NMCA & NMRA Drag Racing In Chicago - Destination Chicago!
NMRA And NMCA Racers Joined Forces To Put On An Awesome Show At Route 66 Raceway This Past July.
From the January, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
Photography by Johnny Hunkins
Jeremy Harris of St. Francis,...
Jeremy Harris of St. Francis, MN, owns and drives this gorgeous 2000-bodied '94 Camaro. In NMCA Pro Stock trim (sponsored by Scorpion Performance), the 420-ci small-block-powered flyer has run a best of 8.66/157.
Once upon a time, a sport called drag racing was invented, in which hooligans with hot street cars got organized and took the activity off the road and into a safer venue. Those heady early days were full of discovery and wonderment, as regular guys continuously broke boundaries and captivated audiences with their creativity and driving skill. But recent years have seen the waning of pro drag racing, as the cars have become less like street cars and more like spaceships on a mission to Mars. And while there will always be an audience for nitro-breathing fuelers, the meat-and-potatoes muscle car lover can't be blamed if he chooses to spend his racing dollar where he can see the same kind of cars that are in his garage.
You'll be happy to know that the guys at Promedia-the organization that owns and operates the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) and the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA)-haven't forgotten their drag racing roots, or the spirit that started it all. They own and drive the same kind of cars that you do, and they like to race 'em, too.
The NMCA and the NMRA are normally run as two separate series during the year. Muscle car guys and late-model Mustang guys don't share that much in common, except they like their street cars fast, and they're competitive. For most of the year Promedia keeps the ol' Zippo lighter away from the dynamite in one corner, and the TNT in the other corner, but at Joliet's Route 66 Raceway once a year each July, it's time for a little fireworks!
Over the years as the Promedia staff has fine-tuned the racing rules for its NMCA and NMRA classes (23 in all!), they've done a good job of maintaining parity between their organizations. That opens the door for them to hold their annual Super Bowl of Drag Racing in Joliet, Illinois, where classic muscle cars and late-model Mustangs can go head-to-head for serious crowd-pleasing action.
This past July 17-20, we took in the action at Chicago's premier drag facility, and had a blast. Although somewhat hampered by rain, the extended four-day itinerary allowed for plenty of flexibility, and everybody got their game on. All the fan favorite heads-up classes were represented, with power adders, straight motors, 10.5-inch tires, radials, budget power adders, nostalgia, and every street freak's fave-True Street. Open Comp is also quickly becoming a popular alternative to bracket racing. A car show, a large manufacturer's midway, and a swap meet were also on hand to keep fans interested. Here are some highlights from the Super Bowl Of Street Legal Drag Racing sponsored by Motive Gear and Nitto Tires.
Butch Kemp's Pro Stocker
COMP Cams Pro Stock is very similar in spirit to the early days of NHRA Pro Stock-stock bodies, stock interiors, stock suspensions, and lots of innovation. Butch Kemp's '67 Nova caught our eye with its clean lines and stunning 8-second performance (it's run a best of 8.55/158, and holds the COMP Cams Pro Stock record). The Uratchko-built 419ci small-block is a pretty typical race piece, except for the Mopar 7420 intake, which Butch tells us is used by all the fast guys in Pro Stock. The class rules call for a bolt-on cast manifold, and it just so happens that the Mopar 7420 intake is a great fit for the CFE RR320 heads on Butch's Chevy. Don't like the idea of a Mopar part on a Chevy? Then don't read this: Butch uses a Proflite three-speed trans, which is basically a beefed and built 727 Torqueflite with 904 internals. It's not a cheap trans to buy (they run about $6,000), but they are as strong as a max-effort Turbo 400, but with a whole lot less parasitic power loss. In a naturally aspirated class like Pro Stock where every last horsepower matters, that can be the difference between winning and losing. The vibe of Butch's Nova is all street, with a stock-as-humanly-possible interior, right down to the stock steering wheel. "A lot of guys make fun of me for using the stock steering wheel," says Butch, "but I really like it."
Ex-NASCAR Engines For Sale!
While combing through the pit area, we ran into Don Bowles, who runs a 2006 Mustang in NMRA's Open Comp class. Don Bowles has been racing for decades, and has worked with Jack Roush since 1972, and continues to develop products for Roush for their retail program. When we first saw Don's orange '06 GT, we assumed it was just another late-model Mustang, until we dug deeper.
It turns out that Bowles' hot rod is running a used Roush NASCAR powerplant, straight out of Carl Edwards' Sprint Cup operation. What's even more interesting is that with the Roush/Fenway Racing operation's five NASCAR teams, there is an abundance of slightly used engines flooding the marketplace with no place to go. (All the engines changed for the 2008 season-making the 2007 engines obsolete.) It's a veritable cornucopia of power just waiting to be tapped.
Other than having been freshened up, re-dynoed, and changed to operate on E85, the 358ci NASCAR plant in Bowles' GT is the same as the day it thumped under the hood of Edward's Ford. With this engine, Bowles laid down a qualifying e.t. of 9.50, which qualified him seventh in a full field. That was with no power adder, too!
Here's the kicker: You can buy a Roush NASCAR engine just like this one for about $20K. This includes a thorough freshening and dyno testing. It also includes all accessories, such as ignition, distributor, alternator, water pump, pulleys, brackets, and engine dress. We did a little searching on the Internet, and found NASCAR Chevy engines for sale (complete, just like the one in Don Bowles' car) for as low as $12K from Muscle Motorsports (Huntersville, NC; 704-948-1040). We asked Bowles where our readers could buy a used Roush Ford engine, but he was unable to provide that information, other than to say we should contact Doug Yates (but gave us no contact phone).
If you're looking for big-block power in a smaller, lightweight package, and like the idea of something that stands out from the crowd, a refurbished NASCAR engine is just the thing. They're bulletproof, they're unique, they come fully refurbished and dyno tested, and dollar-for-dollar, they're the steal of the century.
|NMCA DRAG RACING RESULTS JOLIET, IL, JULY 17-20 |
|SCORPION PERFORMANCE PRO STREET |
|Drive: ||Hometown: ||Car: ||Engine: ||R/T: ||E.T.: ||MPH: |
|W-Mark Micke ||Jefferson City, MO ||'68 Camaro ||Chev 526 ||0.038 ||6.413 ||220.66 |
|RU-Tony Bischoff ||Brooksville, IN ||'02 Cougar ||Ford 645 ||0.097 ||6.407 ||218.19 |
|NITTO SUPER STREET 10.5 |
|W-Anthony Nesbitt ||Lombard, IL ||'02 Corvette ||Chev 737 ||0.049 ||7.018 ||201.07 |
|RU-Spiro Pappas ||Glenview, IL ||'69 Camaro ||Chev unk. ||0.051 ||7.043 ||205.29 |
|ARP NOSTALGIA PRO STREET |
|W-Jeff Colletta ||Walker, LA ||'00 Camaro ||Chev 632 ||0.034 ||7.578 ||181.86 |
|RU-Kevin Parent ||Rochester Hills, MI ||'69 Nova ||Chev 632 ||0.036 ||7.631 ||182.87 |
|VORTECH XTREME STREET |
|W-Tony Orts ||Oswego, IL ||'68 Firebird ||Chev 525 ||0.007 ||8.260 ||166.01 |
|RU-Bob Kurgan ||Byron, IL ||'86 Mustang ||Ford 364 ||0.104 ||8.202 ||171.36 |
|COMP CAMS PRO STOCK |
|W-Andy Schmidt ||Highland, IN ||'85 Mustang ||Ford 416 ||0.023 ||8.712 ||157.1 |
|RU-Michael DeMayo ||West Sunbury, PA ||'95 Mustang ||Ford 420 ||0.001 ||8.737 ||156.72 |
|CAR CRAFT STREET RACE |
|W-Tim Hendricks ||Sterling, IL ||'94 Pontiac ||Chev 358 ||0.085 ||9.025 ||152.61 |
|RU-John Macaluso ||Port St, Lucie, FL ||'93 Mustang ||Ford 357 ||0.103 ||9.009 ||132.99 |
|BFG TIRES MEAN STREET |
|W-Don Baskin ||Lexington, TN ||'67 Chevy II ||Chev 365 ||0.135 ||10.219 ||128.85 |
|RU-Jeff Swanson ||Arlington, TN ||'88 Mustang ||Ford 354 ||0.118 ||11.326 ||104.37 |
This '70 Chevelle SS haunts...
This '70 Chevelle SS haunts the streets of Loganville, GA, where its owner, Ken Weilbrenner (45), operates Southern Automotive Center. Running in the AA Nostalgia Muscle Car Class (10.0 index), this heavy Chevy benefits from a Bischoff-built 565ci big-block with Dart Pro 1 heads, Dart block, Victor Jr. intake, QFT 950 carb, COMP solid roller cam, and a Starnes-built Turbo 400 with a 5,000-stall 9-inch Competition Transmissions converter. Ken's gone as fast as 9.57/138 with a 1.32 60-foot time on a stock suspension with tubular control arms and QA1 shocks.
Over at the NMCA/NMRA trailer,...
Over at the NMCA/NMRA trailer, there's always an anxious crowd checking out the standings. Here, Joe Keller (Hubbard, OH) helps his dad, John Keller, check his qualifying position in Diablosport Renegade. Their '95 Mustang qualified 10th with an 8.90/153.
Spiro Pappas waits in his...
Spiro Pappas waits in his '69 Camaro for the rain to dry so he can strike fear into yet another competitor.
"I like to run my Cobra in...
"I like to run my Cobra in True Street when I'm not modeling," says 23-year-old Jazmin Newton (Davenport, IA). Here she signs a Bassani poster for fan Nathan Greer (8) of Henderson, TN.
What's not to love about a...
What's not to love about a street-legal, wheel-standing '69 Chevelle? Nothing, if you ask 49-year-old Clarence Harding of Lowell, IN. He's had this '69 since 1979. It runs 10-ohs in Open Comp (shifting at 7,300 rpm) using a fuel-injected 509 big-block with Brodix heads, a Gen VII DFI, an old ACCEL EFI intake, and a COMP solid roller cam. Other goodies include a Coan Turbo 400 (5,400-stall converter), a 9-inch rear with 4.10 cogs, and a trans brake.
Nostalgia Muscle Car is a...
Nostalgia Muscle Car is a naturally aspirated index class for pure muscle cars with slicks. Build your engine with common bolt-ons, and choose your index. Jim Sayre's '70 Camaro runs the 10.50 "A" class with a 14.7:1-compression 412-inch SBC with a Dart block, Brodix Track 1 heads, Super Victor intake, 1050 Pro Systems Dominator, .700-inch-lift COMP solid roller cam, a BTE 'glide (5,800-stall converter), and a 12-bolt rear with Strange 4.56 gears. It's gone a best of 10.27/133. Jim owns Sayre's Collision Repair in McCordsville, IN.
Car Craft sponsors Street...
Car Craft sponsors Street Race, a budget-oriented heads-up class designed for stock suspensions, radial tires, and a single, modest power adder, like a blower or nitrous plate. There's nothing modest about Jay Canella's '62 Chevy II (Antioch, IL). This screaming yellow zonker packs a 15:1 358ci small-block with a 300-shot Wilson nitrous plate. A pair of Brodix 23-degree Race Rite heads, a Super Victor intake, .550-inch lift COMP hydraulic roller, and a Holley 750 HP carb handle breathing chores en route to low 9-second e.t.'s.
If you're looking to get in...
If you're looking to get in a good cardio session, you can climb to the top of the Route 66 Raceway grandstands and take in the sights for miles around.
NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock...
NMCA Nostalgia Super Stock has all kinds of cool cars, like Dennis Gorrell's wheel-standing '66 Plymouth Satellite. A .030-over-440 has Edelbrock heads, an Edelbrock STR14 crossram intake with Edelbrock carbs, and an Erson solid. The sky is brought to you by a Jerico four-speed loaded with a McLeod Soft-Loc clutch in front of a 9-inch with 4.56 gears. Take a close look at the front bumper: It's a fiberglass piece painted with Dupli-Color Chrome paint out of a rattle can! Dennis tried it on a lark, and couldn't believe the realistic result.
Les Bigelow (Louisville, KY)...
Les Bigelow (Louisville, KY) can always be counted on to lift the wheels of his '73 Camaro whenever he runs Open Comp. A 406ci small-block with Dart Pro 1 heads, a Super Victor intake, 1050 Dominator carb, and a .650-inch lift Lunati solid roller cam takes the elevator up to the second floor, while a Coan 'glide and a Dana 60 with 5.57 gears bolted to a ladder-bar rear suspension help get things moving forward.
We found Jim "Violation" Gollwitzer...
We found Jim "Violation" Gollwitzer (Roselle, IL) with his '64 Malibu in the car show. It's a solid car built on a budget with modest bolt-ons-and we'll be featuring it soon. Jim's small-block 350 has a Weiand 4-71 blower making 6 psi with ported iron "fuelie" heads, a solid roller .642-inch lift cam, and a Carb Shop 840-cfm carb. Power goes through a Turbo 400, then into a Ford 9-inch with a spool and 4.88 gears. Jim's got only $12,500 into it, and it's run a best quarter-mile of 11.72/113.
Looking for big-time street-legal...
Looking for big-time street-legal traction in a rugged radial construction? Look no further than Nitto's 325/50R15 Extreme Drag Radial, modeled here by part-time Nitto spokesperson Lauren Black. The 23-year-old model hails from Oak Park, IL, and specializes in sales and marketing.
|NOS SUPER STOCK |
|Driver: ||Hometown: ||Car: ||Engine: ||R/T: ||Index: ||E.T.: ||MPH: |
|W-Paul Habura ||Addison, IL ||'63 Savoy ||Mopar 572 ||0.099 ||9.0 ||9.041 ||149.22 |
|RU-TD Holland ||Huntington, TN ||'68 AMX ||AMC 401 ||0.051 ||10.5 ||10.616 ||126.06 |
|OPG NOSTALGIA MUSCLE CAR |
|W-Ralph Seran ||Clayton, NJ ||'70 Super Bee ||Mopar 440 ||0.069 ||12.0 ||11.957 ||112.77 |
|RU-Andy Warren ||Rineyville, KY ||'71 Caprice ||Chev 406 ||-0.005 ||11.0 ||15.503 ||78.28 |
|SUPER CHIPS OPEN COMP |
|W-Andy Brodzinski ||Lockport, IL ||'67 Skylark ||Chev 540 ||0.109 ||9.64 ||9.695 ||131.69 |
|RU-Scott Laws ||Plainfield, IN ||'82 Mustang ||Ford 514 ||0.017 ||10.36 ||10.768 ||128.93 |
|EATON POSI LATE MODEL EFI |
|W-Jason Phillips ||Granite, IL ||'02 Mustang ||Ford 281 ||0.073 ||15.0 ||15.208 ||92.68 |
|RU-Andrew Ford ||Graham, KY ||'00 Mustang GT ||Ford 281 ||0.205 ||15.0 ||15.131 ||93.11 |
|TRUE STREET |
|Finish/driver: ||Hometown: ||Car: ||Run 1: ||Run 2: || Run 3: ||Ave.: |
|W-Mike Brown ||Huber Heights, OH ||Trans Am ||8.110 ||8.570 ||8.160 ||8.280 |
|RU-Greg Zoetmulder ||Mchenry, IL ||Jeep CJ-7 ||8.910 ||8.840 ||8.920 ||8.890 |
|9-sec. Index Steve Hoch ||Tolono, IL ||Corvette ||8.980 ||9.040 ||9.080 ||9.033 |
|10-sec. Index Blake Highsmith ||Lindsay, OK ||Roadrunner ||10.480 ||10.260 ||10.060 ||10.267 |
|11-sec. Index Shaun Slaughter ||Iowa City, IA ||Camaro ||11.100 ||11.130 ||11.170 ||11.133 |
|12-sec. Index Matt Tomlinson ||Grayslake, IL ||Corvette ||12.028 ||12.029 ||11.947 ||12.001 |
|13.sec. Index Tony Serano ||New Lenox, IL ||Thunderbird ||13.120 ||13.040 ||13.090 ||13.083 |
|14-sec. Index Michael Stephens ||Columbus, OH ||Corvette ||13.920 ||14.190 ||13.940 ||14.017 |
|15-sec. Index Belinda Moore ||Chicago Heights, IL ||Mustang ||15.100 ||15.220 ||15.230 ||15.183 |
|NMRA DRAG RACING RESULTS |
|TURBONETICS PRO OUTLAW |
|Driver: ||Hometown: ||Car: ||Engine: ||R/T: ||E.T.: ||MPH: |
|W-Ron Lummus ||Anaheim, CA ||'08 Mustang ||Ford ||.032 ||9.590 ||97.24 |
|RU-Conrad Scarry ||Deerfield Beach, FL ||'04 Mustang ||Ford 460 ||.190 ||11.326 ||114.62 |
|PROCHARGER SS OUTLAW |
|W-John Urist ||Albuquerque, NM ||'93 Mustang ||Ford 420 ||.028 ||7.531 ||186.79 |
|RU-Samuel Vincent ||Central City, KY ||'88 Mustang ||Ford 422 ||.032 ||7.782 ||164.37 |
|DIABLOSPORT RENEGADE |
|W-Brian Tuten ||Lexington, SC ||'91 Mustang ||Ford 364 ||.119 ||8.626 ||153.61 |
|RU-Bob Cook ||New Lenox, IL ||'08 Mustang ||Ford 312 ||.126 ||8.868 ||133.43 |
|BFG TIRES DRAG RADIAL |
|W-Tony Akins ||Ripley, MS ||'03 Mustang ||Ford N/A ||.025 ||8.268 ||171.88 |
|RU-Joey Bridge ||Southaven, MS ||'04 Mustang ||Ford 330 ||.019 ||8.322 ||170.41 |
|EDELBROCK HOT STREET |
|Charlie Booze, Jr. ||Marion, PA ||'92 Mustang ||Ford 399 ||.029 ||8.831 ||152.99 |
|RU-Robbie Blankenship ||Hudson, FL ||'04 Mustang ||Ford 400 ||.005 ||8.953 ||151.04 |
|5.0 MUSTANG REAL STREET |
|W-Bruce Henninger ||Channathon, IL ||'86 Mustang ||Ford 311 ||broke |
|RU-Jim Breese ||Transfer, FL ||'04 Mustang ||Ford 284 ||foul |
|TREMEC PURE STREET |
|W-Brandon Alsept ||Batavia, OH ||'98 Mustang ||Ford 289 ||.083 ||10.281 ||131.11 |
|RU-Ryan Hecox ||Severna Park, MD ||'99 Mustang ||Ford 311 ||foul |
|ACT FACTORY STOCK |
|W-Matt Amrine ||Batavia, OH ||'98 Mustang ||Mod 289 ||.086 ||11.408 ||117.93 |
|RU-Tommy Godfrey ||Sunderland, MD ||'89 Mustang ||Ford 311 ||.175 ||11.362 ||119.81 |
|ROUSH MODULAR MUSCLE |
|Driver: ||Hometown: ||Car: ||Engine: ||R/T: ||Index: ||E.T.: ||MPH: |
|W-Brandon Peterson ||East Peoria, IL ||'99 Mustang ||Ford 281 ||.023 ||12.28 ||12.293 ||104.76 |
|RU-Tom Motycka ||Lawton, MI ||'96 Mustang ||Ford 281 ||.018 ||12.53 ||12.524 ||106.15 |
|STEEDA OPEN COMP |
|W-Max O'Connell ||Frankfort, IL ||'79 Mustan ||Ford 360 ||.045 ||10.83 ||10.834 ||124.50 |
|RU-Mike McComba ||Jacksonville, IL ||'87 Mustang ||Ford 418 ||.087 ||10.60 ||10.558 ||125.42 |
|DETROIT LOCKER TRUCK |
|W-Ray Johnson ||Elgin, IL ||'94 Lightning ||Ford 410 ||.125 ||10.90 ||10.820 ||129.07 |
|RU-Johnny Lightning ||New Providence, PA ||'02 Lightning ||Ford 355 ||.024 ||11.66 ||11.516 ||100.35 |