The first weekend in March is time for the NMCA season opener in Bradenton, Florida, and once again for the fourth year in a row rain put a damper on the event. Of course that did not stop the great racing, just postponed the eliminations until Monday. We opened up with some nice weather for Fridays test session and I took a ride through the pits to catch up with what’s new.

Thanks to Mickey Thompson tires for sponsoring our event coverage.

The first notable car I ran across was Jeff Lutz’ Stroupe built Grand Am formerly owned by Vinnie Budano. Jeff lost his Monte Carlo to fire last year and put this new car together with the old engine combo, a 548 ci BBC with twin 88mm Precision turbos tuned by Patrick Barnhill.

Dave Heitz and Durinzi Racing brought out the world renowned Christine, the pioneering Pro Modified 1958 Plymouth Fury reborn after a 1991 fire and making her NMCA debut here this weekend with Chris Cline driving.

Another new ride in Scorpion Performance Pro Street is John Sullivan’s Dodge Stratus. It runs the same engine as Mark Micke’s Camaro, a methanol burning Procharged BBC and Mark was on hand to help sort the new ride but that had little luck getting down the track. Joe Dunne has a new 864 ci mill from Pat Musi and plans to attend more races this year after making two appearances in 09.

Dave Roemer also has his new car out, a sweet fourth gen Camaro built in house at his True Tech shop in upstate New York. It’s got a Procharged 365 ci LSX built by Kurt Urban. Keep an eye out for an upcoming feature on it in GM Hi Tech Performance magazine.

Scorpion Performance Pro Street

Chris Rini was the man to beat, coming out hard with a 6.32 @ 215 in the first session for top spot. He was next to Noel Felton on that run and had a bit of a scare on the top end as Felton pulled the chute late, got on the brakes hard and wound up nose first in the wall ending their weekend. Cline also had a wild ride in Christine, carrying the wheels at the 330’ and making a move to the left wall. He managed a 7.83 @ 199.

By the final session it would Dunne on top with low ET of 7.253 @ 224 ahead of Demieri by.005 with top MPH at 228 and Rini bumped to third. Several of the Pro Street guys could not stay over Monday so that left Dunne, Rini, Lutz and Demieri to fight it out with Demieri on the easy side of the ladder with singles all day. Rini kicked of with a 6.30 @ 216 for low ET in eliminations on a single over the missing Cline then met up with Lutz and Dunne for two good matches and a pair of 6.32’s.

The final paired him up with Demieri who slept on the tree and got to watch Rini cruise to a 6.33 @ 218 and the win as he shut down to a 6.51 @ 187.

Mickey Thompson Super Street 10.5W

Conrad Scarry was the only Super Street car to get down track in the first session with a 6.85 @ 212. Mike Rees and Frank Meshaw were side by side but both cars lifted early on their first qualifier, this is Rees' first race with this car. For the second session Keith Auwarter swapped a new pair of slicks on Scarry’s Mustang but did not improve.

Jim Blair ran a 7.06 for second spot followed by Meshaw's 7.15 @ 179. He was sporting a fresh bullet from Kris Nelson and new Pro Mod style 88 MM turbos. In the final session Scarry improved to a 6.80 and Blair to a 6.88 while Moesha stood on his earlier 7.15. Ray Sanchez, Sandro Sementilli, Tony Nesbitt and Mikey Rees round out the field. Come Monday Scarry would set low ET on his round one by with a 6.75 @ 212. Meshaw got around Nesbitt who had to pedal early in the run and Blair ran 6.90 as Sementilli spun the tires. Blair had the bye in the semis running a 7.06.

Meshaw did his job and got out first on Scarry but slowed to a 7.61 and lost some trans fluid on the top end to Scarry’s 6.86 setting up a blower vs. turbo final. Blair’s .020 light had the advantage but he could not hold on, running a game 6.91 @ 196 to Scarry’s winning 6.76 @ 212 MPH pass.

ARP Nostalgia Pro Street

Former NPS champion Jeff Colletta set the bar with a 7.46 @ 182 in the first session. Danny Shemwell was on hand as well with some new paint for his ride; he was second with a 7.51 @ 181. Jim Jarrett took over top qualifier in round two with a 7.42 in his beautiful Orange 69 Camaro, Colletta and Shemwell stayed the same while Andrew Handras and Andrew Vogt improved. Barb Nesbit was having trouble and sat on the bottom of the field with an 8.60.

The final session saw Nesbitt improver her position with a solid 7.62 @ 181. This would be the last race for this car with Team Midnight. A new 69 Camaro is nearly completed at Skinny Kid and they expect to be testing in a couple of weeks. This car has been sold. On Monday Shemwell and Jarrett could not stay giving Nesbitt and Rob Briscoe byes in round one with Nesbit having low ET for the round with a 7.56 @ 178, Briscoe ran 7.98 @ 170. Vogt won his match with Patrick Adams, then a buy in round two. Nesbitt got out on Briscoe and stayed there to the tune of a 7.53 to beat Briscoe’s best run of the weekend, a 7.61 @ 180.

In the final Vogt was in the water waiting and Nesbitt had issues firing the car. In a show of great sportsmanship they agreed to wait the short period. When the tree came down Vogt was already out 80 feet though handing Barbara her first NMCA event win. What I great way to go out with the old car.

Vortech Xtreme Street

Thirteen cars made the call for round one of Xtreme Street qualifying with Bob Kurgan setting the pace with an 8.04 @ 169, then Bill Trovato with his Olds powered Starfire with an 8.15 @ 166, Dan Kroll, Bart Tobener and Jason Lee round out the top five. Jason Lee had a long weekend eating a blower on Friday then discovering a cracked head after this session.

Tony Orts drove left on his first qualifier in the wild ride of the weekend. Crossing the center line at the eighth mile on three wheels and narrowly missing contact with the other car. Round two saw Jamie Stanton move to the front with an 8.02 @ 173, Trovato also moved ahead of Kurgan with an 8.03. The final session had Stanton again stepping it up with a 7.97 for the only seven second pass of the event. Jack Pereira stepped it up to an 8.20 @ 168 for eighth position, Scotty G also made improvements to his car and took ninth with an 8.23. Roemer ran 8.45 @ 165 in his new car. Tony Orts managed to get down the track and a nice wheel stand in the final session for thirteenth running an 8.50. George Rumore and Phil Smith were running out of the Team Midnight pits and wound up fourteenth and fifteenth respectively. Smith is driving for Billy Adams in a new car for them and is a new driver so they were keeping it tuned down for some seat time. Knighton qualified last with a 9.62 @ 136. Seven of the XS cars were not able to stay so that made for a lot of singles in round one. The only head to head was Jason Lee and Phil Smith. Lee stepped it up to an 8.06 @ 169 for the win. Smith ran another 9.0.

Round two pitted Stanton and Orts with Stanton getting the best of it with an 8.22, Orts spun the tires and lifted to a 14.6, Lee advanced past Michael Alwardt running an 8.21 @ 169. Trovato took down Dan Kroll’s Nova and Steve Cagle beat Pereira’s Mustang with an 8.18.

In the semi finals Stanton and Lee had a close match with Stanton getting the best of Lee on the tree by a tenth and 8.41 @ 169 to Lee’s 8.44 at only 144. Trovato had a come from behind win over Cagle, 8.09 to 8.14.

It would be an all nitrous final in XS this time with Trovato having lane choice and choosing the right side lane. Stanton was out first but had to pedal the car allowing the little Olds to slip bye for the win and go on to run an 8.15 @ 149 to Stanton’s 8.20 @ 169.

Comp Cams Pro Stock

Seven cars showed up for the first qualifying session with Charlie Booze setting the pace with an 8.47 @ 158. Don Bowles ran 8.50 for second, then Skip Baskin and Robbie Blankenship separated by just .008 with Baskin running 8.521 @ 155. Max Gross in the School of Automotive Machinists car owned by Mike DeMayo was fifth with an 8.61. Tim Eichorn and Greg Delany round out the field. In the second session Delany and Eichorn traded places as Delany improved to an 8.622 @ 157. The final session saw Baskin move ahead of Bowles with an 8.501.

Tim Eichorn was the only Pro Stock racer to leave, giving a bye to Blankenship where he ran an 8.55 @ 155. Booze had the earned bye and ran 8.491 @ 158 for low ET of the round. Bowles was late on the tree to Delany, .104 to .012 making his quicker 8.56 @ 151 MPH pass not quick enough to get around Delany’s 8.63 @ 151. Baskin took out Gross, 8.55 to 8.60.

Round two saw Booze repeat his first round ET though with a slightly better MPH, 158.89. Baskin faced off with Blankenship getting a hole shot win, killing the tree with a .003 light to Blankenship’s .060, Baskin’s 8.56 @ 154 getting the win over the slower 8.54 @ 156 for the Mustang.

The final pitted the fastest car on the lot against the 2009 champion Skip Baskin. Booze left first with a .036 to Baskin’s .050. Baskin went on to run his best ET of eliminations with an 8.53 @ 154, Booze reset low ET with the winning 8.473 @ 158.

BF Goodrich Street Radial

Only three cars made run in the first session of Street Radial, Tim Hendricks, Brad Schehr and Mike Fratena. Hendricks was the quickest with an 8.83 @ 151, then Schehr’s 8.85 @ 155. Fratena aborted his run.

Macaluso added to the count in round two but could only muster an 11.03 @ 139 after striking the tires early. Fratena improved to a 9.93, Hendricks also improved to an 8.80 @ 153.

In the final session Fratena improved once again to a 9.53 @ 156 for top MPH. Jesse Coulter was able to make it after burning a head gasket testing on Friday.

They had to make a run to Miami for parts Friday night and spent getting it back together. He ran 10.04 @ 113. Dave Ginter also made the show running 11.03 in his 92 Mustang based out of Racine, Wisconsin. Heath Shemwell was here but broke an axle testing on Friday and did not have a spare. Schehr had a bye as Ginter had to head back home, he ran 8.85 @ 155. Hendricks ran an 8.87 @ 153 to get around Coulter’s 9.67 @ 149. Fratena was getting a handle on it and managed a 9.20 on his single. Round two pitted Schehr and Fratena with Schehr cutting the better light with a .024. Fratena had his best run of the weekend with an 8.83 @ 159 but his poor, .090 light put him on the loosing end of Schehr’s 8.86 @ 155.

As in Pro Stock both finalists would run their best of the event with Hendricks laying down an 8.702 @ 154 for low ET, driving around Schehr’s, 033, 8.84 @ 155 for the event win.

Drag Racer Magazine Mean Street

2009 champ Don Baskin led Mean Street qualifying with a 10.02 @ 130 just in front of Jeremy Gillam’s 10.07. Gillam reported some winter upgrades and they are very happy with the performance so far recording a nice 1.33 60’ on their first qualifier. Some dyno time with Rich Groh helped them find some power as well.

David Hill made the cross over from NMRA for his first NMCA appearance this weekend. His first pass was a wheels up 10.31@ 130 for fourth. Gary Duncan ran a 10.24 @ 128 in his 85 Camaro putting him in third. Hill improved to a 10.22 in the second session. The order was unchanged and Jimmy Wilson and Doug Johnson ran 10.66 and 10.91 respectively.

The final session had Hill again improve to a 10.14 in a nice side by side run with Gillam’s 10.15, Johnson also improved his ET to a 10.83. Duncan, Wilson and Johnson were not able to stay for Monday’s eliminations so we had three singles first round. Gillam ran 10.18, Baskin ran 10.08, Hill took the tree and drove down to a 12.28. Round two was a nice match with Gillam and Hill, with Gillam first out with a .043. Hill ran quicker with a 10.17 but his .103 light left him too far back. Baskin had a small water leak after the burnout. He was allowed to take the tree under power and push back to make repairs.

In the final Gillam put up a .005 light and Baskin lit the tires at the hit. Gillam went on to a 10.24 @ 129 for the win as Baskin shut off early to a 12.23 @ 84