By Mary Lendzion
With their high-winding engines and high wheelies, drivers in NMCA FST Carburetors NA 10.5 are well-known and wildly entertaining to fans.
Among them is Leonard Long, who is as hardcore as they come.
Long, who lives in Pennsylvania and owns G-Force Racing Transmissions, has been behind the wheel of various race cars for more than 50 years. The Mustang he races in FST Carburetors NA 10.5 is motivated by a small-block Ford topped with Visner Engine Development-massaged Ford D3 heads, a G-Force Racing Transmissions GF2000 five-speed and a Holley EFI system.
Long got this season of racing started by setting the pace in FST Carburetors NA 10.5 qualifying with a 7.84 and then hauled to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a 7.89 over John Langer at the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
He led qualifying again, this time with an even quicker 7.80, and won again, this time with a 7.81 over Joe Clemente, at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway. What followed was a 7.86 to qualify in the second spot and a 7.84 in an oh-so-close semifinal loss against Rich Nye at the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway.
From there, Long set the pace in qualifying with a 7.85 and secured another win with a 7.95 over Dwight Ausmus at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois, and then set the pace in qualifying again with a 7.80 and ran to a runner-up finish with a 7.93 against Langer at the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio.
Unwavering in his pursuit of the ultimate prize, he led qualifying with a 7.83 and won with a 7.86 over Ausmus at the final event on this year’s NMCA schedule, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. With that, he was crowned the 2019 FST Carburetors NA 10.5 champion. It’s Long’s third championship in the incredibly competitive category.
“The car worked superbly,” said Long, who relies on Jay Zolko of Barton Racing Engines to assemble his engine and Dave Barton of Barton Racing Engines to offer input on his fuel injection. “We didn’t really experiment with anything because everything was working so well, and all we had to do was stay on top of the maintenance. It was a full team effort. We have a great team, and we all worked together really well this year to make this happen.”
Long will share the stage with other champions at the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components, Dec. 13 at the Indiana Convention Center.
(Please watch for stories on all NMCA champions to be posted on the NMCA and Race Pages Digital websites and in Fastest Street Car in the days to come.)