By Mary Lendzion
Jeff Frees hasn’t been behind the wheel of the DragPak Challenger he bought from Jim Bailey for long, but he has already discovered how to be competitive in it.
In NMCA Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo, he qualified in the sixth spot with a 9.83 on a 10.90 index in the car built by Mike Roth and powered by 392 cubic-inch Hemi built by Jeff Taylor at the first race on this year’s NMCA tour, the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. While he exited eliminations early, he was well on his way to collecting desired data.
Using it, the Wisconsin-based driver qualified in the ninth spot with a 9.85 on a 10.90 index and posted a 9.97 on a 9.90 index against Mark Ruset to earn a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway,
From there, he qualified in the fourteenth spot with a 9.85 on a 10.90 index and exited eliminations early at the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway, and then qualified in the eighteenth spot with a 9.80 on a 10.90 index and earned another event win with a 9.84 on a 9.86 index over Terry Knott at 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.
After qualifying in the sixteenth spot with a 9.76 on a 10.90 index, he advanced to the second round of eliminations with a 9.77 on a 9.78 index at the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio, and with that, he had the highly coveted lead in Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo points going into the final event on this year’s NMCA tour, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals in September at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. There, he qualified in the eleventh spot with a 9.82 on a 10.90 index, and despite losing in the first round of eliminations, he was able to walk away as the 2019 NMCA Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo champion.
“I had been trying to earn my first Stock/Super Stock Combo championship, and it really was feast or famine for me this year because I either lost in early rounds or won the event,” said Frees. “The competition is tougher than tough. There are a lot of NMCA, NHRA and IHRA champions who run in Stock/Super Stock Combo, and you have to be on your game at all times.”
The NMCA family will celebrate Frees and his fellow champions at the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components, Dec. 13 at the Indiana Convention Center.
“This championship means a lot to me,” said Frees, who pulls double duty at events by entering his Barracuda in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock, where he finished in fifth place in points, and whose brother, Tim Frees, also competes in the category and finished in second place in points in his Savoy. “I had a lot of education from fellow racers including Doug Duell and Dennis Breeden, as well as advice from Jim Bailey, who I bought the car from. And, I simply could not campaign two cars without my crew chief, Brian Bushweiler, or Windy, as we call him.”
(Please watch for stories on all NMCA champions to be posted on the NMCA and Race Pages Digital websites and in Fastest Street Car in the days to come.)