Photo by Brian Epps/BME Photography
The 12th annual US Street Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park always kicks off the outlaw racing season and this year it was brimming with quick performances, close racing, and even a couple of records. The action was jammed into two days with a dire forecast for Sunday, but it didn’t stop the racers from pushing their equipment hard in the first major competition of 2018.
The action packed line-up included a couple of different Pro Modified categories that were linked together with Radial vs. The World, Outlaw 632, and Ultra Street classes for a well-rounded program. After three rounds of qualifying completed, Tommy D’Aprile—in the Noonan Race Engineering 1969 Camaro—stood on top of the 22-car Pro Mod Boost field thanks to a stellar 3.67 at 201 mph performance. In Pro Mod Nitrous, Lizzy Musi pushed her Frank Brandao-owned King Kong 6, a 2015 Dodge Dart that was built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars and is powered by one of her family’s 959ci engines, to the top. The second-generation driver unleashed a 3.69 at 205 mph to lead the field. The virtually unlimited eliminator of Open Outlaw saw Les Feist in his blown dragster get to the top of the heap with a 3.80 run.
In Radial vs. The World, Dewayne Mills shook the earth with his revamped Golden Gorilla with a personal best of 3.72 at 208 mph, putting him within striking distance of the all-time Radial vs. The World record. He outpaced the juggernaut of Jason Carter and Mark Micke by a mere two hundredths of a second, but Micke/Carter did lay claim to the all-time speed record just days prior to the competition with a 213 mph blast on DOT tires. In Ultra Street, former NMRA champion Bart Tobener pushed his 2015 Mustang GT to a career best of 4.71 at 149 mph to secure the top position. Heavy Street dragged out a wide-range of competitors with local racer Christopher Perry taking top qualifying honors thanks to a 4.57 at 168 mph with his 1967 Camaro. And the final heads-up category, Outlaw 632, featured the second largest turnout with 20 cars vying for 16 positions on the ladder and Ken Quartuccio continued his dominance in the class with his 1969 Camaro as he posted a 4.26 at 168 mph.
Eliminators kicked into high gear on Saturday and like most heads-up competitions, there were plenty of upsets along the way. In the Pro Mod Boost category, D’Aprile was unstoppable and took the final round victory with a 3.69 at 199 mph when his competition, Jason Hamstra, was unable to get off the starting line with a broken blower belt. Hamstra switched from a Roots supercharger to a Twin-screw blower for 2018. He will be chasing the NMCA championship after narrowly missing the title in 2017 by a few rounds of racing. In Pro Mod Nitrous, the Boone-Harris Racing 1969 Camaro, driven by Jason Harris, topped Musi for the class title. Harris dipped into the high-3.60s as the team picked up right where they left off in 2017 with their sights set on the PDRA Pro Nitrous title and the win at the US Street Nationals was a good tune-up. Tracy Stunkard took the Open Outlaw win with a 4.19 at 167 mph blast, besting Craig Andrew in the final round.
After Mills pulled out of competition in the semifinals, the Radial vs. The World competition was wide-open and the Micke/Carter Malibu stepped up to be the class leader. Micke unleashed yet another run in the 3.70s, this time a 3.74 at 212 mph delivered them to the Bradenton Motorsports Park winner’s circle. The team beat Jeff Miller, who was driving the notorious No Time Camaro nicknamed “Bubble Bee.” The supercharged 5th Gen F-body ran 3.80 at 199 mph in the final round. Tony Alm bullied the Ultra Street field with his turbocharged 1993 Mustang LX. Determined to be at the top of the class in 2018, his latest iteration of the MPR Engines 400ci powerplant is the most powerful turbocharged combination in the category. He finished the weekend with a 4.70 at 153 mph to beat Brian Keep, who posted a 4.80 at 147 mph.
The long running Outlaw 632 saw Quartuccio continue his domination in the category with a slick Skinny Kid Race Cars Camaro. He set the class record with a 4.22 on his way to victory, which consisted of four runs in the 4.20s. The Connecticut-based racer topped Jordan Ensslin in the final round when Ensslin ran into trouble and lifted early. Ben Wolverton earned another Heavy Street victory at Bradenton Motorsports Park when he beat Christopher Perry in the final round.
Bradenton Motorsports Park gears up for more Pro Modified and Radial action in just 40 days when the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals rolls into town March 8-11, 2018.