Story by Mary Lendzion
Photos Courtesy of NMCA Muscle Car Nationals
While rain threatened to steal the racers’ thunder, it wasn’t able to as they dug in and dispatched profuse power during the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance, July 30-August 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
They were aiming for the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle and the storied Super Bowl shootout portion of the event, where NMCA winners and NMRA winners run off for a coveted Nitto Tire Diamond Tree Championship Ring, cash and a claim to fame. This marked the first time the event, traditionally held at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, was contested at World Wide Technology Raceway, and it was a success.
On the NMCA side, the VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod category was as cutthroat as ever, with most of the racers recording 3-second runs in qualifying, and leading the charge was Jim Widener, who wheeled to a 3.70 in his Corvette. The Indiana-based hot-shoe hauled to the final round of eliminations to face California-based ace Eric Gustafson. Either driver could have won the edge-of-your-seat race, but Widener got to the finish line first, despite an explosion under his car, with a 3.74, and Gustafson was not far behind with a 3.78.
In Mickey Thompson Tires/VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw, Dom DiDonato led qualifying with a 4.32 in his Mustang, and hung on as he hauled to the win with a 4.81 over the equally-tough Tony Hobson, who this time, was forced to get out of the throttle in his Mustang.
Racers with Mustang Cobra Jets, COPO Camaros and Challenger Drag Paks were mixing it up in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, and Tripp Carter led them in qualifying with a 7.67 in his Mustang Cobra Jet. He was on point all the way to the final, and went to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with an 8.56 over Bill Skillman, who turned on the red light in his Mustang Cobra Jet.
With a naturally aspirated combination, Tony Gillig, in competition for the first time this year, led qualifying with a 4.38 in his Cutlass in ARP Nitrous Pro Street, and the incredible Illinois-based driver advanced to the final round of eliminations. He won with a 4.39 against David Fallon Jr., who made his debut in the category this weekend and was not far behind Gillig with a 4.43 in his Nova.
NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street and NMRA Edelbrock Renegade paired up for extra power, and NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Bill Trovato led qualifying with a 4.69 in his Camaro, but by the end of the weekend, Joel Greathouse gunned to a 4.69 in his Mustang to earn his trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle against tough customer Tim Knierierm, who tackled a 4.73 in his Mustang.
High-revving was all the rage in Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons, and among the racers whose engine was singing was Leonard Long, who led qualifying with a 7.88. On race day, Robbie Blankenship faced Long for the final round of eliminations, and blasted to a 7.87 in his Mustang to earn the win after Long had issues and couldn’t complete his pass in his Mustang.
Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center saw Ronnie Hackelton lead qualifying with a 10.21 in his super-consistent Camaro, but duking it out in the final were Jeff Heintz and Scott Brown. Heintz hauled to a 10.33 in his Camaro to win after Brown had issues and couldn’t complete his pass in his Camaro.
In Coan Stock/Super Stock Combo, Bill Skillman led qualifying with an 8.15 on a 9.50 index in his Mustang, but going enough rounds to get to the final were George Cox and Daniel Condon. Cox collected the win with a 10.44 on a 10.42 dial in his Camaro after Condon left the starting line too quickly and turned on the red light in his Camaro. It’s worth noting that Condon was indeed dialed in, as he ran it out to a 10.03 on a 10.03.
Dustin Christensen led qualifying with an 11.50 on an 11.50 index in his Belvedere in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock, and then Kevin Miller and Doug Duell did battle in the final round of eliminations. Miller picked up the win with a 12.18 on an 11.75 index in his Coronet after Duel clicked it red, ever-so-slightly, in his Fury.
In Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle, Tim Boggs tripped the timers at 11.00 on an 11.00 index in his Chevy to lead qualifying, but the final round belonged to Brenda Blair and her Caprice and Chad Brewer and his Nova. The drivers were tight on the tree, and after an oh-so-close double breakout bout, Blair won with an 11.99 on a 12.00 index over Brewer and his 10.49 on a 10.50 index.
Five drivers were .00 on the tree in MagnaFuel Open Comp qualifying, showcasing just some of the skill in the category. Among them was Dan Caissie, who was .001 in his Mustang to lead qualifying, but reigning MagnaFuel Open Comp champion Cameron Bowles was ready to rumble in his Maverick, and rolled all the way to the final. He went to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a breakout time of 9.38 on a 9.39 dial, over Scott Williams, who broke out by more with an 8.57 on an 8.60.
QA1/TorqStorm Superchargers True Street racers went a different route for this event, as rather than hitting the street for their 30-mile cruise, they traversed the facility’s oval track and infield before making three back-to-back passes down the quarter-mile. Randy Thomas was the overall winner with an 8.74 average, while Mike Niehaus was the runner-up with an 8.87 average. Daniel Rosner earned the 9-second win, Scott Oshinski earned the 10-second win, Cody Poston earned the 11-second win and Bryan Newburn earned the 12-second win. Paul Lewis wrapped up the 13-second win, Edwin Schoenfeld wrapped up the 14-second win, and Rodney Ward rounded out the category as the 15-second winner.
An attractive feature of events on the NMCA tour is the popular Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout. At this event, Wade Atchison was the overall winner with a 10.21 average, while James Kiddy was the runner-up with a 10.28 average. John Ridings took the 11-second win, Charlie Hallum emerged as the 12-second winner, Alan Scanlan secured the 13-second win and Ken Mason motored to the 14-second win. Putting the exclamation mark on the category was Champ Wert, who was the 15-second winner.
The eight quickest drivers in the Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout came together for the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 presented by Red Line Oil, and Wade Atchison arrived at the win with a 10.22 in his Demon over James Kiddy, who was not too far behind with a 10.39 in his Challenger.
In the Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, Terry Faust took the overall win with an 8.99 average, while Don Dixon wrapped up the runner-up finish with a 9.55 average. Other winners included Norm Jensen in the 10-second category, Kevin Rowand in the 11-second category, Greg Carlos in the 12-second category and James Walter in the 14-second category. Alyssa Pett picked up the win in the 15-second category.
The EATON TVS Supercharger Throwdown, which was open to all TVS-supercharged street cars, saw Jason Wagoner wheel to the overall win with a 9.08 average, while Chad Walter was the runner-up with a 10.06 average. Oscar Morin earned the 10-second win and Kevin McKenna earned the 11-second win. Then, in the EATON TVS Supercharger Quick 4 Shootout on Sunday Oscar Morin muscled to the win with an 8.76 in his Mustang against Chad Walter, who turned in a 9.69 in his Camaro.
The Don Baskin Truck Sales Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST) category added another element to this event, and Rhett Moody led qualifying with a 12.000 in his Barracuda. He remained strong all weekend, and ran to the win with an 11.99 over Mike Leyes, who was 12.59 in his Road Runner. And, in the Cor-A-Vent and Autorama Auto Sales Factory Stock category, Dave Watt wrangled the win with a 12.75 in his Duster over Steve Hodges, who was 15.69 in his Sport Fury.
True Street Bracket 3, featuring drivers who took part in NMCA TorqStorm Superchargers True Street, NMRA QA1 True Street, Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout and Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, saw Alan Scanlan collect the win with a 12.36 on a 12.25 dial in his Challenger against Bob Hoffman, who stopped the clocks at 11.24 on an 11.20 dial in his Grand National.
When the last pair of cars crushed the track surface for the Super Bowl portion of the event as the sun began to set, Team NMRA took the win for the eleventh time in the event’s fifteen-year history, but NMCA racers will no doubt be ready for next year’s rumble, too.
It’s now full steam ahead for the next event on the series’ tour, the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering, Aug. 27-30, U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.