By Mary Lendzion
As far as first hot rods go, Randy Dolensek had a doozy in the 1969 Mercury Cyclone he bought from his brother.
He proudly drove it on the streets around their Wisconsin home, and years later, he bought another 1969 Mercury Cyclone that he painted green in a nod to the one he had in high school.
These days, he cruises to 4-second passes in the eighth-mile in that classic car, now a Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II clone with a chassis by Blitzkrieg Motorsports, in NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street, and commands a lot of attention along the way.
It’s for good reason, as Dolensek, who a few years ago hired legendary NMRA Pro 5.0 driver Chuck Samuel to build a nitrous-enhanced 632 cubic-inch Ford engine for him — and to help him — has been making considerable progress in the car.
“I had been having problems getting the car off the starting line, and when Chuck built the engine and came on board, he really helped me sort things out,” said Dolensek, who lives in Franksville, Wisconsin and whose crew also includes Steven Hiltner and Jeff Seeman. “Chuck got right under the car and made a few adjustments, and the car immediately started leaving the line much better. He was willing to help, and it has evolved into something that is pretty phenomenal.”
“Pretty phenomenal” indeed, as 2019 was Dolensek’s most successful year yet in NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street. He dished out quicker and faster times with each pass, with 4.46 and 161 mph being personal best elapsed-times and speed, and 1.08 being a personal best 60-foot.
“Last year, every pass we made was better than the pass before it, and we were being really conservative and just making small changes at a time,” said Dolensek, who has earned two runner-up finishes in the category. “I attribute that to Chuck, who also does the tuning.”
After wrapping up a sixth-place finish in NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street points, Dolensek, who said all he and his team had to do between races was change the oil, turned his engine over to Samuel to be freshened. Samuel also is setting the combination up for a third stage of nitrous to help Dolensek have a smoother on-track experience when each stage kicks in.
Additionally, Dolensek is installing an air dam under the front bumper of the car for aerodynamics, and trying to remove 50 pounds from the car, which also features a Turbo 400 by Proformance Racing Transmissions and a converter by Neal Chance, and rolls on Mickey Thompson slicks.
“I’ve personally lost 23 pounds, so we’re almost halfway there, right?” said Dolensek, with a laugh.
Dolensek, who said that whenever he’s in a bad mood, he just has to climb into the driver’s seat of his car to feel better, plans to attend four events on this year’s NMCA tour, beginning with the NMCA Power Festival, May 28-31 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois.
“My goal is to pick up even more and run 4.30s, but not by throwing everything at the car at one time,” said Dolensek. “We don’t want to kill it. That would take the fun out of it, so we’re just going to stay on the road that we’re on, and we’ll get there.”