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Puckett’s Composure Helps Her Capture Rumble Championship

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff
 
When people walk by Regina Puckett’s pit area at the races, they see a poised and placid racer.
 
Whether she is looking at her time slips or at her tune-up, she is calm and she is making calculated moves.
 
That approach has helped Puckett proficiently pilot her Camaro in Proform Rumble, especially in 2022.
 
The Floridian started the season with an 11.82 on an 11.75 index to qualify in the fifth spot at the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in her home state.
She won the first round of eliminations, a double breakout, with an 11.70 fand she won the second round of eliminations with an 11.79. She went into the final round of eliminations with confidence, and won with an 11.76 over accomplished racer DeWayne Massengale.
 
“One week before Bradenton, I still didn't have a car,” said Puckett, whose Camaro is powered by an 416 cubic-inch LS engine purchased from Scoggin Dickey Parts Center and paired with a 4L80 by Century Transmissions. “I had sent the car to have some work done in the off-season, but the parts didn't make it, so they shipped the car to Bradenton, and it actually got there before I did. Even though I hadn’t sat in the car since the last NMCA race of the previous year, it all came back to me and i pulled off a win.”


 
Puckett then qualified in the second spot with an 11.758 on an 11.75 index at the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. She won the first round of eliminations with a better reaction time than her opponent and a lifting 11.93, and won the second round of eliminations despite breaking out with an 11.73 as her opponent also broke out. She went to the NMCA Winner’s Circle for the second race in a row with an 11.83 against Richard Mace.
 
As focused as she could be, Puckett proceeded to qualify in the second spot with an 11.80 on an 11.75 index at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by Fuelab in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. She got by the first round of eliminations with an 11.76 and the second round of eliminations when her opponent went red. She put an 11.78 on the board on a solo pass in the semifinal round of eliminations and then secured a runner-up finish against Keith Vaughn with an 11.84.
 
“I really figured out the tree in the first part of the year, and the car behaved,” said Puckett.
 
With three races left on the annual tour, Puckett made the long haul from Florida to Michigan for the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by TorqStorm Superchargers in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park. She led qualifying with a 12.008 on a 12.00 index, and won the first round of eliminations with 12.06. She dipped under her index, ever so slightly, with an 11.99, and lost in the second round of eliminations.


 
Enthusiastic about entering the NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Sick the Magazine in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio, Puckett qualified in the fourth spot with an 11.84 on an 11.75 index, won the first round of eliminations with an 11.77, and she stayed in the throttle to an 11.75 after her opponent went red in the second round of eliminations. That set the stage for an all-out 11.68, and another event win, when Al Corda turned on the red light.
 
“I believe the competition in Rumble is as tough as any out there,” said Puckett. “We gained a couple of tough racers during the second half of the year, and I can say that I won against all of them.”
 
Ready to wrap up the season and put a bow on it, Puckett qualified in the third spot with an 11.77 on an 11.75 index at the NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana. A red light in the first round of eliminations ended her weekend early, but there was still cause for celebration, and she was crowned the 2022 Proform Rumble champion.
 
“This championship means the world to me because I've worked hard and gotten so close to a championship so many other times,” said Puckett. “What made it even better is that with a couple races left, even my competition was pulling for me to win the championship, and that just goes to show what our race family means to each other. I have to thank my husband, Jeff, because none of this would be possible without him. I also want to thank my tuner and engine-builder, Matt Sorian of MS Tuning, and Rodney Whittaker.”

Please watch for upcoming stories about each of our champions on www.NMCADigital.com and www.RacePages.com as well as in Fastest Street Car magazine.



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