American Muscle Abounds at NMCA Norwalk

Aaron Allison

Written by Mary Lendzion
Photography by the FSC Staff

The weather was wonderful and the competition was compelling at the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Whipple Superchargers, Aug. 22-25 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

“It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend to showcase some of the fastest cars in North America, and I’m not sure how it could have been any better,” said Summit Motorsports Park president Bill Bader Jr.

In addition to the series’ regularly contested categories, the race located two hours from Detroit, the birthplace of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, featured the Chevrolet Performance 50th Anniversary COPO Camaro Shootout presented by COPO Parts Direct, and the Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Watson Racing. As always, the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle awaited drivers doing everything in their power to push to championships with only race remaining on this year’s tour.

Thirteen of the drivers in the sixteen-car VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod category collected 3-second timeslips in qualifying, and among them was Don Walsh Jr., who was as wicked as ever with a 3.66 in his Corvette to set the pace. On race day, he rocketed to a 3.70 to win over Craig Sullivan, who was no slouch with a 3.85 in his Daytona.

Shawn Pevlor pushed to a 4.35 in the BES Racing Engines Mustang to lead qualifying in Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw, and he made it all the way to the final round of eliminations to face Rob Goss, who had qualified in the second spot in his Challenger. Goss grabbed the win with a 4.40, while Pevlor went into a high wheelie and brought it down to a 4.69.

Bill Skillman sailed to a 7.81 in his Mustang Cobra Jet to set the pace in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, but the final round of eliminations belonged to Randy Eakins and Chris Holbrook and their commanding Mustang Cobra Jets. Eakins pulled off the win with a 7.89 over Holbrook’s close 7.90. The drivers were super-close on the tree as well.

Randy Eakins

Tricia Musi motored to a 4.35 in her Firerbird to lead qualifying in ARP Nitrous Pro Street, and several rounds later, she met Randy Dolensek and his Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II in the final round of eliminations. Musi, who is leading points in the category, picked up another win with a 4.38 after Dolensek turned on the red light.

In Edelbrock Xtreme Street, Tim Knieriem tackled a 4.71 in his Mustang to lead qualifying, but by the end of the weekend, it was Jessie Coulter and J.C. Beattie in the final round of eliminations. The drivers were close on the tree, but Coulter collected the win with a 4.79 in his Camaro over Beattie, who turned in a 4.98 in his COPO Camaro.

There was revving all around in FST Carburetors NA 10.5, where Leonard Long lapped up another lead qualifier with a 7.80 blast in his manual transmission-equipped Mustang. He stick-shifted his way to the final round of eliminations to face John Langer and his Firebird. Langer, who is known for his quick reaction times, leaped off the line before Long and landed the holeshot win with a 7.95 over Long’s 7.93.

John Langer

Reigning category champion Jesse Wilson clocked a 10.13 in his Camaro to lead qualifying in Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center, and as he has done before, he met Haley Burkhammer in the final round of eliminations. Wilson used a holeshot and a 10.21 in his Camaro to wrap up the win over Burkhammer, who was 10.16 in her Camaro.

Bill Skillman blasted to an 8.03 in his other Mustang Cobra Jet to lead qualifying in Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combobut making it all the way to the final round of eliminations were Jeff Ross and his classic Barracuda and James Daniels. Ross rolled on to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a 10.68 on a 10.65 dial over Daniels, who was 8.44 on an 8.48 dial in his Dart.

Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock saw Doug Wright wrap up a 9.25 on a 9.25 index to lead qualifying, but making it to the final round of eliminations were Mike Schaefer and his Dart and Jeff Hoblick and his Belvedere. Schaefer secured the win with a dead-on 9.00 on a 9.00 dial.

Mike Schaefer

In Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car, Eric Beach turned in an 11.75 on an 11.75 index to lead qualifying, but Chad Brewer and Noah Winters were the ones duking it out in their Novas in the final round of eliminations. Both broke out and Brewer won with a 10.47 on a 10.50 index.

MagnaFuel Open Comp’s Scott Williams saw the tree to the tune of .001 in his Chevelle to lead qualifying in the tough-as-nails category, but it was David Rickey and Kevin White who raced to the final round of eliminations. Rickey won with a lifting 10.71 on a 10.17 dial when White couldn’t complete his pass in his Nova.

Street/strip cars were in the spotlight for NMCA Gear Vendors True Street, where Justin May was the overall winner with an 8.05 average in a Firebird and Rob Meisch was the runner-up with an 8.32 average in a Mustang. Mike Niehaus nailed the 9-second win in a Mustang, Adam Kemmer picked up the 10-second win in a Nova, Bret Blankemeyer drove to the 11-second win in a GTO and Gary Alfrey picked up the 12-second win in a GTO. Rounding out the category were Anthony Jagar, who was the 13-second winner in a Mustang, Andy Ransford, who was the 14-second winner in a Mustang and Tracy Myers, who was the 15-second winner in a Ram.

Racers who competed in NMCA Gear Vendors True Street, the 50th Anniversary COPO Camaro Shootout presented by COPO Parts Direct, and the Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Watson Racing were invited to take part in a Fastest Street Car True Street Bracket. After six rounds of competition, Scott Libersher won with a 9.09 on a 9.04 dial in his COPO Camaro over Daniel Sayers, who was 9.38 on a 9.35 dial in his COPO Camaro.

Drivers with 2005 and newer Gen III-powered Challengers, Demons, Hellcats, Chargers, 300s and Jeeps have been duking it out in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout at NMCA events this year. At this event, John Keyes was the overall winner with a 10.10 average, while Robert Vacek was the runner-up with a 10.19 average. Alan Scruggs was the 10-second winner, Robert Hess was the 11-second winner, Jeff Smith was the 12-second winner, John Miller was the 13-second winner, Joe Giordano was the 14-second winner and Jessica Rickey was the 15-second winner. Then, after the eight quickest drivers in the category came together for the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 presented by Red Line Oil, Robert Hess hooked the win with a 10.48 after his opponent’s pass was declared void due to lack of proper safety equipment.

In the Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, Jeff Brady was the overall winner with a 9.89 average in his Camaro, while Terry Faust was the runner-up with a 10.04 average in his Corvette. Scott Bolek picked up the 10-second win in his CTSV and Norm Jensen picked up the 11-second win in his Camaro.

Aaron Allison

There were more than 80 COPO Camaros across the categories for the Chevrolet Performance 50th Anniversary COPO Camaro Shootout presented by COPO Parts Direct, a special feature of this event. John Simbeck recorded a perfect reaction time to lead qualifying, and after six rounds of eliminations, Aaron Allison arrived at the win with a 9.47 on a 9.43 dial over Todd Patterson, who was 9.21 on a 9.20 dial.

Just as impressive, there were more than 50 Mustang Cobra Jets across the categories in another special feature of this event, the Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Watson Racing. Richard Rodgers recorded a .006 to see his name at the top of the sheet in qualifying, but Jack Zebich and Mike Fuller made it to the final round of eliminations. Both drivers broke out, but Zebich broke out by less and won with an 11.90 on an 11.91, while Fuller was 9.95 on a 9.97 dial.

Don Baskin Truck Sales Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST) racers were in action at this event, and Terry Pennington was the lead qualifier with a 10.13, and later won over Don Giannone. Joining them were Cor-A-Vent and Autorama Auto Sales Factory Stock racers, and Julie Pennington picked up an 11.02 to lead qualifying, and later won over Eric Simpson. Factory Stock Shootout winners include Ty Taccone, Donnie Brass, Victoria Waligoria and Dave Watt.

All of the hard work and all of the hauling will come to a head at the final stop on this year’s NMCA tour, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, Sept. 19-20 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. That’s where championships across the categories will be cemented. For more information and advance tickets, click HERE

(For a separate story with results of Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series racing, click HERE)

COPO Owners and Drivers