The sun is out and so are the race cars here at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Yesterday was testing and today we roll into qualifying for the 15ht Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem event, the first race of the NMCA’s six-race series.
While he’s usually piloting his bright yellow ’69 Camaro in the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series’ LME Street King class, Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s Kurt Anderson is here this weekend to collect points in the NMCA’s Magnafuel Open Comp class. As it’s still a snowy winter in his home state, Anderson called up one of his customers, Jim McMillan, to borrow his ’69 Camaro (above) which is conveniently located here in sunny Florida. McMillan will also be driving his car in the brackets, so the big-block under the hood will definitely earn it’s keep this weekend.
Jumping into the new NMCA Stock/Super Stock Combo class is Bradenton resident Jim Bailey. Bailey is a former IHRA Top Fuel driver who set the track record here in Bradenton back in 1999. These days, he’s driving his own 2010 Dodge Drag Pak Challenger, which is powered by a naturally aspirated, David-Barton-tuned 392 cubic-inch Hemi. The Challenger has been as quick as 9.70.
While Adam Flamholc introduced himself and his 1963 split-window Corvette to VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod last year and competed at a few events, he has all six events circled on his calendar this year. His car, built by Joey Martin, boasts a 526 Hemi built by Flamholc’s companies, HRE and MMR, and it’s topped with a Roots-style supercharger massaged by Mike Janis. Flamholc, who has been as quick as 3.79 in the eighth-mile, laid down a 3.82 in testing yesterday and is intent on achieving 3.70s this weekend despite the heat and humidity. “I hope to go rounds at every event and end up in the top three in points,” said Flamholc, who also competes in NHRA and PDRA.
Former Outlaw 10.5 racer Matt Salminen has moved on from his competitive, small-tire racing days and built himself a pretty wicked 1969 Pro Touring Camaro. As Saleminen is still a drag racer at heart, he’s equipped his F-body with some drag radials and plans to run in the Gear Vendors True Street class. Looking at the car would make you think it would be more at home doing some corner carving, but it’s packing a 1,200hp, twin-turbo LS engine and Salminen is expecting high 9s today. He’s just about there as his easy, test and tune hit this morning was a mid 10-second hit at over 130 mph.
Holley EFI Factory Super Car competitor Scott Libersher is racing two of his COPO Camaros this weekend. While he dabbled in Magnafuel Open Comp last year with his ’15 COPO, this year he will be running in the NMCA’s new Stock/Super Stock Combo class. Libersher is awaiting delivery of a new NA 427ci 2017 COPO later this year, and said he plans to field three cars with the help of his son Lenny.
Between its bright colors and boatloads of power, Dave Roemer’s Bickel-built 1968 Camaro commands a lot of attention. It recorded a best of 3.89 last year, but Roemer is aiming for low 3.80s or high 3.70s in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend via his nitrous-sipping 864 cubic-inch Buck Racing Engines-built bullet and a new set of Penske shocks, which he hopes will get him off the line even quicker. Here to help him do that are Charlie Taylor, who’s advising him on shock settings, and his crew, including his brothers, Mike and Joe Roemer, Matt Rainey and Kyle Rapson.
This weekend will mark the first time Josh Klugger of Fiscus/Klugger Racing is running two different cars in two different classes, as he has entered the team’s 2010 Mustang in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod and the team’s Fox body Mustang in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars. Klugger plans to make a run for the NCMA Xtreme Pro Mod championship behind the wheel of the Lady in Red Mustang, and had the 2010 Mustang recently overhauled at Vanishing Point Race Cars. The old 481-X power plant has been replaced with a new Pro Line Racing 520ci Hemi with twin 88mm Precision turbos, and a ProFormance Racing Transmissions’ Turbo 400 spins below. The Radial Wars notchback has largely gone unchanged since it set the drag radial quarter-mile record late last year, running 5.92 at over 250 mph. “I’ve been on radial tires my whole life, and this will only be the second time I’m on slicks,” said Klugger, with a laugh. “They’re completely different.” The longtime driver didn’t seem overly concerned, though, as he pointed out that he’s in good hands with his capable crew, including fellow driver Kevin Fiscus, Johnny “Drama” Maguda and Steve Cooks, as well as supporters like Pro Line, Fueltech, Billet Atomizer Injectors, Menscer Motorsports, Spike’s Performance and Painting, who prepared the 2010 Mustang for paint, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, Proformance Racing Transmissions, ProTorque, Goodrich and Burnyzz. “I’m going to come out swinging,” said Klugger, and we believe him.
Propane Power! That’s right the Roush Performance team is on the property and coming off a weekend of tight racing at the NMRA season opener. Sue McClenaghan and Donnie Bowles will be looking to bag valuable championship points this weekend in Magnafuel Open Comp.
Ocala, Florida’s Chad Opaleski has entered his 1966 Chevelle in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars this weekend, and is hoping for some cool nighttime air and TJ Bailey’s top-notch track prep to get his Chevelle into the 3-second zone for the first time. The F3R-136 ProCharger blower feeds a hungry FastForward-built, Noonan-engineering-head’d 568ci Hemi. Opaleski has logged a 1.02 60-ft time, and seen the back half numbers he needs to run i the 3s, but just hasn’t put the two together just yet.
Beginning with the Boulevard Boost engine build in Fastest Street Car, Derek Putnam’s blown, big-block Nova (the green one) has been entered into Gear Vendors True Street competition this weekend. His partner in crime, Jason Rollins, often runs in True Street, but he’ll be racing in Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car with his nitrous-fed, big-block, Nova.
Florida’s Jason Juday (at right) will be behind the wheel of his Firebird-bodied, tube chassis machine as he regularly runs the local Outlaw 632 class, which is a special addition to the NMCA’s Muscle Car Mayhem event in Bradenton. Juday’s Firebird packs a Nelson Competition big-block with Induction Solutions nitrous oxide injection on board, and Juday recently made the switch to Haltech fuel injection as well. Patrick Barnhill and Jason Lee of PTP Racing will be helping him out this weekend as they work on the tuneup prior to qualifying. Helping Juday out this weekend is Chris Bretz (at left) who is also racing a 2000 Camaro in Radial Wars. That machine is equipped with a 565ci engine with 91mm Precision turbos, and has run as quick as 4.40—with the factory-style torque arm suspension.
Ford FE and camera engine master Kurt Neighbor is back again running his Fox-body Mustang in Open Comp and his Fairlane in the new Stock/Super Stock Combo class. Racing alongside him this weekend is his grandson, Miles Reese, who will be banging the gears of the G-Force GF2000 transmission in his Fox Mustang. As you might expect, Reese’s Mustang packs a 352ci high-riser FE engine, and he shares driving duties with his brother Derrick in the UMTR series in the midwest. An issue with the orange Mustang earlier today was soon diagnosed as a rocker arm that was missing it’s roller tip.
Nick Agostino kicked off the 2017 race season at Lights Out at South Georgia Motorsports Park in February, where he flat-footed his Camaro to a 3.92 and 197 mph to qualify in the middle of the field, but tire-spin in the first round of eliminations took him out of contention. Today, he’s readying to run first round of qualifying in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars in his car which features a standard bore 441ci Chevy on a Noonan block, Alan Johnson heads, a Visner Engine Development intake, twin 94mm Precision turbos and an M&M Transmission-built two-speed lock-up transmission to help plant the power. When we caught up with him in the pit area, he shared that he recently moved his turbos further back in his engine bay and distributed some weight, which resulted in improved 60-foot and 330-foot times, and he’s now using a Haltech engine management system with coil packs. He also shared that earlier today, he and his crew, including Ricky Carlos, Ralph Maio and his wife, Jackie Agostino, changed gears in the car’s rear-end and in the transmission. “If we can run 3.90s in this heat, I think we can have a chance of winning this weekend, but beyond that, we’re shooting for 3.80s,” said Agostino, who’s assisted in the tuning department by Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing. “We’re running the Mickey Thompson 315 Pros this weekend, but we’ll be switching to the 33W for the next race.”
After running an abbreviated NMCA schedule last year in the 2006 Corvette Z06 sometimes known as the “Chris Duncan Race Cars shop car,” Jonas Aleshire has his sights set on running all – or most – of the races on this year’s tour. According to owner Duncan, it’s somewhat of a miracle that the car and crew are here this weekend, as maintenance on the blue beauty and its 526ci Brad Anderson Hemi with a screw blower was started – and finished – just days ago, but apparently, there’s some method in their madness, as Aleshire was able to pound out a 3.88 in today’s first round of qualifying.
We’re in the thick of today’s first round of qualifying. Click HERE for results as they happen.