2019 U.S. Street Nationals Same Day Coverage From Bradenton

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Don Cruz has been away from the racing scene a few years and now that his son has moved on to college he can spend some more time away from home. Cruz Performance specializes in Buick GN and V6 performance with his shop based out of Tampa, Florida for about three years after being in automotive electronics and new car dealer accesories for twenty five years prior to that. Cruz has been racing and building engines for nearly twenty years, finally moving in the performance industry recently. The engine sports two hundred seventy four inches and is boosted by an old school Precision GT47/88 turbo and topped with Champion Racing Heads and intake manifold, which are based on a production style heads making around sixteen hundred horsepower running in the 4.8X range. Cruz recently picked up a transmission from RPM and is very pleased as the reliability has allowed his to focus on tuning the car and getting data, not fixing it. He is using a PTC converter and will be making changes to that based on recent data. He sits fifth in class with a 4.88 at 140.

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Tom Blinco hails from Bardstown, Kentucky and got starting in bracket racing about twenty years ago. He has been driving this 63 Vette out of David Monday’s Race Cars now in his second year after moving up from Top Sportsman and years of bracket racing. The car gets power from a Procharged 598 Chevy topped with Sonny’s heads and tuned by Patrick Barnhill from PTP. David started working on Tom’s bracket cars a few years back and the relationship evolved to building a new car and going Pro Mod. Monday filled us in on future plans including matching paint schemes on both his and Tom’s cars and a new wrap for the rig along with two new C7 Vette’s coming in a few months. DMRC is based in Maryville, Tennessee and been in business thirty-two years building Alcohol Funny Cars and some early Pro Mod’s for Robby Vandergriff and Bill Khulman, who held the nitrous Pro Mod record in 1988 with a 6.77 at 211 MPH.

Paolo Giust has both his cars here this weekend with Black Betty entered in RVW and earning her “stripes” last night after getting cozy with the right side wall. The crew fixed her up and he sits in 21st spot in the 32 car/all run field of twenty two cars in class this weekend, the most we have had in the class here at Bradenton.

Archie Marasco (shown at left) and team Real Speed Racing were bust at the shop yesterday and we not able to make the qualifying session yesterday due to the change in scheduling. Walter made some adjustements to the tune up for the second round today putting him ninth of fourteen cars with a 4.91 at 141.

Fast Forward Race Engines Ultra Street was on fire this morning with several cars riding out wheel stands. Here Joel Greathouse takes over top qualifier with a 4.626 at 152. A record setting pass in Ultra.

Troy Pirez Sr. is all about that Big Block Life, hanging em high and doing a fantastic job of bringing it down easy with the pedal job.

Newcomer to Heavy Street is Job Bitler running his 1969 Nova this weekend in his first class appearance. He drove the car to high school back in the day and it slowly progressed to it's current set up, a Scotty's Racing Technology 565 cubic inch Chevy topped with Edelbrock Victor heads and force fed by an F1X-12 Procharger though a blow through carburetor from IRD Racing, Jon's own company. He also works at Induction Solutions though has eschewed nitrous use on his Nova taking almost two years to make the switch. The car sits on Cal Track split mono leaf springs with and a Smith Racecraft bolt on front subframe. Jon tested the car here a couple of weeks ago with promising results getting into the 4.7 range with improvements to the sixty foot and getting the car to work better leaving the starting line. He sit's in second spot with a 4.67 at 159, top MPH for the class.

Final Qualifying Results

Due to inclement weather  approaching the area the qualifying schedule was changed in hopes to get the race in this weekend. We had two total qualifying sessions and are going into eliminations Saturday afternoon.

Kevin Rivenbark is running very well this weekend scoring a best 3.634 and a 3.637 setting the Procharger Pro Mod record this weekend, and the race isn’t over yet. We chatted with Pro Line Racing’s Eric Dillard about the engine development program which was initiated by Power Auto Media’s James Lawrence speaking with them about doing a Procharged engine for his effort in NMCA’s Radial Wars. They met at PRI to discuss it, and sealed the deal. Shane Novak also come on board with a Procharger combo in his Pro Mod and between those two teams PLR gathered data and worked on the combo.

The project interested Kevin Rivenbark who was in conversations with Dillard for about a year before the Galot Motorsports team decided to pull the trigger and add a Procharger combo to the stable. Things have progressed well since then and RK Racecraft will have the second car swapped from the roots combo here in a few weeks and will campaign the two carbon copy cars with Strickland and Rivenbark driving. Proline Racing has been in business for fifteen years with founders with founders Eric Dillard, tuner Steve Petty and engine builder Doug Patton still involved with day to day business.

We stopped by Norman Bryson’s pit to see what is new for the team for 2019 and found he had switched to Billy Albert horsepower for the season. This is his first event racing here in Bradenton for the team who has been in the RVW game since 2015. He qualified with a 3.94 at 192 MPH this weekend and has been a best of 3.70 at Darlington. Bryson just swapped over to an EFI Technologies system and has fought various issues since getting here Tuesday for testing getting everything synced up and working together again with Jack and Bud Green assisting with the engine management tuning.

Denis Lachance hails from Quebec, Canada and is another first time attendee here at the US Street Nats. Denis purchased the car from Eric Latino after competing in Top Sportsman for several years with the UDRA and PMRA in Canada, also doing some Top Sportsman racing in division 1 in the US. This event is a warm up for the team who plans a full PRDA Pro Boost season for 2019. The engine is also from Eric Latino’s program with Al Billes providing the blowers for Lachance.

Johnny Pluchino is hauling the mail and dipping into the teens here this weekend in OL 632. He is the 2018 Champion record holder in PDRA, with I believe a 4.16.

Dillon Voss is testing for Mountain Motor Pro Stock this weekend while entered in Pro Mod. Voss drives the car for Enoch Love based out of Richmond, Virginia with this being the team’s third race with Voss driving.The team plans a ful season with the PDRA and will attend the four NHRA events featuring the Mountain Motor class. Voss qualified with a 4.06 at 177.

We spoke to Kimmelyn Pesz who does marketing for Weatherford, Texas based PJS Racing to get us up to speed on the team with Imperial Construction as their major sponsor. The partnership came about in September of 2018 with Brandon Pesz, Jeff and Justin Jones, adding Jeff Sitton to the group. Jeff and Justin are running in Pro Mod this weekend with Justin debuting his new Jeffers built C7. This is Justin's sophomore season in Pro Mod and already the team has bettered the performance with the new car running a 3.59 at 211 so far. Plans for 2019 call for Justin and Jeff to campaign in the Mid West Pro Mod Series again with Sitton planning to attend all of the Duck X events, and probably select events in Denton, Texas at Northstar Dragway. All the team engines feature Frankenstein Engine Dynamics heads, manifolds and valve covers topping CN blocks. Jeff qualified with a 3.70 at 206 landing fourth in class with Justin scoring a 3.82. During testing on Wednesday Jeff Sitton put up a 3.64 making the quickest blown RVW pass to date. Justin Jones new car is pictured at left with the red accents.

Jeff Sitton ran very well this weekend qualifying third in Radial vs the World and running low ET in the first two rounds of eliminations. His best being a 3.678 at 203 against Ocala, Florida based Chad Opaleski.

 

As of 10:15 PM, and after an incident with RVW racer John Carinci getting into the wall while racing Dewayne Mills that required extensive cleanup, we are done for the night due to unsafe track conditions. With the later threat of rain several classes have opted to split the purse, including Radial vs the World, Outlaw 632, Heavy Street, Ultra Street, and Pro Modified. This may conclude the event, well will report back with official word on finishing the event when we know. Thanks everyone for tuning in. We will have the results sheets for the completed rounds posted shortly.

After a drivers meeting all classes agreed to split and go home as the weather forecast is unfortunately not favorable to completing the event safely due to cold weather and high percentage of rain overnight and into Sunday afternoon.

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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