From the NMCA News Desk….You don’t often see extreme performances when the ambient temperatures go up, but that’s exactly what happened this weekend during the NMCA Drag Racing Series opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. Despite the Florida heat hovering in the 80s throughout the weekend, racers came packing plenty of performance as they staked their claims towards class championship points.
VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod saw 19 racers battle for a spot in the 16-car field, and Jason Hamstra set the pace in qualifying with a 3.77-second run at 201 mph. Hamstra and his blower car were to face Andrew Handras and his nitrous Pro Mod in the final, but Handras’ car gave all for its semifinal win and couldn’t make lane call, leaving Hamstra to take a well deserved green light to the final-round win.
In Mickey Thompson Radial Wars, it was David Adkins and his wild-looking 1963 Impala that edged out Marty Stinnett for the top qualified spot at 3.99. In the final, Adkins’ turbocharged LS-powered-Impala charged past Nick Agostino who wheelied and pedaled the gas before ultimately bowing out to Adkins’ 4.00-second winning elapsed time.
Manny Buginga set the pace in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw with a 4.33, a number he first posted at the NMRA season opener a week before. Buginga redlit in the semifinal against Charlie Cooper, who met Jarod Wenrick for the Ford-vs-Chevy final. Cooper edged out Wenrick at the hit, .051 to .061, and edged him out at the stripe, 4.40 to 4.47.
Back for its second year was the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars class, and back was last year’s class winner, Bruno Massel. Scott Libersher grabbed the top spot in qualifying with an 8.31 pass, and the class welcomed newcomers such as Erica Enders-Stevens and Ted Hughes in addition to 2016 class champion, Kevin Skinner. In the semifinal, Libersher was broken and Paul Roderick weighed light at the scale, so that put Massel and Kevin Skinner in the final round. Massel made it two-for two after his win over Skinner in a tight 8.380 to 8.384 matchup.
Don Baskin was the man to beat all weekend in ARP Nitrous Pro Street Camaro qualified on top with a 7.20 and was deadly consistent through eliminations. As one might have guessed, he drove into the final round against Jeff Rudolf, and kept going to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle after a 7.22-7.33 winning effort.
Edelbrock Xtreme Street saw many racers with new combinations that were still being dialed in. Scott Guiler, however, had his Olds 442 on point all weekend. He qualified in the number-one spot with a 7.61, and drove to the final where he defeated Eric Kenward in his newly ProCharged “Wheelie Wagon” in a close 7.65-to-7.80 victory.
The Boninfante Racing NA 10.5 class has seen new growth since last season, and Mike DeMayo was the top qualifier with a class best 7.84 at 171 mph. DeMayo wheeled his ’95 Mustang to the final where he met Richie Nye, who had yet to get past the first round since joining the class last year. DeMayo took Nye on the tree and drove around him for a 7.85 to 8.22 trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
Saturday marked the first time a DR525-powered Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center class entry dipped into the 10-teens when 2016 class champ Glenn Pushis clocked a record 10.15 elapsed time at 130 mph. The class saw all of the regulars improve since last year, with most of them running in the low 10.20s. Pushis pushed to the final where he defeated Keith Vaughn (10.22 to 10.45), who made his first-round appearance since joining the class.
The NMCA season opener plays host to the Fast Forward Racing Engines Outlaw 632 class and past event winner Ken Quartuccio set a staggering pace in qualifying with a 4.28 elapsed time. More 4.2-second passes followed, but Quartuccio fell in the early rounds, and John Lastinger met Ryan Thorp in the final. Thorp, who went for a wild ride earlier in the weekend, went -.003 red, handing Lastinger the win.
Brand new to the NMCA is the Stock/Super Stock Combo class, which saw a wide variety of vehicles enter for the first time. Bradenton resident Jim Bailey drove his David Barton-tuned 2010 Dodge Drag Pak Challenger to the final against NMCA veteran, Kurt Neighbor and his ’64 Thunderbird. Bailey was .011 to .096 on the tree, and 9.92 on a 9.88 to Neighbor’s 8.80 on an 8.75 for the first-ever NMCA Stock/Super Stock Combo event win.
The NMCA season opener hosted its inaugural Muscle Car Mayhem shootout, which pitted Nostaglia Super Stock racers against Nostalgia Muscle Car drivers. Saturday night set the final round, and NMC champ Andy Warren turned on the red light to hand the win to the NSS’ Brent Wheeler.
Though ATI Performance Products Nostalgia Super Stock racer Doug Duell fell to the NMC’s Andy Warren during the NSS vs. NMC Muscle Car Mayhem, he drove his Drag’n Wagon to the NSS final round where Barry Dorn went -.037 red at the hit, and sent Duell ahead for the big class points haul.
In the Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car final round, Mike Roup in his Mustang squared off against Jerry Mathis and his ’69 Dodge. The round was over at the start as Mathis was .035 seconds too early, which gave Roup the win.
Magnafuel Open Comp saw Ricky Pennington and his Chevelle chop down the competition round after round until he met up with Susan Roush-McClenaghan in the final. Pennington was .023 to Roush-McClenaghan’s .050 at the start, and he won the double breakout with a 10.533 on his 10.55 to Roush-McClenaghan’s 9.37 on a 9.42 bid.
Gear Vendors True Street fielded dozens of cars both classic and new, and Randy Thomas came out on top, averaging 8.82 seconds in 2010 Shelby GT500 Mustang. Willard Howard took the runner up spot with a 9.07 average and Derek Putnam grabbed the 9-second average with a 9.42 effort. Other winners include Andy Greiner (10.004) 10-second winner; Bill Lee (11.05) 11-second winner; Tom Calabrese (12.01) 12-second win; Jesse Morse (13.07) 13-second win; Larry Lentz (14.03) 14-second win; and Brock Austin (15.27) 15-second win.
Local racers waged war in two bracket classes this weekend, and in the Super pro category, Brett Sloat defeated David Bunn for the win. The Sportsman class saw Vaughan Boone take the win over Trey Brunner.
Next up for the NMCA Drag Racing Series presented by E3 Spark Plugs is the 9th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in Commerce, Georgia April 6-9.