derek Grove picked up this 1993 Mustang LX and is competing in the class with a Two-Valve 4.6-liter engine under the hood. He freshened the engine and transmission, but he is still working out a few kinks with the hopes of running mid-10s this weekend.

They call Jeff Smith Mr. Mopar— and for good reason. He is a wealth of knowledge about the company’s modern muscle cars. His personal ride is a 2019 Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is one of 52 sprayed in this red and one of only 12 with the same options on the sticker. Like all his friends at Atlanta Dragway, Mr. Mopar is racing in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout with his 1,320. It ran an 11.55 at 117 at the season opener.


Holley EFI Factory Super Cars racer Jim Betz hosted the Dragway 42 invitational race, that Tripp Carter won a few weeks back, with fellow competitor Jason Dietsch. He is chasing the number in his 2018 Mustang this weekend after making some big changes. He says he let the car down, so he is going to give it heck as the weekend moves on at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals.

Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle champion Andy Warren is once again pulling double duty this weekend running his Caprice in Nostalgia Muscle and Scott Libersher’s Gas Monkey COPO Camaro in the Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo. Andy’s 3,700lb Chevy has been lightened about as much as it can be, and he’s had thoughts about possibly swapping in some supercharged COPO power to further boost the 9-second machine’s on-track performance. Wouldn’t that be cool!

Piloting a bright green 2017 Charger Blacktop Edition, Joe Giordano is running in the Dodge // Mopar Hemi Shootout. His 5.7-powered machine is upgraded with a custom exhaust and a Stage 4 tuner calibrated for 100-octane fuel on race day. It has run a best of 13.26 at 105 mph so far.

After making several changes to his combination, Bill Skillman and his team were moving in the wrong direction with his Holley EFI Factory Super Cars machine. A broken spoiler on a qualifying pass did some minor damage to the car as well, but he hoped to move to a more tried and true prior setup to stay competitive this weekend at Atlanta Dragway as the team swapped transmissions and revised the gear ratios out back last night in hopes of diving deeper into the sevens as the weekend goes on.

Styled with a throwback graphic, Charlie Halum’s 2019 Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 was custom ordered with hood pins and an SRT wing. At 4,150 without driver it has run high 11s in good air, but he expects the stock 1320 to run in the 12s this weekend. He did upgrade the car with the new Nitto NT555RII drag radials, so if he takes a trip to the Winner’s Circle, he will be eligible for a substantial bonus from Nitto.

It was an exciting ride for Mike Freeman in Edelbrock Performance Xtreme Street/Renegade qualifying as his nitrous-assisted Mustang hung the front wheels out and the Florida resident had his hands full when it finally came down. Some suspension tweaks over night should hopefully straighten things out for qualifying today, and some of his competitors feel he might have the engine combination to beat in the hot weather.

Since parking his Mustang after the season opener, ROUSH Performance Super Stang stalwart Marvin Knack hasn’t changed much other than  the oil and the suspension settings. He cut a quick light right off the trailer, and it felt good, so Knack is sticking with what works as he seeks yet another trip to the Aerospace Components  Winner’s Circle.

“The car is terrific,” Chuck Watson Sr. enthused. He hasn’t been behind the wheel of his 2016 Mustang Cobra Jet in four months, so he was blowing off the rust. He had to lift in the second round of Holley EFI Factory Super Cars and fell to the fifth spot, but the car is right in the mix on the merits of his 7.86 at 177 mph. He says the car is crazy reliable thanks to Watson Racing’s in-house engine builder, and you can tell he loves being back at the track.

Looking to go rounds in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout and qualify for tomorrow’s Arrington Performance HEMI Quick presented by Red Line Oil is Wade Atkinson. His 2019 Dodge Demon is stock save for a grippy, green blower belt and Weld Racing wheels fitted with drag tires. It usually runs low 10s, and those passes account for most of the 200 miles on the car. “I wanted to use the car for its intended purpose,” he told us.

Jason Dietsch was all smiles when we stopped by. Stoked to be back racing with the NMCA after fighting ignition problems in Bradenton, he ran a 7.94 at 173 in the second round of qualifying which found him in the middle of the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars pack. He says Chris Holbrook helped him sort the car out, so it is making progress and running quicker with each round.

Don Fenlon has a long history with his 1973 Camaro, as he has owned it since he was in high school 35 years ago. It has gone through a fair amount of changes though the years, with the most prominent being the level of power it puts down, and while Fenlon had some issues with the big-block Chevy under his hood last year, he and Ruben Hernandez recently gave it fresh internals and he has been clocking consistent 10s in MagnaFuel Open Comp. “I think we have it dialed in,” said Fenlon, whose girlfriend, Judy Nevies, is helping him this weekend.

A big pop at the top end from NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod racer Robert Cox’s sleek ’17 Camaro during last night’s second round of qualifying was a crank trigger on its way out. The twin Garrett turbocharged Jerry Bickel-built machine wasn’t able to put down a good number yesterday, and the guys are hoping for a better performance today to improve their qualifying standing from last to something other than that.

NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod hotshoe Adam Flamholc was sharing his supercharged ’63 Corvette with Hank Stubbs earlier this weekend, but Flamholc wheeled the wild Chevy for qualifying where he took the number one spot with a 3.74-second blast. Stubbs hopped only in for a few test hits, as the car’s transbrake location was changed and he wanted to confirm the switch was a sensible one. Flamholc, however, was hit by a fellow driver while he was standing in the staging lanes yesterday and fortunately sustained no injuries so he will be able to run in eliminations without issue.

Earning a 10.334 at 128.71 mph time slip, provisional number one qualifier in NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock John Leslie is clearly comfortable with his rock star status and is in no hurry to make any changes, as his pit was calm and clear well into the morning.

The only turbocharged entry in NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street, Jason Davis would have set the record earlier this year in Bradenton, Florida when he went 8.44 at 161.61 mph but forgot to claim it. Davis learned his lesson and is back this weekend with a vengeance with his awesome Blue Beast team. Chris Jones of Blow By Racing has been hard at work as the heads have already been taken off and put back on three times in the past few days, and a new set of double adjustable Menscer Motorsports shocks are on board along with other suspension changes front and rear. Now, the group’s goal is to get their BBR-tuned ’15 Mustang GT back at the front of the pack once again.

NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock regular Jacob Lamb was busy changing his Coyote engine’s plugs this morning for the first time in six years, or so he says. Lamb made a few shock and strut adjustments to try and make a bit of improvement, and has also been experimenting with different gear ratios in the transmission but reportedly didn’t find a whole lot on the table there.

Wheeling Nathan Stymiest’s Mustang, Chester Drake was all smiles this morning during a routine clutch and flywheel adjustment after reviewing his data. Drake is sitting in the number two spot at the moment in NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock qualifying, having already put down a 10.209 at 129.21 mph run in his ’92 Mustang, and plans to use the third session for further testing.

Pennsylvania-based racer Vinny Dastra was up early working on his ’92 Mustang LX, just making changes because he “can’t ever leave anything alone.” Recently, several of the NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock racers hit up the same shop for some dyno testing, and while they kept some data a secret, there’s enough camaraderie in the category that the guys helped each other out to try and improve the class overall.

NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street racer Samantha Moore spun during qualifying in the heat of the day yesterday, but pulled off a number one performance to the tune of 8.669 at 157.50 mph that evening when the sun went down and the conditions improved. Moore’s plan for today and tomorrow, though, is simply to be conservative enough to go A to B and stay in the game since a voltage issue with her Coyote-powered, VMP-supercharged and Turbo 400-equipped ’14 Mustang’s alternator has been causing sporadic troubles.

In NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street, two-time NMRA Super Stang champion Kent Nine (middle) is putting the first laps on his new Vortech supercharged combination since bolting it on over the winter. Nine’s ’06 Mustang started out as a Paxton-equipped car, so it’s getting back to its roots with this setup tuned by PTP Racing’s Patrick Barnhill (left). Rolling on a set of Race Star Wheels, the Mustang’s engine was machined by Holbrook Racing Engines and built by Nine himself. Unfortunately, its Turbo 400 transmission slipped into neutral when it shifted during last night’s runs, so the guys are hoping for a bit better performance today.

The tuning file corrupted when it was loaded into Bill Putnam’s UPR Products flagship ’94 Mustang and the car wouldn’t fire when they brought it up for the second round of NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street. The guys took the car back to the pits, synched the tune, and had it running within a matter of seconds. It was definitely a disappointing situation as they needed the data and have had to take a wild guess at the tune up for the third qualifying session as a result, but they cashed in on the gamble as Putnam (right) wound up going 8.699 at 157.74 mph to finish in the number two spot.

While Ted Wood had been campaigning a Barracuda in MagnaFuel Open Comp, he debuted his radical and recently-built 1941 Willys in the category this weekend. The car, which he will also run at Gasser events, packs a 632 cubic-inch Merlin engine, but Wood doesn’t yet have his combination tuned to its full potential. “Since this is the first time out in the car,  I’m still getting a handle on things,” said Wood, who made the trip from Mooreville, Mississippi. “It’s misbehaving a bit, but we’ll get it dialed in, and we’ve made some suspension changes, which will help.”

Scott Libersher is an early adopter of the smaller pulley allowed for the COPO Camaros in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars. Having made the change so close to the race that his team didn’t have time to do any dyno testing so the difference in power output was unknown. He fought traction issues while adjusting for the new combination, but they hope to get it within striking distance of the Cobra Jet crew.

After a successful weekend at the season opener, Richmond Gear Factory Stock racer Mike Bowen didn’t know what went away in his Coyote-powered Maverick Grabber. He hasn’t made any significant changes since Bradenton, but he has determined that the car doesn’t thrive in the thinner air, which he hopes to rectify.

Inspired by Roadkill’s Mike Finnegan, Bill Uncle pulled his well-worn Fox and a pile of parts out of the garage and put this TorqStorm Supercharger True Street machine. He was so bored he put 3,000 miles driving it around to make sure the car was good to go. He was disappointed that it was only running low 12s when he expected 11s, but he was able to swap out a starter to get the car running before eliminations.

While the concept of finding the perfect sleeper is an elusive one, Alex Corella’s 1993 Mustang LX might just be it. At first glance it looks like a clean coupe rolling on those classic chrome pony wheels. He recently swapped to the wheels and installed tailpipes (which are easily removable via V-band clamps) out back, so you wouldn’t expect it blast its way to mid-8-second elapsed times. He also experimented with moving from the usual 3.55 rear gears to a set of 3.31s, which he says is “killing the car.” It still managed to impress in QA1 True Street.

Shawn Calabrese and his crew chief/son, Nicholas, tried a few different torque converters in his 2000 Trans Am. The car has a new rearend as well, but he is still seeking the right launch to get the car to perform. Racing  heads-up in Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center has proven challenging, but he is determined.

It was a short weekend for Tyler Thornburg’s 1988 Mustang GT in QA1 True Street. He hurt a lifter in qualifying, but the car was running 12.30s on the merits of a pushrod 5.0-liter engine beefed up with AFR heads, a Lunati camshaft and a Nitrous Outlet system.

Because John Butsko had good memories of his first car, a 1961 Falcon, he decided to build another Falcon about ten years ago, and he did it one part at a time. “The parts and pieces were literally in boxes,” said Butsko, with a laugh. Before long, he was racing it in NMRA Fastest Street Car Ford Muscle, and he earned a championship in the category in 2019 in the car which rocks a 302 cubic-inch engine and is running 12s at the 12th Annual Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. Rather than focusing on earning another championship, however, Butsko focuses on having fun with friends at the track. “Racing and being around all of these racers is a good escape for me,” said Butsko.

Many fans knew the 1960 Plymouth that Al Wilson drove in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock, and now, they’re getting to know the 1979 AMC Spirit that he recently began driving in Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo. The car with the 304 cubic-inch AMC engine and two-barrel carburetor carries the Floridian to 13-second passes, and while he has it dialed-in, he admits that the competition in the category is tough, and it may take some time to get to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. 

Today’s QUALIFYING results as we receive them are HERE

Here is how the racing action will go down on Sunday at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center All-Star Nationals.