While it’s currently raining, we’re expecting skies to clear by late morning or early afternoon over the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, and judging by the work that has been going on in the pit area, drivers and their crews are ready to put down some serious power. Awaiting those who go all the way is the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle and the storied Super Bowl portion of the event featuring the runoff between NMCA and NMRA winners. Winners of each round will earn cash, while winning team drivers will earn a very desirable Nitto Diamond Tree ring.
Ryan Hill hauled a beautiful and brand-new 1963 Corvette-bodied car built by Chris Duncan Race Cars to the race this weekend, and he’s introducing it to VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod. The car is powered by a 521 cubic-inch Brad Anderson Enterprises Hemi, 1471 Roots supercharger and three-speed Lenco, and despite the fact that Hill will be in the shakedown process, he hopes to make some clean A to B passes and muscle through some rounds. Helping him every step of the way are his father, Dave Hill, Amanda Hoover and Chris Duncan.
In the 1969 Nova he purchased a while back from former ARP Nitrous Pro Street racer and current VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod driver Jeff Rudolf, David Fallon has been flying in Outlaw 632 at Milan Dragway in Michigan and in Pro Outlaw 632 at some PRDA events, and this weekend, he’s giving ARP Nitrous Pro Street a go for the first time. Up to the task is his nitrous enhanced 632 cubic-inch engine by Reher Morrison, which VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod driver and Fallon’s Pro Hose Connections business partner Jackie Slone, helps him tune. Fallon recently rewired the car, and Marty Merillat fabricated a four-link for the car over winter. “I should be able to get to the 4.30s this weekend, and I really want to do well and win,” said Fallon.
Logan Garwood, left, took advantage of a rain delay yesterday to run his radio-controlled Traxxas Rustler through some puddles in the pit area, and joining him were NMCA/NMRA racer Dylan Neuenschwander and Hayden and Hudson Roby. While we want to see them have fun, we also want those puddles to dry up so we can get down to business.
Matt Fint searched high and low for his 1-of-564 Bright Atlantic Blue Mustang Cobra and he’s loved it ever since. Fint started off competing with it in the NMRA’s Exedy Racing Clutch Mod Muscle class, but after six years of the car being parked in the garage, Fint woke it up from its slumber by swapping in a Coyote 5.0-liter engine and TKO five-speed and entering the Richmond Gear Factory Stock class. During the Commerce race last month, he unfortunately broke that transmission, but with help from his father, as well as Coyote Stock racer Jacob Lamb, he was able to perform a G-Force G101A conversion in the pits. Another great mod was the addition of a Jr. dragster Kirkey seat so that his two daughters could go for short rides in the Cobra with him. The Harrodsburg, Kentucky, resident is hoping to get into the 10.60s before the season is done.
Former Pro Mod driver Randy Matlock of Wentzville, Missouri, ran a rowdy screw blower combination for years, but found he didn’t have the time to run the car to its potential, so he decided to dial it back and buy a car for small-tire, X275 radial racing. His weapon of choice is this 1992 Mustang LX that originally had a big-inch nitrous engine, but maintenance and carnage had him thinking about selling it altogether. Shortly after that thought, he and his son Cory, who is crew chief and tuner for the car, changed the pony over to the current Forced Inductions single-turbo, LSX-based powerplant. A ComSync EFI system controls engine operations while a Beilman Fabrication chassis puts the power to the radial tires. The Matlocks are mixing it up this weekend at the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in VP Madditives / Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw, and their best ET of 4.35 second should put them near the top during qualifying if they can match it.
When the JDM Engineering Limited Street class kicked off in 2018, Kelly Shotwell led the charge winning four events that season before bowing out with engine troubles and eventually contemplating selling his “Betty White” Mustang. We’re happy to report that Shotwell and White have returned, putting the class on notice. His turbocharged 321ci small-block Ford was revived by Nye’s Racing Engines and he event got a little testing in before the event.
New to the NMRA and NMCA is Tyler Hutchins of Godrey, Illinois, and his 1989 Mustang. Hutchins doesn’t get much time to race, as he travels quite a bit for his pointless dent removal business, but he put together this Woodruff Racing Engines 588ci big-block Chevy-powered and Induction Solutions direct-port, nitrous-injected machine together to do some small-tire racing when time permits. He’ll be competing in VP Racing Madditives / Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw this weekend.
We hope you can catch the action in person this weekend, but if not, you can check out a live feed offered by SpeedVideo right HERE
Robbie Blankenship continues to do whatever he needs to do to remain competitive in Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons, and recently, he turned his small-block Ford over to Ben Strader of EFI University, who freshened it and replaced both of his Holley carburetors with a Holley Terminator Stealth Throttle Body Fuel Injection System. Strader then put the engine on the dyno to dial it in and measure the horsepower. “It was a lot of work, but the engine made good power on the dyno, and we feel that having the EFI system will allow us to look at what the engine is doing down-track, and offer us some flexibility as far as tuning,” said Strader, who was in Blankenship’s pit area when we stopped by. A Liberty’s five-speed transmission backs up the beautiful engine, and Blankenship, who tried to test before rain fell at Bradenton Motorsports Park last week, is waiting to make his first pass with the set-up today.
Holley EFI Factory Super Cars hotshot Chris Holbrook has already seen a lot of success this year, as he won at the NMCA event at Bradenton Motorsports Park in March and is holding the points lead as well as the records in the category with a 7.66 and 181.06 in his Mustang Cobra Jet powered by a Holbrook Racing Engines-built 327 cubic-inch Coyote engine, Whipple supercharger and Turbo 400 by Joel’s on Joy. But, he is nowhere near done, as he’s chasing another win, another record and a championship in his famous car flying banners for Varsity Ford in Michigan, and he’s as cool, calm and collected as can be as he awaits the first round of qualifying today. “I’ve been working on the combination and trying to make it even better,” said Holbrook, who added that he might make a relatively conservative A to B pass to get the ball rolling before ramping up this weekend.
Sean Kruse’s Maverick, which is parked among Mustang Cobra Jets this weekend, is an eye-catcher, and he’s running it in Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo. The car is powered by a 302 cubic-inch small-block Ford built by Bill Dyer and a four-speed Jerico transmission, which help Kruse reach the 11.50s range. The Illinois-based driver plans to stay-put in the category and the series, as he likes what he sees. “I feel like I have found a home here,” said Kruse. “It’s an affordable category to run in, and I’m looking forward to running with the heavy-hitters in it.”
Rhett Moody made the 1,000-mile, 17-hour trip from his home in Connecticut to compete in the Don Baskin Truck Sales Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST) category this weekend in the 1968 Barracuda he has owned for 35 years. The character-filled car has a 410 cubic-inch engine with a solid flat-tappet cam under the hood, and it helps Moody trap 11.80s on the top end of the track. Moody is glad he gravitated to the category, and is ready to put some more passes on his clean machine, which he says can be a handful at the hit on its small tires. “I just have to load the converter and roll into the throttle a bit,” said Moody. “It takes practice, but I like it.”
This weekend is the third round of the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series and there aren’t many more fierce competitors in the series than Nicholas Massengale (at left) and David Rickey (at right). Both make lap after lap in in the Proform Rumble category in their respective Fourth-Gen Camaros, and both are class champions.
While Jason Spina is new to the NMRA, he kicked the 2020 season off with an Edelbrock Renegade win in Bradenton in March. At the following race in Commerce, he, along with many other racers, found the track surface to be tricky and exited in the quarter-final round. Since then, he changed out the stator in his torque converter to try and soften up the hit for the delicate racing surfaces he plans to encounter the summer.
NMRA newcomer Steve Halprin owns and drives arguably the nicest looking car the property and his SN95, new-edge Mustang hauls the mail, too. While the car is plenty capable, Halprin is still learning how to drive it this year. Very wisely, he has surrounded himself with former VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod champion Donnie Walsh and his crew to give him the best education as they run for the NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw championship.
Brett Evans of Glen Carbon, Illinois, brought his radical 1969 Camaro to compete in the NMCA’s TorqStorm Superchargers True Street class. It might be one of the heaviest ’69 Camaros we’ve heard of, tipping the scales at over 4,100 lbs, but it’s packed with everything you might need: 540 cubic inches of big-block Chevy, a 118mm turbocharger, big disc brakes, aftermarket suspension, full creature comforts including lots of sound deadener to make cruises quiet, and enough horsepower to propel the F-body to 9-teens with 60-ft times consistently in the 1.30 range.
Local racer Tim Kirkpatrick is trying his hand in NMRA Street Outlaw this weekend behind the wheel of his 1993 Mustang. Kirkpatrick has owned the Fox Body since 1993 and the car has evolved over the years and now sports a 430ci Windsor-based engine with an 88mm turbocharger. The Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, native has always run the car on drag radials and his looking for it to run 4.80s this weekend.
VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw racer Dom DiDonato (middle) was helping Edelbrock Renegade racer Curtis Catalon button up his SN95 Mustang prior to qualifying today. Both drivers had to reduce power to get down the track in Commerce, and they will be looking to go A-B in today’s truncated two rounds of qualifying before eliminations.
The old Pro Stock look never gets old in our hearts, and Steve Pearson’s 1973 Chevy Vega sits just right. Pearson told us that the car received the tube chassis update in 1978 and was rebodied as a 1977 Vega at that time. It packed a 331ci small-block with two four-barrel carbs and a Lenco stick-shift transmission back then and was campaigned in AHRA Pro Stock. Pearson bought the car in 1984 and has been racing it ever since. These days it is equipped with a slightly larger 383ci small-block and an automatic, and Pearson is competing in ARP Open Comp this weekend here at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, a place he has raced at since 1968.
Returning to the Super Bowl to defend his QA1 True Street crown is Eric Olson. His 1983 Ford Ranger received from front suspension upgrades and a new rack and pinion steering setup, which he says made the truck handle like it’s on a guitar string on the big end. The little pickup packs a turbocharged small-block Ford and should once again be a contender for the top spot.
Coming back for more Super Bowl action is Dennis Butt of Elwood, Illinois, and his 1988 Mustang. Despite the Ford-bodied vehicle, Dennis is competing in LME Street King this weekend as his Fox-Body Mustang packs a 5.3-liter, LS-based engine with a sizeable turbocharger. Over the winter, Dennis upgraded the EFI to a Holley setup, and said the car was perfect on only its second pass since the change.
Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons racer Robbie Blankenship is back in NMCA action with his new-edge Mustang, and has equipped the car with a new stick-shift transmission and fuel injection. He hasn’t had any time to test on it, and it seems both he and his son, Chase, might have a few things to tune up before making a hit.
ARP Open Comp driver Kevin Sanders of Louisville, Kentucky, has his pits looking quite festive here at World Wide Technology Raceway. Sanders recently added the bright green Plasti-Dip finish to go with his Boogey Lights sponsorship.
Title sponsor of the NMRA /NMCA Super Bowl, Nitto Tire, has its big rig on the midway displaying many of the company’s tires, including the new NT555RII drag radial. The Gen I version of the tire has been hugely successful, and somehow Nitto managed to improve nearly all of the tires performance aspects.
The 2019 NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl was the site of QA1 True Street racer Mike Niehaus’s first 8-second pass in his stick-shift-equipped, twin-turbocharged and small-block Ford-powered Mustang GT. This event is the first time Niehaus, and his better half, Abby Lundberg, have gotten to a racetrack and Niehaus is excited that he recently discovered why his car hasn’t been leaving with more boost pressure. Could high 8s, or perhaps even mid 8s, could be in his future if the tires hook?
We were a bit surprised to see ARP Nitrous Pro Street driver Randy Dolensek, who was in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle at the recent NMCA/NMRA event at Atlanta Dragway, holding on for dear life on the back of his golfcart today while his Team Godzilla crew members, Steven Michael and Jeff Seemann, sat comfortably in the front. When we inquired, Michael said they only let him sit in front if he records an .050 or better reaction time in qualifying, and when Dolensek countered that he had an .020 reaction time, it definitely fell on deaf ears.
VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod powerhouse Eric Gustafson gunned to a 3.73 to set the pace in the first round of qualifying today in his Coast Packing Camaro powered by a Noonan Hemi and a ProCharger F-3X-140, and when we asked whether it was smooth sailing to those nice numbers, he said “So far, so good.” Then when we asked if he thinks there’s more where that came from, he smiled before saying “You know us. We’ll push it if the track allows.” That means fans should keep an eye on the California-based driver and his crew, consisting of Cam Hensley, John Urgo and tuners Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing, during the second round of qualifying later today.
Qualifying results are coming. Check them out by clicking the series links below:
Saturday night’s schedule: