By Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA and courtesy of Mike DiDomenico
In driving to an amazing 3.68 last year, Mike DiDomenico proved that he could certainly be successful in NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod.
His G-Force Race Cars-built and 1968 Camaro-bodied car was a contender with its 521 cubic-inch Brad Anderson Hemi prepared by Rage Fuel Systems, topped with MBE heads, a Brad Anderson intake and an SSI supercharger and backed by a
Liberty’s five-speed transmission.
But DiDomenico and his son Sal, who is also his crew chief, wanted to improve upon an already incredible combination, so over winter, they freshened his engine at the shop they own together, CNC Performance Products in Ohio, and sent his supercharger to SSI for some finessing.
Then, they headed to the first NMCA event of the year, the 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, where DiDomenico flew to a 3.74 to qualify in the fifth spot in the full field of sixteen cars, followed by a 3.72 and 3.77 on his way to a semifinal finish.
Ready to go even further, DiDomenico, who, in addition to his son, Sal, has help from crew members Gary Lucas, Adam Stablein and Blake Molnar, set out for the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, June 25-28 at Atlanta Dragway. Upon arriving, he made a couple pre-qualifying test passes.
“We clicked it off early because we felt that was all we needed to do, and we were very pleased with the data,” said DiDomenico, whose commanding car flies banners for Robots Done Right, Tub O’ Towels and CNC Performance Products. “It was telling us that we would run high 3.60 and low 3.70 passes in the eighth-mile, and we felt really good about that going into qualifying. We felt it would put us toward the top of the ladder.”
Unfortunately, his hopes of hauling were dashed in the first round of qualifying, when his car went into a wild shake as he began to do his burnout.
“The car was shaking violently and I lost oil pressure, so I knew something devastating was happening and I clicked it off as quickly as I could,” said DiDomenico. “It ended up being rod failure on two rods, and we were lucky that they didn’t come through the block.”
Upon returning home to Ohio, DiDomenico and his son, Sal, began disassembling his engine to determine exactly how much damage it had.
“We hurt it bad,” said DiDomenico. “We called Mike from Rage Fuel Systems, who had built the engine originally, and got a replacement camshaft from him, and we sent the heads to MBE to be reworked because we bent valves, and we sent the Brad Anderson Enterprises block to Brad Anderson Enterprises, and they put new cylinder sleeves in it and put it all back together with a new Callie’s crank, new MGP rods and new Diamond pistons. Normally, my son, Sal, and I would do that, but it worked out well to just have Brad Anderson Enterprises do it this time. We also sent the supercharger to SSI to be checked for damage, but it didn’t have any, and Sal and I looked at the transmission and converter, and they were not damaged.”
While DiDomenico missed the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance, July 30-August 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, he got his engine back from Brad Anderson Enterprises, and he, along with his son, Sal, and crew members Lucas, Stablein and Molnar, installed it just a day ago. The major motivation? The Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering, this weekend, Aug. 27-30 at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
“We didn’t have time to dyno the engine, but my son, Sal, will tune it up and we should be good to go,” said DiDomenico. “We’ll have our fingers crossed because we want to go rounds, win the race and get caught up in points.”