Say import racing around a bunch of car guys and you’re about to see people take sides like it’s the 2016 presidential election. Whether you’re talking politics or your preferred vehicle brand, passionate people can still work together and make great things happen.
“Allowing imports to run in NMCA Pro Mod has been on the table for a couple of years,” said NMCA general manager Rollie Miller. “The cars have been competing in other sanctions and they have been asking us to participate in our Pro Mod class since we went to the eighth-mile format in 2016.”
The concept was revisited just recently, after a few key people began talking at the 2016 Performance Racing Industry show in Indy this past December. Pro Mod import racer Damon Chin was looking for other places to run his Toyota Celica and was discussing the matter with Haltech’s Eric Gash. Gash in turn talked to PTP Racing’s Patrick Barnhill and former NMCA Pro Mod champion Steve Summers who suggested they run with the NMCA. Not long after that conversation, this group discussed the opportunity with ProMedia’s Technical Committee at the PRI show, and the idea gained some traction. After PRI, the NMCA technical Committee discussed the combination and decided the six-cylinder turbo combination would be added to the official Pro Mod class rules.
“We looked at the rules of the places where they were racing and it was a viable option to have them compete,” Miller explained.
Damon Chin is a former street racer who eventually turned to the track, and his cars have only gotten quicker and faster. Most recently, he has competed in other sanctioning bodies’ Pro Mod categories with his 2006 Toyota Celica. The car is a former Pro Stock chassis from Rick Jones Race Cars and received Pro Mod-level updates from Chassis Engineering and JC Race Cars in Riviera Beach, Florida. Under the bodywork is the legendary 2JZ straight-six-cylinder engine measuring all of 183 cubic inches, and uses Haltech EFI and a single Precision 98mm turbo that delivers 76 psi of manifold pressure to generate well over 2,000 horsepower—from stock cylinder head and block castings! Chin’s machine has charged to a 5.92 at 237 quarter-mile performance, and 3.86 at 192 mph in the eighth-mile—and any hotrodder can get with the Liberty five-speed gearbox that Chin uses to put the power to the rear wheels.
“Mark and Eric of Haltech mentioned that they have been working with the NMCA and wanted to know if I’d be interested in running there. I’ll be running the first event in Bradenton, and possibly others,” Chin told us. “Eric has really good things to say about the NMCA, including the large amount of spectators at their events when compared to some of the other racing bodies.”
Chin will join fellow Haltech racers Steve Summers with his new JBRC Camaro, and Thomas Jones and his ChickenHawk Motorsports Pro Mod Mustang at the NMCA season opener in Bradenton, Florida, during the 15th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem event. Rumor has it that Chin may be followed by a few other import racers as well, but they’ll all face stiff competition from the likes of defending NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod champion Tim Savell in the Bankston Boyz Racing Camaro, and many other hungry teams looking to visit the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.