The Holley NMRA Drag Racing series completed its second event of the season as the 15th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Presented by MAHLE Motorsport took over historic Rockingham Dragway last weekend. More than a dozen individual champions were crowned at the event, which features many of drag racing’s quickest Ford-powered vehicles.
The star of the race turned out to be former class champ Susan Roush McClenaghan, of Livonia, Michigan, who earned titles in both the MagnaFuel Open Comp class and the Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle. Driving her familiar Roush Performance Mustang in both classes, McClenaghan topped Jody Blalock to earn the Open Comp crown and then won the Modular Muscle title by topping Charlie McCulloch. In both final rounds, McClenaghan had a quicker reaction time and ran closer to her dial-in than her opponent. Between both classes, McClenaghan went undefeated for nine consecutive elimination rounds.
Other winners included Jeff Kinsley, who won the Edelbrock Xtreme Street/VP Racing Madditives Renegade title by racing past Martin Connelly’s Mustang in the final round. Kinsley, in his Camaro, turned on the win light with a 4.646 on the eighth-mile course to cover Connelly’s competitive 4.899. Connelly was a semifinalist at the season-opener in Orlando, Florida, last month.
The final round in Whatever It Takes Transmission Parts Limited Street featured reigning class champion Samantha Moore and last year’s second-place finisher Stacy Roby. Moore won the season-opener in Orlando, but Roby of St. Mary’s, Ohio, evened the score in Rockingham after Moore fouled by eight-thousandths of a second at the start.
Former class champ Frank Paultanis of Dearborn, Michigan, used a holeshot in the final to claim his latest title in the Fastest Street Car Coyote Stock class. Paultanis shifted his way past Ed Bennett in the final round, 9.775 to a quicker 9.762.
Coming off a runner-up finish at the season-opener in Florida, Colts Neck, New Jersey’s Matt Williams scored in the Richmond Gear Factory Stock class by topping Mark Anderson in the final round. Williams gained a big lead off the starting line and won via a holeshot with his 10.205 elapsed time getting to the finish line before Anderson’s 10.108.
The Suncoast Performance 8.60 Street Race class continues to gain in strength. In Rockingham, Casey Flora of Bowling Green, Kentucky, became the latest champion. Flora won the final round after opponent Bo Webb fouled at the start. Flora’s path to the final round included wins against Kevin McKotter and Terry “Beefcake” Reeves.
As usual, the ARP Open Comp class featured a robust field which meant that eventual winner Will McKay had his work cut out for him. McKay, who resides in Rockingham, North Carolina, made up for his early loss last month in Orlando when he stopped Tom Hoffman in the final with an 11.444 on his 11.41 dial. Hoffman also quickly bounced back from a tough start with a runner-up finish. Hoffman broke out by a hundredth of a second at the finish line. McKay topped past class champ Dennis Corn in the semifinal round.
Muncie, Indiana’s Rodney Ward missed the season-opening race in the HP Tuners Super Stang class but quickly made up for lost time by winning his first event of the season. Ward drove his ’14 Mustang past Anthony Jaeger’s Cobra Jet replica to seal the victory. Ward gained a reaction-time advantage and then sealed the victory with a 12.54 against his 12.50 dial. Jaeger made it close with an 11.49 against his 11.43 dial.
Richmond, Texas-based Lloyd Mikeska has been a fixture in NMRA competition for years and he continues to win his fair share of races. Mikeska’s latest title comes in the Fastest Street Car Ford Muscle class, where he topped Cindee Hall and her Ford Falcon in the final round. Mikeska posted an 11.781 on his 11.75 dial for the win after Hall broke out with a 12.699 on her 12.75 dial. Hall has been a finalist at the first two races of the season, making her a championship contender. Mikeska is also off to a fast start with a semifinal to go with his most recent win.
The aptly named Johnny Lightning captured the title in the CJ Pony Parts Truck & Lightning class when he topped Robert Chuhran in the final round. Lightning was first off the starting line and held on for the double-breakout win with an 8.630 against his 8.64 dial. Chuhran ran quicker than his 9.23 prediction with a 9.195. Lightning, who finished No. 2 in the class last season, is off to a fast start with a runner-up finish in Orlando followed by his Rockingham triumph. The final was significant in that Lightning and Chuhran raced in a final round for the first time in their 20-year careers. There was also drama at the finish line when Lightning’s truck blew a tire but the veteran was able to bring it to a safe stop.
The latest specialty event was the Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales Open Comp All-Star Showdown, which pitted 16 rival drivers from both the NMRA and NMCA drag racing series. James Johnson Jr. captured the win against Bill Wittenauer, who became the highest-placing Ford driver in the after taking his Mustang to a runner-up finish.
The Rockingham event also featured the popular True Street class with backing from Circle D Specialties and TorqStorm Superchargers. The 30-mile street cruise, which is an essential component of every True Street event, took place at adjacent Rockingham Speedway, where competitors completed 20 laps around the historic NASCAR oval. Afterward, racers were required to make three back-to-back-to-back runs on the dragstrip, with awards going to both the quickest and most consistent competitors.
Peter Delpino of Miami Lakes, Florida, earned the top honors in True Street with a strong 9.276-second average in his 2019 Mustang GT. Delpino held off Jason Wagoner, who was close behind with a 9.303 average. The individual index winners included Ramon Roman (9-second), Timothy Bradshaw (10-second), Kevin McKenna (11-second), Chris Parisi (12-second), Jerry Jones (13-second), Elaine Moistner (14-second), and Ken Mason (15-second). Five of the winners were equipped with Nitto Drag Radial tires, increasing their prize money to $1,000 as part of one of NMRA’s most enticing promotions.