Today, the action heats up as heads-up and index racers roll into the third and fourth rounds of qualifying to establish the ladders for tomorrow’s eliminations rounds at the 19th Annual Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines. Meanwhile competitors in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout and True Street classes make test hits before running their laps to determine winners in a wide range of elapsed-time categories. Keep your browser pointed to this page to see all the highlights from the pits and the track.
SEE THE QUALIFYING RESULTS HERE
This is how the action takes place today during the 19th Annual Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
The Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Part Center class was on fire during Friday qualifying with five racers collecting 9-second time slips. Ft. Wayne, Indiana’s Scott Brown (above) led the pack with a 9.899 run in his CRC Camaro, followed by Scotty Duncan at 9.92, Glenn Pushis with a 9.95, 2020 class champion Jeff Heintz with a 9.96 and Ronnie Hackelton with a 9.99. Keith Vaughn was next with a deadly 10.007 and Shawn Calabrese rounded out what may be the closest we’ve seen the field with a 10.11.
Passing through the NMCA tech inspection can seem like a daunting task, but tech director Roger Conley makes it easy for new racers like Klaus Norrhed. A native of Sweden and resident of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the last 15 years, Norrhed just got into drag racing recently, and did so with style. He has entered his 2018 Dodge Demon into the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout this weekend, and has run a best of 10.14. After pulling out some unnecessary weight from the car, he is hoping for his first 9-second timeslip.
After competing in Torqstorm Superchargers True Street last year, Boca Raton, Florida’s Robert Remek decided to enter his C7 Stingray Corvette in Late Model Engines Street King this weekend at the Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines. During Thursday’s test session, Remek had the Redline Motorsports-tuned machine set on kill with a 170hp shot of nitrous on top of the ProCharger Superchargers F1A-94 blower. In search of an 8-second time slip, the Corvette went skyward—on 18-inch drag radials and an independent rear suspension! With 927rwhp on tap—sans nitrous—Remek should have no problem reaching the 10.0 index for Street King competition.
Getting back into drag radial racing, Florida’s Eugene Rodriguez is competing this weekend in Edelbrock Xtreme Street with his 582ci big-block Chevy-powered Mustang. Rodriguez relies on a steady supply of nitrous as his choice of power adder, and he has IRD Racing’s Jon Bitler handling the tuneup on the IRD Racing carburetor this weekend. Rodriguez currently sits 11th after the second round of qualifying for the 16-car field with a 4.71.
Longtime Proform Rumble competitor Bobbi Strong is back racing with her Camaro SS after a two-year hiatus. Her husband, Robert, has recently been dabbling in Limited 235 with his LSX-powered Monte Carlo SS, and is taking a break to support his wife this weekend at the NMCA season opener this weekend.
When Chuck Bartholome and his wife had a baby, he tossed the keys of his Fox Mustang, which is fresh off success at the NMRA season opener two weeks ago, to Brad Schehr. He is racing it in Edelbrock Xtreme Street this weekend with support from Mike Dezotel. The duo is trying out a few new things to give a head start at racing on an NMCA track leading up to the 13th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in Commerce, Georgia, next month. They want to set the car up for Bartholome, but that doesn’t mean Schehr isn’t enjoying his time behind the wheel. “What’s more fun than beating up on your friend’s car, especially when he is paying the bills?” the driver joked. After two rounds of qualifying, he posted a 4.65 at 153.0 mph, so there is work to be done.
Aside from racing his usual steed in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, Bill Skillman is also running the team’s 2012 Mustang in Coan Engineering Stock Super Stock this weekend. They are trying out a big Whipple blower under the hood. The team says it is experimental at this point, and after two rounds of qualifying, he placed the S197 in the 23rd qualified spot based on an 8.34 run on a 9.10 index.
In the off-season Bill Trovato turned to Farks Supercars to redo the front end of his Camaro. The result culled 80 pounds off the front end. As such, the car now meets the minimum weight in Edelbrock Xtreme Street. During the first round of qualifying he launched too aggressively and had to ride out a wheelie. Fortunately no damage was done. On the prior test hit, he says it ran to perfection, which showed in the second round as he clicked off a 4.61 at 150.43. That was just behind Tim Knieriem in the other lane, which meant Trovato lost a friendly $1 wager on who would run the best elapsed time when the two squared off.
2020 LME Street King champion Kurt Anderson found himself without a complete engine for his 1969 Camaro, so in order to race here in Florida, he went to plan B and loaded up his wife, Shawna’s Fourth-Gen Camaro. During early qualifying, Anderson had an issue with the Turbo 350 transmission, which thankfully turned out to be a loose pickup, and an inexpensive fix.
Like a shopping mall for automotive enthusiasts, the manufacturer’s midway at the 19th Annual Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines offers a cornucopia of automotive upgrades for enthusiasts to enjoy. A one-stop shop for a wide variety of components is the Arrington Performance trailer, which carries displays from the likes of Centerforce Clutches, Classic Instruments, E3 Spark Plugs, FST Carburetors, GForce Performance, Kooks Headers & Exhaust, Moser Engineering, QA1, Redline Oil, and naturally Arrington Performance. That company’s main man, Mike Copeland, brought a bit of extra eye candy to Bradenton Motorsports Park in the form of the Outrage — a 650-horsepower 1984 Dodge Rampage created by Arrington Performance. Powering this wild rides a 392 Hemi feeding its output to a Mendeola five-speed transaxle.
Largo, Florida-based RYNO Classifieds, the Official Classifieds for the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals and Holley NMRA Ford Nationals, has an attractive display at the Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines this weekend at Bradenton Motorsports Park. The display is in a high-traffic area, and race fans have been stopping by and talking with representatives. “We have been doing classifieds since 1998, and this is a good new platform for us,” said Ryan Maturski, CEO of RYNO Classifieds (www.ryno.co) “We’re talking with a lot of racers about signing up and posting on our platform.”
John Lastinger of Clearwater, Florida usually competes in Outlaw 632, but when the NMCA tour takes over Bradenton Motorsports Park every March, he arrives for ARP Nitrous Pro Street. He’s very competitive in his beautiful 1969 Camaro powered by a 632 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine built by Nelson Competition and beefed up by a SpeedTech nitrous system, and he doesn’t have to make any changes to his combination to go back and forth between the two categories. Lastinger put a 4.49 on the board yesterday and is currently qualified in the third spot. “I put a lot of work into my racing, but I love it,” and Lastinger. “If I could win this weekend, it would be even better.
Runner up at this event last year, LME Street King racer Trevor Loken is back again with his turbocharged pickup truck. Loken was leaning on the LS engine hard the other day and possibly lifted a cylinder head, so he’s planning on dialing down the boost pressure for the rest of the weekend.
Dart NA 10.5 drivers John Langer and Cameron Bowles went for wild rides during qualifying yesterday when Langer had an issue and crossed into Cameron’s lane. “I think I cracked a cylinder head and put water out onto the header and the tire at about 1,200 feet out,” said Langer. “That caused me to slide sideways through the traps and into Cameron’s lane. My chute flipped the ET cone, and I spun around backwards and was in Cameron’s lane, facing down track. As soon as my car got loose, I pulled the chute and my car grabbed and broke the control arm on the passenger’s side and I went into the wall. Cameron got on the brakes, and luckily, I never touched his car.” Watching in horror was Steve Matukas of Matukas Motorsports, who a few years ago completely rebuilt Langer’s Firebird and has performed so much crucial work on his car over the years. “We had to cobble the control arms back together so that we could get the car into the trailer,” said Langer. “The car will need a new front half and front clip, and the passenger’s side is pancaked in. The car did it’s job and kept me safe, and that’s what matters most.” Langer also will send his 577 cubic-inch Pontiac engine back to BES Racing Engines to be inspected, and his ProFlite transmission back to Pro-Formance Transmissions to be checked out.
Jim Woods has driven a number of cars in NHRA and IHRA Stock and Super Stock through the years, and was excited to finish building his latest car, a 1984 Cutlass that he purchased a while back, but earlier this year, he became seriously ill with COVID-19, and was hospitalized. Weeks later, he was faced with having to learn how to walk again, and was surprised with the news that his friends wanted to finish putting his car together so that it would be ready for him when he was able to return to racing, and as it turned out, he was ready to climb into the driver’s seat for this weekend’s race. He’s currently trying to dial the car into the 12.45 index in Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo. “Everything about this car is new to me, so I have a lot to learn, but it feels so good to be back, and my wife, Connie, and my other family members are here supporting me,” said Woods. “Yesterday was my birthday, and they gave me a new race jacket and a cake, and thanks to my family and friends, I’m celebrating it here at the race. It has been a special weekend.”
Just when you think you have seen it all, you will find something fresh at the race track. After hurting the Hemi engine in his Jeep Trackhawk, DJ Scheid replaced it with a fresh engine. As such, the wounded, 6.2-liter powerplant needed a new home. After a freshening that included sturdier Manley rods and CP-Carrillo pistons, its owner decided to install the Hemi in a dragster. Driver Jeff Keen thought Sheid was joking, but he pulled it off with help from FTI, which delivered a 10-inch torque converter to harness all that Hemi grunt and a Holley EFI system that helps keep it running consistent and legal. Initially tested on 93-octane, it now sips but a half gallon of Ignite E85 on each mid-4-second pass in Bracket.
Under the tutelage of Kimmie Mapes, Gardner Stone’s Ford Mustang Cobra Jet benefitted from a lot of off-season upgrades. Not only did it undergo a visual transformation from 2016 to 2018 Mustang styling, but it received a lot of chassis work and new power-assisted brakes from Lamb. The latter helps ensure he doesn’t push through the beams, while the former allows his car to put down the power. Stone’s CJ definitely did that in the second and third rounds of qualifying in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, where it ran matching 7.60-second elapsed times. He says this is the best car he has ever had, but is mindful that it rides on the razor’s edge of 9-inch tires, so traction and weather conditions are always a concern.
Mustang media legend Michael Johnson is out at the 19th Annual Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines running his Terminator-powered SN-95 in TorqStorm Superchargers True Street. The Cobra ran a 12.36 on a test hit, and he would like to get it into the 11-second zone if he can track down and sort out a high-rpm gremlin.
Today, there is Mopar muscle for miles at Bradenton Motorsports Park. There are more than 60 Hemi-powered machines competing in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout class. It will decide winners in a wide range of elapsed-time categories today, and eight cars with the quickest average will compete in tomorrow’s Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 Presented by Red Line Oil.
The family that races together is obviously a happy one. The Millers, of BMR Suspension fame, are back at the Bradenton Motorsports Park this weekend after their company sponsored the NMRA season opener. This weekend they are all racing, with Allan running a new C8 Corvette in TorqStorm Superchargers True Street (until a stock axle failed), while Allan III and his mother Donna were running their Trackhawk and Challenger, respectively, in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout. However, Donna gave up here seat in the Challenger so Alan could keep racing.
After his on-track incident with John Langer yesterday, Dart NA 10.5 driver Cameron Bowles, who’s driving his grandfather Don Bowles’ famous Unfinished Business Mustang, repaired the wheelie bars under the car, replaced all of its wheels and tires — which were compromised when he got on the brakes to try to avoid hitting Langer — and riveted the front end of the car. With no time to spare, he made the next round of qualifying, and sits in the tenth spot with an 8.16, with one more round of qualifying to go.
Rusty Gillis has been racing his 1969 Cobra Jet Mustang off and on since 1971. The FE powerplant under the hood makes over 500 horsepower, and has propelled the pony deep into the 11s this weekend. When he’s not at the track, Gillis can be found just a few hours north of Bradenton at Gillis Performance Restorations in Port Richey, Florida, where he and his team are busy bringing the classics back to better-than-original condition.
Dan Hirsch of Sylvania, Ohio, made the Spring Break trip down to Bradenton, Florida, to mix it up in TorqStorm Superchargers with his 1965 Mustang. Hirsch’s father bought the car in 1971 and his son took it over around 1983. Having come a long way from being the “secretary’s car” that Ford announced it to be, Hirsch’s Mustang was built for Hot Rod Drag Week duty with twin Bullseye 83mm turbochargers boosting a Bennett Racing-built 400-X engine. On the 10-lb wastegate spring, the Mustang charged to a 9.01 at 151 mph in testing today, and Hirsch might just dial up the boost a little more once True Street commences.
Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer and local Floridian Archie Marasco got to work this afternoon after a lifter failed in his small-block Ford engine during qualifying. Marasco, aided by his son A.J. were hot and heavy on the repair in hopes of making the final qualifier today.
Wesley Taylor just started competing in the Ultra Street category in the last two years, and decided to try out his first NMCA event and the Edelbrock Xtreme Street class this weekend. A former bracket racer turned heads-up competitor, Taylor swapped out the small-block Chevy in his 2000 Camaro for a Bennett Racing Engines 388ci LSX powerplant that is fed by a Precision 76mm turbocharger. Pressurized Solutions has been handling the tuneup on the Big Stuff 3 EFI system, and Taylor is whittling away at the new combination’s performance, posting a 4.72 so far and hoping for a 4.6-something by the end of the weekend.
After three rounds of Holley EFI Factory Super Car qualifying, Wilmington, Illinois’ Scott Libersher sits 9th in his COPO Camaro. Unfortunately, he and his team had to pull the engine due to a dropped valve, but they have a new Ray Barton Racing Engines bullet ready to go in for eliminations.
Maryland’s Mike Naumann got hooked on NMCA racing years ago after watching the Super Street class, and this weekend marks the first time he and his team will compete in the series. Naumann has previously run the Outlaw 632 class at other races with his 1970 all-steel Chevy Nova, and loves the factory appearing bodies of the Nitrous Pro Street class. He’s owned the Nova for 24 years, which now sports a Nesbitt Performance Engines-built powerplant with Speedtech nitrous, an M&M Transmission Turbo 400, and a Carmack Engineering rearend. Doug Kline of Precision Chassis built the chassis and is making adjustments along with Jamie Miller, who is also calling the shots on the FuelTech EFI system. Fran McCarthy is performing the crew duties and Naumann’s son, Jake, is the wheelman for this weekend.
Scotty Guadagno of Spring Hill, Florida, usually runs radials on his Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built Chevy Camaro in Radial vs. the World and Pro 275 competition, but he decided to try his hand at VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend. On radials, Scotty G has driven to 3.70s at 200 mph, and on the big Hoosiers, he went 3.80 in the Fourth round of qualifying to hopefully get into the 16-car field for eliminations tomorrow.
Late-model HEMI owners have invaded Bradenton Motorsports Park for the Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout with 64 cars teched in and ready to burn rubber. We’ve seen a few Demons, numerous Hellcats, and a Charger that went deep into the 9s just in testing, and the contingent will make their three runs later today.
Here’s how the action will go down on the final day of the 19th Annual Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines.