Excitement builds today at Route 66 Raceway as the 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by FST Carburetors gets into the thick of the action. With a round of qualifying on the slate, racers will have their last crack at jockeying for position on the ladders in the morning before round one of competition kicks into gear as racers strive toward a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
In addition, competitors in the Dodge // Mopar Hemi Shootout, Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, and QA1/Gear Vendors True Street classes will settle the score today. The top eight Hemi-powered machines will move onto the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 Presented by Red Line Oil showdown tomorrow, while the winner of the QA1 True Street category will lock down a slot in the IDIDIT Performance King of the Street shootout held at this year’s 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival.
You can keep up with all the action right here and live over on SpeedVideo.com.
Here’s the rundown of how things will unfold as qualifying moves into eliminations today at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.
Who doesn’t love a clean sleeper? It doesn’t get more steal that a former straight-six 1981 Mustang that now runs mid-10-second passes in the QA1 True Street class. The car in question is owned by Jeff McCool, who bought the clean, 50,000-mile Fox with the intent of Coyote swapping the car. He used to race a 1986 Mustang in the category, and he swapped all the brakes and suspension into this car to complement the 5.0-liter engine. McCool bangs gears with a Jerico Performance DR4 four-speed manual, which he says makes it fun to drive.
Judy Staton, who started our pleasant conversation with “I’m a racer from way back,” is behind the wheel of her chock-full of character 1964 Fairlane this weekend. It’s as cool as they come, and we can’t wait to see it in the combined NMCA Gear Vendors True Street/NMRA QA1 True Street category this weekend, and as a special feature of this event, the cruise will include laps on the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR oval beginning at approximately 12:30 p.m. today. With a big smile, Staton, who has owned the car for more than 40 years with her husband and fellow racer, Bill Staton, said she can’t wait.
Keith Brockman of nearby Elwood, Illinois is driving his super-cool 1972 Chevelle station wagon in NMCA Gear Vendors True Street this weekend. When he purchased the car back in 2001 after his wife told him he should buy a station wagon, there were only 56,000 miles on the odometer and there was no engine under the hood. Brockman gave the 4,360-pound car a naturally-aspirated big-block Chevy, and has gone as quick as 11.70 while rolling on drag radials. He’s averaging 12.00s so far this weekend, and is preparing for the combined NMCA Gear Vendors True Street/NMRA QA1 True Street cruise, which will include laps on the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR oval beginning at approximately 12:30 p.m. today.
The close NMCA community suffered a substantial loss last year when longtime racer Bob Curran died unexpectedly, and to honor him and his memory at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, featuring the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series, this weekend at Route 66 Raceway, his son, Jeremy, will idle down what was Curran’s home track — and favorite track — in Curran’s familiar blue Corvette flying Strange, Vortech and Weld Racing banners. Additionally, the match races between winners in each NMCA and NMRA category will now be known as the Bob Curran Memorial Super Bowl Shootouts, and this year, the Curran family will generously give $500 to each match race winner, which is in addition to the cleverly-designed Nitto Tire Diamond Tree rings.
Rob Goss campaigns a unique machine in Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw. He describes his ebony 2009 Dodge Challenger as totally different from the other cars in the class from a launching standpoint, as the car’s length changes its weight-transfer characteristics if the traction isn’t optimum. With a new converter and an additional 100 pounds onboard, he is still dialing in the combo, which had him qualified third as of Friday night. In the off season they made several changes to a combination that’s been refined over the past five years, so they know how to make the most of it.
Edelbrock Renegade racer Curtis Catalon is still tweaking the new combo in his 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra. After hurting his tried-and-true 4.6-liter modular engine, he stepped up to a sleeve 5.8-liter combo and made the change to a Holley EFI system. At this race he is running a new 1.56 low gear, and he only got in one clean pass in yesterday’s session, so he hopes to get a handle on it as we move into eliminations today and make a run toward the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
Scott Libersher’s main COPO machine broke yesterday, so they loaded on the hauler and got to work setting up one of his other cars for competition. Crew chief Danny Condon and the whole team worked overnight to take a COPO that had an engine and trans but nothing else connected, and turned it into a running Holley EFI Factory Super Cars race car overnight. The 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by FST Carburetors is the only race they could have pulled this off, as the team’s shop is just 20 minutes from Route 66 Raceway so they picked up all the parts they needed and brought them back in one trip.
The UPR Products Car Show is brimming with cool machines today. We spotted Lee McGuffie’s sharp ’89 Mustang LX coupe, which rocks an old school Weiand supercharger topped by an Edelbrock carburetor. It feeds boost to a stock 5.0 short-block fitted with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. His boosted engine is framed by a clean bay adorned with just about every panel offered by Scott Rod Fabrications. The car is McGuffie’s hobby car, and he drives to cruise-ins with his club, Moving Violations.
Drew Skillman’s team was busy swapping out the rearend on his Holley EFI Factory Super Cars 2019 Mustang Cobra Jet. They want to try another gear ratio to work with the bigger, NHRA-spec blower pulley in anticipation of the upcoming Indy race.
From simple and clean to outlandish, you can find it all at the 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by FST Carburetors car show. One of the wilder machines is Ken Mushen’s 1965 Coronet 440. Its theme is a balance of stock an Pro Street, the latter of which is enforced by the giant BDS 1071 blower atop a 526-cube Hemi. Two Holley 1050 carbs feed the beast, which pounds the pavement via a Turbo 400 tans and a Moser 9-inch rear. The real trick of the car is hidden. Its fenders, hood, and truck are all custom carbon fiber pieces.
The manufacturer’s midway at Route 66 raceway is packed with a who’s who of aftermarket companies, like Scoggin Dickey Parts Center, which is on hand with a host of hi-po General Motors gear. Attendees can check out the products and talk to the experts in person on the midway.
A new engine is causing some trouble in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Jessie Coulter’s camp. The multi-time champ broke two rods (and his bank account) while testing three weeks ago at Holley Springs, so this new 400 ci LSX engine replaces his old 388 ci unit. Coulter’s ‘91 Camaro has been surprisingly resistant to the change, and with only two hits on the car so far the Bowling Green, Kentucky resident has managed only a 4.980 at 139.37 mph to put him mid-pack.
EB Custom Works’ own Eric Bardekoff is hoping to make moves in NMRA ProCharger Modified Street but converter issues are thwarting his plans. The man from Long Island’s supercharged and Coyote-powered ’16 Cobra Jet ran an 8.05-second pass at Maple Grove when its stator was too loose, and this weekend the 8.464 at 164.57 mph trip in qualifying was the result of a stator that was too tight. A package is scheduled to be delivered with a stator that is hopefully “just right” and Bardekoff will be busy putting his ATI Turbo 400 back in. Fortunately, he’s got help as his father, Jeff Bardekoff, is pitted right next door and running his own ’09 Mustang in NMRA ARP Open Comp.
A massive QA1/Gear Vendors True Street field of over 120 cars got underway with a meeting before moving to the cruise, which took a fun ride to Chicagoland Speedway for laps around the NASCAR oval. Then racers hit Route 66 Raceway for three back-to-back laps down the quarter mile.
Also running in the BA Motorsports camp this weekend is Terry Eshman. A new Whipple Gen 5 Cobra Jet blower has been added recently, but the installation of a JPC Racing TH400 trans kit had the guys working until midnight Thursday night. Arriving at Route 66 Raceway at 6 AM on Friday, Eshman’s first hit in NMRA Exedy Racing Modular Muscle wasn’t ideal as all he managed was a burnout before his 2016 Mustang’s two-step decided it wanted to stay on for the long haul. Fortunately, tuner Brandon Alsept turned things around for the latter tries and the car went with all of the horsepressures from its BES 302 ci engine running strong. Now, the guys will focus on working their way up from their “wagon wheel” sized pulley to the “party pulley” and are hopping for low 8s.
Over in Doug Johnson’s NMRA G-Force Racing Coyote Stock pit, a clutch change was just wrapping up this morning. Johnson, who resides in Maryville, Tennessee, noticed his ’99 Mustang was lagging when it left the line no matter how much power he put in it, so it was time for a new Fidanza clutch in hopes of improving in the third qualifying session from his earlier 10.708 at 126.36 mph effort. Over the winter, Johnson also upgraded to a Team Z Motorsports 9” rear end and added all new rear suspension, which may also be contributing to the team chasing their tails as they get things dialed in.
Father and son Ron and Derrick Roderweiss are campaigning a 2018 Dodge Demon in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout this weekend. The car powered by a supercharged 6.1L belongs to father Ron and is piloted by son Derrick, who earned a runner-up in the category at this event last year. It has been as quick as 9.93, and has so far run as quick as 10.16 this weekend. When we asked Ron what attracted him to the Dodge Demon, he said he’s a Mopar fan who had a 1967 Barracuda back in the day, and added that it drives quite nicely, and when we asked Ron and Derrick, pictured with grandson/nephew Grady, to the ever-growing category, they said it’s the fact that all of the cars competing have comparable horsepower levels. Also circled on their calendars is the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, Sept 19-22, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.
NMRA ProCharger Modified Street hot shoe Bob Cook has been having a heck of a weekend already, and we haven’t even started eliminations yet. On Thursday, he hurt his ProCharged ’90 Mustang’s transmission, got it fixed thanks to on-site help from Dave Klaput of Proformance Racing Transmissions, and then proceeded to hurt it again yesterday. The issue was that it kept pulling a bushing out of the pump, so now a new bushing with more clearance and a resolution to the issue that Cook believes was causing it should hopefully have him in the clear. He runs a 314 ci engine that he built himself, with machine work from Rich Groh Racing and is currently working on a 427 ci engine for his Fox body to be able to get back to NMRA Edelbrock Renegade competition where he first ran in ’99.
The first qualifying session for Andy “The Abuser” Johnson in G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock was good despite the driver not quite hitting all his shift points spot on. The Oklahoma-based plot pushed his ’91 Mustang to the quickest pass of the class in the second qualifier, but was a little over eager at the start and left before the green came on so the run wasn’t official. Nonetheless, he still got good data and is hoping to duplicate the run later on this weekend. His battery swelled and died, too, but NMRA/NMCA Technical Director Roger Conley came through with a loaner replacement XS Power battery instead. Additionally, adjustments in the bellhousing have helped get Johnson where he wants to be, along with revalved struts and rebuilt shocks by Yancey Rodriguez at Santhuff.
Nextdoor in Canada, Chad Stephens (left) has been busy chasing electrical gremlins in his NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock “dirty bird” ’87 Ford Thunderbird. He’s had no tach, no shift line, and no data all weekend long so he’s been having to run old school. Fortunately, Stephens has a good family of friends to rely on and it’s been a group effort to pitch in and save the day. Torrey Brown stepped up by overnighting an EFI interface, Andy Johnson lent Stephens a transmission just so he could try out some different gearing, and both Tim Matherly and Jacob Lamb have also helped out with miscellaneous components. Additionally, the Thunderbird’s original owner and builder, Tony Vece (right) came out for the weekend and is pitching in to help get Stephens back on track.
There are many reasons why Mike DeChicco made a commitment to running Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock at all of the races on the NMCA tour for the past five years, and he counts among them the fact that he and his fellow drivers foot-brake and don’t use electronics. He also likes the old school cool and the camaraderie. DeChicco, who earned a win in his 1965 Coronet packing a 540 cubic-inch engine at the NMCA season-opener in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, comes this race in fourth place in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock points. With a 9.55 on a 9.50 index, he’s qualified in the tenth spot going into tomorrow’s eliminations, and he hopes to earn another trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
As a result of some on-track incidents and an off-track medical emergency, the schedule has been adjusted for today. Most notably, the first round of eliminations for heads-up categories has been moved up. “The fans have hung out all day and we want to give them a great show. We lost a few hours due the incidents, forcing the change in schedule. Therefore, instead of closing the day with the heads-up cars, we are running them a few hours earlier,” said Rollie Miller, General Manager of NMRA/NMCA.
While Melissa Boose is usually behind the wheel of the large and in-charge 1984 C10 for Gear Vendors True Street at NMCA events, her partner, Brad Lamprecht, is piloting the pickup this weekend. It marks his first time competing in the category, and he’s confident he’ll average 13.0s thanks to the 383 cubic-inch small-block Chevy under the hood of the truck that weighs 4,000 pounds with him in it. “I do feel a little pressure to do well, but I’m still having fun,” said Lamprecht, who has also raced his Monte Carlo in Edelbrock Xtreme Street.
One of the things the Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by FST Carburetors is famous for is a runoff between NMCA and NMRA drivers who won in their categories, and equally famous are the incredibly impressive Nitto Diamond Tree Rings that each member of the winning team receives. Additionally, for the event this weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, the family of late longtime NMCA racer Bob Curran will generously give $500 to each round winner of the match races that will now be known as the Bob Curran Memorial Super Bowl Shootouts.
Longtime Hellion Turbo B-Team crewman and comic relief, Brian Warcup, is finally getting to head down the track himself this weekend. In November, Warcup’s ‘15 Mustang was shipped out from New Jersey to New Mexico where the Hellion mastermind himself, Mr. Dwayne James, tore down its aluminator engine and upgraded everything to his liking. Dyno Edge in Albuquerque did the install work, including the Hellion Power Systems twin turbo kit featuring 55mm snails, and a full UPR Products rear suspension with BMR Springs and sub-frame brace. A Stifflers drivershaft loop was also added, along with The Driveshaft Shop half shafts and carbon fiber driveshaft. Additionally, the ’15 intake was upgraded to a ’18 piece, and a set of killer JMS wheels were bolted on. Warcup’s Mustang put down 600 wheel horsepower on the dyno, but due to the altitude, James believes it’s more realistically in the 750 neighborhood. John Urist himself transported the completed car back here to Joliet this weekend for Warcup, who is running in NMRA QA1 True Street, and Vinny Palazzolo will be carrying it back to New Jersey.
As a special feature of this event, NMCA Gear Vendors True Street and NMRA QA1 True Street drivers made laps on the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR oval as part of their cruise. After they returned to the quarter-mile and made three back-to-back passes at Route 66 Raceway, Eric Olson stood out as the overall winner with an 8.54 average in a Ranger, and Randy Thomas was the runner-up with an 8.72 average in a Mustang Shelby GT500. Bill Unkel ran to the 9-second win in a Mustang, Heinz Stock picked up the 10-second win in a Mustang, Robert Ball drove to the 11-second win in a Mustang and Mike Baker picked up the 12-second win in a Mustang. Rounding out the category were Jeff Buck, who was the 13-second winner, Wayne Haley, who was the 14-second winner and Belinda Moore, who was the 15-second winner.
In the Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, Louis Truffa was the overall winner with a 9.22 average in his Monte Carlo, while Kevin Rowand was the runner-up with an 11.03 average in his Corvette. Robert Peter picked up the 12-second win in his Camaro, Greg Jessup pushed to the 13-second win in his Camaro, Jeremy Billecki was the 14-second winner in his Camaro and Steve Weigl was the 15-second winner in his Caprice.
Over 120 QA1/Gear Vendors True Street competitions duked it out today, but after three back-to-back passes on the Route 66 quarter mile, it was Eric Olson’s sneaky-quick 1983 Ranger that took the overall win and earned a spot in the IDIDIT Performance King of the Street shootout held at this year’s 21st Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival. He did so with an 8.54-second average, which edged runner-up Randy Thomas, who averaged 8.72 seconds in his 2010 Shelby GT500. Unfortunately, Olson won’t be able to make the trip to Bowling Green, so another KOTS entry will be drafted from the True Street field there.
The beauty of QA1 True Street is that you don’t have to have the quickest car on the property to take a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle. Belinda Moore has 19 such victories to her name, such that some call her the True Street Queen. Today she won the 15-second class with a 15.032 average in her 1995 Mustang GT.
For NMCA qualifying, results, click HERE.
NMCA Eliminations are underway. For results as they become available, click HERE.
Here’s how all the action will go down tomorrow at the 14th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing Presented by FST Carburetors.