By Mary Lendzion
If there’s one thing Andy Warren has proven, it’s that he’s a wizard behind the wheel of his well-known Caprice in NMCA Detroit TrueTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car.
In fact, he was a seven-time champion in the category dead-set on becoming an eight-time champion going into the 2019 race season.
The Kentuckian set out by qualifying in the third spot with a 10.01 on a 10.00 index and finishing as the runner-up with 9.97 against Chad Brewer at the season-opening 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. Then, he qualified in the tenth spot with a 10.04 on a 10.00 index and finished as the runner-up with 10.04 against Brewer at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway.
With the arrival of warmer weather, he went with a slightly slower 10.25 index and qualified in the second spot with a 10.255 in his Caprice powered by a small-block Chevy built by Tim Knieriem of Knieriem Racing Engines, and arrived at the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a 10.31 against Tim Clark at the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway. Making that weekend even more memorable was the fact that he also won the ATI Performance Products Muscle Car Madness presented by Deuce Machining, which featured the top ten qualifiers in Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car, Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock and Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock, plus two wild cards, in a 32-car shootout.
On a roll, Warren led qualifying with a 10.25 on a 10.25 index and wrapped up yet another win despite a breakout time of 10.23 against Audrey Baize at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois, but the following event didn’t go as well as he had hoped it would, as he qualified in the fourth spot with a 10.26 on a 10.25 index and lost with a slowing 10.36 in the first round of eliminations at the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio.
“I broke the engine in the Caprice in Norwalk,” said Warren. “I thought I was done for as far as the championship goes. Fortunately, I have a great engine builder (Tim Knieriem) and amazing industry relationships. Everyone teamed up and we had the car ready a week before Indy.”
In unseasonably warm weather, Warren qualified in the fourth spot with a 10.257 on a 10.25, scored a semifinal finish, and much more importantly, his eighth — yes, eighth — NMCA Detroit TrueTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car championship, at the final event on this year’s NMCA schedule, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals in September at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.
“What a busy, interesting, yet great year,” said Warren, who had also begun competing in NMCA Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo and in NHRA Divisional races in Scott Libersher’s COPO Camaro on a limited schedule this year. “There are so many people who were a part of the success this year, and I am thankful for every one of them, but most of all, I want to thank my wife Shelby, my parents, my brother John, and the rest of the Never A Doubt team for being there every step of the way. The #1 will stay on the Caprice for 2020.”
Warren and all of his accomplishments will be celebrated at the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components, Dec. 13 at the Indiana Convention Center.
(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.)