The track is hot here at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, and there are nearly 300 cars on property all looking to improve their qualifying positions and take out the competition in round one of eliminations later today. If you can’t make it to the track, you can catch all of the hot action on Bangshift.com via the live feed courtesy of Good Vibrations Motorsports.
After getting out of the groove at about the 1,000 foot mark in last night’s first round of qualifying, Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Chad Neuenschwander’s Mustang turned sideways, and despite his attempts to bring it back to the straight and narrow by getting in and out of the throttle, it impacted the wall and burst into flames. “The fire started when the oil line got ripped out of the pump,” said Neuenschwander, who’s sore, but indicates that he’s otherwise okay. “It’s going to be a very long winter. We will try to rebuild.”
For last night’s qualifying results, click HERE
Al Corda introduced his 2015 Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center COPO Camaro to LME Street King this weekend, and wasted no time acclimating himself to his new surroundings. He proved that by driving to a 10.05 on his 10.00 index in the car powered by a Wegner Motorsports-built 350 cubic-inch COPO engine, and is currently qualified sixth going into today’s second round of qualifying. As he’s known to do, Corda will pull double duty by driving the COPO Camaro in addition to his chockfull-of-character ’69 Dart, which is a runner and stunner in ATI Nostalgia Super Stock — and which will be featured across four pages in the November issue of Fastest Street Car.
Considering how high it revs and how hard it works, it’s difficult to believe that the 568 cubic-inch BES-built Pontiac engine under the hood of Dwight Ausmus’ ’72 Firebird only recently received a freshen-up. Tony Bischoff had Ausmus’ bullet on the dyno just days ago, with Dale Cubic from CFM Performance Carburetors on-site to be sure his carburetor is flowing optimally for this final points race of the season. “We weren’t having any problems at all, but we sure wanted to be ready for this race,” said Ausmus, who currently holds the NA 10.5 points lead and is currently qualified fourth with a 7.96, is supported this weekend by his wife, Becky Ausmus, Curt Jamison and Tom Andriopoulos. “We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and not get crazy. It’s not the time to try new stuff.”
Extended Stay—Last month the Dart Pro Stock category saw its numbers grow and the most talked about vehicle was the 2013 Dodge Avenger, owned and driven by Nino Cavallo. He purchased the Jerry Haas-constructed Pro Stocker from former NHRA racer V. Gaines and converted it to be legal for the new NMCA category. Cavallo is a three-time champion in the series and is now competing on US-soil with the new car.
Unfortunately the native Australian had to return home, but he left the car in good hands. Under the watchful eye of his crew chief, Adam Drzayich, the car is back in action but with a new driver for this event. Noted NHRA Pro Stock driver Kevin Lawrence has assumed wheel-man duties and he scored the first 6-second run in the category’s short history. According to Drzayich, he had to add 60 pounds of ballast to the Avenger in order to meet the category’s minimum weight—Lawrence has a svelte figure compared to Cavallo. Last night, during round one of qualifying, Lawrence pushed the Book Racing Enterprises 400ci small-block –powered Mopar to a best of 6.98 at 197 mph to sit on top of the field as the provisional number-one qualifier.
The 31-car Top Sportsman category is fast with the top runners going deep into the sixes, though lurking amongst the unique cars is one of a different breed. NHRA television host, and the 2012 NHRA Comp Eliminator national champion, Bruno Massel got a handle on his Ecotec-powered Chevy Cobalt and put it solidly in the field with a 6.98 at 193 mph.
Holley EFI Real Street racer Bill Trovato saw the pretty moonlit night when a transmission gear ratio change was clearly the wrong move. The BTR team swapped to a 1.80:1 First gear prior to the nighttime session and it sent him on a wild ride. The 440ci LSX engine had run quickly earlier in the day during test and tune but the front-end stayed hiked up for too long, prompting the transmission adjustment. The team was working hard on the 2010 Camaro this morning by swapping back to the other transmission and repairing the crushed tubes on the custom American Racing Headers exhaust system. Trovato joked, “I didn’t expect that happen!” He continued “I used to be able to wheelie my old car, the Oldsmobile Starfire, all the way from the starting line to scales by just pedaling it. The Camaro came up really quickly.”
While we’re used to seeing Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Ben Mens in a Mustang, he’s behind the wheel of fellow driver Vince Khoury’s 2006 Firebird for competition this weekend. The car is powered by what Mens referred to as “Vince’s Pro Stock Oldsmobile” plus a Liberty’s five-speed transmission. “This is my first time driving Vince’s car, but everything feels comfortable, and it’s actually laid out like my former car as far as the placement of the pedals, switches and everything,” said Mens, who sold his previous Mustang to NMCA competitor Russell Stone and is having another Mustang built by Jeremy Adkins of Bad Habitz. It will be powered by a D3-headed 400 cubic-inch small-block Ford and Liberty’s five-speed, and it will see plenty of Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 action. Pictured with Mens and Khoury is Mens’ son, Ben.
The crowd is here and many folks are in line to meet with the Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws celebrities. Both “Daddy Dave” Comstock and Kye Kelley from Street Outlaws: New Orleans are here with their cars, Goliath 2.0 and the Shocker. Both racers will be here today and Sunday signing autographs and selling apparel.
One of the many features of the NMCA World Street Finals is the National Parts Depot Factory Appearing Stock Tire class that has joined the series this year at both the Joliet and Norwalk stops. Don Giannone has one of the quickest cars in the class, as his 1966 Chevelle has been 10.30s in the quarter-mile. This weekend, the big-block Super Sport has clicked off a 10.60, and Giannone has a few more tricks up his sleeve to make the car quicker.
Gear Vendors True Street is heating up this weekend as you might surmise by the parachutes on the cars pictured here. We’ve had a couple post up some 7-second elapsed times already, and there is probably half a dozen cars knocking on the door with 8-second hits. The Big 3 Racing team brought out several cars capable of taking home the crown today.
With his fabrication business keeping him well busy, Pete Johnson of Greenwood, Indiana, hasn’t had time to complete his new Corvette he is building for Hot Rod’s Drag Week. As we often see this time of year, many fans of that event use the NMCA True Street events as warmups and tuning session, and Johnson put together his old car and showed up to sort it out. Things haven’t gone quite as planned as the first LS engine in the Fox Mustang went south a week ago, and luckily his engine builder had just finished up his second engine, which is based off of a stock 5.3 short-block. Johnson swapped in the new bullet on Wednesday, but then his laptop crashed and he had to build a new tune for the EFI system from scratch. So far, he’s whittled his Mustang’s performance down every pass, with a best run of 8.85 going into Gear Vendors True Street competition.
The Mothers Show and Shine car show here at Summit Motorsports Park is packed with some wickedly cool rides. You can find a bit of everything from early to late-model machines, rat rods and more.
In the ’67 Nova he’s had since high school, Tommy DeLago (third from left) laid down an 8.09 and 165 mph in the first round of Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5, is currently qualified sixth and said the “weekend is going fairly smoothly.” The car, which scoots with a 405 cubic-inch small-block Chevy built by Ian Landies of Mid-South Racing Engines and a Jerico transmission with a Boninfante clutch, has been 8.02 on a shut-off pass, and DeLago, who works as crew chief for Top Fuel Funny Car driver Alexa DeJoria, intends to dive into the naturally aspirated category on a more regular basis in the 2017 season, beginning with the 15th Annual Muscle Car Mayhem, March 9-12, at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. Helping him along the way are crew members Ian Landies, Glen Houzar and Frank Cervelli, as well as sponsors Pro Jack, Drink Hard Racing and Boninfante Friction.
More and more racers are inching closer to a championship and the latest entry in the club is Eric Kenward and his wild turbocharged 1980 Malibu wagon. Kenward might have won the war but he is still fighting a battle with several quick players in the Edelbrock Xtreme Street eliminator. The Floridian has been trading passes back and forth with ProCharger racer Louis Filippedes, right now he has run 7.52 and Kenward ran 7.53 and there are slew of cars in the 7.60s, making it fast and tight with two rounds of qualifying today and eliminations tomorrow.
Delaware’s John Snyder, who regularly competes in Ultra Street across the country, is this weekend running Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 in his eye-catching ’65 GTO. Snyder, who was the 2014 Ultra Street champion at Cecil County Dragway, relies on a Uratchko Racing Engines-built 569 cubic-inch Pontiac engine and three-speed ProFlite transmission to traverse the track surface, and while he has been as quick as 7.70 in the quarter-mile and 4.89 in the eighth-mile on drag radials, he’s working to dial in his chassis and combination for the class-spec slicks. “We wanted to see how this would go, because we may run this class next year,” said Snyder, who’s been adjusting shock settings and adding and removing weight in all the right places. Helping him this weekend are fellow NA 10.5 drivers Dwight Ausmus and John Langer, as well as fellow Ultra Street driver Lane Carey, and Mike and Aaron Leech.
Considering how cool, calm and collected Wiseco Street Outlaw pilot Phil Smith was when we talked with him, you wouldn’t guess that various components of his engine were spread across three tables in his pit area after today’s second round of qualifying, but they were. Crew chief, cousin and car-owner Billy Adams, equally cool, calm and collected, said that the engine has 80-100 passes on it and was smoking a little, and that he and Smith, who eased off the throttle at 330 feet, decided the team should give the nitrous-enhanced 632 cubic-inch Nelson-bullet fresh pistons and rings. They’re confident they’ll be ready when they’re called back to the lanes.
While JE Pistons Drag Radial driver Andy Essary has been fighting various issues all season, things are turning around for him this weekend. He’s currently the number one qualifier after stopping the clocks with a 4.44 in his Firebird, which features an LME-built 430 cubic-inch engine on a Dart LS Next block wearing a new set of All Pro heads, intake and elbow and twin turbos. An RPM Transmissions-built Turbo 400 helps put the power to the pavement, and Essary, who recently replaced his AMS- 1000 boost controller with an AMS-2000, is confident that once he has a handle on it, his Firebird will pick up further.