It’s time to go racing here at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The sun is out, the air is great, and the pits are packed full of the hottest and fastest cars anywhere. We are well into the first round of eliminations and the action is intense.
New to the NMCA series is the MX235 heads up shootout, which will be contested at Indy and Joliet in addition to Bowling Green. All three races are part of the points series for the class, and currently Brian Edwards, of Bloomington, Illinois, is the number-one qualifier after posting a 4.67 at 157 mph. His ’93 Mustang packs a 356ci small-block Ford and yes, that’s a Vortech Igloo cooler. The vintage Mustang charge cooler came from Uncle Robin Lawrence and has proven to be worth quite a bit of power.
Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Dwight Ausmus, who was in the winner’s circle at the race in Atlanta last month, is in fine form again this weekend. He drove his BES Pontiac-powered ’72 Firebird to the top qualified spot — and a personal best — with a 7.88 and 173 mph, which earned him a bye-run for today’s first round of eliminations. “TJ has this Bowling Green track prepped awesome,” said Ausmus. “ My car stuck with the new Mickey Thompson slicks, which delivered us to the new personal best and number one qualifier.”
Brenda Blair is getting a double dose of NMCA action this weekend, as she has entered her small-block Chevy-powered ’77 Caprice in Detroit TrueTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car as well as FSC Bracket 3, and she’s a powerhouse in both. She qualified in the second spot in Nostalgia Muscle Car with a .003 and a 12.00 on her 12.00 index, won first round of eliminations minutes ago and is awaiting second round of eliminations in that category, and she won in yesterday’s Bracket 3 race, and plans to run that category again today. “Running two classes keeps me busy, but I have a good time, and that’s what matters most,” said Blair, whose husband Kevin Blair, is a proud crew chief.
While Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Mike DeMayo, Jr. didn’t get a clean hit in early qualifying, he posted an 8.25 at 162 mph in the final round of qualifying, putting him in the middle of the pack going into today’s first round of eliminations. “It has not been good,” said DeMayo, who wrecked last fall and debuted his rebuilt Mustang powered by an EIC Motorsports small-block Ford at last month’s NMCA race in Atlanta by driving to a record-setting 7.85 and a runner-up. “We’ve been having electrical gremlins, and we’ve been off-pace all weekend.” The Butler, Pennsylvania-based driver went on to say that he and his crew were going to “change every electrical part in the car” before today’s first round of eliminations, and to know DeMayo is to know that he means business. He’ll be one to watch when his class is called to the lanes.
Reigning ARP Nitrous Pro Street champion Joe Bucaro came to this event as the holder of the category’s ET and top-speed records with a 7.345 and 187.11 mph, but he bettered that ET by qualifying second with a 7.24 at 187 mph, and winning first round with another 7.24 at 187 mph. Keep an eye on him and his Mustang — which is as consistent as it is quick and fast with its nitrous-enhanced Zapp Racing Engines’ 430 cubic-inch small-block Ford — in the second round of eliminations, as he’s poised to pick up even further.
Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 hot-shoe Rick Riccardi has officially made his return to the class since his rollover in his Capri last year. The car was rebuilt by Matt Wirt Racefab Engineering and features a small-block Ford built by Dave Jack and B&B Performance Machine, and Jamie Wagner was on site this weekend to help Riccardi go over all of the wiring. “I had a year’s worth of data before I wrecked the car, but now I’m starting from square one,” said Riccardi. “We’ve had struggles this weekend, but from the front bumper to the back bumper, we’re throwing everything and the kitchen sink at it, and we’re even throwing the toilet at it, too.” The Toms River, New Jersey driver proved that in today’s first round of eliminations, as he ripped off a 7.95 at 189 mph for the win, and he and his crew chief, Dennis Varga, and wife, Jenni Riccardi, are now preparing for second round of eliminations.
Scotty Guiler’s run to a 7.63 at 176 mph to qualify fourth in a field of fifteen in Edelbrock Xtreme Street wasn’t without complications, as he had to replace a hurt transmission yesterday afternoon and a hurt piston last night, but the nitrous-fed 584 cubic-inch BES bullet under the hood of his ’81 Cutlass was ready to roll for today’s first round eliminations, and he won with a 7.90 at 165. “We think the cylinder pressure collapsed the skirt of the piston, and when we went to change it, we found that it had deposited some aluminum on the cylinder wall,” said Guiler, who’s calm and collected as he goes into second round of eliminations. “We used sandpaper and Scotch-Brite to clean it, because you have to do what you have to do, right?”
A hitter wherever he races, Shawn Pevlor (above right) pushed his popular small-block Ford and nitrous-motivated Fox body Mustang to a 4.73 and 149 mph to qualify fourth in the MX235 Shootout — and to earn his personal best. He spent much of the weekend working to lay a tune on his Book Racing carburetor, and while he won first round, he exited competition in the quarterfinal after striking the tires, sending Darren Hilterbran (above left) on to the next round.
Speaking of Darren Hilterbran, the nationally-known driver from Tipp City, Ohio, piloted his Mustang to a 4.71 and 151 mph for the third qualified spot in MX235. Despite the fact that he’s keeping a close eye on a beadlock wheel that’s not clamping correctly and is preventing his Mustang from launching straight, he’s continuing to advance through the rounds, and has just been called to the lanes for the semifinal. Hilterbran relies on a 440 cubic-inch small-block Ford and nitrous.
While Shawn Calabrese (above right) cruised to the top qualified spot in MagnaFuel Open Comp with a .005 at the hit and won first round in his 427 cubic-inch LS3-powered ’01 Trans Am, he exited competition in the second round, but the Florida-based driver considers it a very successful weekend regardless. “I’m happy to say that I welcomed DeatschWerks as a sponsor, and my dad, Tom Calabrese, (above left) is here with me,” said Calabrese. “So, it’s been a good weekend.”
The 15th Annual Quick Fuel Technology NMCA Bluegrass Nationals has wrapped up here at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Check out all of the results right <<<HERE>>>.