The 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines got off to a great start under very favorable weather conditions as several racers lit up the scoreboards with record-setting performances during qualifying — many of them running the table on the way to the winner’s circle on Sunday.
VP Lubricants Extreme Pro Mod racer Eric Gustafson earned number one qualifying spot with a 3.67 at 207 to put his PTP-tuned, ProCharger-equipped, Noonan Hemi-powered Camaro on the pole in class. Jeff Rudolf came away with top speed after several 215 mph blasts through the lights, landing as the eighth qualifier with a 3.79. The top five in class were rounded out by Keith Haney, Randy Adler, David Monday, and Mike DeDomenico.
Gustafson ripped off a 3.63 at 205 to open his march to victory in round one. Andrew Handras had luck go his way in his round one match with Randy Adler, who struggled keeping his car straight and on the ground, wheelstanding near half-track and allowing Handras to advance, his 4.17 to Adler’s 4.29. DeDomenico put up a 3.72, making it by Scott Braskett, and David Monday earned his way past an improving Mark Woodruff, who scored a 4.13-second best with his new car in it’s second race in Pro Mod debut after being driven at Lights Out 11 by Craig Sullivan.
Handras put up a 3.81 to get by Rob Cox in round two, with Haney and Gustafson in the 3.60’s and Mike DeDomenico scoring a 3.77 at 195 to advance to the semifinals. It would be Haney and Handras in the first pair out, and things got wild in a hurry as Haney got into the wall and on his roof, delaying the racing while the staff cleaned up the carnage. Fortunately, Keith was okay after the hair-raising incident and racing resumed after a short time. Once back at it, Gustafson ripped off another mid 3.60 to advance to the final with Handras, who was reinstated due to Haney crossing the centerline.
In the finale, Handras took the starting line advantage with a .044 reaction and put up a 4.09 at 186 in trying to fend off top qualifier Gustafson, but he was no match for Eric’s winning 3.68 at 183.
Holley EFI Factory Super Cars
Holley EFI Factory Super Cars witnessed the track and world record set and reset during qualifying as Chris Holbrook decisively set the bar with a 7.660 at 181.06, taking both ends of the record back home to Livonia, Michigan. The top five qualifiers were rounded out by Trip Carter, Jim Betz, Bill Skillman and Chuck Watson in a field of 17 cars. All five made it through to round two.
The quarterfinals saw Holbrook and Watson post near identical e.t.’s, with Holbrook moving on, and Tripp Carter taking the tree and allowing Skillman to move on to the semifinals. There, it was Ryan Priddy pushing his luck at the tree and fouling out against the quicker Skillman, and Holbrook using his single as an experimental pass, pedaling the car from a wheelstand early and coasting through the lights. Prior to the final Skillman’s crew was moving weight around to the back of the car, and while he was able to improve some to a 7.73 at 176, he gave up a little on the tree to Holbroo who powered his way to the event win with a 7.70 at 180.
ARP Nitrous Pro Street
Vince Khoury earned top qualifier in ARP Nitrous Pro Street with a 4.50, while Kyle Salminen landed second with a 4.59 at 162, scoring high-MPH on the weekend. Five cars made it through to Sunday, as Don Baskin was out for the weekend after a crash in qualifying on Friday. Craig Cerniglia earned his way to the final through Rob Orofiamma and Salminen to meet with Khoury in the final. Cerniglia did his job and left first, scoring a .033 reaction to Khoury’s .043, but it wasn’t long before Khoury caught up, running a 4.56 at 151 to earn a victory at the NMCA season opener, his first win behind the wheel of his former Jim Yates-driven NHRA Pro Stock car fitted with a naturally-aspirated, Olds-headed big-block Chevy powerplant.
Edelbrock Xtreme Street
Behind top qualifier and new record-holder Brian Keep at 4.52-seconds, Troy Pirez Sr. dipped into the 4.50’s for the first time, running his big-block nitrous combo to a 4.59 at 153 to land second in the 15-car field. The top five were filled out by Florida racers Walter Drakeford and Kirt Sanders, along with NMCA series regular Bill Trovato, with a 4.73 at 152.
Round two had all the locals advance to face off in the semifinals, with Keep winning out against Kirt Sanders with a 4.56 and Pirez, Sr. going 4.62 to advance over Drakeford. The final would see Pirez versus the track and Keep looking to nudge a little more out and still be safe. The Innovative Racecraft team threw the dice looking for e.t. in the front half and came up short, with Keep going a 4.54 at 153 to earn the Edelbrock Xtreme Street win.
Dart NA 10.5
John Langer was well out front in Dart NA 10.5 qualifying, leading the pack with a 7.76 at 177 mph. Leonard Long was next with a 7.82, followed by Richard Nye, Joe Clemente and Dwight Ausmus. In round one, Ausmus improved to a 7.92 and scored a holeshot win over Clemente’s ’93 Mustang, whileDavid Theisen earned his way to round two in a nail-biter with Langer — the two were side-by-side all the way down the strip, and Langer had to pedal down from a wheelie early after near identical reaction times for the two racers. Theisen clocked a 7.84 at 176 to Langer’s 7.85 at 177 to advance. Long and Nye would also advance to round two.
Theisen faced Ausmus in the next round, with Theisen getting the win in a double red-light affair. On the other side of the ladder, Nye powered away from Long, 7.87 to a 7.95. In the final, consistency paid off, with Nye again making a clean run of 7.88-seconds at 170 as Theisen slowed to an 8.16 at 169 to give Nye the season-opening victory here in Bradenton.
SDPC Chevy Performance Stock had Ronnie Hackleton as top qualifier with a 10.03 at 129, with Keith Vaughn, Jeff Heintz, Scott Brown and Shawn Calabrese rounding out the field. Keith Vaugn had low e.t. in round one, running a 10.00 at 131 in his match with Calabrese, and Heintz put up a 10.09 to get by Scott Brown. Round two pit Heintz and Hackleton — with both racers falling off the pace it would be Heintz advancing to face off with Vaughn, who took the starting line advantage by .011-seconds. He could not hold on after slowing to a 10.34, as Heintzs’ 10.18 at 129.97 squeaked out a victory and the event win for the Concord, North Carolina-based racer.
The Proform LSX Rumble featured No. 6 qualifier Thomas Debbs against Dewayne Massengale in the final round, with Tebbs taking a big bite out of the tree with an .013 reaction time that left him a wide margin at the stripe. Massengale ran under his 11.75 index trying to catch up, and Debbs earned the class win with a 12.12 on a 12.00 index, taking away the class title this weekend.
LME Street King Winner Steven Griswold, based in Milan, Michigan, ran 8.62 at 140 mph over Las Vegas racer Trevor Loken’s 9.07 at 150 to win the the 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines.
Billy Wakefield earned the overall win in the Chevrolet Performance Street Car challenge on Saturday, with an overall average of 9.075-seconds. Wakefield dipped into the eights on one pass, with an 8.98 in his turbocharged Trans Am.
Mike French scored the victory in Torqstorm Superchargers True Street with an 8.771-second average in his trusty, street-driven 1967 Camaro. French runs a pump gas-friendly 567 cubic-inch big-block with a squirt of nitrous.
True Street runner-up went to Jason Rollins with his high-flying Nova, scoring a 8.961 average. The 10-second winner was Jeff Smith with a 10.082 in his stick-shift Cobra Mustang.
Saturday’s Mopar/Hemi Shootout had Lindsay Wheelock (below) as the overall winner in the True Street-style class, running a 10.033-second average over three attempts.