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Thursday Coverage | 2022 NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines

Posted By: Event Coverage Team
After a long off-season, the Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Nationals rumbles back to action at Bradenton Motorsports Park this weekend. Today racers dial in their combos during a series of test ’n tune sessions that set the stage for qualifying and eliminations. As today’s action winds down, racers, family, crew, sponsors, media, and vendors come together to celebrate the start of the racing season and St. Patrick’s Day with ice-cold beer, music, and an assortment of other beverages and snacks!
Stay tuned here and on our social media channels throughout the day for updates on all the action from the NMCA season opener.
Here is how all the action goes down at Bradenton Motorsports Park during the first day of the 2022 NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem.

As today is St. Patrick's Day, the Liberty/Khoury team is celebrating with some custom Liberty's Gears t-shirts. Nicole-Liberty Cach is back piloting her naturally aspirated Firebird in ARP Nitrous Pro Street, defending class champ Vince Khoury is driving his Firebird, and Rocko Khoury is once again competing in the Dart NA 10.5 class with a new billet block beneath the hood of his Mustang. Xtreme Pro Mod driver Rob Cox is also part of the crew and will be wringing out his new ProCharger combination in competition this weekend.

An exciting component of this weekend’s festivities is the debut of the Sick the Magazine Drag & Drive Invitational, which brings out a selection of streetable machines capable of running single-digit elapsed times. The man behind the event and its sponsor, Tom Bailey, brought out his ride to run this weekend after repairing a dropped valve resulting from competition in the wildly popular Sick Week last month. "It is a good chance to show off the drag and drive cars, and a lot of these guys haven’t raced at a sanctioned event, so it is a good crossover opportunity," Bailey said of the invitational. 


After replacing a broken transmission, the Alsop racing team performed regular engine maintenance on the supercharged Hemi under the hood of Lindsay Wheelock’s Drag Pak Challenger. She made some test passes earlier in the week, but the trans issue put them back to square one heading into the weekend in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars. 

Wrapping up an extended racing tour of the Southeast, Uncle Robin Lawrence is on the property at Bradenton Motorsports Park running in Stock Eliminator and providing support for Holley EFI customers. Like many racers, he is excited about the separation between his class and Super Stock Eliminator this season. 


Randy Merick just received his new Todd Tutterow-built engine based on a 4.9 Noonan block, and his teame installed it this morning in his Corvette. The previous setup had run low 3.60s, so he is hoping to continue that in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod this weekend at Bradenton Motorsports Park.


Believing that his familiar Pontiac combo was outmatched, Ray Cox picked up this Fox Mustang and swapped in a nitrous-injected, 588-cube big-block engine and a Holley EFI system. If the car looks familiar, it once belonged to Jimmy Byrne, who raced it in the NMRA Drag Radial and Real Street ranks. Since Cox acquired the Mustang, it hasn’t seen the inside of a shop. All of its setup work for Edelbrock Xtreme Street competition is being performed in the pits at the racetrack.


After a big wheelie turned into a hard landing at the NMCA finals in Indy last season, Dart NA 10.5 racer David Thiesen repaired his Firebird’s suspension in the off-season. He also freshened the engine and replaced the wheelie-wounded oil pan. He ran into a fuel-pressure issue on a test hit, so his team repaired some wiring in the hopes of getting the car back to fighting form. "We’ll be happy if it runs just as good as it did last year," he said.

Witht the NMCA's Stock/Super Stock Combo class rapidly growing, the tech team decided to split the classes up for the 2022 season. Mark Ruset is back competing in Stock Eliminator this weekend with his 1968 Rally Green Rally Sport Camaro, and when he's not busy racing, he has two other First-Gen Camaros that he is restoring.

The Real CJ is back in action this weekend. That's right Manitoba, Canada's Don Fotti is back in Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle with his Cobra Jet Mustang. With the borders finally open, it only took a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer to remove the 5 feet of snow keeping his trailer parked to allow him to load up and head south for some racing fun in the sun.

LME Street King competitor Billy Wakefield is going through the tune on his Haltech EFI as he feels he may have accidentally changed something on his latest calibration. His 1998 Firebird is powered by a 408ci LS engine with a pair of 76mm turbochargers supplying the atmosphere.

There aren't many more beautiful cars at an NMCA event than Scott Williams 1965 Chevelle. The slick black machine is powered by a 588ci big-block Chevybcacked by a PowerGlide transmission with a new 501 Converters bolt-together unit. The Chevy is capable of low 8-second times, but Williams dials it back to 8.50s for MagnaFuel Open Comp racing. Williams' powerplant is fresh out of the off-season and his first hit on it netted an easy 8.50 run.

Flood cars make for the perfect race car foundation, as the otherwise worthless machiens get repurposed and rebuilt to something better. Dan Zrust picked up this 2018 Challenger that was submerged during the floods in the Houston area follwing Hurricane Harvey. It came off the assembly line as a V-6 car, but Zrust has rebodied it as a 392ci Challenger 1320 for Stock Eliminator competition. The Dodge is run on a Holley EFI system and Zrust clicked off a 10.02 for his A/Stock Automatic machine this morning.

As the action wound down on the Bradenton Motorsports Park drag strip, racers, family, crew, sponsors, media, and vendors got into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit with cold beverages, music, and snacks at the Weldon Pump Racer Appreciation Happy Hour.

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