After securing a second place finish in points in NMCA Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center last year, Haley Burkhammer belted in for 2019.
She was determined to be even more consistent and more competitive than she already was, she was determined to earn a trip — or trips — to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle and she was completely capable of accomplishing those things.
At the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, she put up a 10.13 to qualify in the second spot in her Camaro, but a broken axle under the car ender her weekend in the first round of eliminations.
The Arkansas-based driver, and Arkansas Razorbacks fan, who married Matthew Burkhammer just a few weeks after the race season wrapped last year, posted a 10.12 to qualify in the second spot and later a lifting 10.58 to runner-up against reigning class champion Jesse Wilson at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway, and then a 10.16 to lead qualifying followed later by a 10.19 to runner-up against Wilson at the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway.
“I love going to Memphis,” said Burkhammer. “We test most Thursday nights there. I had over 30 people in my pit crew that weekend, and I wanted to make it a special race for them and myself. The car ran amazing. I made it to the final round, and knew I had a car that could win. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have enough car to overcome the perfect .000 light that Jesse Wilson cut. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but it made me and my crew even more motivated to win the next race.”
With that, Burkhammer headed to the always well-attended and wild 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by FST Carburetors in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois. She ran to a 10.197 to qualify in the second spot, right behind Wilson and his 10.191, and she wrapped up her first win of the year with a 10.23 over Wilson, who was on a winning streak.
“This race was everything I wanted it to be and more,” said Burkhammer, who has so much support in her racing efforts from her family, including her husband, Matthew Burkhammer, grandfather, crew chief and fellow racer, Ronnie Hackelton, father and fellow racer, Kevin Rounsavall, mother Christi Rounsavall and others. “I told my pop (Ronnie Hackelton) on Thursday that I didn’t get him a birthday present because I was going to give him a win at the race that weekend. When I got to the final, I gave it all I had and finally came up with a win. It meant everything to me. I have been waiting for almost two years to finally get back to the winner’s circle, and to do it at the Super Bowl was even more special. I cant explain the excitement that went through me when I saw my win light come on. I’m pretty sure I screamed the whole way back to the pits.”
Now, Burkhammer is holding down second place in points in NMCA Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center as she prepares to blast into the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals, Aug. 22-25 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
“I’m definitely more nervous (because) now I know I have a chance to possibly win a championship for the first time, so the pressure is on me,” said Burkhammer. “I hope the car runs well and we have a fighting chance at getting a win and becoming closer to getting that championship. My crew chief/pop says we aren’t changing a thing. We have a fast car and don’t want to chance making any changes.”
If you can’t be at the event to see Burkhammer and her fellow drivers in action, catch it on a live feed HERE by presenting sponsor Monster Clutch, Classic Instruments, Performance Distributors, ATI Performance Products, Lunati Power, Race Star Wheels, Flying A Motorsports, Moroso Performance Products, Late Model Engines, FST Performance, Whipple Superchargers, and SPEC Clutch.
(Photos by Mary Lendzion and NMCA)