Prev Article Next Article

Hornback Gaining Knowledge and Going Places in Dart NA 10.5

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA and courtesy of Twila Hornback
Rick Hornback was 16 years old when he purchased his 1969 Chevelle.
He raced the car in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp for several years before fulfilling his dream of moving to NMCA Dart NA 10.5 in 2016, and he has been having the time of his life ever since.
The classic car, which is still steel with the exception of the fiberglass hood, and still has its original class with the exception of the windshield, has substantial sentimental value to Hornback. In fact, it still sports the factory dash, including the glovebox, as well as the dome light, backup lights and passenger seat.
What it doesn’t have, however, is the factory engine and transmission, and the replacements keep Hornback hightailing it in the rpm-loving category.
While he has been relying on a naturally aspirated 632 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine, he decided over the winter of 2022-2023 to deliver his engine to fellow racer Scott Williams of S&K Motorsports to be punched out to 645 cubic-inches. The engine features a cast-iron Dart Big M block, and BES Racing heads and intake. With the move to more cubic-inches, Hornback went from his carburetor set-up to Holley Fuel Injection.
Additionally, Chris Spall of Spall Chassis and Performance reworked the rear end of the car and installed carbon fiber components for a weight reduction, and Hornback wrapped his tires around a new set of Weld wheels and installed new TBM brakes.
He debuted the changes last summer at the NMCA/NMRA event at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan, where he made it to the final round of eliminations.

“My son, Tyler, helps a ton with the tuning on the car, and Scott Williams also helped us with the initial tuning last year,” said Hornback. “We are glad we moved to the Holley Fuel Injection. We watch the weather so we know what kind of tune to put in the car, and when the weather changes 20 minutes later, which is often does, we are able to quickly change the tune. It is helpful to be able to access the fuel, ignition and data-logging all in one system.”
The dedication helped Hornback clock even quicker elapsed times at the next two NMCA events, which were in Ohio and Indiana, and he closed the 2023 racing season with a personal best of 8.29.
“The car went straight as an arrow last year, and it was quicker at 330 feet and beyond,” said Hornback. “We were able to fine-tune the clutch to accommodate the added horsepower. Now we will focus on lowering our 60-foot times.”
Over the winter of 2023-2024, Hornback hired Williams to give his engine a once-over,
and to fabricate larger yet shorter headers as suggested by Tony Bischoff.
Hornback, who runs a Lenco four-speed, sent his clutch to Boninfante for new facing, and installed new Afco rear springs and an IDIDIT steering column.
Helping Hornback at the races are his wife, Twila, son, Tyler, and Tyler’s wife, Emily, and Hornback Family Racing will soon grow, as Tyler and Emily just welcomed a baby boy named Mac. Additionally, Scott Williams often offers support at the track.
The progress, passion and positive support from his family, friends and fellow racers have Hornback counting the days until the 16th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Sipple's Speed & Performance, April 11-14 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.
With all six NMCA races on his schedule this year, he plans to learn something new about his car and combination at each stop, and start clocking 8.0s this year, followed by 7s next year.


join our

email list

You’ll be first to know about NMCA events, race results and so much more!