The 17th Annual Honeywell Garrett NMCA All-American Nationals has officially hit high gear this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, as cars are cruising down track and commanding attention. Adding to all of the action of the regularly-contested categories are the 50th Anniversary Ford Performance Cobra Jet Reunion presented by and the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series.
ATI Nostalgia Super Stock cars were on track first this morning.
John DeCerbo has entered his recently-debuted Tim McAmis Performance Parts-built and 1968 Camaro-bodied Pro Mod in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend, and he’s looking for his first full A to B pass in the striking car. It’s powered by a 959 cubic-inch Reher Morrison engine huffing five stages of nitrous from a Switzer Dynamics system. A Rossler Turbo 400 transmission and Neal Chance lock-up converter handle things below. “There’s going to be an outstanding Xtreme Pro Mod field this weekend, and I think it’s going to take 3.80s to qualify,” said DeCerbo, who will return to Summit Motorsports Park for the Summit Racing Equipment Shakedown at the Summit presented by Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, Sept. 13-16.
Trying his hand in Radial Wars this weekend is Dearborn Heights, Michigan’s Joel Wensley. His ’69 Camaro normally runs local Outlaw 10.5 races, so they will be running with a 10.5 slick tire. Packing twin Garrett 94mm turbos, the 526-ish inch, Hemi engine and Liberty 5-speed transmission have propelled the Camaro to 4.0-second elapsed times, so Wensley and his stepbrother Ryan Wood will have their work cut out of them, as the heavy hitters in the class like James Lawrence, Marty Stinnett and DeWayne Mills normally run in the high 3s.
Having made his NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod debut at this race last year, John Camp is looking to go a bit deeper in the rounds this weekend with his Jerry Bickel-built Camaro. With a Pat Musi 959 engine and 6 stages of Musi/Edelbrock nitrous on board, the Camaro has clocked high 3-second passes and Camp actually qualified 2nd here last year.
The MMR racing team consisting of Mark Luton and Greg Seth-Hunter (pictured) had a rough time of it at the last race in Joliet. They torched an engine in one of their twin-turbo Coyote-powered machines, but eventually found the culprit. Now, with upgraded Honeywell Garrett exhaust housings on their turbochargers, the team plans to crank up their overhead-cammed machines in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend.
Speaking of Garrett Turbochargers, the company hosted an Ice Cream social last night in the pits where the very inexpensively priced, and legendary Summit Motorsports Park pound of ice cream was free for participants.
Mickey Thompson Radial Wars champion DeWayne Mills recently decided to switch his Pro Line Racing-powered Camaro back to a 481-X combination, and while his car chief Tim Davis handles that changeover, Mills was still looking to collect points for the 2018 championship. Having previously loaned his ZR1 Corvette to Josh Klugger last year so he could continue his quest towards the championship, Mark Woodruff offered up his twin-turbo Corvette to Mills this weekend. Mills originally planned to return the favor by loaning Woody his daughter Kallee Mills’ Camaro to compete int Vortech Street Outlaw this weekend, but unfortunately they couldn’t get it ready in time. Mills sits just 250 points behind James Lawrence going into this race, with the finals in Indy left after this weekend.
Racing in the Modern Cobra Jet class this weekend is Bill Dyer and his rare Sunset Gold Cobra Jet tribute Mustang. The 2010 car started life as a six-cylinder wreck, and Dyer swapped in a 302-based 352ci push-rod small-block Ford engine backed by a Jerico stick shift transmission. The Quad Cities, Illinois, native competes in FS/K in the NHRA, and the wheels-up, gear-shifting machine is a blast to watch.
James Beadling of Buffalo, New York, is competing in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend, and he and his team are currently working towards a baseline as they recently swapped in an new Mark Williams rearend into the G-Force chassis Camaro. The blown Mike Stewicki-built engine is backed by a Liberty transmission, and has driven the car to 3.7s at 200 mph in the eighth-mile.
Chris Holbrook has a race under the belt of his new Cobra Jet Mustang, but this weekend it showed up with a striking new Varsity Ford livery. A faulty starting solenoid plagued the team yesterday during testing, but they had diagnosed the issue when we caught up with them and Holbrook, who is always a front runner in the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars class, should be ready for the first round of qualifying this afternoon.
More than 30 drivers will be gunning for a 16-car field in VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend, and among them is Australian Steve Easton. The former clutch specialist for John Force Racing who’s currently working for NHRA Top Fuel driver Mike Salinas is piloting the Cor Valentyn-owned 1963 Corvette-bodied Tim McAmis-built Pro Mod nicknamed the Patriot Pro Mod. The powerplant consisting of a 521 cubic-inch Alan Johnson Hemi engine put together by the Patriot Pro Mod team with help from Ken Jusztzyk of Motorsports Unlimited and a Kobelco roots-style supercharger is new, but Easton, who was quoted in a recent story on NMCA and Race Pages Digital websites as saying “Winning is what gets me out of bed every day,” is confident he and his team will have it dialed in soon.
A personal best of 7.88 at 174 mph set back in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016 has NMCA Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5 racer Dwight Ausmus hungry for more and he’s hoping that conditions tonight should do the trick. A bit of tuning and no major changes to his naturally aspirated ’72 Firebird, which runs a Proflite transmission and Ultimate converter, will likely keep the BES Racing Engines-built powerplant in the zone.
Also in the NMCA Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5 camp, former NMCA WEST regular Flyin’ Ryan Bell (in car) and his beautiful ‘Corvette are getting geared up for the first test hit of the day. A legitimate street car up until about four years ago, the ‘Vette still has its glass and power windows along with an ‘80s-era radio. Crew chief Al Alguire (foreground) is confident that the 416ci small-block Chevy engine and three-speed Proflite transmission will be a potent pair once everything is dialed in, as the new combination was only fired up for the very first time tomorrow and this weekend is the guys’ first event of the year. Because racecar.
With only one more NMRA race of the 2018 season and Tony Hobson precariously perched in second for championship points, he decided to enter his NMRA Edelbrock Renegade ride in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street this weekend in hopes of getting his ’14 Mustang’s setup dialed in to make the most of it when it counts. Hobson wasn’t able to test during yesterday’s session since tuner extraordinaire Eric Holliday of JPC Racing wasn’t on site, but Holliday is here today and the guys are ready to get Hobson’s Rich Groh Racing-bullet all tuned up. So far, a best 60’ of 1.150-seconds has Hobson hunting for quicker short times.
Family comes first. Although both of NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw 2017 champion Manny Buginga’s cars are on the property this weekend, he himself is not. Buginga’s son, Little Manny, made the varsity football team this weekend so the proud father stayed home to be a part of the excitement. In his place, Vinny Palazzolo (left) will be wheeling Buginga’s turbocharged and DiSomma Racing Engines-powered “Big Red” ’03 Mustang Cobra while Alton Clements (right) will be handling the driving duties on Buginga’s “Little Red” blown Fox Body – both in NMCA Vortech Superchargers Street Outlaw.
Proprietor of the famous New York appliance and electronics superstore P.C. Richard & Son, Gary Richard (left) is with us this weekend as the proud owner/driver of this naturally aspirated 428ci NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars ’10 Mustang Cobra Jet. Richard has been racing since 1957, rented the Westhampton Dragway from ’68-’78, and decided to go Ford racing when he met Jesse Kershaw of Ford Performance back in 2010. B&B Racecars built his body-in-white to a full-on racecar, while his crew chief, Paul Iaconis (right) handled installing the powertrain and took care of all the wiring and plumbing. Richard is using this weekend to help gather data (and to just have fun) in hopes of finally winning in NHRA Factory Stock Showdown next weekend in Indy as he has runnered-up at the race three times.
Bill Skillman (center, in blue) brought a show car and three Cobra Jet racecars to Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, this weekend for the 50th Cobra Jet Reunion. His Whipple supercharged ’14 started its life as a real CJ before doing time in the NHRA Super Stock category, and last year he converted it over for NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars contention. Skillman owns over a dozen Ford dealerships near Indianapolis, and he races along with his father and son.
Hanging out over in the world of NMCA Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5, David “Freight Train” Theisen (left) is cool, calm, and collected even though there’s a target on his back as he’s leading the championship points. Along with co-crew chiefs Kevin Wright (right) and “Big Steve” M. (not pictured), he’s working on a few converter changes this weekend, although the manufacturer is closely-guarded information. He’s hoping to have his Uratchko-powered ’69 Pontiac Firebird hauling butt at the big end like usual.
Currently sitting number two in the NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street championship chase, BTR Performance namesake Bill Trovato is “feeling good” about his odds this weekend. His nitrous-huffing ’10 Camaro has been fighting him for an uncomfortably long period of time and the driver found he was getting “racecar depressed,” but the Fifth-Gen recently started to come around as Trovato pushed it to a new personal best of 4.701 in the eighth-mile while racing at the previous NMCA event in Joliet, Illinois. Trovato credits the improvement in performance to a few suspension adjustments and electrical issue repairs, and hopes to end the weekend back in the number-one spot in points.
The 50th Cobra Jet Reunion happens only once in a lifetime, so enthusiasts are getting their fill of the apparel and memorabilia that is available at the NMCA Powermall Store.
The Reunion has brought some of the most rare and sought after collectible cars anywhere with over 200 on display, some of which are racing as well.
Need to brush up on your Ford drag racing history? There is plenty of literature to keep your mind entertained and your bookshelves filled.
Both Chad Brewer (near) and Kevin Gass (far) are coming off successful efforts during the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing held last month in Joliet, Illinois. Brewer secured the class win in Detroit Trueurac Nostalgia Muscle Car and Kevin Gass took home the Victor trophy after clearing out the ATI Nostalgia Super Stock contingent. Both are here this weekend in Ohio and no doubt looking to repeat their stellar performances.
Former NMCA Pro Stock racer Scott Williams has returned to the NMCA and has joined the MagnaFuel Open Comp ranks this weekend. The Armada, Michigan, resident has owned his beautiful ’65 Chevelle for 20 years, and has the log book to prove it has made some 3,800-plus drag strip passes since he has owned it. With a best ET of 8.06, the 588ci big-block engine has no problem making plenty of steam on track, and is just slightly more powerful than the original 327/four-speed driveline combination that it came with from GM.
The Roush drag team is usually kicked back and relaxing between rounds, but Susan Roush-McClenaghan’s car decided to throw a wrench—or rather a chuck of flywheel—into that plan. It came apart during testing earlier today, and the team is swapping the engine out as a precaution, though Roush-McClenghan immediately aborted the pass when the car first began to shudder and she sensed something was not particularly right.
The Factory Appearing Stock Tire group is here for its annual trip to Summit Motorsports Park, and Terry Pennington has his family of cars in attendance, which includes two big-block Corvette’s and his son Jordan’s COPO Camaro clone, which competes in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars. The elder Pennington lit up the scoreboards today with a high 9-second elapsed time—that’s on original bias-ply tires folks! Founding member Dave Dudek is also on the property, and it seems he’ll have his hands full, as he’s usually the big dog at this event with his Roadrunner.