After several top-ten finishes in NMCA Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock through the years, Kevin Gass secured a championship in the category chock-full of classic cars in 2018.
He was celebrated at the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components in December at the Indiana Convention Center, and then, he set his sights on the series’ first event of 2019, the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
“We really looked forward to the race in Florida, especially since it was a chance to get out of the cold,” said Gass. “But when we got there and did our first burnout, the engine was flat. We pulled it apart and checked our lifters, and we had to replace lash adjusters.”
Despite that, he managed to post a 9.78 on a 9.75 index in his 1966 Chevelle powered by a big-block Chevy to qualify in the twelfth spot before going on to a runner-up finish after turning on the red light.
With a fresh set of tires under his car, he headed to the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway, and after experiencing some slippage between the tires and the wheels during qualifying, he sought help from an on-site Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels representative, who readily remedied it for him. He went on to post a 9.77 on a 9.75 index to qualify in the fourteenth spot, and later a 9.73 to take a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle after his opponent broke out by more.
On a roll at that point, he ran right on his 9.75 index to lead qualifying and a 9.77 to win at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois, where he doubled-up by also winning his race against an NMRA competitor in the NMCA/NMRA run-off portion of the event.
“That whole weekend was incredible,” said Gass, who lives in Ledbetter, Kentucky, with his wife and crew chief, Kim Gass. “Crazy, but incredible.”
From there, he headed to the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio, where he put a 9.76 on a 9.75 index on the board to qualify in the eleventh spot. He made it all the way to the semifinal, where he ran a bit too quick, broke out and lost.
“We had a good weekend of racing in Ohio, but when I came up on the converter in the semifinal, I rolled in deep and lost my concentration,” said Gass.
He shook that off, and shifted his focus to the final event of this year’s NMCA tour, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals, this week, Sept. 19-22, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. There, he hopes to haul through the rounds and hold onto his lead in points and keep the number 1 on the windows of his car for another year, but it will be a battle.
“It’s going to be very interesting, especially because there are two or three other drivers who could earn the championship, too,” said Gass. “But I feel great. So great that I wish it was race day.
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(Photos courtesy of NMCA)