Drawing a lot of attention in the car show was the 1964 Comet Caliente of Chris LoPresti from Spring Hill, FL. Judging from the car’s condition it’s no surprise LoPresti works as a mechanic at Elite Euro Cars in Spring Hill. The Comet is LoPresti’s first car, and he has owned it for 27 years. It went through a full restoration a couple years ago, receiving new Wimbledon white paint to go along with its Scotty’s Racing Engines 331 with Edelbrock RPM heads and Victor Jr intake, an IRD Racing 750 carburetor and an Induction Solutions 175hp nitrous kit. With a wide ratio Toploader four-speed and 3.91 gears within the car’s 9-inch Ford rear end, the RPM builds at a rapid rate, but even more so with the nitrous engaged. The Caliente is LoPresti’s street car, but with Weld Pro Stars and Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S 275/60s, it definitely has a street racer vibe. One of the main aspects that drew us to the car is its hood. LoPresti tells us the hood is an original AFX example off a factory lightweight. He found the hood at a race, but he had to drive to his parents’ house to borrow their wagon in order to take home the hood. Now it’s the Caliente’s centerpiece.
Kissimmee, FL’s Diane Reed is the lucky lady who gets to drive this 1969 Firebird on a daily basis. Her significant other Paul, along with Diane, started 12 years ago with a pretty solid car, but changed the car’s color scheme, adding a theme opposite that of an original 1969 Trans Am. During the car’s reconstruction it received a Trans Am hood, along with the front and rear spoilers. The bumpers were rechromed to match the car’s newly added American Racing Torque Thrust wheels. Also, the car’s original bench seat was removed, but not before the upholstery was added to a pair of bucket seats. Under the hood is a Pontiac 350 with a turbo 400 transmission, and to make it daily-driver friendly, a Vintage Air A/C system was added. The couple did drive the car one summer without the A/C, but that’s all it took to realize the car desperately needed it.
If you thought you’ve owned your race car for a long time, AH Adkins from Ravenswood, WV has owned this 1969 AMX since September of 1972, and he’s been racing it since March of 1973. If our math is correct, that means Adkins has been racing the car for 50 years. Racing in the Super Stock B class, the engine is an AMC 390-based powerplant Adkins built himself out of his Adkins Racing headquarters, with a G-Force four-speed, an Advanced Clutches clutch and a Ford 9-inch with 5.67 gears!!! Yes, Adkins runs the quarter-mile, and with 5.67 gears, the engine is screaming to 9,000 rpm on every pass. Adkins tells us his AMX is “the fastest and quickest AMC-powered Super Stocker on the planet.” Adkins had the intake manifold off the engine Friday evening searching for a water leak into cylinder 1.
If you’re into something a little different, Grant Martin’s Tampa, FL- based 1948 Ford Gasser almost has every domestic manufacturer covered. Obviously, it has a Ford body, a Chevy engine and transmission, and an Oldsmobile rear end with 4.11 gears, Mark Williams axles and Wilwood brakes. The Gasser altitude comes from a Speedway Motors straight axle and brakes. Running in Bracket 2, Martin says the engine is just a mid-80s small block 350 with a “decent” cam and a “fantastic” Quick Fuel Technology carburetor, while the turbo 350 transmission boasts a Hughes 3,500 rpm stall converter. Taking a page from Super Stock Dodge days, the windows are held up via 1965-1966 Mustang seat belts. Friday’s pass was the car’s sixth pass ever, and so far the car’s quickest pass is an 8.32 in the eighth-mile. The Ford wears Rocket Racing wheels with Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S drag radials out back.
Shane Williams from Knoxville, TN has never met a drag race he didn’t like. Just two weeks ago at the NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Williams made it to the semi-final round in Mod Muscle and won the Bracket 1 class on Sunday. This weekend Williams is competing in Open Comp and Bracket 1. An index class stalwart, Williams’ 1999 Mustang boasts a 4.6L Two-Valve engine under the hood with a C4 in the tunnel. Williams’ success is no secret, he’s been racing this car since 2001, so he’s pretty familiar with what it likes and doesn’t like.
We weren’t aware of a race car rental program, but maybe NMRA Open Comp racer Jim Johnson and Dart Machinery N/A 10.5 racer Rick Riccardi are ahead of the curve. While Riccardi’s Capri is still waiting for parts, his glorified rental is Johnson’s Fox GT with a Roush 427 small block. The race car rental agreement means Riccardi gets N/A 10.5 points and Johnson gets valuable feedback and chassis adjustments to dial in the car for Open Comp competition. Riccardi recently made the move to Florida to work at Red Eye Race Cars in Vero Beach, FL, while his wife and best friend Jenni is still traveling back and forth between Jersey and Florida. Being in Jersey allows Jenni to keep tabs on the incoming Dave Jack Cylinder Heads (Rahway, NJ) small block for Riccardi’s Capri, while the task at hand is also paying off, with Riccardi posting a 9.49 in N/A 10.5 qualifying.
Michael Tagg is what we call a halfback. Originally from Pittsburg, PA, he lived in Naples, FL for many years, but the Nostalgia Muscle Car racer now lives in Hayesville, NC, halfway back to Pittsburg. Hayesville is a bit more relaxed compared to Naples, and with a population of just over 300 people, it’s safe to say Tagg’s 1967 Fairlane is the fastest car in town. Making that possible is a Filmore Machine-built all-aluminum 427 boasting 482 cubic inches with a Jerico four-speed transmission, a Rob Youngblood clutch and Ford 9-inch with 4.56 gears. The post car was a basket case when he bought it, and when he redid the car he made it go to the gym to get some weight off of it. Tagg added a fiberglass 427 hood, deck lid and bumpers, and the all-aluminum 427 also helps get the car’s fighting weight down to 3,050 pounds. Resembling a classic street racer, the Fairlane wears American Racing Torque Thrust wheels up front with Ford steel wheels out back. Helping the car to run in 10.0 index is a pair of Cal-Trac bars paired with Calvert Racing leaf springs and shocks.
When we saw Chris Teed’s Fathom blue 1970 Nova on Friday, we made a beeline to find his pit. Unfortunately, Teed made a quick escape and we missed him. We were able to catch up with him Saturday morning and get more info on his Nostalgia Muscle Car entry. Running the 13.25 index, the car ran a 13.10 with a tailwind so he made a couple changes to slow the car down and today’s headwind will also help with that, as well. Teed’s Nova features a matching numbers drivetrain with a 396/375 horsepower big block, turbo 400 transmission and 12-bolt rear with a 3.55 gears. Teed has always been a Nova guy, and aside from this 1970 model, he also has a pair of 1968 396 cars. Yes, we’re officially jealous.
Dart Machinery N/A 10.5 racer Dwight Ausmus’ crew was making him change the plugs in his BES-built Pontiac on Saturday morning. After seeing where the spark plugs are located, it could be classified as borderline abuse as the crew looked on like city workers while Ausmus was under the car turning the wrenches. Ausmus and the crew are pretty happy with the car’s performance so far, but the car is still lifting the front wheels a little too much for their liking, so chassis adjustments are in order to get that under control. Horsepower is not an issue these days for Ausmus, but the big Pontiac is home to a new team effort intake design from Uratchko Racing Engines and Tony Bischoff from BES. A ProFlight transmission helped convert all that horsepower into a 7.89 in qualifying, but the crew hopes the chassis adjustments drop that number even further.
Zach Costello and Josette Roach are turning up the heat with their commanding Larsen Motorsports jet engine-powered dragsters today at the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines at Orlando Speed World Dragway. Fans have been flocking to their pit area to talk to Zach about his red Florida Tech dragster, and to Josette about her orange House of Kolor dragster. When we stopped by, Zach mentioned they are aiming for 270 mph, despite a headwind to contend with. The drivers have had solid advice through the years from longtime jet engine-powered dragster driver Elaine Larsen, and their passion for piloting their jet engine-powered dragsters is clear to see.
Eighteen-year-old Cole Knieriem of Shepherdsville, Kentucky has been around racing his whole life. While watching his father, Tim Knieriem, very successfully race in the NMCA and other series, Cole was making his way up the Junior Dragster ranks at their home track, Ohio Valley Dragway in Kentucky. He is a three-time track champion there, and he capped off ten years of racing in the category with a win in the $10,000 Invitational at the Junior Dragster Christmas on the Coast last December at Gulfport Dragway in Mississippi. Cole, who mirrors his father's poise behind the wheel, recently accepted an invitation to drive Mike Baker’s Mustang in a bracket category at Ohio Valley Dragway, before climbing into a black naturally aspirated COPO Camaro from Liberscher Racing’s collection in the Micro Strategies Stock category for the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines this weekend at Orlando Speed World Dragway. He hadn’t driven the car before this weekend, but is very calmly and competently competing this weekend. “It’s going very well,” said Cole, who has completed qualifying and is awaiting eliminations today. “It’s a learning curve, but I’m not putting pressure on myself, and I’m getting more and more comfortable in the car with every pass. It’s running 9.90-10.00, and I’m really enjoying it.” In addition to his father, Cole has unwavering support from his mother, Amy, and his sister, Shelby. Fans will want to keep an eye on him.
While walking around the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines this weekend at Orlando Speed World Dragway, racers and race fans are invited to pick up the latest issue of Fastest Street Car magazine from a stand in the manufacturers’ midway. The 2022 NMRA champions are featured on the cover of the glossy and colorful magazine, and there is a story on each one inside, along with other inspiring stories and NMCA and NMRA racing insight. Check out coverage from this race in an upcoming issue.
The original BIGFOOT is big, bad and beckoning everyone walking behind the grandstands at the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines this weekend at Orlando Speed World Dragway. The original BIGFOOT, driven by Bob Chandler and other fan-favorite drivers, has a wicked history, and is well-known in the world of Monster Trucks. It has become a popular display at NMCA and NMRA events across the country.
Here’s a look at how the action is planned today at the Scoggin Dickey NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines at Orlando Speed World.