By Mary Lendzion
Nicole Liberty-Cach was holding her own in Outlaw 632 at Milan Dragway in Michigan when she decided to take on NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street last year.
While it was later in the season and she only got to compete in one race, she knew that she and her Firebird were a fine fit for the category, and she gave it another go at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance in May of this year at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois.
There, she showed her skills by earning a trip to the NMCA Winner’s Circle with a 4.51 against Kyle Salminen’s 4.99 in her Firebird powered by a naturally aspirated 632 inch big-block Chevrolet engine built by her uncle, Vince Khoury of Khoury Racing Engines and backed by a five-speed transmission built at Liberty’s Gears, which is owned by her father, Craig Liberty, and where she works as a design engineer.
“When I went to that race, my goal was to just take things round-by-round, so it definitely felt good to be able to pull off a win,” said Liberty-Cach, whose cousin, Vince Khoury, also races in ARP Nitrous Pro Street and is the reigning category champion, and whose cousin, Rocko Khoury, is currently in fourth place in Dart NA 10.5 points.
Liberty-Cach was in the semifinal round of eliminations at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Force Engineering in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan when a spun rod bearing in her engine put a damper on her weekend.
“We lost mph and we started to lose oil pressure,” said Liberty-Cach.
Fortunately, her uncle, Vince Khoury, was already in the process of building a new 632 cubic-inch big-block Chevrolet engine for her. It features Dart heads, a Dart cast aluminum block with a Hughes intake manifold with an aluminum intake top which Liberty-Cach and her father, Craig Liberty, designed at Liberty’s Gears.
“I drew it on my CAD software, while we were looking at the physics of how the fuel wants to flow through the runners,” said Liberty-Cach. “It took me a couple of hours to draw the original, and we modified it from there.”
The new engine spent some time on the dyno, and Liberty-Cach is happy with its horsepower levels.
“The dyno numbers were good, and I’m anticipating that this engine will be even better than our previous engine,” said Liberty-Cach.
The driver from Michigan will debut her new engine at the NMCA All-American Nationals, this weekend, Aug. 25-29 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
“We’re planning to make some test passes on Thursday, before going into qualifying on Friday,” said Liberty-Cach, whose car rolls on Mickey Thompson slicks. “I’m pretty excited, to be honest.”