15th Annual Quick Fuel Technology NMCA Bluegrass Nationals—Friday Coverage

It’s shaping up to be a fantastic weekend here at Beech Bend Raceway and the pits are already filling up. Of course, the centerpiece of this weekend’s action-packed lineup is the Dave Duell Classic that brings the Nostalgia Super Stockers here in droves. Test and Tune gets started at 11am, and then we begin round one of qualifying at 4:30.


While Craig Sullivan had driven a dragster to low sixes in NHRA and PDRA Top Dragster ranks, he decided to climb into a ’69 Daytona Super Bird and give VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod a whirl beginning with the first NMCA race of the season in March. He’s already learning the lay of the land and inching toward a super-solid tune-up in the car which is built by Vanishing Point Race Cars and powered by a 521 VED-built HEMI which sips alcohol from Renegade Fuel. It gets extra kick from a DMPE blower, and an M&M Transmission-built Turbo 400 puts the power to the pavement. “We know we can go 4-flat, so we’re trying for that,” said Sullivan, who has help in the tuning department by Joe Oplawski of Hyperaktive Performance Solutions and a FuelTech engine management system. “But you have to have a lot of respect for these cars and how much power they have because they can get away from you quickly.”


Mickey Thompson Radial Wars driver Jim Monson smiled as he said he’s “feeling a bit bull-horny” and then pointed to the bullhorns that he and his son, Connor Monson, added to the exhaust pipes exiting the front of his Fox body Mustang. He currently has them set on a 40-degree angle, and will adjust them from there in an effort to have maximum downforce and thrust. Monson’s Fox body Mustang is powered by a 458 cubic-inch small-block Ford and a 118mm Precision turbo massaged by Work Turbochargers, and its suspension was set-up by Team Z Motorsports. The car recently clocked a 1.11 in the 60-foot, which is an improvement over previous 1.20 60-foots. That, Monson says, has a lot to do with adjustments he made to his boost level at the hit and the fact that he replaced his previous tires with a fresh set of Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pros he got from fellow racer Frank Mewshaw.


With two wins under his belt, Wiseco Street Outlaw competitor Jarod Wenrick has a lot on the line when it comes to championship points this year. Wenrick dropped off his Chevy II to Tim Lyons at Lyons Custom Motorsports for a checkup and starting the engine revealed some water seepage from the head gaskets. It was a last minute fix, but Lyons and PTP’s Jason Lee have the deuce running tip top today.


Edelbrock Xtreme Street driver Bill Trovato pulled his engine out after the Atlanta race as he had purchased a new LS Next aluminum block in the hopes of shedding some much needed weight. As it turns out, Trovato was able to shed 110 lbs off the front end and get his 5th-gen Camaro right at the minimum 2,900 lbs it needs to weigh for the class and his engine combination.


Wisconsin’s Randy Dolensek had hoped to make the Atlanta NMCA race last month, but he was busy making a host of changes to his Mercury Cyclone and didn’t finish in time. The mean green machine is here in Bowling Green, however, with a much smaller 498ci engine replacing his previous 598ci big-block Ford so he can run more nitrous oxide through it. Dolensek will have his work cut out for him with the likes of 2015 ARP Nitrous Pro Street champion Joe Bucaro and Atlanta NPS winner Don Baskin in the class.


Fresh off a semifinal finish at the second NMCA event of the season at Atlanta Dragway in April, VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod driver Stephan Stringer recently had his 521 cubic-inch Brad Anderson HEMI freshened, and he and his crew, including his wife, Shawna, and son, Caleb, were giving its valvetrain the once-over prior to his first pass today. Stringer, of nearby Somerset, Kentucky, has been as quick and fast as 3.87 and 193 mph in his ’68 Camaro, which also features a DMPE M5 blower and Lencodrive transmission, but is hoping to coax a bit more out of it today. “I’m hoping to run a 3.85 this weekend,” said Stringer. “I’d be tickled with that, so wish me luck.”


This marks the first race of the year for Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Chad Neuenschwander, who recently swapped his G-Force GF5R transmission with a G-Force GF200. He had help from G-Force owner — and fellow racer — Leonard Long, who also massaged Neuenschwander’s Trick Titanium bellhousing to ensure a perfect fit while Scott Waters built a trans tunnel.“The GF200 will accept a little more power,” said Neuenschwander, who gets to the finish line in short order with his Kuntz-built 400 cubic-inch small-block Ford, which is topped with Edelbrock Victor Sr. heads and a CFM carburetor and has posted a best of  8.19 at 168 mph. By his side this weekend is his crew chief Dylan Neuenschwander.


The second race in the 2016 NMCA season, which was at Atlanta Dragway in April, was a successful one for Edelbrock Xtreme Street standout Eric Kenward, as he muscled his ’79 Malibu wagon to an incredible 7.51 and a runner-up finish. But in that final round, a bracket holding the chute broke, and while the chute was still able to fully deploy, there was a small amount of damage to the tailgate of the car which was sporting a fresh Synergy Green paintjob. It’s now slated to go back to Bob’s Custom Paint for a touch-up sometime after this weekend.

Charlie 1

Charlie 2Fans who are used to seeing Charlie Cooper run his red MCRP-powered Cobra Jet in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade were a bit surprised to see him show up to this race with the beautiful black Fox Body Mustang he bought from multi-time champion Jason Lee, but he’s committed to cruising to mid-4.40s in the mean machine in Wiseco Street Outlaw. With Lee’s careful guidance, the car was given a small-block Ford previously owned by another multi-time champion, John Urist, and it’s fronted by a loud-and-proud ProCharger F1X-12. An M&M Transmission-built Turbo 400 spins below the car which rolls on Mickey Thompson 275 drag radials, and Lee, who oversaw most of the car’s reincarnation and recently made a couple shakedown passes in it, will continue to lay the tune on it via Big Stuff 3 along with his PTP Racing partner Patrick Barnhill. When asked how he felt about piloting a new car and new combination this weekend, Cooper, whose crew includes his wife, Lizzy, minced no words when he said “I’m ready. I want to make a hit.”

5Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series competitor Jessie Coulter is on the property and has entered his Real Street turbocharged Camaro in Edelbrock’s Xtreme Street this weekend. Coulter is also showing off a new set of hoops from RC Components, which will be offering a few different designs in a number of finishes.

Berry and Pharris

Because of falling outside temperatures, race officials were forced to postpone the Mickey Thompson Radial Wars final featuring Daniel Pharris and his ’95 Mustang and Keith Berry and his ’02 Corvette until this weekend. While they may be ribbing each other about what the outcome of the race may be, they’re ready to rumble, and as always, they’ll be a pair of racers to watch. Pharris drove to a win at the NMCA season opener in Florida in March, and Berry is the reigning class champion.


There are two new Chevrolet Performance Stock entries on the property this weekend and Jesse Wilson will be piloting Kelly Pierce’s 2015 Camaro. Of course, the F-body is packing the DR525 crate engine, which is backed by a Turbo 400 transmission.


First round of qualifying for the Dave Duell Classic is about to begin and there is no shortage of the Nostalgia Super Stockers on the property. While the Mopars overwhelmingly dominate the class, we’ve spotted some Chevelles and a few other oddballs looking to go rounds and find their way to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.

8One of the fastest COPO Camaros in the country belongs to Hartsville, Indiana’s Clay Arnett, who is at Beech Bend Raceway and looking to take home the Victor trophy in the Holley EFI Factory Super Car class. Arnett has been 8.32 in the supercharged machine, which should put him right at or near the top of the class given what we saw at the previous two events.

Bobby Hill

Bobby Hill of Jackson, Tennessee, is hot-shoeing his chockfull-of-character ’66 Plymouth Satellite in the Dave Duell Nostalgia Super Stock Classic this weekend, and it’s behaving nicely in the category’s 12.50 index. It makes steam with a 440 cubic-inch Chrysler engine, and if the smile and thumb’s up Hill gave us as he was suiting up is any indication, he’s right where he wants to be. Here, his car is pictured alongside Al Corda and his stunning ’69 Dart, which is powered by a 500 cubic inch Chrysler.


Round one of Qualifying is in the books, and the Nostalgia Super Stockers in the Dave Duell Classic are qualified through round two. Check out the results <<<<HERE>>>>