By Mary Lendzion
It was a big deal when Rich Nye returned to Dart NA 10.5 action at the NMCA All-American Nationals in late August at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Instead of rolling out of the trailer his Fox body Mustang, which impacted the retaining wall at the NMCA season opener in March, he rolled out of the trailer his new SN95 Mustang which he purchased from Andy Smith in April and which was previously owned by Tony Bischoff and driven by Nick Bacalis and Shawn Pevlor.
While preparing to take the car down track for the first time at Summit Motorsports Park, he spent a fair amount of time talking with fans and fellow racers about it. He shared how it was powered with his tried-and-true 410 cubic-inch engine built by Gaby Labiosa of EIC Motorsports and topped with Edelbrock heads and an EIC Motorsports intake, and how Rich Concato, crew chief for his fellow Dart NA 10.5 racer Joe Clemente, rewired it, Bruce Blair, crew member for Clemente, built headers for it and Jesse Howard installed a new clutch pedal and a tunnel for his transmission and moved the seat back in the cockpit.
Nye also shared how his engine was still backed by his GF2000 by G-Force Racing Transmissions and paired with a Ram twin-disc clutch.
Then he proceeded to put down a 7.92 to qualify in the third spot out of fourteen cars, followed by an 8.01, a 7.97 and 7.94 before exiting after a very tight race against David Theisen in the semifinal round of eliminations.
“At first, we were having issues at Norwalk,” said Nye, who had help that weekend from Ed Brady and Jeremy Moyer. “I had replaced the Afco shocks that came on the car with the Afco shocks that were on my other car, and they weren’t working, so during qualifying, we went back to the shocks that came on the car and they made a huge difference. We were right there with the other guys, which we were really happy about. We were 1.18 in the 60-foot at that race, which is not far off from the 1.13 60-foot we were at before, and when we get back to that 60-foot, we’ll be in even better shape.”
Upon returning home from the race, Nye reached out to Nick Bacalis for some information about the car’s shock set-up.
“My previous car had a four-link suspension, and this car has stock-style suspension, so it’s definitely different,” said Nye. “Nick shared some information about shock set-up, and that should help us get the 60-foot down tremendously.”
Now Nye is anxious to arrive at the 20th Annual NMCA World Street Finals, which is the final race on the series’ 2021 tour, this weekend, Sept. 23-26, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana, where he hopes to gather more data, go rounds and get to the NMCA Winner’s Circle.
“We’re hoping to learn more about this car and go even further than we did in Norwalk,” said Nye. “Meanwhile, Bruce Blair is repairing my other Mustang, so you might have that one back out at some point, too.”