Friday evening the things got real at the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem held at Bradenton Motorsports Park, highlighted by a horde of VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod monsters and a slew of Holley EFI Factory Super Cars competitors that filled up the remains slots in the coveted Holley EFI 7-second Club, which awarded $1,000 to its inductees. Racers also took the first step toward the quest to end up in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle by staking their claim in the first round of qualifying. Today the qualifying will continue with two more rounds, the fastest street cars around will clash during the Gear Vendors True Street, and the hottest HEMI-powered machines will square off in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout. From that grouping the quickest HEMI rides will be selected to run in the all-new Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 Presented by Red Line Oil on Sunday.
Here’s how the action will go down on a beautiful Saturday at the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
It was one for the ages during Friday night’s qualifying session at the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem, as Holley EFI Factory Super Cars lined up for the first round of qualifying as indicated by their points tallies from last season. On the line were the remaining four slots in the Holley EFI 7-second Club behind Geoff Turk who took the first slot last March. Those slots didn’t last long, as Chuck Watson Sr. nabbed number two on the list with a 7.88 and 188, then Leonard and Scott Libersher ran side-by-side sevens to grab the third and four spots, respectively. Finally, it was Carl Tasca who made it to the stripe first with a 7.82 at 176 mph to lock in the final slot, but the 7-second runs didn’t stop. A whopping 12 of the 20 qualified Factory Super Cars racers put sevens on the board in round one.
In addition to the final four slots of the Holley EFI 7-second club filling up during Friday night’s first round of qualifying in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, the shot heard round the world was Drew Skillman’s 7.70 at 176 mph rocket ride to top the qualifying sheet in a production, 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet. However, it wasn’t much of a surprise to the engineers who developed these cars. “The cars are dialed in, the chassis is a known commodity, and we know it works,” David Born, Engineer at Ford Performance, beamed. “With all the work that went into the motor, we know it makes more power the way that we deliver it, and then these guys take it and do their tricks to it, we knew the cars were going to be killer, so it’s not a huge shock, but it doesn’t change the smile on my face to see it happen, but it’s not a huge shock.”
Obviously the whole Ford Performance team was pretty stoked about the exploits of its factory engineered drag-racing Mustangs. “First of all, to get two of our veterans into the 7-second club — Chuck Watson and Carl Tasca — that’s a storybook chapter closed,” Mike Delahanty (left, next to Dave Born on the right), Program Manager at Ford Performance, enthused. “Then to see (Drew) Skillman, with the production 2019 Cobra Jet, go down there and set low e.t., that is the icing on the cake.”
You just don’t see that many Buick Grand Nationals roaming the streets, much less racking up multiple class wins in Gear Vendors True Street. Not only does Grant Martin regularly drive his GN down to Bradenton Motorsports Park from Tampa, Florida, but he’s been racing it for 15 years. Currently it is dialed back from its 11-second potential to the low-12-second zone. It can run either thanks to a 2,800-stall converter, ported heads, a cam, an upgraded 6264 turbo, and a methanol injection system. Martin says the coolest thing about his combo, is he can adjust the boost level and he is done tweaking it.
Following up his appearance at the 25th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout last weekend, Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Joe Guertin is continuing to use the season openers as a test session to dial in his Fox’s new Coyote combo. Last week he brought in too much power and had to reel in the wheelie monster, so Guertin and crew were focusing on tuning the suspension this weekend. He hopes all the pieces will come together this weekend so he can show up to the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All Start Nationals next month ready to be competitive.
Last season was a bit frustrating for Susan Roush McClenaghan, so she spent the off-season addressing a lot of issues, including some changes to her transmission. So far this weekend, her NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp racer responded well to the changes, running in the low-9-second range, and she feels like the season is off to a good start. As you can see, a clean Mustang is also a fast Mustang, as she takes car to wipe down her car between rounds.
For many moons, Larry McLendon has competed in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock, and has enjoyed everything from the competition to the camaraderie. This weekend, in his Plymouth Satellite nicknamed Midnight Oil and powered by a 440 cubic-inch engine, he drove a bit quicker than his chosen 11.25 index in qualifying, and will try to tighten it up in today’s second round of qualifying.
Fresh off a win in Heavy Street at the World Outlaw Nationals at Orlando Speed World last weekend, Matt Salminen is back in ARP Nitrous Pro Street this weekend, and he’s hoping to pick up another win. In his Camaro powered by a 632 cubic-inch Nelson Competition-built engine and a SpeedTech nitrous system, he put a 4.55 on the board to take the second qualified spot yesterday, and he’ll be one to watch in the second round of qualifying today as he’s capable of an even quicker elapsed-time. For more information about Salminen’s car, and more pictures of it, check out a four-page feature in the April issue of Fastest Street Car.
While AJ Mullen was born and raised in Bradenton, Florida, he’s currently serving in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia. Mullen, whose deployments have included Korea and Kuwait, has this weekend off, and is taking part in Gear Vendors True Street and Fastest Street Car Brackets 1 and 2 in his 1965 Mustang here at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Mullen, who is the fourth owner of the cool classic car, has had it for five years and he’s hoping the 302 cubic-inch engine under its hood will help him achieve 13.20s in competition this weekend.
Focused on finessing an already fine machine, VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod driver Randy Adler and his A-Team Speed Shop team made some upgrades to his Tim McAmis-built and 1957 Bel Air-bodied car over winter. They freshened its 521 cubic-inch Hemi engine, replaced its previous heads with a set of Noonan heads, swapped head gaskets and picked up compression before putting their PSI screw blower back on top. They also moved from a Lenco Drive to a Coan Turbo 400 and a Coan lock-up converter and installed a new Tim McAmis fabricated rear-end housing, and as a finishing touch, they got a new set of carbon fiber wheelie bars before arriving at this event. After breaking a ring and pinion in a test pass yesterday, replacing it and going through the trans to make sure it was free of debris, Adler went on to post a 3.77 to take the second spot in yesterday’s first round of qualifying. “What better thing to do than put a bunch of new parts on and come to the Florida race, right?’, said Adler, who laughed before adding that he was pleased with the 3.77 and is now going over the car to see how he can go even quicker.
While Kurt Anderson earned the MagnaFuel Open Comp championship and Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series LME Street King championship in his wheelstanding Camaro in 2018, he’s sharing the driver’s seat of Jim McMillan’s Regal with McMillan for the weekend. It’s the third year in a row Anderson, whose Camaro is back home in snow-covered Wisconsin, has shared McMillan’s car for the NMCA season-opener. He’s running 9s on the quarter-mile in MagnaFuel Open Comp, while McMillan is running 5s on the eighth-mile in Fastest Street Car Bracket 2. Handling the doubling-up is the 540 cubic-inch Chevy engine under the hood of the car. “I’ve gone from being freezing back home to having a sunburn here, but we’re having fun,” said Anderson.
An invasion of modern Mopars took over the property today at Bradenton Motorsports Park vying for a shot at trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout, where the first 75 entries are comped by Dodge // Mopar. Over 80 cars are competing in the category and the quickest racers will be invited to run in the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 Presented by Red Line Oil tomorrow.
No matter what flavor of muscle car you are into, the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem car show is packed with clean and mean examples from various manufacturers, and the show will continue tomorrow as well, with the best examples in the field taking home trophies.
Some racers get all the ladies, but Troy Pirez Sr. brings along some inanimate company as moral support for his Edelbrock Xtreme Street machine. The plastic positivity from Sissy (left) and Tina (right) seems to be working, as he qualified second in the class in the first round.
Bill Putnam of UPR Products is on the property this weekend running exhibition passes to dial in the combination on his NMRA Limited Street SN95. The team made a gear swap and continues to tweak the suspension setup on the Mustang, which is powered by a VMP Performance TVS-boosted MPR Racing Engines Coyote 5.0-liter backed by a Gates Turbo 400 tranny. The team hopes to have the combo ready for prime time at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport next month in Commerce, Georgia.
Participation in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout swelled to over 100 participants, and the Dodge // Mopar team were on hand to handout goodie bags to all the modern HEMI racers. The bags included a tire pressure gauge, a magazine, and a car-shaped race-fan kit filled with a poncho, ear plugs, sunblock and aspirin. Here David Hakim from Dodge // Mopar passes one of the bags to a shootout racer.
The Holley EFI 7-Second Club is now complete and Holley EFI’s Rick Anderson and ProMedia’s Steve Wolcott congratulated the members: 1. Geoff Turk, 2. Chuck Watson Sr., 3. Lenny Libersher, 4. Scott Libersher, 5. Carl Tasca.
Running his Hellcat in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout, Robert Carbone ran in the low-11-second-zone with no mods other than drag radials. With a 11.17 under his belt, he pulled the rear seat and everything he could in the trunk in search of his first 10-second run.
Jerry Stamps, left, is always a contender in his Duster in Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car, but he has parked the car for the year to pilot Robert Santilli’s old-school cool Thunderbolt in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock. A 514 cubic-inch FE engine lurks under the hood and while Stamps has dipped under his 9.25 index in early qualifying, there’s another qualifying session later today. “The car is a blast to drive,” said Stamps. “It launches hard and pulls the wheels. We’ll see how it shakes out, but I’d sure like to win a championship.”
Many of the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout machines are stock are mildly modified, but Tony Martin’s 2017 Charger is chock full of the good stuff. Based on a Hellcat block, his engine is filled with Diamond pistons, Manley rods, a COMP camshaft, and more. It is topped by a Whipple supercharged and fueled by a Fore Innovations system and Injector Dynamics. It puts over 900 horsepower to the rear wheels, and if he can sort the tuning Martin expects to run 10s.
The wicks are turned up and things are getting wild during qualifying today at the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem at Bradenton Motorsports Park. For results as each class completes its qualifying, click HERE