By Mary Lendzion
While Tricia Musi hasn’t been in NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street for long, she has already shown that she’s a determined and diehard driver.
She has also shown that she’s competitive and capable of winning races in her car, the storied 1999 Trans Am known as Popeye II, which her famous father, Pat Musi, motored to NMCA/NSCA Pro Street championships in the early 2000s.
While Pat sold the car after all of his success in it, Tricia’s fiancé and fellow racer, Mike Bankston, tracked it down many years later, purchased it and helped prepare it for Tricia to take over.
The green machine gets its go from a nitrous-enhanced 632 cubic-inch Chevy engine built by Musi Racing Engines, and Tricia piloted it to a 4.48 to qualify in the second spot, and then a 4.47 against Mark Hoagland, to take a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle at the series’ season-opener, the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
She sailed to another 4.48 to set the pace in the cutthroat category, and then a 4.55 to runner-up against Hoagland at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway.
In Bankston’s Camaro because her Trans Am was temporarily down, she earned another trip to the winner’s circle with a lifting 5.39 after Don Baskin had issues and couldn’t complete his pass at the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway, and she followed that with a 4.56 to qualify in the fourth spot and advanced to the semifinal, where she turned on the red light against Jordan Ensslin at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.
Tricia was focused as she flew to a 4.35 to lead qualifying and earned another win, this time with a 4.38 against Randy Dolensek, at the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio. Then, to close out a captivating season, she clocked a 4.39 to qualify in the third spot and exited eliminations with a 4.47 against Tony Gillig in the semifinal at the last event on this year’s NMCA tour, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. With that, the talented Tricia had officially driven to the 2019 NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street championship.
“Winning the championship with the NMCA in the car my father won championships (with the NMCA) many years ago is the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt in my whole life,” said Tricia. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All thanks to my fiancé. I worked really hard for it and I’m so proud of myself. Thank you, NMCA, for giving us a place to race.”
Tricia, her crew and her fellow champions will be celebrated 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.)