Saturday Coverage—16th Annual NMCA Quick Fuel Technology Bluegrass Nationals

Racing is under way here at Beech Bend Raceway Park as the Nostalgia Super Stockers of the Dave Duell Classic are burning up the 1320. The weather looks far better than the challenging situations we encountered yesterday, but we eventually got through round one of qualifying and even got some True Street test hits in before winding it down for the evening. Today brings more qualifying and round one of eliminations.

Ryan Milliken heated things up in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw last night with his Chevy II Nova. Unlike most shoebox Novas that you’ll see at the track, Milliken put his extensive diesel experience to work and shoehorned a Cummins turbo diesel engine in the otherwise lightweight machine. Milliken is qualified 7th after the first round with a 5.57 performance.

Australian National Drag Racing Association 2016 Pro Stock champion Nino Cavallo is in the house and currently qualified number one in Pro Stock with a 7.505 at 137.74 mph hit. Cavallo’s ’12 Dodge Avenger runs a 400 ci engine from Bob Book with matching Holley carbs also by Book. He’s quite confident that the Jerry Haas Race Cars-built chassis is capable of much more, but cited jet lag from his recent trip halfway around the world as to why it didn’t perform quite as expected last night. Joined by crew chief Adam Drzayich, Cavallo is looking to chip quite a few numbers off his time today.

In LSX Drag Radial, it’s Anthony Manna from Elk Grove Village, Illinois whose name sits in the number one spot. Manna is doing well with his twin turbo ’98 Camaro, and is testing out a new torque converter this weekend to go with his Proformance transmission. Manna also recently made some changes to his suspension setup, as he changed the shocks and springs and the car now runs Santhuff in the back and retained its Menscer Motorsports components in the front. His plan for the weekend is to simply focus on consistency in hopes that slow (relatively speaking) and steady can, in fact, win the race.

Sitting pretty in the RC Components rig in the vendor midway this weekend is Jessie Coulter’s ’91 Chevrolet Camaro. Coulter ran 7.502 at 186.30 mph during Xtreme Street qualifying last night and that earned him the top spot while also backing up his class speed record. Coulter’s plan for his Brian Tooley Racing-powered redhead is to just go point A to B, but the trap speed’s he’s clocking imply that shouldn’t be too hard to do – especially considering the car is about 150 pounds overweight at the moment.

No, Louie Filippides isn’t taking a nap, although he probably should considering how much work he’s got ahead of him this weekend. The American Racing Headers/Farks Supercars 2010 Camaro is scheduled for double duty, as George Farkouh and Filippides are driving it in both LSX Real Street and Xtreme Street, respectively. Being that Real Street runs an eighth-mile format now while Xtreme Street is still quarter-mile, the guys had Rodney Massengale at RPM Transmissions go through their gearbox to make sure it’s up to the task, and they’ve switched the gearing from an eight-mile setup to one more suitable for quarter-mile to help them turn-and-burn as elimination rounds get close together.

Gary Summers takes a lot of pride in his collection of unique Mustangs, as he rightfully should. With a whole stable of collector-worthy ponies to his name, Summers has chosen his pristine ’75 Mustang II (top) to run this weekend in the Stock/Super Stock Combo class. The top qualifier at the moment, Summers’ car runs a 302 ci engine with its original 2-barrel carburetor. He is also the lucky owner of both of the only two convertible S197 Cobra Jet Mustangs ever built (bottom), and credits “friends at Ford” for helping get him in a position to make that happen.

Have wheels, will travel. This young lady has got the right idea with a unique mode of transportation around the track, and her choice in apparel is flawless – note the NMCA event tee. 😉

The small-block powered Fox-body Mustang of Marty Stinnet was on a good hit in Radial Wars in qualifying last night, but a missing rear end fill cap let some gear oil slip out and Stinnet’s Mustang got loose just before the eighth-mile. Stinnet was happy with the 1.07 60-foot time, but obviously had to back out of the throttle downtrack. In the second qualifier, Stinnet knocked the tires off at the hit and will have to go back to the tuneup before eliminations.

A 4.06 was all it took to take the top spot in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars competition last night, and truth be told, Josh Klugger had tuner Josh Ledford had a 3.95 loaded in the FuelTech ECM. “The air was that bad,” said Klugger of the muggy conditions last night.

Paducah, Kentucky’s Billy Harper is here this weekend, attending his first NMCA event. Piloting his Jerry Bickel-built Dodge Viper in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod, Harper grabbed the number-one spot in qualifying with an A-B 3.82 hit last night. “I used to race an old Baracuda and when we wanted to build a new car, I looked at what else was designed to go 200 mph. Seemed like the Viper was the logical choice.” Harper’s crew was repairing a bit of wiring this morning, and plan to get after the 903ci Sonny’s big-block an five stages of Speedtech nitrous oxide injection.

Rob Goss is sitting at the top of VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw competition, thanks to an A-B pass that ensured his past experience with the ProCharger F1X-12R that he hasn’t run in two years was still relative today. Goss has Nick Bruder tuning the Hemi-powered Drag Pak Challenger remotely, and they expect to pick up from the 4.53 they posted last night.

Competing in both Edelbrock Xtreme Street and Holley EFI Real Street this weekend, Jessie Coulter has been on a tear with his Third-Gen Camaro. The turbocharged machine set the Xtreme Street class record in Atlanta two months prior at 7.47 seconds, and this weekend he posted a 186 mph for the speed record. Going into eliminations, he sits at number one in both classes with a 7.50 and a 4.86 for Xtreme Street and Real Street respectively.

Keith Wilson has been on hand this weekend at the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center experience in the manufacturer’s midway. In addition to talking about the latest crate engines from Chevrolet Performance, Scoggin-Dickey is looking to move the Camaro Rolling Chassis and number 63 2016 COPO Camaro that are in the booth.

One thing you can expect from Pro Modified cars are wild body shapes, and Jim Bersani’s ’69 Chevelle fits the bill. It’s lower, more narrow, and considerably quicker and faster than a stock-bodied Chevelle, that’s for sure.

Brownsburg, Indiana’s Jeff Rudolf has been making steady progress getting his ’69 Chevy Nova running hard and fast in ARP Nitrous Pro Street. At the advisement of tuner and PTP Racing co-owner Patrick Barnhill, and with help of Pro Mod racer Steve Summers, Rudolf recently installed a new Haltech ignition system that he credits for some of the car’s improved performance. Currently, Rudolf is the number-one qualified car in the class at a 7.33 elapsed time.

The NMCA’s newest class, the Stock/Super Stock Combo, doubled in size once again from its previous event, as word spreads across the racer base. One thing that you can expect from the class is a wide variety of makes and models, as evident from this photo of the competitors in the staging lanes.

Gear Vendors True Street is headed out for its 30-mile cruise, and it looks like the racers will get an extended cool down as we work to dry the track from a brief rain shower. The sun is out, however, and helping to dry out the racing surface.

There’s a fine line between rat rod and spare parts, and Greg Hunt’s 1974 Buick Apollo is seemingly having an identity crisis. Regardless, the car looks like a sleeper and it’s turbocharged 5.3-liter LS-based engine has propelled it to a 5.79 eighth-mile, elapsed time in Wiseco Boostline Connecting Rods LSX Drag Radial qualifying.

BMX rider-turned-drag racer Travis Esselman and his lovely ladies are keeping it real with their matching throwback Vans as they work on their awesome, twin turbo ’89 Corvette. Operating out of his Wildcat Automotive shop, Esselman’s home-built 540 ci big block Chevy engine (tuned by Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing) certainly puts forth a competitive effort; Esselman qualified fourth on a 4.162 at 186.56 mph hit and is running a new cam from Bullet along with a refreshed two-speed Turbo 400 transmission from RPM Transmissions.

We would like to welcome Aaron Glaser to the NMCA family. Glaser has a Pro Mod ’69 Camaro that he usually competes, but he is currently repainting it as his shop, Glaser’s Collision Centers. Being that he’s based out of Louisville, Kentucky, Glaser decided to come to the race this weekend anyway and instead brought his Top Sportsman ’68 Firebird. Built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, the car features an 864 ci engine from Billy Albert Race Engines and carries a Bruno Lenco on board. Glaser qualified fifth in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod with the Firebird on a 3.924 at 195.73 mph hit, and is assisted by his father, Gene, and mother, Susan.

Henry Lee is back! After he wrecked his ’90 Ford Mustang at Route 66 Raceway in July of 2016, the Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer has rebuilt and is once again racing thanks to a huge collective effort from a great group of folks. Lee’s resurrected Fox Body got a second chance at life thanks to Jacky McCarty and the McCarty Performance crew including Josh Lindsey, Jason Mote, Mike Cooke, and more. Travis Cox did the motor work rebuilding the Forced Inductions turbocharged 400 ci small block Ford engine that’s stuffed with GRP rods, and a host of other companies stepped in to join the effort such as BigStuff3, RC Components, Schoneck Composites, RacePak, Gill at Speedwire Systems, and Sebastian Domingo at NLR Systems. A Racecraft 9” rear end was installed, and UPR Products sent all new suspension components to make sure Lee’s ride was safe and sound. A set of Mickey Thompson tires were added, Optic Armor took care of all the windows, and Rodney Massengale at RPM Transmissions supplied fuel system parts and other components. It truly was a team project, and, for the finishing touch, McCarty’s son, Jordan, sprayed the eye-catching green paint.

“Super” David Adkins found a hitchhiker (inset) stuck inside the door on his super cool ’63 Chevy Impala SS Mickey Thompson Radial Wars entry after round two of qualifying. The flying frog didn’t survive, but Adkins’ 400 ci LSX-powered and Garrett turbocharged-run sure did – he went 4.112 at 179.88 mph to qualify second in the competitive class.

The attention to detail on Curtis Butler’s beautiful, black ’57 Chevy Bel Air is simply stunning. The car show this weekend is full of incredible works of art and historic masterpieces just like this.

Due to the inclement weather this weekend, qualifying was limited to just two rounds, and we’ll be starting with round one of eliminations this afternoon. Check out the final qualifying HERE.

We are done for the evening here in Bowling Green. To check out the class eliminations as they stand, click HERE.

For Sunday, it looks like we’ll have a bit of rain in the morning but should get back to racing around noon here at Beech Bend Raceway Park. Here is tomorrow’s schedule: