While Chuck Hockenberry’s run for a championship began with a broken driveshaft at the NMCA season opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park in March, he turned things around in time for the second race of the season at Atlanta Dragway in Georgia in April.
There, the MagnaFuel Open Comp driver qualified eighteenth with an .030 reaction time and drove to the winner’s circle — as well as the semifinal in the event’s Open Comp All-Star Showdown — in his ’82 Mustang powered by a small-block Ford built by Detroit TruTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car driver Bryan Parker and topped with Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads.
The following month, he delivered his C4 Super Comp transmission to Performance Automatic to have it inspected and to have a forward pattern valve body replaced with a reverse pattern valve body, and delivered his converter to QuickDraw Converters to have it tightened. With help from Parker, he replaced his previous brakes with Strange disc brakes, and swapped 4.10 rear gears to 3.73 rear gears in an attempt to back off the 7000 rpm he was trapping.
“The car ran really well with the changes, and while I had to practically jump on the brakes with both feet to get the car to stop before, I barely had to apply pressure with the new brakes,” said Hockenberry, with a laugh.
He went on to another win at the prestigious 11th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois in July, and doubled-up by winning the runoff portion of the event. Then, he went into the final race of the season, the 15th Annual NMCA World Street Finals at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio in August, with the lead in points, but three racers had a chance to get around him for the 2016 championship.
“I, Kelly Pierce and Jenna Pierce-Wilson went out in the first round, and Donald Fenlon lost in the second round,” said Hockenberry, who’s supported in his race endeavors by his wife, Jean. “At that point, we figured out we had won the 2016 championship.”
This marks the first championship for Galena, Ohio-based Hockenberry, who has been racing in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp and NMRA Flex-A-Lite Open Comp since 2006 and has been 9.94 and 133 mph in his Mustang, which rolls on Mickey Thompson Pro Bracket Radials.
“I’m still on cloud nine, and I hope to go for it again in 2017,” said Hockenberry, who will be celebrated with his fellow champions during the NMCA Awards Ceremony, Dec. 9 at the Indiana Convention Center. “What great competition all year.”