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Friday Coverage | NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals

Posted By: Event Coverage Team
Today the racing gets underway at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport with a quick round of test passes before the heads-up and index categories move into the early rounds of qualifying. 
The Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout and Circle D Specialties/TorqStorm Superchargers True Street classes continue with test hits, but the specialty Nostalgia Muscle vs. Nostalgia Super Stock All-Star Shootout heads into eliminations today.
For updates on the action at Rockingham Dragway, stay tuned to this page and our social channels for updates throughout the day.

Here is how the action is set to unfold today at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport

Craig Sullivan put his stunning “El Mero Mero” 1949 Mercury in the top spot of NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod after the first session of qualifying with a 3.681 at 203.07 mph eighth-mile pass, but the honor came at a price as something wasn’t quite right by the end of the run. The screw-blown Wild Irish Racing Engines 521 ci BAE-built Hemi seemed healthy, though, as the trouble appears to be isolated to the rear of the car. The team was quick to start thrashing as soon as they returned to their pit area, and while it’s unlikely Sullivan will be able to make the second qualifying attempt this evening, he plans to be back in the thick of things bright and early for tomorrow’s third session.

Suncoast 8.60 class racer Autumn Schwalbe emerged unhurt from a spectacular accident during Thursday’s testing runs at Rockingham Dragway. Schwalbe, who was a quarterfinalist at the season opener in Orlando, had just completed a run when her Own Boss Supply Company Mustang made an abrupt turn and contacted the retaining wall before flipping several times. Schwalbe was transported to a local hospital for observation but later posted the following on her Facebook page: “God is good and I’m alive. My safety equipment saved my life yesterday. Please cage your cars. This car cage and my safety equipment saved my life. I went to the hospital yesterday and I’m okay. I’m bruised up but OK. This car has been such a huge part of my life but cars can be replaced, people cannot," Schwalbe said. "I want to thank the whole NMRA / NMCA staff. The team got to me right away and made sure I was okay. Thank you to the Rockingham Dragway staff. The tracks first responders were with me and pulled me out of my windshield to get me out asap. I cannot thank the track staff enough..."

Through no fault of his own, reigning Ford Muscle champion Danny Towe was forced to miss the season opener in Orlando so if he’s going to defend his title, he’s got some work to do. “I blew up a turbo in my truck about 50 miles from home,” said Towe. “I had about 8-10 people offer to help me, but I just couldn’t make it. I hated to miss the first race, but it is what it is. I missed the first race a couple of years ago and still won the championship so it can be done. I’m just going to have to get on a roll.” Towe will not only compete in the NMRA Ford Muscle class. He’s also looking forward to the Nostalgia Muscle vs. Nostalgia Super Stock All-Star Shootout, a special event paying $1,000 to the champion.

After struggling with a taller tire setup on his S550 Mustang, HP Tuners Super Stang regular Chris Parisi switched back to his familiar 26-inch-tall Nitto NT555RII setup mounted on fresh wheels from JMS. He hopes to find his comfort zone at the light and put the car back in a familiar spot high atop the qualifying sheets this weekend, where he is running in multiple classes to stay busy and hone his skills.

You could say that Ray Roman has a thing for the ocean’s most notorious killing machines. He named his S550 stallion after one of the largest known sharks in the ocean — Deep Blue. This 20-foot, 4,000-plus-pound fish inspired the graphics on the car, which his young son also loves. A tech at Competition Auto, Roman upgraded his Mustang with a Whipple supercharger, Baer drag brakes, Weld beadlock wheels, and more. It is currently good for 9.7-second passes and 775 rear-wheel horsepower. He is running it this weekend in Circle D Specialties True Street class this weekend.

Brandon Styles bought this 1991 Mustang LX as a turnkey ride with a 357-cube ROUSH crate engine based on a Dart block. Percolating to the tune of a classic Ford Performance F303 camshaft, the car runs a turbocharger and breathes through a Trick Flow Box R intake manifold. With a PA C4 in the tunnel and riding on custom Holeshot wheels, Styles is ready to run in ARP Open Comp this weekend. 

NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars and NHRA Factory Stock Showdown racer Lenny Lottig is on the property with his beautiful United Site Services-backed 7-second 2020 Chevrolet COPO Camaro, still riding high off his class win at the 2021 NMCA All-American Nationals. The Meyersdale, Pennsylvania-based racer sports Ray Barton Racing Engines LSX power under his hood but hurt a rocker arm during Thursday’s test session. Fortunately, his team had it quickly fixed up in time for Friday’s qualifying sessions.

After years of having fun in NMCA Chevrolet Performance Stock where he picked up several championship titles, Glenn Pushis (far right) wanted to push his tuning abilities a bit further and decided to dabble in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street instead. In late 2022, Pushis got back to his roots when he purchased Scotty G.’s Oldsmobile Cutlass. A 582 big block Chevy engine huffing plenty of nitrous sits between the G Body’s frame rails and was coupled with an RPM Transmission two-speed Turbo 400 gearbox. At the season opener in Florida this year, Pushis faced off against his friend and engine builder, Bill Trovato, in round one of eliminations where he may have pushed things a little too far and nicked a piston in the process. Fortunately, Trovato installed a new slug and freshened up the bullet and Pushis – who is joined this weekend by his team including crew chief Doug Thompson, Steve Hilterbrand, and John Entley – is paying closer attention to the G Body’s timing and fuel curves, as well as the weather conditions and other data, so he isn’t quite as aggressive this time out.

At 81 years old, NMCA Erson Cams Nostalgia Muscle racer Geary Bates is still having a blast wheeling is 600-horsepower 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 in the category. Usually, the car is incredibly consistent and reliable, but he had a frustrating, though fortunately minor, issue pop up during Thursday’s testing. The Cougar’s throttle linkage broke three times on the starting line, and Bates has been relentlessly trying to repair the trouble although parts are, admittedly, hard to come by for a 50+ year old vehicle. His experience will certainly pay off, though, and Bates is looking forward to a fun weekend of letting the Trick Flow Specialties-headed 408 ci stock block Windsor engine stretch its legs on the dragstrip.

After having raced locally around his home state of Maryland for two decades, Andy Wagner of EastCoastMoparts is finally getting his NHRA license this weekend in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp with his back-halved 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on 315 drag radials. Equipped with a Gen III HEMI engine which is boosted by a ported 3.0-liter Whipple supercharger and a 757 transmission which has been massaged by Sipple’s Speed & Performance, the self-proclaimed “sh!tshow” wisely waited to make some shock and sway bar adjustments until after he had loaded up the car and hauled it all the way to Rockingham Dragway (instead of handling things at home.)

The Bigfoot Monster truck already ascended to high above the racetrack at Rockingham Dragway in advance of the Innovation Performance Technology Top Of The Rock Fan Appreciation party this evening. Hosted by Clarence Barnes & Chris the Car Guy the party will feature music, spin-to-win prizes, automotive trivia, snacks, drinks, and more, so don’t miss it. Until then, Bigfoot perched atop The Rock is the ultimate photo opportunity.

Race fans figure to see a lot of “Silent Lloyd” Mikeska’s this weekend since he’s pulling double-duty with his two Texas-based Mustangs. Miskeska is racing in the HP Tuners Super Stang class with his black 2016 Mustang and he’s sharing the car with Maci McKenna, who will race in the Circle D Specialties True Street class on Saturday with her eye on the top prize in the 12.00 class. McKenna, the daughter of Becki Cram, won the 12.00 title in Florida last season. Mikeska will also drive his blue 2008 model Mustang in the Ford Muscle class. “I hope we make a lot of runs this weekend,” said Mikeska. “That’s the plan anyway. We have a lot of fun racing with Maci. She’s becoming a pretty good driver and it’s a nice challenge to see if we can get the car to run 12.00.”

Chris Brooker of TorqStorm Superchargers was pretty stoked after running his first 7-second pass in LME Street King during testing. With a fresh Steve Morris engine under the hood boosted by one of the company’s latest 94mm superchargers. The combo is cooking. His Camaro aimed for the stars on a test pass Friday, and he pedaled it smoothly down to earth to clock a 7.998 at 173.41 mph. The speed is what impressed Brooker, as it was running about 10 mph faster than it did in Orlando, which he says felt faster at the big end. It doesn’t hurt that he can currently claim the in-house mph record over his TorqStorm teammate Scott Oshinski, who hurt the transmission in his car this weekend.

Putting the testing time in ahead of the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport, Richmond Gear Factory Stock racerMark Anderson had time to doll up his four-eye Fox before the race. He also had the transmission refreshed by Grant Scott (crew chief for Coyote Stock racer Aaron Worstell), and he says it has never shifted smoother. Much of his prerace testing involved getting the car’s wheelies under control with the suspension, and felt good about being able to dial in the hook this weekend. For the first time, he also plans to run every event on the series calendar this season.

Allen Hurley brought out his beautiful 1967 Ford Fairlane powered by a TKM Performance-built Coyote engine. Always boosted by two turbos, his combo now benefits from a pair of Hellion Power Systems’ latest snails designed by John Urist himself. These ultra-efficient boostmakers shined on the dyno, putting a smile on tuner Chase Driskell’s face. In testing it ran its quickest to the 60- and 330-foot marks, so Hurley has high hopes for it this weekend in Circle D Specialties/TorqStorm Superchargers True Street, where its two big rear trans coolers that bring the trans temps down at speed with come in handy on the 30-mile cruise.

The lack of a front fascia on Jess Richards’ Challenger was a clue that something was amiss. She recently installed a Killer Chiller in the hopes of pushing her low-9-second machine into the 8-second zone. Alas, a bad air-conditioning compressor put a damper on those plans, but she was set to have it repaired so she can compete in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout this weekend. Richards bought the car in 2019 while she was still serving the country in the Navy. Since retiring from the service, she is now pursuing a Doctorate in grad school, and she was even taking exams from inside her RV at Rockingham. 

Richmond Gear Factory Stock regular Damien Stephens is shaking it up this weekend with a new transmission in the tunnel. After running an automatic he made the move to a G-Force Racing Transmissions G101 manual. Team Dirty Bird fixed a long-standing issue that resulted in a power increase, so they are feeling good about the combo this weekend.

Steven Wardlow is on the property to wheel an unexpected entry in Edelbrock Xtreme Street. Owned by Dan Kroll, this 1965 El Camino began as a bench-racing session, but soon after picking the in-progress project in Minnesota, it became a reality in Wardlow’s garage starting over the Christmas break. It only fired up 24 hours before heading to NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport for its debut. Powered by a nitrous-injected, fuel-injected engine built by Bill Trovato, it is Wardlow's first EFI/nitrous racer. 

Another car debuting this weekend is a beautiful Grabber Blue Mustang in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod that made the trip down from Indianapolis. Owned by ex-Top Fuel racer Don Reed, it was the last car Jack Couden built when he worked at Pro Tree Race Cars, and now he is driving the car in NMCA competition. Powered by a Brad Anderson Hemi backed by a Liberty’s five-speed with an M&M torque converter and a Quick Drive, the ProCharged combo operates under the sway of a Haltech EFI system tuned by Patrick Barnhill. The first order of business is getting Couden comfortable behind the wheel, then they can sneak up on the powertrain and chassis tuning.

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