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Widener and Bischoff Hopeful Heading Into First NMCA Race of 2024

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA and courtesy of Jim Widener
When it comes to racing, Jim Widener and Tony Bischoff are enterprising experts.
They also have a lot of gumption and go after their goals, so when they banded together more than ten years ago on a racing program, success was sure to follow, and by all accounts, it has.
Widener, who owns Widener Automotive in Batesville, Indiana, and Bischoff, who owns BES Racing Engines in Guilford, Indiana, have long campaigned a Corvette C7-bodied car in NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod. With Widener behind the wheel and Bischoff building the engines, they hold their own in the fierce field with equally extraordinary racers.
Their commitment is constant, and their results are rewarding.
In 2023, Widener drove to a best of 3.66 and 206 mph in the eighth-mile in the car with a chassis by Chris Duncan Race Cars, 959 cubic-inch Wedge-headed engine by Bischoff, nitrous system by Induction Solutions and Turbo 400 by M&M Transmission. They were happy with those numbers, and Bischoff freshened the engine over winter.

When they headed to the World Series of Pro Mod in early March of 2024 at Bradenton Motorsports Park, they had that engine as well as a new engine Bischoff built over winter while collaborating with Visner Engine Development. It is a 962 cubic-inch Wedge-headed engine with some custom parts from Visner Engine Development, and they backed it with the same transmission and converter they relied on last year.
“The new engine is totally unique, and we tested with it right before the World Series of Pro Mod, and it went very well,” said Widener. “Then we switched to last year’s engine for the race. We were the number four qualifier out of 66 racers in the first round of qualifying, and then we moved to the twenty-fourth spot with a 3.652, and they only took the top 32 racers for the race. That 3.652 was a personal best, which we were happy with. Unfortunately, we lost in the first round, but we still collected a lot of valuable data.”
Widener and Bischoff, who don’t usually get to test at a track before the first NMCA race of the year, will soon be on their way to the 16th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Sipple's Speed & Performance, April 11-14, 2024 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. Widener anticipates relying on last year’s engine at this event, while they use the recent data collected to continue to enhance the new engine.
“Our goal is to improve each year, and we want to earn a championship,” said Widener. “There are no slackers in the Xtreme Pro Mod class, and we never take anyone for granted, but at the same time, we feel like we can run with any of them, which makes things even more exciting.”


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