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Race Wrap | NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals

Posted By: Ainsley Jacobs

Returning to Rockingham Dragway in scenic North Carolina, the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport over the weekend of April 14-16, 2023 was full of dramatic ups and downs over three days of exciting racing but ultimately, winners were celebrated in style and presented with their hard-earned Victor awards.


From the on-track action to the special add-ons such as the Bigfoot monster truck hanging out for cool fan photo ops, wild flame-throwing jet dragster exhibition runs by Dawn Perdue and Larry Aldrich, the Top of the Rock Fan Appreciation Party hosted by Clarence Barnes and Chris the Car Guy, a massive car show with a diverse variety of American muscle spanning every production decade, vendor midway, there was truly something for everyone to enjoy.


Doorslammer drag racing’s quickest and fastest heavy hitters came to play in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod. Driving Tyler Jenkins’s 1957 Buick, Ty Tutterow dominated the field in qualifying and went 3.647 at 205.48 mph to set the pace. He powered his way into the final round against Craig Sullivan and his “El Mero Mero” 1949 Mercury where it was a battle of the vintage blower cars showcasing traditional old-school Pro Mod racing at its finest. Both men left the tree together and went straight down Broadway, but Sullivan, who had qualified third, pulled off an upset with a 3.675 at 208.72 mph pass to not only get the win but also to clock the fastest speed of the weekend.


Blasting his way to the lead in ARP Nitrous Pro Street qualifying with a 4.267 at 168.48 mph pass, defending champion David Fallon Jr. was poised to take the win for the weekend in the final round of eliminations but things didn’t quite go as planned. Fallon staged his 2002 Chevrolet Camaro against Kyle Salminen and his 2003 Chevy Cavalier and although Fallon had a significantly better reaction time, he shook the tires not long after the hit and had to watch the number three qualified driver pull away from him as Salminen found sweet success on his side of the track with a 4.369 at 171.89 mph time slip.


Bill Trovato had the quickest qualifying run in the combined NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade/NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street group, having coaxed a 4.543 at 153.43 mph blast from his LS-powered 2010 Camaro SS. The NMRA and NMCA went head-to-head throughout eliminations, and the last two men on the property for the final fight of the weekend were representing each series, both assisted by nitrous oxide. In the left lane, Martin Connelley had qualified second overall and was the favorite to win as his 1990 Ford Mustang’s big block engine had been delivering 4.5-second passes all day. However, Jeff Kinsler was just as confident in his 1968 Pontiac Firebird’s potential. When the lights came down, Kinsler had a slim starting line advantage but it made no difference as Connelley had to pedal it mid-track and Kinsler carried his momentum on to a winning 4.646 at 152.39 mph pass.


Chuck Watson Jr. was the number-one qualifier in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars but exited the competition unusually in round two. Jonathan Allegrucci and Lenny Lottig, however, both persisted past each pairing to meet each other in the finals. The men pulled into the beams – Allegrucci with his Cobra Jet Mustang and Lottig with his Chevrolet COPO Camaro – and it was a truly incredible race to the stripe after the green light signaled the start. Although Lottig’s COPO had a tenth of a second in its favor, Allegrucci’s underdog Cobra Jet was able to add a win to its resume thanks to a holeshot by its driver, as Allegrucci’s 7.769 beat Lottig’s quicker 7.758-second elapsed time by mere inches.


Two-time NMRA champion Joe Clemente held a big advantage over the Dart NA 10.5 field all weekend long. Starting in qualifying, Clemente pushed his naturally aspirated 1993 Ford Mustang to the lead when he went 7.738 at 177.24 mph. Winning each round of eliminations, Clemente earned the honor of racing multi-time class champion, Don Baskin. With Baskin driving his familiar Chevrolet Cobalt, it was a classic Ford versus Chevy matchup. The holeshot went to Baskin, but Clemente quickly destroyed it and got to the finish line first with a one-car advantage to print a 7.817 at 175.23 mph.


After having qualified third and fourth, respectively, Jeff Heintz and Shawn Calabrese came together for a bittersweet Chevrolet Performance Stock Presented by Scoggin Dickey Parts Center final round. Calabrese lit the bulbs with his familiar Pontiac Firebird and Heintz did the same with his 1999 Chevrolet Camaro – the car that started the entire CPS class as it was the first to run in Indy with the OEM sealed-stock DR525 engine swap. As the men flew through the traps together to clock 9.863 at 9.871 times, Heintz took his final win with the Camaro as he sold it right before the race and it will soon head off to a new future with another owner.


There were a lot of new faces in Micro Strategies Stock Eliminator as the class continues to grow. The popularity of the Chevrolet Camaro, however, is alive and well as the final elimination matchup featured a first-generation versus a third-generation model. Belonging to Cameron Collins and Dennis Pope, each man was eager for his Chevy to turn the win light on in its lane. Ultimately, it was a double-breakout scenario as both men ran under their dial-ins but Pope was deemed the winner partly due to his better reaction time.


The competition was hot in Micro Strategies Super Stock Eliminator with tons of seasoned competitors all gunning to get ahead. Although that privilege was nabbed by the previous season’s champion, Mark Nowicki, in qualifying, the overall honor was up for grabs between two other racers in the final round of eliminations. There, it was Gil Carty driving his Chevrolet Nova against Robbie Draughon driving his 1966 Chevy Corvette. The Nova was the first of the hot rods to leave the line but, unfortunately, Draughon triggered the dreaded red light on his side by just 0.006 seconds so Carty had carte blanche for the win despite running a few hundredths under his intended.



The quickest reaction time during Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock qualifying was cut by Barry Dorn, but only Bruce Lang and Scott Conley were still in the show by the time the last round of the night came to fruition. Between Lang’s 1968 Plymouth Barracuda and Conley’s 1964 Plymouth Belvedere, it was an all-Mopar final and set the stage for the classic muscle cars to honor their heritage under the lights at Rockingham Dragway. Aiming for his 9.50 dial-in, Lang posted a 9.515 at 132.08 mph blast on the scoreboards to make his win official over Conley’s 10.016 at 132.70 mph effort thanks in part to his two-hundredths quicker reaction time.


As usual, MagnaFuel Open Comp saw a slew of drivers all chasing hopes and dreams of landing in the winner’s circle. Taylor Dietsch had a near-perfect reaction time of just 0.002 seconds during qualifying to go into eliminations from the number one position, but the day whittled the pack down to just two drivers. Susan McClenaghan and Jody Blalock staged their cars together and McClenaghan had the advantage both at the starting line and at the strip to take her second win for the weekend and she also was victorious in NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Mod Muscle.


In Erson Cams Nostalgia Muscle Presented by World Products, David Mormann was closest to his index in qualifying to end up number one but it was Chad Brewer taking on reigning class champion Danny Towe in the final round of eliminations. Towe brought his 351ci Windsor-powered 1970 Ford Mustang to the party while Brewer brought his big-block Chevy-powered 1973 Nova. Both men left the line clean and green but Brewer got around Towe’s holeshot and powered past at the top end of the track where he went dead-on with a five to pick up the win.


The Late Model Engines Street King Presented by Chevrolet Performance class was won at the starting line, as multi-time NMCA champion Kurt Anderson uncharacteristically red-lighted to open the door for the number one qualifier, Steve Satchell, to cruise through to the uncontested win even while running well under his 9.50 index with a 9.469 at 141.42 mph pass.


Proform Rumble Presented by Chevrolet Performance’s final elimination round was comprised of the top two qualified drivers, and it was over before it even began as Dale Aldridge accidentally red-lighted and gifted the win to Tim Poston, son of Saturday’s Open Comp All-Star shootout winner Cody Poston, to give the Poston family two big reasons to celebrate this weekend.


A bunch of bracket racers showed up on Sunday to see who was the best in Bracket Open, but those bragging rights were captured by George Britt in the fifth and final round of eliminations. Running against Raymond Rolland, Britt locked out Rolland’s attempt with both a quicker reaction time and by running closer to his 6.98 dial when he went dead-on with a one in his Chevrolet Nova while Rolland was just two-thousandths slower on the tree and one-hundredth slower on his 6.72-second dial-in.


Innovation Performance Technologies Jr. Street, a new eighth-mile bracket category designed for teenagers to learn the ropes of drag racing and transition up to “big cars” while a parent or other licensed adult rides along with them, debuted this weekend and the inaugural win was captured by none other than Abbey Hughes, daughter of NMRA SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race class originator Leticia Hughes, in a Cummins-powered Dodge Ram.


On Saturday, street-legal power and performance took center stage in TorqStorm Superchargers True Street as drivers got to enjoy completing the requisite cruise with 20 laps on Rockingham’s oval raceway – the same surface on which NASCAR used to race. Next, Peter DelPino took the top honors overall as his 2019 Ford Mustang averaged 9.276 seconds across its three runs on the quarter-mile dragstrip while Jason Wagoner runner-upped with a 9.303-second average from his 2013 Ford Mustang GT500. Earning the win for the 9-second group was Ramon Roman driving his 2020 Ford Mustang GT and Timothy Bradshaw earned the same success in the 10-second category with his 2002 Mustang GT. Additional winners included Kevin McKenna (11-second), Chris Parisi (12-second), Jerry Jones (13-second), Elaine Moistner (14-second), and Ken Mason (15-second).


Similarly, in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout, Jon Sipple was the quickest of the group thanks to his 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat acquiring a three-run average of 8.673 seconds and Thomas Falk finished second overall with an 8.851-second average in his 2018 Challenger Hellcat. Hot on his heels to secure the 9-second win was Josh Schwartz with his 2017 Challenger Hellcat which averaged 9.124 seconds. Many more winners were awarded, including Melissa Arnold (10 seconds), Kate Tout (11 seconds), Billy Gunn (12 seconds), Josie McClenahan (13 seconds), and Christina Nichols (15 seconds).


Next, the eight quickest Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout finishers were invited back to run in the exclusive HHP Racing HEMI Quick 8 competition on Sunday, contested on a handicapped staggered start. In the final, Mike England staged his 2016 Dodge Charger Hellcat against HEMI Shootout winner Jon Sipple’s 2016 Challenger Hellcat and both men took off on a hunt for the win but the light illuminated in England’s lane to earn him $800 in cash, a custom NMCA Victor award, and big bragging rights.


Also on Saturday, the NMRA and NMCA combined to face off in three special shootouts at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport, and each racer went all in on trying to get the win.


In the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Nostalgia Muscle vs Nostalgia Super Stock battle, the last match-up featured two NSS cars both running on a 9.50-second index and it was Brent Wheeler who took the win over Bill Boomhower.


In the cutthroat Sealed Stock All-Star Shootout, it was NMRA versus NMCA up until the final round where NMCA took a clean sweep with two GM cars from the Chevrolet Performance Stock category left standing. Ultimately, Keith Vaughn (pictured) turned the win light on in his lane with his 1987 Chevrolet Corvette while competitor Scotty Duncan had to settle for second in his 1985 Chevy Camaro.


In the NMRA vs. NMCA Open Comp All-Star Shootout, the final pair consisted of the classic NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp Chevy Camaro versus NMRA ARP Open Comp Ford Mustang battle. In a double breakout scenario, NMCA’s Cody Poston picked up the win with a four-thousandths of a second margin-of-victory while NMRA’s Bill Wittenauer was relegated to the runner-up spot.


While the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport concluded on Sunday evening, the next race on the schedule, the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing is only a few short weeks away and will be held on May 4-7, 2023, at World Wide Technology Raceway just outside of St. Louis in Madison, Illinois. For more information and advance tickets, visit

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