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Friday Coverage NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance

Posted By: Mike Galimi
Racers have begun pulling into the lanes for today's running of the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, and it's just the start of what is sure to be a wild weekend of racing. This is the second year in a row that this event has been held at this facility, and it's quickly becoming a favorite stop on the series' tour. The Nitto Tire Diamond Tree Rings will make it even more memorable for racers who win.


    There's a lot of action on tap for today, and according to the current forecast, temperatures will reach 70 degrees and we'll be under partly sunny skies. While Craig Amptmeyer can usually be found racing in X275 and Titans of the 10.5 at various tracks, he's making his Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw debut this weekend. The Missourian brings to the category a beautiful 1970 Chevelle packing a 400 cubic-inch LS bullet built by Bennett Racing Engines and topped with All Pro heads. It's enhanced with an 88mm Harts turbo, and an M&M Turbo 400 and converter help put the power down. Nate Bell of Freedom Fabworx helps Amptmeyer with suspension set-up and tuning via FuelTech, and after Amptmeyer spun during his two test passes yesterday, they made some changes and they are ready for qualifying today. I've always wanted to run Street Outlaw, so I'm looking forward to it, said Amptmeyer, whose car flies banners for Freedom Fabworx and MCON. I've been 4.43, but I'm hoping to run 4.30s this weekend. Craig Hejda has one heck of a Maverick, and it keeps going quicker and faster in Dart NA 10.5. Its major motivation is a small-block Ford built last year by Uratchko Racing Engines and backed by a Liberty's five-speed transmission and Ram clutch, and the recent addition of a carburetor by Mark Whitener of Lightning Racing Carburetors and different gearing in his car's rear end, have helped Hejda pick up from a previous best of 171 mph to 177 mph. It's amazing how much the new carburetor has affected my combination, said Hejda, who has support from his wife, Stacy. "My car is working better, and I'm really excited about the gains. I've run as quick as 7.94, and I hope to run 7.80s very soon. While Tony Meier Sr. of Lansing, Illinois had his cool 1969 Chevelle dialed in for bracket racing at various tracks, he tried NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp at an event two years ago, and is giving it another go this weekend. Meier Sr. admits that there are some differences between bracket racing and MagnaFuel Open Comp racing, and a bit of a learning curve, but he's well on his way to winning in his car powered by a 383 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine by Fullbore Racing Engines and a Turbo 400 transmission by TCI. Meier Sr., who has run a best of 10.98, is the father of Tony Meier Jr., a former crew chief for successful NMRA racer John Leslie Jr. Todd Moyer, who usually competes in the Mid-West Pro Mod Series, traveled all the way from Texas to compete in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod. His 2015 Camaro-bodied car built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars is a force with a 548 cubic-inch Noonan Hemi and ProChager F-4X. Carl Stevens Sr. and Carl Stevens Jr. keep the engine and chassis in shape, and Chris Crudel, othrwise known as Gumby, helps ready the car between rounds. While Moyer's car absolutely leaped off the line in the first round of qualifying today, it shook the tires at about 80 feet out, but Moyer is not at all worried, as Stevens Jr. is on top of the tune-up for the second round of qualifying. Noticeably missing from the first two events on this year's NMCA tour was Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Tony Orts, who's back in action this weekend at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance at World Wide Technology Raceway. While his car still sports the unpainted fiberglass front that he installed after he hit the wall last year, he has under it a new Holley EFI system, which replaced his carburetor. Someone told me that I used to be with the Flintstones and that it was time for me to be with the Jetsons, said Orts, who continues to rely on a nitrous-enhanced small-block Chevrolet by Precision Engine Rebuilders. While he didn't get a clean pass in the first round of qualifying today, he's hoping to replace his personal best of 4.68 with low 4.60s sometime soon. The weekend is off to a very good start for Pete Ricart. In running an 8.25 and 170 mph in the first round of Coan Stock/Super Stock Combo qualifying today, he replaced his previous personal best speed of 168 mph with a 170 mph in his Mustang Cobra Jet powered by a 5.2L Coyote engine and a Whipple Supercharger, and serving as a rolling showcase for Rabid Customs, Buddy's RPM, Joe Dirt and John Holt Race Cars. When asked what he attributes those numbers to, the Ohioan laughed and said "My driving ability," before getting serious and saying he has been trying to achieve that for a while, and hopes to back it up in the other lane in the next round of qualifying. While Carl Stevens Jr. has competed in Jim Bell's Camaro-bodied car in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod and other series, he had never competed in Bell's beautiful black Mustang-bodied car until this weekend. He's officially entered in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod in the car built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars and powered by a Hemi by Xtreme Racing Engines and a ProCharger F-3X-140, and he's currently designing a tune via FuelTech for the car. We're working on figuring out what the chassis wants and where we need to be, said Stevens Jr., who also has help from his father, Carl Stevens Sr., who takes care of the chassis set-up and engine maintenance for the car, and Steve Cooks, who handles maintenance between rounds. After one round of qualifying so far, the standout driver sits in the fifth spot with a 3.97. The 2019 Mid-West Pro Mod Series X275 champion Randy Matlock (left) decided to come try out NMCA Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw for this event instead of his usual series. Running a 92 Mustang built by Beilman Fabrication and powered by an LS engine from Design Performance, Randy's son, Cory (right), manages the tune up on the ComSYNC EFI system. The men love the father-son dynamic, and claimed the top spot in qualifying so far with a 4.454 at 162.67 mph hit during Friday's first session. Adrian Vanden Acker of Wisconsin earned a win the very first time he took part in the Dodge // Mopar Hemi Shootout last year, and he's focused on earning another one this weekend. Up to the task is his 2009 Challenger, which packs a 5.7L Hemi, has just 18,000 miles on its odometer and has so far helped him achieve a best of 13.66. While Vanden Acker is competitive, he's also quick to say that he and his wife and crew chief, Jean, enjoy the various makes and models of cars in the NMCA, and the fact the racers are very friendly with each other, regardless of whether they're passionate about Mopars, Fords, Chevrolets or other car companies.

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