16th Annual Honeywell Garrett NMCA All-American Nationals—Friday Coverage

The rigs have rolled in and we’re getting ready to race at the 16th Annual Honeywell Garrett NMCA All-American Nationals, this weekend at America’s Racetrack, Summit Motorsports Park. Sunshine and mid-70s are forecasted for the event which will feature all of the captivating NMCA categories, including VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod, plus the Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Diversified Products Marketing, Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series, a manufacturers’ midway, appearances by BoostedGT, Derek and Kayla Morton from Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws,” a pound of Velvet ice cream for $1 and much more.

Here is today’s run schedule. While we hope you can join us in person for what’s sure to be a spectacular event, SpeedVideo will begin capturing all of the action on live feed beginning at 12 p.m. today. To catch it, click HERE

In Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series’ Wiseco Boostline Connecting Rods Drag Radial competition for the first time this year is Ray Litz, who’s still running a 400ci LS engine topped with All Pro heads in his Midwest Chassis-suspended Camaro. He recently swapped his previous Garrett turbo with a 98mm Garrett Gen II turbo and paired it with piping by Carlyle Racing. It’s a good match, as the Ohio-based driver who relies on an RPM Transmissions-built Turbo 400 ripped off a personal best eighth-mile time of 4.45 on a test hit on Friday, which replaces the 4.56 he had run with his previous turbo. Running out the whole track, Litz also dipped into the 6s for the first time with a 6.82 run. “The track was unbelievable on Friday,” said Litz, whose crew includes Brian Wagner and Andrew Courter. “Honestly, I could have thrown the  kitchen sink at it.”

On the property this weekend is the one and only Billy Glidden, who will make his competition debut in his new Pro Mod Camaro. That’s right, Glidden will be driving a Chevrolet this weekend, which replaces the venerable Mustang that he has competed with for many years. Glidden crashed the Mustang earlier this year and with help from Ray Skillman, purchased the Camaro chassis and fitted it with a Sonny’s Racing Engines 903ci Hemi mountain motor on nitrous. While we were getting updated on the project by his wife and crew chief, Shannon, Glidden was chatting it up with another well-known Ford racer, Kurt Neighbor, who will be racing this weekend in the NMCA’s Stock/Super Stock Combo as well as Magnafuel Open Comp.

The Factory Appearing Stock Tire racers began arriving at Summit Motorsports Park yesterday, as they will be a special addition to the Honeywell Garrett NMCA All-American Nationals. The second stop of the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series is also part of this weekend’s activities here, with LSX racers and enthusiasts looking to savor the competition.

While Alex Hays has competed in Boninfante Racing NA 10.5 and VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw, he’s giving Edelbrock Xtreme Street a whirl for the first time this weekend, and sitting pretty under the hood of his Fox body Mustang is a beautiful new bullet. It’s a 588ci big-block Chevy built by Uratchko Racing Engines and topped with SR-23 heads and a Marcella Manifolds intake, and helping to plant the power are a transmission built by Van Geibel and a Neal Chance converter. “We’ve changed the stator in the converter and we’ve made some test passes, and we’re very close, but we still have some tweaking to do,” said Hays, who had converter and stator advice from racers Butch Kemp and Dean Marinis, and who has help from his dad, Pat Hays and Bill McNabb. The Michigan-based driver is on the right path, as he ripped off a remarkable 4.77 at 148 mph on a test hit yesterday in his 2,850-pound car rolling on Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pro 275s.

While Edelbrock Xtreme Street driver Ray Cox and his son—and crew chief—Brad Cox have been focused on their real estate careers in the past year and haven’t had time to race, they’re back in action at this weekend’s event. Under the hood of Cox’s Trans Am is a recently-freshened 477ci Pontiac engine that he built himself, and under his car is a set of Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radials where a set of slicks used to be—a recent class rule change opened up the tire selection to include the R model where racers previously had to run the ET Street SS tire. “I haven’t had any passes yet this weekend, but they’ll be calling us to the lanes soon, and we’ll see how it goes,” said Cox, who’s receiving tuning help from Kevin Stevens of Straightline Performance.

Having wrecked his C2 Corvette-bodied Pro Mod in the first round of competition during the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing last month, Adam Flamholc and his team thrashed over the next three days to swap the drivetrain in this 2012 Mustang chassis that he had sitting at Chris Duncan Race Cars. The car was up and running and making test hits toward the end of the week in St. Louis, and getting the chassis setup has proved challenging, but the Mustang eventually charged to a 3.84-second run, just about a tenth and a half off of the Corvette’s best time. Having logged a .995-second 60-ft yesterday during testing, Flamholc believes the Mustang will go a bit quicker, despite the chassis being some 100 lbs over weight for the NMCA class. Fans who preferred the Corvette will be happy to hear that repairs are almost complete, and Flamholc plans to bring it back out at the 2018 NMCA season opener in Bradenton.

Another casualty of the melee in Joliet was Josh Klugger’s beautiful blue Radial Wars notchback. It kicked a rod during qualifying and the team was set to replace it, but they were concerned about collateral damage that they couldn’t see without completely tearing down the engine. Fellow racer Mark Woodruff loaned Klugger his Corvette to collect points toward his good standing in the championship. On the way home, Klugger’s coupe got an upgrade in the engine department courtesy of ProLine Racing, which opened up the 481-X engine to 572 cubic inches. ProLine Tuner Jamie Miller was seen making some suspension tweaks to the rearend, and perhaps we might just see the car get back to its winning ways.

While running the 417ci Chevy under the hood of his 1976 Corvette in the pit area today, Boninfante Racing  NA 10.5 driver Ryan Bell noticed that it was complaining a bit. He and his crew members, Al Alguire and Chad Abougoush, discovered upon pulling the valve covers that there was a broken rocker arm atop the Brodix Little Chief heads. They’re in the process of replacing it, and plan to be ready in time for today’s first round of qualifying.

New to Boninfante Racing NA 10.5 this weekend are Michigan-based driver Eric Wieszkowiak and his chock-full of character 1971 Nova. Painted by Mike Szalay and flying Mike’s Collision banners, the car features a 622ci Chevy built by Holbrook Racing Engines which is fed fuel by a CFM carburetor. An Abruzzi-built Powerglide helps put the power down, and Szalay and his son, Michael, help Wieszkowiak tune the combination, which has helped propel Wieszkowiak to 8.20s in All Motor, Pro Street and other categories at other tracks. “This engine, which is new for this year, makes a lot more power than I used to have, so we’re still sorting it out, but we’ll get there,” said Wieszkowiak.

It has been only 48 hours since Bill and Shannon Glidden showed the world their latest Pro Modified racecar, a 1968 Camaro. They purchased the new-to-them racecar a few months ago and have thrashed to get it prepared for tire testing with Mickey Thompson tires as well as select NHRA and NMCA events. Powering the Camaro is a new 903ci beast that Glidden built over the winter using components from Sonny’s Racing Engines, including the company’s Semi-Hemispherical cylinder heads. The 5.300-bore space powerplant features EFI as well as a few hits of nitrous in order to bring output to around 3,000hp. He ran 3.91 at 189 mph in testing at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis two days ago. First hit off the trailer at Summit Motorsports Park resulted in a little tire shake but the team is confident they will get the car in the sub-4s when qualifying begins later today.

While Edelbrock Xtreme Street driver Scotty Guiler was hanging the hoops in his Cutlass in testing yesterday and today, he and his crew, including chassis builder, tuner and friend Jake Holdrege, have been making chassis adjustments to try to tame his launch before today’s first round of qualifying. “The track is so good, and we’re hoping the chassis adjustments work because we don’t want to pull any power out,” said Guiler, whose combination includes a nitrous-enhanced BES-built 584ci engine. “It’s a good problem to have, right?”

Mickey Thompson Radial Wars driver Mark Woodruff — who famously loaned his 2010 Corvette ZR1 to Josh Klugger when Klugger hurt the combination in his Mustang at the NMCA race in Illinois in July — found himself with a hurt engine after dropping a valve recently, but was hellbent to take part in this weekend’s race. So, he bought a Sonny’s Racing Engines 522ci bullet built by Nelson Competition, worked around the clock to get it installed and buttoned-up, made the long haul from Missouri, arrived to the track late this afternoon and is working like mad alongside crew member Brent Sansoucie to prepare the combination for tonight’s first round of qualifying. “I had run cast heads forever, but the heads on this engine are billet, and I believe they’re the first set of Sonny Leonard billet 5-inch bore space Semi-Hemi heads,” said Woodruff, who also relies on twin Precision turbos and an M&M Transmission-built two-speed lock-up TurboGlide 400.

VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod racer Dan Ferguson spent Friday morning freshening the Pat Musi 959ci nitrous-enhanced powerplant in the Henry Bogay’s “Cajun Nightmare” 1968 Camaro. The mammoth engine requires routine maintenance every 25-30 runs, which includes piston inspections and new piston rings. Ferguson and crew member Chad Wright plan thrashing to get it ready for qualifying but the car shutoff in the burnout. Ferguson is a two-time PDRA Top Sportsman champion who stepped up to Pro Mod competition this year.

Chuck Watson Sr. marched to the top of list in the first round of qualifying in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars with an impressive 8.18 at 165 mph. He is currently crushing the NMCA class records, which stand at 8.342 and 162.70 mph, both held by Scott Libersher. Watson can’t celebrate just yet as he has to back up those performances within one-percent to set an official record. We don’t think it will be a problem since Waston ran a quicker 8.16 at 165 mph earlier today during test-and-tune.

X275 stand-out Jamie Stanton made the trip from upstate New York to Summit Motorsports Park to test the waters in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw. Boasting a BES Racing 582ci engine and tipping the scales nearly 300 pounds heavy for the category, the car has already run 4.40s in testing this weekend. Crew chief Jake Soldridge is looking to consistency as their main weapon against the competition, which run bigger turbos and superchargers than the X275 crowd. Stanton was seen giving Tony Bischoff of BES Racing a deposit for a larger displacement, NMCA-spec engine, or he could’ve just been putting a wager on tomorrow night’s Mayweather-McGregor boxing match.

Gardner Stone noticed he’s been later on the tree than normal, so he broke out the practice setup to brush up. Feeling there might be something mechanically wrong with the car, he enlisted the help of Watson Racing and Chuck Watson Sr. did some practicing of his own for comparison. Changing the rollout in the practice computer seemed to do the trick, but the Watson crew was going to compare the length of the throw on the brake pedal to the transbrake switch to see if that might be an issue.


Today’s first round of qualifying is underway. For results, click HERE