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Renegade & Xtreme Street Racer Bob Zelenak Going After Goals at NMRA Norwalk

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA/NMRA Staff
Bob Zelenak has been racing his Mustang with stock-style suspension for the past 20 years.
In that time, he has transformed the chassis and combination to complement the categories in which he has been competing, and since 2015, those categories have been NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade and NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street.
Zelenak takes pride in the fact that his beautiful car, and his nitrous-enhanced small-block Ford, were built and are maintained in his family’s shop, Continental Competition in Union Town, Pennsylvania, and that he ran 4.64 and 153 mph last year, but he wants to build upon those accomplishments.
“Any time you run a personal best, it is wonderful, but like any drag racer, I always want to go quicker and faster and keep up with what my fellow racers are running,” said Zelenak, who also relies on Trick Flow High Port heads massaged by BES Racing Engines.
To improve his already impressive combination over winter, Zelenak replaced his previous transmission with a Turbo 400 by RPM Transmission, which he is confident will help him see more speed on the top end of the track. He also replaced his previous carburetor with a Dominator by IRD Racing Carbs for more fuel flow.
“For the transmission, I did some research and talked with several companies before deciding that RPM Transmission was the best option for me,” said Zelenak, who runs a Neal Chance converter, which he plans to tweak to optimize the changes. “I’m very happy with the Turbo 400 so far.”

Additionally, Zelenak cleaned up the wiring in his car, and gave its glossy black paint a polish and ceramic coat before heading to his first race of 2023, the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport, which was in mid-April Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. He qualified in the sixth spot out of 18 cars with a 4.65 and made it to the third round of eliminations before exiting with a 4.71.
“I didn’t get to test the car before we went to North Carolina, and we uncovered some issues with the nitrous solenoids that were preventing them from opening all the way, so it was throwing off the tune,” said Zelenak. “Despite that, I was happy with how the car worked on the starting line and on the top end, and it definitely gave us something to build off it.”
After that, Zelenak headed to the 18th Annual NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing in early May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, where he qualified in the eleventh spot out of 22 cars with a 4.68.
“I totally fumbled in the second round of eliminations in Illinois, but that’s part of drag racing,” said Zelenak, a fleet manager at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania, where he has worked for 20 years.
Now he is focused on the highly anticipated 3rd Annual Mickey Thompson NMRA Ford Homecoming, June 9-11, at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. In addition to drag racing, the event is set to feature many special elements, including car shows, milestone reunions, BIGFOOT Monster Trucks, autocross and more.
“We are very excited about the race in Norwalk because Summit Motorsports Park is one of our favorite tracks,” said Zelenak, whose car flies banners for Continental Competition, 84 Lumber and Cage Rage Fabrication. “We are not 100 percent dialed in yet for the year, but our goal for this race is to make our whole combination happy. I really want to thank my dad, Bud, who comes to every race with me; Troy Dennis, who is an essential part of my crew; my wife, Tilly, and all of our friends and family members.”

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