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

Fan-favorite Steve Summers has his 70 1/2 Bicklel-built Camaro right where it belongs, and that’s in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod at this weekend’s race. We caught up with him and his wife, Jerilynn Summers, as they were readying for last night’s first round of qualifying, and he revealed that while he still has his Jasiek Racing 522 cubic-inch engine and twin 88mm Garrett turbos, he has moved from his previous engine management system to a Haltech engine management system, which his longtime tuners Patrick Barnhill and Jason Lee of PTP Racing will use to tune. His combination now also features a new Liberty’s transmission with a Quick Drive torque converter drive. Summers, who had his car dialed in for the quarter-mile, said he’s still adjusting to the category’s new eighth-mile format, especially considering he has to run the car much more aggressively early in the pass for eighth-mile racing, but judging by the 4.01 and 206 mph he laid down in last night’s first round of qualifying, he already has a handle on it, and he’s not playing around. He’s currently in the third qualified spot out of ten cars going into today’s second round of qualifying.


Jeff Thomas of Indianapolis, Indiana, is a former nitro motorcycle hill climber who still has the need for speed. He’s built a unique ’62 Ford Falcon for Edelbrock Xtreme Street competition and has only been to the track a few times with the car. Ford fans may cringe, as Thomas has shoehorned a 540ci big-block Chevy engine topped with an Induction Solutions nitrous system between the shock towers.


While Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Dwight Ausmus hung the front tires in his ’72 Firebird in last night’s first round of qualifying and drove to a 7.95 at 172 mph for the second qualified spot, he wasn’t completely content with the car’s 60-foot and 330-foot times, so he swapped to a fresh set of Mickey Thompson slicks for today’s second round of qualifying. “With the size of our engine and the amount of torque we have, we hit the sidewalls of the tires pretty hard, so we usually change them about every fourteen passes for optimal performance,” said Ausmus, who relies on a 568 cubic-inch BES-built Pontiac engine. “I’ll get the new slicks scuffed up in the next pass and they’ll be ready to rock.”


We’re used to seeing Alton Clements and his boisterous blue Mustang over in the NMRA Edelbrock Renegade ranks, where he’s currently holding down the top spot, but he’s hanging out in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street this weekend in his small-block Ford and supercharged machine. After a couple issues — first with his supercharger in testing and then with a tube that loosened and caused a loss of boost in last night’s first round of qualifying — he’s working to wrangle up a pass free of hassles and full of horsepower, and while posted an off-pace 8.03 in last night’s qualifying, he has his sights set on 7.50s.


Straight from Street Outlaws: New Orleans, Scott Taylor is here with his street-racing machine, John Doe. The now turbocharged Cutlass is scheduled to make some hits today in between autograph signings. Also here from the Big Easy is Brandon Smith and his LS Kilr Mustang are on the manufacturer’s midway. We’re not sure if the two will lineup and if Smith will get the back tire seeing as he’s on a far smaller tire, but it should be interesting to watch.

11New to the Chevrolet Performance Stock ranks is Pete Epple and his Blow-By Racing ’67 Chevelle. Epple made a shakedown run—both for the car and the driver—yesterday, and eventually clocked a 10.93 in the first round of qualifying. Fellow CPS racer Ronnie Hackelton loaned Epple some weight so the big Chevy could make the minimum for the class, and CPS competitor Kevin Lumsden loaned Epple a set of 28×10.5 takeoff tires as Epple’s machine was tagging the rev limiter at the top end too early with the 27-inch-tall tires he arrived with. A higher launch rpm in the next qualifier and the borrowed tires should help the Chevelle get into the mid 10-second range today.


ARP Nitrous Pro Street driver Jennifer Brooke Rice ran her Mustang to a personal best of 7.45 at 180 mph in a pre-qualifing test hit, but in last night’s first round of qualifying, she — and race fans near and far — experienced a sizable backfire from under the hood of her car, which is powered by a Frank Ofria-built small-block Ford and nitrous. Her Neal Chance converter was hurt in the melee, but her dad and crew chief, Ed Rice, is swapping it with a fresh converter, and car and driver will be ready to roll for today’s second round of qualifying.

John Warren

John Warren’s pass in last night’s first round of Edelbrock Xtreme Street qualifying looked solid, as he powered his big-block Chevy and nitrous-powered Nova to a 7.64 at 177 mph for the second qualified spot, but from the driver’s seat, he knew something was amiss. He had lost vacuum pressure and was slower than he thought he should be given the weather conditions, and upon returning to his pit area and popping the hood, he discovered oil on the front of his engine from a leaky intake gasket, but he has since replaced it, and he’s ready for today’s second round of qualifying.


Dave Theisen may be relatively new to Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5, but he’s already making waves in the class featuring hard-hitting drivers in high-revving cars, as he drove his ’69 Firebird to a 7.91 at 174 mph in last night’s qualifying to earn the top qualified spot, as well as the low ET and top speed of the session. His combination is a stout one which includes a Uratchko Racing Engines-built 611 cubic-inch Chevy engine and Proformance Racing Transmissions-built Turbo 400, and as quick and fast as last night’s numbers were, they weren’t Theisen’s best, as he trapped 7.73 at 177 mph on his way to a runner-up finish in the All Motor category at the Heads-Up Drag Racing Series Milan Dragway in Michigan in early May. For a recent story about the Highland, Michigan-based driver, click HERE


We reported earlier today that NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street driver Alton Clements posted an off-pace 8.03 in early qualifying and was looking for 7.50s, and judging by the 7.86 at 166 mph he just ripped off in today’s second round of qualifying, he’s making progress. He’ll be one to watch when eliminations roll around, as he’s known to make it work when it matters most.


Both of David Roemer’s qualifying passes in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod have been troubled, with the nitrous-enhanced 903 cubic-inch Buck Racing Engines-bullet in his ’68 Camaro being forced to stumble. He is, however, determined to track down the cause before the third round of qualifying later today, and he’s currently looking at everything from his sparkplugs to his fuel system.


Reigning Edelbrock Xtreme Street champion David Hutnick, who ran an incredible 7.65 at 179 mph in yesterday’s qualifying to take the third qualified spot, had a big backfire and resulting fire on the starting line during today’s second round of qualifying, and had to be pushed back. He and his crew are going over his Straightine Performance-built ’02 Camaro, which is powered by a BTR big-block Chevy and Edelbrock nitrous system, to determine how much damage there was, and fans are hopeful they’ll be able to make the final round of qualifying later today.

Chad 1Chad 2

Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Chad Neuenschwander went into a wild wheelstand after coming up on the right rear tire of his Mustang in today’s second round of qualifying, and the return to Earth was so hard that sparks came through the trans tunnel. The damage to the chariot powered by a Kuntz-built 400 cubic-inch small-block Ford and a new G-Force GF200 transmission is fairly extensive, and the list of broken parts includes the wheelie bars, brackets on the rear-end, a shock tower, headers, oil pan, K-member and a wheel. Additionally, the body flexed so much that the front fender moved into the door. “I had taken power out and thought I would blow through the clutch, but it still went into that wheelstand,” said Neuenschwander, who’s now out of competition for the weekend.


While Daniel Pharris has been posting the quickest ETs in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars this year, Big Daddy DeWayne Mills has been right there with him. Today, Mills eclipsed Pharris’ best performance after laying down the first 3.8-second paid in the class’ history. In the second round of qualifying, Pharris put down an incredible 3.91 run at 210 mph, but in the other lane, Mills’ ’68 Camaro was charging hard and posted a 3.87 run at a slightly slower 201 mph. Earlier this year at the season opener in Bradenton, Florida, both drivers were paired up when they ran the first-ever, side-by-side 3-second runs in the class.


As he’s known to do, Don Baskin is pulling double duty this weekend by running his Cobalt in Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 and his Camaro in ARP Nitrous Pro Street. While both cars feature BES powerplants, the Cobalt rocks an RPM Transmissions-built ProFlite while the Camaro sports an RPM Transmissions-built Turbo 400, and there’s a nitrous bottle in the Camaro. Darren Breaud of B&B Race Cars is on site helping to tune the four-link chassis in the Cobalt, and Randy Auwarter is on board as crew chief for both cars. While Baskin ran to a personal best of 7.23 in his Camaro and is currently qualified in the top spot in ARP Nitrous Pro Street, he’s looking to improve in the Cobalt in Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5.


Jerry Stamps was adjusting the weight in his ’73 Duster between qualifying rounds to try to find a happy medium between the headwind and the 12.00 index he runs in Detroit TruTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car, and the results were a 12.03, 11.97 and 12.04 from the car packing a 340 cubic-inch Chrysler built by Parsons and Myers. “It’s a really tight field this weekend, and you have to be dead-on,” said Stamps. “We’re trying to adjust accordingly, and we should be alright for eliminations.”

Bell 1

Bell 2

Matt Bell of Redline Motorsports, who recently debuted his Burkhart-built Mustang in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars, continues to shake it down, and while he posted a 5.34 in the first round of qualifying, his engine tossed a rod in the second round of qualifying, ending his weekend. He and his crew are in the process of pulling the hurt engine, and will go from here to  deliver it to Jeff Burns to be rebuilt. Built on a Brodix block, it’s a 588 cubic-inch Chevy with Brodix Big Duke heads and a Marcella Manifolds intake, and it’s fronted by Precision 88mm turbos. “The car is still really new, and we only have ten passes on it,” said Bell, who’s so far been as fast as 4.36 in the new build. “Wade Hopkins from Southern Speed is helping, too, and we hope to be fixed up and ready for the Indy NMCA race.”


Final Qualifying <<HERE>>


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