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Friday Coverage — Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival


After a booming start to the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Force Engineering, things get real today as testing wraps up and racers move into qualifying in all the heads-up and index classes. While the morning weather called for schedule adjustments, test passes will wrap up today as racers in all categories move into qualifying at The Fastest Track In Michigan. Unfortunately, the new schedule necessitated the cancelation of the NMRA vs. NMCA battle in the Open Comp All-Start Shootout, but is shining bright and all the other classes keep running. To keep tabs on all today’s action, follow this page and our social channels.


This is the updated schedule for today’s action at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Force Engineering.

Some racers got the setup right, some got it wrong and spun, and then a select perhaps got it wrong, but found plenty of traction. Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Tim Knieriem found plenty of traction for his nitrous-assisted Mustang during Thursday’s test and tune session, and Knieriem reported that all seems to be good as he was able to pedal the throttle to bring the car back down fairly nicely.

In addition to running hard in his own Renegade car, Eric Bardekoff is helping his dad, Jeff, run in JDM Engineering Limited Street. Racing in the name of science, they are competing with the first 3.0-liter Whipple Supercharger in the class. Running an E85-burning modular engine and controlled by a Gen 4 Big Stuff 3 engine controller, the 3,700-pound car made about 700 horsepower on 7 psi with this combo. They may switch blowers after collecting enough data, but they were committed enough that Nicky Notch cut a hole in the hood, but if they stick with the combo, the car will need a cowl hood. 

We caught up with Larry Starost as he battled a sticker calling out the new combination the hood of his JDM Engineering Limited Street racer. He just moved over to a VMP Performance Gen2R supercharger under the hood, and changed the stator in his Pro Torque torque converter. With the tune being applied at the track, he will make his first passes with the new combo in qualifying.

“To get an S197 down to weight, you have to be cruel,” Don Jones Jr. told us while describing the interior of his 2007 Mustang. His first new Mustang, the car’s combo evolved from street to all-out race car. Along the way, it featured an 8-second Three-Valve. These days it sports an RGR-built Coyote bolted to an overmatched C4 automatic. Running it in Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle he sprays it with 100-shot in qualifying and moves to 150 in competition to run his index. What really made us stop was the ergonomic setup of his stripped interior. His cousin fabbed the mount for his switch panel and Holley EFI touchscreen, which keeps the controls at his finger tips.

A newcomer to NMCA competition, Tony Scott has run all of the events so far, save for Commerce. He made the trip to Martin, Michigan, from Western Kentucky. He recently picked up this 2020 COPO Camaro and his is dialing in the timing and air/fuel ratio to get the car running the way he wants it in the Coan Stock/Super Stock category. He has big plans for both cars next season, however, with one car slated to compete in the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars class.

Though Marvin Knack hasn’t enjoyed the success this year that he is accustomed to in HP Tuners Super Stang, he changed the rear gear ratio before testing commenced at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Force Engineering. He is still seeking the sweet spot on the starting line, but he cut a .001 in testing, so he is on the right track. 

John Urist is making plenty of power in his dual-fuel S550 Mustang, so he was fortifying the driveline with an eye toward gaining ground in the championship chase in VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw this weekend at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Force Engineering. 

Things don’t always go as planned at the race track, so you have to roll with the punches. Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle racer Peter Blosser lost first gear in his Kenne Bell-supercharged New Edge. He borrowed a set of clutch bands from the ROUSH Performance team, and so his team got to work in the pits, dropped the tranny, and swapped the bands with the goal of getting it back to action.

Back in action after an extended absence, Edelbrock Renegade/Xtreme Street racer Bob Cook was held hostage by parts delays for his new engine. The 9.5-deck, 427-cube small-block Ford makes use of a Bullet camshaft, Crower shaft rockers, Trick Flow High Port heads, and a Holley Hi-Ram intake. He stuck with his tried and true ProCharger D-1X to enjoy the weight break, but the combo made great power on the hub dyno at Redline Motorsports. Burning VP Racing Fuels M1 Methanol, the engine is controlled by the Holley Dominator EFI system, and ignited by a MSD Pro 600.

John Gambill Jr. converted his Fox Mustang over to Mesncer Motorsports suspension and rescaled the car to correct its prior tendency to pull to the right. With the car going straight he is looking to make moves in ARP Open Comp this weekend at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Force Engineering.

Chris Niebauer runs this cherry 1985 Mustang GT in NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock. From Girard, Pennsylvania, Niebauer utilizes a Gen2 Coyote/C4 transmission combination, tuned by Powerhouse Automotive’s Mike Bowen. During Thursday’s test session the car ran a 10.47 a 127 mph, and after finishing the car Wednesday night, that is quite the feat. However, in an effort to find more ET, Niebauer is going to try a 28×9 Mickey Thompson Pro Bracket Radial. With the Factory Stock frontrunners in the 10.20-10.30 range, Niebauer needs a couple tenths to be at the front.

G-Force Transmissions Coyote Stock racer Tim Matherly didn’t have time to really work on his car after Norwalk, but he did perform all the necessary maintenance to keep it running in top form. With wheelies prevalent in Coyote Stock, he has made attempts to tame the front end, and at least put it back on the ground by 2nd gear. We’ll see the fruits of his labor today during qualifying, and throughout the weekend.

Jeff Kowalczyk has owned his 1972 Buick Skylark GS for 45 years, and he has every time slip he has ever received in his car’s console. With the help of a 455 cubic-inch Buick Stage 1 engine, Kowalczyk is dialed in for the Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle 12.00 index, and he’s working toward his first win in the category he has competed in for three years. Kowalczyk’s wife, Mary Walters, is also a racer, and this weekend, she’s taking on TorqStorm True Street in her 1976 C10 with a 355 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine.

Hailing from Jackson, Michigan, which is just a short drive from US 131 Motorsports Park, Paul Svinicki is back in action with a Mustang Cobra Jet that always draws a crowd. The attraction is the Godzilla 7.3-liter engine underhood. Originally designed for Ford’s latest Super Duty pickups, this engine is growing in popularity as a performance powerplant. Svinicki recently moved to a Fueltech powertrain controller, which offers complete control of the combination. He is still dialing in the calibration, but the stock engine is already benefitting from parts he developed, like an electric water pump, which does a better job cooling the engine and frees up 15 horsepower that the stock pump previously pulled away. It has run in the mid-nines, and he hopes to improve on that number this weekend.

Nicole Liberty, who was a very successful junior dragster racer, is now a very successful ARP Nitrous Pro Street racer. She made her debut in the category last year, and earned her first win in it at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance a few months ago at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. Liberty, a design engineer at Liberty’s Gears in Michigan, which is owned by her father, Craig Liberty, relies on a naturally aspirated 632 inch big-block Chevrolet engine built by her relatives at Khoury Racing Engines to power her Firebird. It’s backed by a Liberty’s Gears five-speed transmission, and Liberty enjoys experiencing the benefits of the transmission that is so popular among Liberty’s Gears customers. When we stopped by her pit area, she and her crew were looking at her car’s chassis and her carburetors in preparation for qualifying today.

Marty Stinnett is on the property this weekend and piloting Bruce Maichle’s beautiful blue Pontiac Firebird in Mickey Thompson/VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw competition. Stinnett drove the F-body to a win last year, and is keeping his skills sharp while his Pro 275 Mustang has some bodywork finished up.

Joel Greathouse and KBX’s Justin McChesney are coming off of two event wins, taking home the big prize for the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl and the NMRA Ford Performance Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Greathouse is currently leading the points chanse in Edelbrock Renegade, and while he looks to be on track to defend his 2020 championship, Eric Bardekoff is hot on his heels in second place.

VP Madditives/Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw driver Steve Halprin and his team have been busy over the last two days here at US 131 Motorsports as they swapped a number of torque converters in search of improved performance. Halprin said the transmission may have been hurt, so they were swapping that out now before qualifying begins today.

Setting the pace for Mickey Thompson/VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw during yesterday’s time session was Rob Goss, who clicked off a 4.26 on Thursday right out of the trailer. Goss expressed that the Gen III HEMI and ProCharger-powered machine is running great, and that they are just racing the track and the competitor in the other lane via the tuneup.

Tony Gillig has claimed numerous victories in the ARP Nitrous Pro Street category, but this event is the swan song for his nostalgic Olds Cutlass in the class as Gillig as sold the machine for a new racing venture that you’ll be able to read about next week on The Cutlass, however, is deadly consistent and quick, and is always in contention for the Nitrous Pro Street class win.

Tampa, Florida’s Don Cruz only has only made a handful of passes on his turbocharged 1993 Mustang in VP Madditives/Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw since January, and his hoping to get to the 4.30s that the car is capable of this weekend. Cruz built the 400ci small-block Ford engine in-house and Matt Lunsford is here tuning the Holley EFI this weekend. Cruz’s company, Cruz Performance, manufactures turbo Buick components and Cruz noted that he won the GS Nationals last month with his own turbo Buick that has run as quick as 4.60s.

One of the biggest treats of the weekend is seeing the Cor-A-Vent F.A.S.T. Factory Stock class. These cars adhere to tighter rules when it comes to engine and transmission combinations. The cars and combinations are closer to stock and how they were originally. Just slight engine modifications are allowed, but when you see racers from every other class coming to look at the F.A.S.T. cars, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that everyone respects these cars.

Jim Johnson has been driving his brother Craig Johnson’s white Mustang since the first race of the season, as he was having a small-block Ford built by Roush for his own black Mustang. That engine is now ready, but because Johnson is currently holding down second place in NMRA ARP Open Comp points and wanted to stay in his brother’s car for consistency reasons, he offered his Mustang, with his new engine in it, to Dart NA 10.5 racer Frank Hoffman, for NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp this weekend. Hoffman happily accepted, and has already clocked a high 9-second pass in Johnson’s Mustang this weekend.

Regina Puckett had a solid 2020 race season, as she earned the win in Proform Rumble at the NMCA event at US 131 Motorsports Park, came close to earning the class championship and finished second in points. But, she says she’s struggling a bit this year to get her Camaro with a 416 cubic-inch LS engine to settle into either the 11.50 or 11.75 index. “I’ve been running too slow for the 11.50 index and too fast for the 11.75 index,” said Puckett. “It’s getting frustrating, especially because things went well last year, but I have Matt Sorian off MS Tuning helping me with the tune-up with Holley EFI, and we’ll get back to where we were.”

South Lyon, Michigan’s Paul Petcou bought this 1970 Challenger R/T as a painted shell for $5,000 in 1995. To compete in F.A.S.T. competition, the car uses a 440 Six Pack, a 727 automatic with a Slap Stick, and a 4.30 gear. In good air, the FC7 Plum Crazy Challenger runs 11.50s, and in testing Petcou has discovered is feels better with a 4.10 gear, but ET’s better with a 4.30 gear. We look forward to seeing the car run.

JDM Engineering Limited Street driver Samantha Moore knows how to turn lemons into lemonade. When the rules committee upped the pulley size on the Magnuson supercharger combination for parity reasons, she took the opportunity to change her setup and prove something at the same time. A little over a week ago, the Vector Motorsports co-owner—and ProCharger dealer—took delivery of a new ProCharger supercharger and bolted it to her California Special Mustang. Moore told us that the combination is not optimized just yet, but that didn’t stop her from clicking off an 8.36, followed by an 8.39, using an off-the-shelf ProCharger P-1X street blower!

Billy Danforth knows he brought a knife to a gun fight by running his mint 1985 Mustang GT in Edelbrock Renegade, but he and his DLF Racing team have plans for a more competitive 440ci engine build in the future. In the meantime, he has Stephan Lacky driving the car, which is powered by a 347ci small-block Ford with an Induction Solutions nitrous system on it. Danforth said the Mustang went 5.80 at the previous event in Norwalk, and plans to bump the nitrous up a bit in qualifying. Danforth said his father bought the Mustang new in 1985, and Billy got behind the wheel of it shortly after around 1987 and has been making passes ever since.

Another member of the DLF Racing team is Casey Fyfe of Seymour, Indiana, who is piloting his 2019 Mustang GT Performance Pack 1 this weekend in QA1 True Street. Fyfe bought the pony a year ago from Skillman Ford, and they wasted no time bolting on a Paxton supercharger. The 10R80-equipped Mustang has been as quick as 9.91 in the quarter-mile, and Fyfe is planning on jumping into JDM Engineering Limited Street in the next year or so.

LME Street King champion Kurt Anderson is finally back in his 1969 Camaro, after having his LSX engine upgraded by Wegner Motorsports with new Air Flow Research Mongoose cylinder heads. The new lungs were worth 30 horsepower over the previous pieces, and necessitated a new tuneup that picked up another 20. Now that he’s on the track with 50 extra horsepower, Anderson is finding he’s having traction issues at the hit, and will need to make some adjustments to find the hook that his car is normally known for.

Brian Mullaney rolled into the Dart NA 10.5 ranks for the first time this weekend. He’s piloting Bob Johnson’s 1980 Mustang, which is powered by a 505 big-block Chevrolet engine which Van Eric Performance built and Mullaney owns. It’s backed by a Turbo 400 transmission, and it helped a happy Mullaney post a 9.31 and 146 mph in qualifying today. “I think NA 10.5 is the coolest thing, and I’m glad that we’re able to try it,” said Mullaney, who’s building a 1970 Nova for Dart 10.5, and hopes to debut that car next year. “We know we have to work up to being competitive, but it would be really nice to win at some point.” Don Murphy and Bob Travelbee are here helping Mullaney out this weekend.

For NMRA qualifying results, click HERE

For NMCA qualifying results, click HERE.