The NMCA wrapped up its 2012 season with a marathon event at Lucas Oil Raceway earlier today. With severe weather forecasted for Sunday, officials made the decision to hold only one of two scheduled qualifying sessions on Saturday and then begin eliminations; running the entire event as weather permitted, pushing the final rounds for most classes into the predawn hours.
“With the ominous forecast, we felt it was in the best interests of the racers to get the event completed so we didn’t have to carry over eliminations until Monday,” Said NMCA President Charlie Harmon. “We knew it was hard on everyone running into the morning like we did, but given the forecast concerns, it was the only practical decision to be made. I really appreciate all the racers who stuck in there with us. If nothing else, it will give everyone there a race to remember,” Harmon joked.
Even with the painful reality of a race lasting nearly 24-hours, as the hours dragged on, most racers remained upbeat. “We come here to race, not sit around,” said Open Comp racer Frankie Radake, who unofficially earned his first class championship. “It’s become somewhat of party more than anything else,” Radake said sometime around 3 AM.
For those brave enough to stay awake, or for those who had no choice, the atmosphere was more akin to a party than the apparent misery, which made the entire event take on an odd life of its own as the hours ticked by.
Billy Adams, who wrenched driver Phil Smith to his first championship in Aeromotive Xtreme Street echoed Radake’s statement. “Hey, this is old school right here. Get to the track worn out, work all day, work all night, and race into the next morning. I kind of like this idea,” Adams concluded.
While these statements were made in the punchy, sleep-deprived early morning hours of Sunday – one truism remains clear: If you and your crew pushed your car into the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle to claim your NHRA Unleashed Wally, at the 11th Annual FueLab NMCA World Street Finals featuring the Sixth Annual Chevrolet Performance LSX Shootout, you earned it probably like no other.
At the top of that list of the winners of the final event of this year’s Flowmaster Drag Racing Series event was Clint Hairston in Kooks Custom Headers Pro Street who qualified third, beat Eric Burnett in the first round, Jim Widener in the second, and then topped number one qualifier Jeff Lutz by running an incredible 5.97 at 251 MPH run in his turbocharged GTO to face Randy Adler in the final round, who he defeated in a 6.00 to 6.09 affair at nearly 5 a.m.
Mickey Thompson Super Street 10.5W racer Steve Summers will probably never forget his long day at Indy either, as he beat some of the classes toughest racers to claim his first ever NMCA event win after putting Bradenton winner Willard Kinzer on the trailer in the second round followed by beating Mark Micke who was substitute driving for two-time winner Eric Laferriere, to move into the final round against first time finalist, Ed Parker. Summers and his ’81 Camaro posted a 6.59 at 214 MPH to Parker’s 6.87 to earn a first-time trip to the winner’s circle.
ARP Nostalgia Pro Street racer Skip Baskin put bookends on his season by winning the season opener in Bradenton and then beating Joe Bucaro in Indianapolis after qualifying fourth and then defeating two-time winner Dave Beeson in the first round, receiving a bye in the second and then sending Andy Vogt home in the semis before taking the holeshot win over Bucaro. In that final round victory, Baskin used a .023 reaction time against Bucaro’s .066 to beat Bucaro’s 7.28 from his Mustang, even though Baskin’s Camaro ran a slower 7.32.
Aeromotive Xtreme Street racer John Warren has slowly been creeping up on the competition in his “Nuclear Banana” Nova this season, and finally the efforts of Warren and his brother (three time NMC champ, Andy Warren, and father John Sr.) paid off with a top qualifier honors (7.82) and huge final round win for the Kentucky racer. Warren’s car, running with the consistency of a bracket car, cranked out elapsed times of 7.86, 7.86 in the first two rounds before slowing to a 7.90 in the final round, which actually was slower than Phil Smith’s 7.87, but a .038 reaction time advantage, was all Warren needed to earn his first Wally.
In Stainless Works 275 Drag Radial, Jason Lee and his Mustang, qualified on top of the heap for the sixth time this year and advanced to his sixth final round of the season to face Kurt Borton and his ’82 Fairmont – a race easily won by Lee in a 7.55 to 8.45 race.
In Comp Cams Pro Stock action, Don Baskin and his ’67 Nova lead all qualifiers with an impressive 8.37/159 MPH shot and then ran the table early Sunday morning with a final round win over Andy Schmidt to claim his fourth win of the year.
B&B Race Cars Mean Street featured one of it’s most impressive and competitive fields of the season with Brandon Alsept leading the charge in both qualifying and eliminations as well as lowering the ET standard for the class to a 9.87. In eliminations, Alsept defeated Shawn Johnson, received a second round bye and then beat Dennis Merrow in the semis before meeting and beating Brian Campbell in an all-Mustang final, 9.88 to 9.89.
Randy Seward topped a very fast field of TREME True Street cars, as he pushed his Mustang to an 8.54 average, beating Bowling Green runner-up Jason Meador, who averaged 8.69.
In the index classes, Jeff Roell and his immaculate ’64 Ford Thunderbolt took the final round win over Joe Ewing and his Dodge Polara in Indy Cylinder Head Nostalgia Super Stock, while in Eaton Nostalgia Muscle Car, Jerry Stamps got hi second win of the year after defeating Jacob Weigl after Weigl ran under his 11-second index by nine thousandths of a second.
In Hawk Performance Open Comp, David Hearn got his first win after besting Tim Swisher in the pre-dawn hours.
As has been tradition the past six years, the Chevy Performance LSX Shootout was held in conjunction with the NMCA Finals, and this race, had some amazing performances. The most notable being the first ever six-second pass ever for JE Pistons Drag Radial as Mark Carlyle and his Corvette ran a 6.99 at 211 in his semifinal race against Andy Essary. Carlyle however stayed on the line, building boost too long in the final against Mark Brown, losing the race, despite running a 7.09 to Brown’s 7.19.
In ERL Performance LSX All Motor, Judson Massingill defeated Greg Delaney in the final as Delaney fouled at the line, and in Holly EFI LSX Real Street, Rodeny Massengale, took out Ted Timmerman.
As in the past, the largest eliminator in the race belonged to the racers of ProForm LSX Rumble, where Nicolas Massengale defeated Robin White. In the Nitto Tire LSX 5th Generation eliminator, Josh Perrymon got the win after defeating Luois Fillippides, however Fillippides did win the 5th Gen Shootout between himself and Jon Ebert.
In the LSX portion of TREMEC True Street, Anthony Peck posted an 8.57 three-lap average to outgun the 8.99 of Justin May.
Also joining the NMCA at this event were racers of the Midwest E85 Association, whose eliminator was won by Clearance Harding.
Championship Points for both the NMCA and the LS Showdown Series are being compiled and will be available in the upcoming days.