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Naumann's Nitrous-Injected Nova Takes On NMCA Nitrous Pro Street

Powerful PairMichael and Jake Naumann take on NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street in a nitrous-injected Nova Written by Ainsley Jacobs Photography by Kevin DiOssi When he was a young boy, going to the track with his father instilled in Michael Naumann a passion for drag racing that's still going strong. That generational journey continues to this day, as Naumann is now passing it down to his own son with his 1970 Chevy Nova. Growing up in Maryland, Naumann often attended races with his father. The two attended as spectators, although his father did have a 396ci '69 Chevelle SS that he purchased new and Naumann now owns himself. I was always into cars. We would go on my birthday or whatever other occasion with friends to watch, reminisced the man, now 47, of his youthful years. I got my license at 16 and my dad got me my first cara '79 Ford Fairmont station wagonand I would bracket race it on Saturdays and Sundays at Capitol Raceway. After learning the ropes of racing while still attending high school, Naumann purchased a '69 Chevelle of his own that he used as a daily driver. It wasn't long, however, before he added another classic Chevy to his quickly growing collection of cars. A friend called and said he knew of a '70 Nova for sale, Naumann explained of how he wound up going to take a look at the car, which ultimately became his racecar and is still his primary competition vehicle to this day. It was yellow with a blue interior and had no engine or transmission. Even though the Nova was in rough shape, and it had been unceremoniously parked outside next to a rotting shed, 17-year-old Naumann fell in love with it. It had been a race car at one point. It had a roll cage in it and a 12-bolt rearend, he said, still excited about the find even three decades later. So, I bought it! Over time, Naumann modified the Nova and made changes to enable it to run quicker and faster. He installed a small-block Chevy engine so that he could bracket race the car, a hobby he enjoyed for many years. Eventually, though, he tired of the Nova's jaundiced exterior. In the early ˜00s, Naumann started on the bodywork himself at home in his garage. He sprayed the primer, but continued to race it for another year before sending it off to get new quarter panels and the remainder of the bodywork completed. Finally, the gorgeous graphite gray paint was applied and Naumann's Nova had its new look. Racing quarter-mile at the time, Naumann was a proud all motor guy who collected a substantial stack of 10.0-second time slips. Well, I decided I wanted to go faster, so I had an SB2-headed small-block built for the car, he noted. It was everything I could do to pay for it, but I did it. With the Nova's new heart in place, the car was soon printing 9.20-second receipts. Naumann branched out into the index racing world, with a 9.50 elapsed time his goal, and frequently competed at Mason Dixon Dragway where he earned a handful of wins. By 2011, though, Naumann's life changed direction. He opened his own business, Naumann Plumbing, and focused his efforts there. Serving the Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia region's residential, commercial, and industrial clients kept him busy while his Nova sat. Although he was doing well at work, Naumann couldn't stay away from the drag strip. They started something like a Real Street class at Capitol Raceway, and I decided to redo the car for that, he explained of what prompted him to get a nitrous-injected big-block engine ready for battle. Nitrous was what people always used to go fast back when I was a kid. It's what I have always been around. He took the Nova to a chassis shop so that they could back-half it to fit a 10.5W tire, but the build escalated into a 3/4 chassis instead; the car was cut at the firewall so that everything back could be tubed. Only the stock subframe remained. The Nova wound up spending three years in chassis prison. Naumann readied the engine, but the shop kept falling further and further behind schedule. Naumann had so much down time, in fact, that he even got rid of his the 588-cube engine he planned to run and bought a new 632ci power plant from Nesbitt Performance Engines instead. Ultimately, Naumann yanked the Nova from the shop and took it elsewhere. I took the Nova, engine, and everything I had to Doug Kline at Precision Chassis. He was very busy at the time, but by the time I got homeabout a 2.5-hour triphe had sent me pictures of the engine already in the car, Naumann shared, thrilled with his choice to trust Kline and his Pottstown, Pennsylvania-based business in 2014. Kline made fast progress where the other shop had fallen short, and soon, Naumann's Nova was ready to run again. Eager to get back at it, the owner hopped in and made some test passes to the eight-mile to get everything situated. Racing with a local organization, and running without nitrous, Naumann ran as quick as 8.01 seconds in the quarter mile and solid 5.0s in the eighth. Next, the Nova went back to Kline for a few more updates to prepare for battle in PDRA Outlaw 632 in 2017. Kline wired up the Switzer Dynamics nitrous-oxide system and Naumann finally ran on the bottle; his first outing with the gas yielded a huge new personal best elapsed time of 4.64 seconds. It was around that same time that Naumann met someone who quickly became an important influence in his lifeKen Quartuccio. The two hit it off and developed a strong friendship. Naumann spent the next several years racing sporadically, attending both local events as well as more of the PDRA series, while working more with Quartuccio and his crew. Toward the end of the 2017 season, Naumann headed off to Maryland International Raceway to compete at the World Cup Finals: Import vs Domestic race. I was a little nervous about running in the quarter-mile since I hadn't in a while and the car was running high 4.50s by then, confessed the driver. He went for it anyway, and qualified seventh in Radial vs. Modified with a 7.054 at 194.04mph run. We wound up going to the finals, but finished in the runner-up slot. The quickest we went was 7.025 at 192.66 mph, and I was all kinds of excited. Once again, Naumann knew it was time to change things up with his classic Chevy. The Nova returned to Kline's Precision Chassis shop once again, and it was completely disassembled from front to back, and top to bottom. This is when we changed it to a radial setup, Naumann elaborated of the work that was done. Doug built a one-off, bolt-in subframe for the front end with the struts. Precision Chassis finished the work by March, in time for the start of the next PDRA season and Naumann headed off to GALOT Motorsports Park in North Carolina. With the combination changed to run on a let's not mention the name ECU system, Naumann had nothing but trouble with it. We fought the ECU all season but stuck with it, Naumann said sadly. He knew he needed help, so, in addition to Quartuccio, respected tuner Jamie Miller joined the team. We went to Lights Out at South Georgia Motorsports Park and the car went 4.30-flat right off the trailer! proclaimed Naumann, thrilled with the strides he was suddenly making and the huge wheelie photos he was able to have captured as a result of attending the event in February of 2019 and racing in the Outlaw 632 category. By the end of the year, Naumann felt more optimistic. With the car reconfigured once againthis time deploying a FuelTech FT600 engine management systemits previous problems disappeared. Working with Kline, Miller, Quartuccio, Manny Buginga, and on Derek Burton's hub dyno at Bootleg Tuned in Connecticut, Naumann has been able to make changes in a positive direction. Getting rid of his former AED Performance carburetor, though, was a touch bittersweet for the man as he had a tremendous respect for owner Jay Brockwell. We had problems with the carb we were running at the time, and Jay came over and worked on iteven though it was a competitor'sfor 2.5 hours and got it so we could make the race, said Naumann, who wouldn't have been able to compete if not for Brockwell's selfless assistance. I switched to AED after that, and even though I'm running fuel injection now, I will never get rid of that set of carbs because of how much Jay helped me. Naumann had always had an interest in racing with the NMCA, however, as he followed the series and its celebrities when he was younger. I watched guys like Spiro Pappas and Chuck Samuel, and I'd go spectate at Maple Grove . I always wanted to race there, but didn't have a car that compete, he shared. His PDRA days were numbered when Naumann moved the Nova to radials, knowing he couldn't compete on a track that was prepped more for slick tires. We had no class at that point. We would go testing and do events like the Shakedown and run in Limited Drag Radial, but we weren't competitive there, either, and it was just for fun, noted the man. Once the NMCA loosened up the tire rules for Nitrous Pro Street, that was it! We said OK, game onlet's go racing. Naumann had another big change in mind¦ handing over the driving honors to his 22-year-old son, Jake. He had a 4.80 Camaro that he bracket-raced before this, and I'm trying to get him into heads-up racing, laughed the proud father. To prepare, Jake piloted the Nova at the 2020 U.S. Street Nationals in Bradenton, Florida, and then they prepped for the upcoming 2021 NMCA drag racing tour during the off-season. In its current configuration, the Naumann Nova rolls on a 25.3 SFI certified chassis, built by Kline at Precision. Nesbitt Performance also assembled the 4.84 bore space, 632ci engine with 12-degree Pro-Filer heads and a complete Jesel valvetrain. Up top sits a sheetmetal intake manifold and Accufab throttle bodies paired with the FuelTech EFI. Plumbed for nitrous, Naumann's engine runs none other than Switzer Dynamics gear, and although the car has two kits installed, he only sprays one in competition. Mark Micke's M&M Transmission supplied the three-speed Turbo 400 transmission and associated components, including lock-up torque converter and shifter. Out back, the Nova launches with a Carmack Engineering billet center section. Menscer Motorsports dampers at all four corners keep the all-steel body firmly planted, while the Strange Engineering carbon brakes bring its 2,950-pound heft to a stop after each run. Given the fact that it is still an all-steel body, Naumann knew he needed to shave a few pounds of weight where it was possible. He added a fiberglass decklid, hood, and bumpers while retaining the factory sheetmetal fenders, doors, roof, floor, and more along with the interior. The lightest we can get it is 2,800 pounds, he noted, although he typically runs well above that in competition trim. To help facilitate maintenance both at the track and at home, Kline worked his magic so that the front end can be removed just like if it were a carbon replica. With Jake manning the controls for the 2021 NMCA drag racing season, the father-and-son team made their NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street debut at the season opener in Bradenton, Florida. There, Jake came out swinging when he took the lead after the qualifying order finalized, his 4.330 at 169.00mph hit putting him firmly into the number-one spot. He set the class elapsed time record with a 4.348-second run, and set the speed record to 162.67 mph, too! explained Naumann, who was thrilled to see his son succeed in such a huge way. Jake even made it all the way to the final elimination round, but ultimately lost to defending class champion Vince Khoury. This was Jake's first real race in competition, so a runner-up finish was great. At the next race in Atlanta, Georgia, Jake went to the number-one spot yet again, this time with a 4.350 at 166.01mph rip. Although he didn't reset his own record that time around, he did find himself in the finals yet again. Jake secured his first-ever win, and an Edelbrock Victor award, when Kyle Salminen left the starting line a touch too soon in the opposing lane. It's not easy, and we have to make power management and weight changes every single round of qualifying and eliminations to get our radial tire down a track that favors big tires, Naumann elaborated of the uphill battle he finds himself fighting. Fortunately, he's got folks like Kline, and Burton, and Miller all working together to help call the shots on the tune-up and keep him moving forward at full speed. Collectively, we agree what to do¦ and what not to do, he added. Naumann took over the lead in the championship points chase, but chose to sit out the third stop of the NMCA tour in St. Louis, Missouri, as a dear friend of his passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from COVID-19. His funeral was the Friday of that race, and, as much as I wanted to go, there was no way I was missing his service, said Naumann sadly. We'll lose the bonus points for not making all of the races, but we'll just have to make some hay at the next few races instead. Ultimately, the goal is to get Jake the championship title, although the men are having a blast just racing together in the first place. Family is important for them, and that family also includes Naumann's younger son, Cameron, and his endlessly supportive wife of 23 years, Tina. It also includes friends that are considered family, such as Doug Kline, Jamie Miller and his son John Miller, Ken Quartuccio Jr., Derek Burton, Manny Buginga, Franny McCarthy, Tim Davis, and Joe Rivera (No, not the one from ProTorque). With Naumann's progeny quickly mastering the family's Nova, Naumann himself needed something to enjoy and has commissioned Precision Chassis to assemble a new, nitrous-infused '17 Camaro that he will run in NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod, PDRA, and the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association. Over the years, racing has become something that brings Naumann a tremendous amount of happiness. Watching his son race, and win, has elevated his pride to a whole new level. Racing together, though, side-by-side at the same series, will be something truly great and Naumann can't wait to get rolling making new memories at the track, just like when he was a kid with his own dad. The Details Owner/Driver Owner: Michael Naumann Driver: Jake Naumann Hometown: Lothian, Maryland Occupation: Plumber Class: NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street Crew: Doug Kline, Joe Rivera, Jamie Miller, and Derek Burton Car Make/Model/Year: Chevy/Nova/1970 Powertrain Engine: Big-block Chevy Engine builder: Nesbitt Performance Engines, Graham North Carolina Displacement: 632 cubic inches Block: Brodix Bore: 4.84 inches Stroke: n/a Crank: Sonny Bryant Rods: MGP Pistons: Gibtec Heads: Pro-Filer 12-degree Valvetrain: Jesel Cam type: Big Carburetor or EFI system: Accufab Power-adder: Switzer Nitrous Fuel brand and type: VP Racing Fuels C-25 Headers and exhaust: Precision Chassis Custom Built Transmission: M&M Turbo 400 Transmission Builder: M&M Clutch/shifter/torque converter: M&M Lock-up Rearend: Carmack Billet Center Chassis Body and/or chassis builder: Precision Chassis 25.3/All-steel body Suspension (Front): Menscer Motorsports Struts Suspension (Rear): Menscer Motorsports Cannister Brakes (Front): Strange Engineering carbon disc Brakes (Rear): Strange Engineering carbon disc Wheels (front): Weld V-series Wheels (Rear): Weld Alpha Tires (Front): Mickey Thompson Tires (Rear): Mickey Thompson 315 Aftermarket body modifications: Fiberglass hood, deck lid, bumpers Safety equipment: Stroud/Simpson Vehicle weight: 2,950 lbs Quickest et: 4.18- 1/8th, /6.60 1/4 Best 60-foot: 0.988 Fastest mph: 174/202 Sponsors: Naumann Plumbing LLC

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