While Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Mike DeMayo, Jr. was wrapping up repairs to his Mustang after a wreck in 2015 and was forced to miss the 2016 NMCA season opener in March, he was ready to roll at the second race of the season at Atlanta Dragway in April.
There, after literally finishing the car in the pit area, he qualified in the second spot with an 8.10, set class elapsed-time and top-speed records with a 7.859 and 170.73 and drove to a runner-up finish against Dwight Ausmus and his Firebird.
Hoping to continue dialing in the rebuilt car at the third race of the season at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky in May, he instead ended up with a flat tire and a few mechanical issues, and then hoping to cruise through rounds at the fourth race of the season at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana in June, he lost oil pressure in the semifinal as debris got stuck in his oil pump bypass and was forced to lift.
“We had the fastest car every round up to that point, so that really hurt,” said DeMayo.
With a successful test session under his belt after that, he defeated Ausmus in the final round at the fifth race of the season, the 11th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois in July, but struggled with ignition issues in the subsequent runoff against an NMRA driver.
With that, he was in second place in points going into final race of the season at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio in August.
“In order to win the championship, I was going to have to out-qualify Dwight (Ausmus) by at least one position and go one more round than him,” said DeMayo.
He managed to qualify in the top spot with a 7.90, defeat Aumus in the final, 7.90 to 7.98 and earn the 2016 Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 championship. What all of that proves, among other things, is that despite some obstacles, he had succeeded in dialing in his car, which had been rebuilt by his shop, Blackbird Motorsports, in Pennsylvania, as well as Lundsford Engineering in Georgia, before being outfitted with a stout and sturdy 415 cubic-inch small-block Ford built by Gaby Labiosa of EIC Motorsports and topped with Ford D3 heads, an Edelbrock intake and Braswell carburetor.
“I had run a 7.90 in the final round at that race a year ago, so the fact that I ran it in the final again at that race this year makes me realize we’ve picked up where we left off since rebuilding the car, and now we need to move forward,” said DeMayo, whose records from the race in Georgia in April still stand. “There’s more left in the combination, and we’ll keep working on it, because I want to win another championship, and that’s going to be pretty damn hard.”
DeMayo and his fellow champions will be celebrated at the NMCA Awards Ceremony, Dec. 9 at the Indiana Convention Center.