2018 NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl Coverage From Chicago

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It’s not often one gets to see a survivor 1968 ½ Cobra Jet Mustang, much less one at a race track so we had to stop and chat with the owner, Don Fotti, who has finished top ten in class points for the past three years with the NMCA.

The Cobra Jet was a mid year introduction with only 1,044 in the production run. This car is an automatic model, one of only 337, but this car is actually one of one that came with a block heater sold near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Don purchased the car from the original owner in 1971 and quickly started practicing launching the car with the intent to hit the race track and that has been a lot of it's just 43,429 mile life since. He won the first five events he went to at Bison Dragway and scored the track championship there in 1972. We are not done with the trivia yet; the Keystone Classic wheels were purchased out of California and were on the 1974 Winternationals-winning Cobra Jet. He hurt the engine in 1973 and was married soon after so the car sat for 18 years before being resurrected and campaigned once again. Don Limits the car to 11.50 due to not having a roll bar installed but he would never put a torch to such a wonderful example of 60's muscle. Don Fotti shown with his grandson, Nolan.

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Parked next to Don was Jerry Stamps of J&T Motorsports with this gorgeous 1973 Duster. He runs NMC-I, and NHRA G/SA which runs on a 12.0 index with a low compression 340 engine combo. The car is actually a 1971 Demon but converted to a ’73 Duster for the NHRA Stock Eliminator engine combo built by Parsons And Myers Racing Engines out of Dayton, Ohio. He has run this car since 1996 in NHRA and started running with NMCA in 2006 with the whole car built in-house at Terry’s Leisure Time Auto Body. The engine is backed by an ATI converter with a Darrell Stieger 904 transmission.

Rick Hornback faced off with 2017 class champion Leonard Long in Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5 as the underdog but came away with the round win as Long slowed dramatically to an 8.76 --Hornback ran a career best 8.56 to move to round two. Hornback just got their engine back from M&M Competition Engines and was able to do some initial dyno testing at John Konkle's shop in Kentucky just a week and a half before this event, his first of the 2018 season. Konkle was also instrumental in getting a handle on the valvetrain in the new engine combo. Rick runs a Ram single disc clutch and Lenco ST1200 transmission behind the 585 cubic-inch Chevy topped with Dart 20 degree heads and sheet metal intake. The car was built at Pro Tree Race Cars with a 4-link rear suspension and Chris Spall just did new front A-arms for the car with Afco rear shocks and Strange up front. Rick has had the car 40 years, purchasing it when he was 16 years old, and he treats the racing as a family affair with his son, Tyler, as crew chief and wife, Twila and daughter Shelby aslo attending events. From left to right, car owner and driver Rick Hornback, Tyler, and Chris Spall from Spall Chassis and Performance.

The Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5 semifinal pit number four qualifier Dwight Ausmus against number one David Theisen with Ausmus going red allowing Theisen the win. The other pair was Rich Nye versus Chad Neuenschwander, with Nye getting away first but unable to hold off Neuenschwander, who scored his second seven second pass of the weekend, a 7.98 at 169.

The semis of Nostalgia Pro Street pit two Florida racers versus the two women drivers with Matt Salminen versus Jennifer Rice and Tricia Musi against top qualifier Jordan Ensslin, setting up the potential for an all-woman final in the class. Salminen qualified third with a 4.56 but hurt the number eight cylinder last night and was assisted by Jordan’s father Larry Ensslin until near 2 a.m. swapping in a new slug. Musi was out front early with both cars going downtrack, but Salminen’s engine gave up just past the 330 slowing to a 5.07 to Musi’s 4.50 at 158. Unfortunately for Ensslin his car lost fire, allowing Rice the win where she put up a 4.53 sealing up the first all-female final in the class.

The NPS final would turn out to be a great match with the with close reaction times and both cars going down with clean runs. The boards lit up and both racers recorded 4.51's, with Musi just a touch faster and earning the win, 4.516 at 158.00 to a 4.519 at 153.65. Tricia scored her first career win this weekend in Nitrous Pro Street in the first all-female final while paired with Jennifer Rice, driving her fathers' vintage Pro Street Camaro in it's second outing. Definitely a historic weekend for the Musi family after bringing Pat's car back from the showroom with some updates by B&B Race Cars to make it current and legal for 2018. We want to offer congratulations to the Musi family and Mike Bankston on the win and Mike and Tricia's recent engagement and carrying on the winning tradition. Tricia with Aerospace Components' Kim Kussy at left.

Vortech Supercharger/VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw semifinal had Shawn Ayers opposite of Alton Clements in Manny Buginga’s Little Red and Daniel Pharris with the bye. Clements took the starting line advantage over Ayers and ran another 4.40 for his efforts this weeken, but it was not enough to stay in front of Ayers’ 4.35 at 167. Pharris spun the tires and gave up lane choice to Fletcher Cox’s Gold Dust driven by Ayers.

In the final round it was Pharris cutting the tree down with a .006 reaction and his best of the weekend 4.343 at 172, but Ayers drove by with a 4.319 at 167 to earn the event win in the DiSomma-powered, Bruder-tuned machine owned by Fletcher Cox. “I can’t thank Fletcher enough for letting us have the operation this weekend while he’s at training camp back in Philly. Our season is going well — we won Bradenton and Atlanta, won here and had a runner-up in Bowling Green. I have to thank Dave at Proformance for a reliable transmission and Shannon at Davis Technologies, VP Fuels and Mickey Thompson. I can’t thank everyone enough for helping out to get where we are now.” Ayers was number one qualifier and is leading the series points this season. News broke the internet over the weekend about Fletcher’s new Radial vs the World car coming out of the Racecraft Inc. shop and we look forward to seeing that monster later this year.

The Mickey Thompson Radial Wars final was Dragzine's Procharged Corvette of James Lawrence against DeWayne Mills, with Lawrence having lane choice by slim margin after his 3.911 semifinal win over Marty Stinnett. Lawrence had the consistency advantage this weekend and it showed in the final as he laid down a 3.894 with Mills a little too hot for the conditions with the tires giving up before half track.

Jason Hamstra qualified number two in VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod, coming off a Midwest Pro Mod win in Topeka a couple of weeks back. He laid down a 3.66 in round two this morning putting the class on notice — he didnt run those kinds of numbers in the later rounds but did manage to snag the record away from Don Walsh Jr. claiming the the 3.703 from the semifinals as the new class record and leaving himself room and a shot at more points later in the season rather than put it potentially out of reach, as the .66 pass would be more difficult to achieve depending on weather and track conditions. This is Jason’s first NMCA event win which put him in the points lead on the season.

G Force Coyote Stock had 13 cars in class with Charlie Booze Jr. scoring top qualifier, earning low ET with a 10.201 and coming away with the event win in a big weekend for the team. Booze is driving the car for owner Justin Fogelsonger. Justin’s son was here and the rest of the family was back home watching the Speedvideo live feed. Charlie runs a G Force G101 transmission and Spec clutch with sponsorship from S&L Water Solutions, JLT Performance and SST Performance along with a host of others who assist in various ways. “I have always had a positive experience coming to Route 66 besides trying to knock the bumper off the back of the car. This place and I, ever since I first started coming here back in the late nineties I’ve had positive outcomes, win or loss, it’s just a track I get along with. It feels good to be here again especially after rolling the beams at Columbus, said Booze.

Edelbrock Renegade was short on car count but not on drama as Team Hellion’s B car, driven by Frank Varela lost an engine in round one Saturday night. the crew worked until 6 a.m. powered by Bud Light and determination to swap in the new engine planned for Haley James’ car. Varella ripped off a 7.397 at 184 to earn the event win over Tony Hobson game 7.43 at 185.56, earning top MPH in eliminations.

 

Final Results

Superbowl Results

NMCA Final Results

NMRA Final Results

 

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About the author

Rob Cossack

Rob has had an interest in photography since he was young, but didn't get started until 2007, when he started shooting at the local tracks. After that, he started doing local video coverage of heads-up events and began working with Power Automedia shortly after.
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