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Saturday Coverage 2021 NMCA All-American Nationals + COPO Shootout + Cobra Jet Showdown

Posted By: Mike Galimi



Despite the oppressive heat and humidity that was with us morning, noon and night at the NMCA All-American Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, racers were tough and tenacious through the qualifying session that lasted until about 11:30 p.m. on Friday. As several of them said, the weather made it challenging to come up with a tune to help them leap off the hot starting line and quickly land at the finish line, but they managed to put down tons of horsepower and entertain fans in the process. Now, we're back at it today. For qualifying results for the event featuring the Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Watson Racing and the Chevrolet Performance COPO Camaro Shootout presented by COPO Parts Direct, click HERE There's a lot of action on tap today, and we'll get started at 8 a.m. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="23080,23081,23082,23083"] Don Giannone has been racing his incredibly cool 1966 Chevelle in Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST) for fifteen years, and turning heads in the process. The car, which Giannone has owned for seventeen years, packs a 559 cubic-inch big-block Chevrolet engine by Jeff Beseth, and carried Giannone to a win in the category at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Force Engineering in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan. He hopes to back that win up this weekend, while posting low 10s. I love racing in the FAST category, said Giannone. It's a challenge, and we're doing what we shouldn't be able to do with skinny tires and cast iron exhaust manifolds. Chip King is the provisional number one qualifier in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod with a stout 3.75 at 199 mph from his supercharged 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1. The Dreamworks Motorsports machine leads a field of fierce nitrous, blower, and turbo combinations as King looks to pad his championship's points lead over Mike DiDomenico, who is currently ranked third with two more qualifying runs today. King finished as the runner-up during the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing earlier this year and exited in the second round last month at the NMRA/NMCA Power Festival. Alan Felts rolled out his 1991 Mustang GT out of the trailer for the first time since April when the NMCA was at Atlanta Dragway for the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals. The engine suffered serious damage following that event and it has been down due to the scarce supply of engine parts needed to repair it. The crankshaft and connecting rods showed up a few weeks ago and the team reassembled the 440ci small-block Ford. It is topped with a pair of billet heads and intake manifold from Energy while a Precisin 88mm turbocharger provides the boost. He is the provisional number one qualifier with a 4.44 at 165 mph as he chases after the NMCA championship. The VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod category is stacked with boosted and nitrous-injected machines and Erie, Pennsylvania's John Vergotz is solidly in the field midway through the qualifying process. He drove the 1969 Chevy Camaro to a best of 3.81 at 197.62 mph, putting him fifth in the 15-car field. The car is powered by a Buck Racing Engines 959ci powerplant, which is backed by an M&M Transmission TH400 transmission. The team has been in the 3.70s, a number they can achieve in these conditions. Phil Lankford of Gold Rush Trailers in Pennsylvania is ready for the Chevrolet Performance COPO Camaro Shootout presented by COPO Parts Direct featuring the COPO Battle this weekend, and so is his 2014 COPO Camaro. Powered by a naturally aspirated 427 cubic-inch engine that cranks out 450 horsepower, it has helped Lankford, who also competes in NHRA Stock Eliminator, haul to 9-teens. I have taken part in all of the COPO races at this track, and I really enjoy them, said Lankford. "They're a lot of fun." Adam Kemmer has a fan-favorite car in TorqStorm Superchargers True Street, and for good reason. The Pennsylvanian, who earned a win in the 10-second index of the category a few years ago, keeps his 1967 Nova in tip-top shape for cruising on the street and on the strip with a 400 cubic-inch small-block Chevrolet which he built and fronted with a ProCharger D-1X. Helping him this weekend are his fiancee, Alicia, and his son, Trey, who ride with him when he takes his car on the 30-mile cruise with his fellow TorqStorm Superchargers True Street competitors. When we asked young Trey what he likes most about his father's Nova, he smiled and said it's the burnouts and wheelies. While Wayne Roberts used to have a Buick engine under the hood of his Buick GSX, he moved to what he will only refer to as a GM race engine a year and a half ago, and he's working on getting it dialed in for Dart NA 10.5 competition. Fortunately, Dale Cubic of CFM Carburetors has stepped in to help him with his carburetor this weekend, and Roberts said he has already seen improvement at the hit. Dale definitely had us headed in the right direction, and I really appreciate that, said Roberts. Craig Sullivan slipped into the field in a big way after recovering from a few hiccups in the opening rounds of qualifying on Friday. The famed El Mero Mero rushed down the track in just 3.78 seconds at a top speed of 201 mph from the supercharged combination. The run occurred during the third round of qualifying in what is called the heat of the day, showing they're a threat on race day tomorrow. There is one more round of qualifying coming up later where they look to improve on that performance. [gallery size="full" columns="2" ids="23111,23110"] How much nitrous does Terry Wilson run in his Edelbrock Xtreme Street racecar His casual response is, "all of it." The hot weather threw off the normally clean tune-up and he sent a piston to the Gods of Aluminum. The seasoned veteran carries a full set of back-up pistons for these unfortunate occassions and they worked all night to get it ready for the fourth qualifier, which goes down later today. Holding down third-place in Dart NA 10.5 points, Joe Clemente came to this event looking to go rounds, and he certainly has the car, the combination and the crew to do so. His Mustang, powered by a 399 cubic-inch small-block Chevrolet, helped him achieve an 8.09 and he is currently qualified in the fourth spot. While that's not as quick as he would like to be at this event, he knows what a challenge it would be to go even quicker in the thick air this weekend, but he's still going to make timing and other adjustments to lay down the best numbers that he can. Helping him every step of the way are his son, Carmine; crew chief, Bruce Blair; car chief, Ed Bamond; project partner and wiring and electrical expert, Rich Concato, and Danny LaRocca, who said he's here for the humor and food, but we know he's here for more that. "I would like to compliment Joe on his reaction times and excellent driving this weekend," said Blair. "It's not easy being in the car in this heat, and he's doing a good job." Shawn Staniszewski of Wyandotte, Michigan has had so much success in Motor City Muscle Challenge, a heads-up, naturally aspirated category for cars on 9-inch tires. He has earned several wins, most recently at the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Force Engineering in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan, in the Mustang that he has owned for years and drove throughout high school. He would like to earn another win this weekend, and his chances are good, as he's running strong and picked up a personal best of 8.86 and 153 mph yesterday with the 565 big-block Ford under the hood of his car. Helping him along the way is his crew chief, Zach Kuzdzal Tin Soldiers Race Cars Brian Tooley RacingThe Tin Soldiers Race Cars crew will not be cooking hot dogs and popping beers tonight as they are working hard to swap the engine in their 1980 Chevy Camaro. The Edelbrock Xtreme Street entry decided to kick the rods out earlier today, which took out the stock LS block along with a few other components in the rotating assembly. Within minutes they called Martin Connelley, who ran over to Brian Tooley Racing to grab the team's other engine that they ran in Limited 235 competition before the shop closed for the weekend. Tin Soldier's Bradley Arnold is earning triple overtime pay plus 6 weeks vacation time to drive the bullet from western Kentucky to Summit Motorsport Park in the northeast side of Ohio. After impacting the wall in his Mustang at the Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, Rich Nye is back in Dart Machinery NA 10.5 action at the NMCA All-American Nationals this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park, and we're happy to see him. The Pennsylvanian is behind the wheel of his new Mustang, which he purchased from Andy Smith and which was previously owned by Tony Bischoff and driven by Nick Bacalis and Shawn Pevlor. Nye chose to power it with a 410 cubic-inch engine built by Gaby Labiosa of EIC Motorsports and topped with Edelbrock heads and an EIC Motorsports intake. He backed it with a GF2000 by G-Force Racing Transmissions, and is making his first passes in the car this weekend. I'm mostly learning what's not working so that we can go back and make changes, said Nye, who has already posted a 7.92 this weekend and has help from Jeremy Moyer. I'm so used to my old car and getting in it and going right down track, so this is a different feeling for me, but we'll get there. [gallery size="full" ids="23167,23164,23168,23165,23166,23163,23170,23169,23171"] The NMCA Car Show is a very popular part of each of the six events on the NMCA tour, and there are some'super-clean and eye-catching entries in the display at the NMCA All-American Nationals this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park. When we walked through the show, many of the owners were talking with fans about their cars and combinations, and definitely holding their attention.  

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