The weekend is upon us as we start day three of the 13th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street legal Drag Racing presented by Fuel Systems Technology. The on-track action starts at 8:30 a.m. with the third and final qualifying session, and heads-up classes scheduled for their final qualifying shot at the track at 11 a.m. The afternoon kicks off with the QA1 True Street cruise before we roll into round one eliminations at 2 p.m. The huge manufacturer midway should be rivaled by a big turnout in the UPR Products car show today. Combined with a favorable forecast with temperatures in the 70s, we’re in for a great day at Route 66 Raceway!
Things are set to heat up even more today, as we finish qualifying and head into eliminations.
If the first day of the 13th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway is any indication, fans are in for a sensational show as drivers delivered extremely quick and fast elapsed-times during today’s first and second rounds of qualifying. Currently, Andy Manson leads Vortech Superchargers/VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw with a 4.32, Tommy Annunziata leads ProCharger Coyote Modified with a 7.69 and Frank Varela leads Edelbrock Renegade with a 7.38. Sondra Leslie sailed to a 8.73 in Steeda Limited Street, Dan Ryntz drove to a 10.34 in Richmond Gear Factory Stock and Charlie Booze Jr. blasted to a 10.21 in G-Force Coyote Stock. Dennis Corn recorded a .000 reaction time in ARP Open Comp, while Jason Henson recorded a .004 in Exedy Racing Clutches Mod Muscle and Gerry VanVeen recorded a .001 in Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning. Miles Wagoner was perfect on the tree in Roush Super Stang, and Ferndando Lopez Jr. landed an 11.26 on an 11.25 in Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle.
Despite Tommy Annunziata talking about slowing down his 2014 Cobra Jet for the past two days, he rocketed right to the top of ProCharger Coyote Modified field as the provisional number-one qualifier with an impressive 7.696 at 179.49 mph. He and racing partner Jimmy LaRocca worked hard to fix a braking problem that reared its ugly head on Thursday during testing. Thankfully Strange Engineering headquarters is nearby and had the parts in stock for the New Jersey-based team. Annunziata’s 7.696 is a touch quicker than Haley James’s effort, who posted a 7.698 at 176.56 mph during round two last night.
Total Venue Concepts added slicks to the tractor dragging the tire rotator because the track surface was becoming so sticky that the knobby tire would pull up the rubber. The new tractor slicks have worked well and doesn’t leave any marks when the NMRA/NMCA starting line crew make hard turns while running the tire rotator.
Nick Bacalis has stepped up his game in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw, making the switch from naturally aspirated to nitrous assistance. “The big wheelies were cool last year, but they don’t put me in the winners circle at the end of the weekend,” said Bacalis. The 5-inch bore space 738 cubic inch engine got some new Ross Pistons to adapt to the Induction Solutions fogger, and Bacalis clocked a 4.40 at 167 mph last night to slide into the sixth qualifying spot. “We’re creeping up on it,” Bacalis admits. “But I’d like to get into the 4.30s to have a shot at the top guys.”
Alton Clements has temporarily parked his potent Edelbrock Renegade ride to wheel the Manny Buginga-owned ’89 Mustang in the VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw class. The car is fresh from a front half job at JW Racing and Fabrication, and Buginga picked a Procharger F-1X for the boost and a Proformance Transmission to pass the power. Josh Ledford and Jamie Miller perform the keyboard magic, and the first full pass on the revamped ride last night produced a 4.34 at 165.78 mph to qualify Clements second. “It feels like my Renegade car to the 60 foot mark,” Clements said of comparing the cars. “But after the 60 foot, that sh*t is gone!”
While Krista Elyse is relatively new to Richmond Gear Factory Stock, she’s well on her way to winding up in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle in the very competitive category where current records are the 10.262 held by Dan Ryntz and the 129.53 mph held by Louis Sylvester. In her Mustang featuring a Coyote engine she purchased from fellow racers Joe and Becki Cram and freshened with her fiancee and NMRA Edelbrock Renegade racer Adam Arndt and Mike Curio of Mike Curcio Race Products, she spun in the first round of qualifying, but after an adjustment to the tune-up and a swap from her 26X8.5 Mickey Thompson Pro Bracket Radials to 26×10 Mickey Thompson Pro Bracket Radials, she drove to a 10.60 in the second round of qualifying and is currently qualified in the sixth spot going into today’s third round of qualifying. “It’s going well, and the guys in the class are great,” said Elyse. “Everyone helps each other. For example, Dan Ryntz was just helping us with our tune.”
Brian Mitchell and Adam Arndt continue to be a potent pair in Edelbrock Renegade, as Mitchell is currently holding down the third place in points in the category in Arndt’s Mustang. They are, however, looking to move up in qualifying this weekend, as they recently made some upgrades to their small-block Ford, changed the oiling system, haven’t had time to test and have so far posted off-pace numbers, but to know them is to know that they will have a handle on it sooner rather than later. “We’ve had to use qualifying sessions as test sessions, which isn’t ideal, but we did see some really good numbers on our slip last night,” said Mitchell. “Now we just need to be able to run it out.”
Vortech Superchargers/VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw standout Charlie Cooper has proven time and time again that he has a stout combination in the MCRP-built and Garrett turbo-fronted small-block Ford under the hood of his Mustang, and he’s relying on it to help him haul to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle this weekend. New Jersey-based Cooper, who is currently holding down the eleventh spot in qualifying with a 4.51, recently had his car at Acors Performance for some chassis adjustments, and switched from his previous engine management system to a Haltech engine management system. He continues to work with Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing to get the car dialed in for today’s third round of qualifying.
After driving to two championships, NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock driver Drew Lyons decided to make some upgrades to his wheel-standing Mustang motivated by a Coyote engine and Tremec TKO transmission. Over winter, he replaced its stock torque boxes, which had been braced and welded, with new torque boxes using a kit from Lyons Customs Motorsports, and he replaced the floorboard on the rear passenger area and the trunk of the car using material from Late Model Restoration. He debuted the changes during a test session recently, made his return to competition this weekend and is currently qualified in the fifth position with a 10.30. Lyons, who has not yet earned an event win at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl, is focused on doing so with support from his wife, Kristen Lyons, crew chief and fellow racer, Bruce Hemminger, JPC Racing and Pro Tree Race Cars.
A veteran on the NMRA series, Jimmy Dahl has been tapped to drive this turbocharged ’90 Mustang in the VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw class, and he hopes to turn his luck around after a tough outing Friday. “We thought we had a boost problem,” said Dahl. “But I found the wastegate was missing a spring.” Luckily Tial was on the midway and he got the needed parts to fix it up for the third qualifier session today. A small-block Ford from Bennett Racing provides the power, boosted by a Pro-mod style 85mm turbocharger.
Current Edelbrock Renegade points leader Frank Varela has three final rounds and a win to his credit in 2018 thus far, but Joliet started out with some struggles for the Team B ride. “The MSD was misfiring, and we changed a lot of stuff for the first qualifying run,” said Varela. “But not the right stuff.” The team got it together on the second shot last night, putting down a 7.38 to claim the top qualifying spot.
He started the season with a runner-up in Bradenton, Florida, but John Leslie Jr. has struggled since then in Richmond Gear Factory Stock. “After Florida I swapped clutches, and we had wheel hop issues since. He eliminated that issue in Ohio, but found a big wheelstand in exchange. Here in Joliet, he is starting to get the ship righted, as Leslie produced a 10.76 best in qualifying.
Get your NMRA Elimination results HERE
See NMRA qualifying results HERE