The NMCA WEST VP Racing Fuels Street Car Nationals Series opened its season at the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California over the weekend with beautiful spring weather and the abundant sunshine that Southern California is known for providing a perfect stage for the first of four events on the 2015 racing calendar. After three days of busy racing action, it all culminated in the Aerospace Components Winners Circle, with Rick Snavely (Pro Mod), Johnny Coleman (True 10.5), James Lawrence (Street Outlaw), and George Raygoza (Outlaw 8.5) leading the list of race champions.
In Garrett Turbo Pro Mod, Snavely led the field into eliminations after two days of qualifying in his twin-turbocharged Turbos Direct 1969 Camaro with a 5.197-second best on the 1,000-foot course (Pro Mod is the only category that’s contested over 1,000-feet), leading fellow twin-turbo runner Scott Oksas with a 5.25, and Mark Luton, who only recently joined the Pro Mod wars, with a 5.44.
As eliminations opened, Snavely ousted Coe Dow in round one with an off-pace 5.57, while on the opposite side of the ladder, Oksas record low elapsed time of the round with a 5.25-second defeat of Mike Bowman. Luton, in his 2014 Mustang, got a freebie as Doug Sikora, who crashed on Friday, couldn’t answer the bell. In the semifinals, Luton took down Oksas on a huge holeshot, strapping Oksas to the tree by an .027 to .104 count, giving he and his 5.44 just enough room to fend off the charging Oksas and his quicker 5.38. Snavely, for his part, received a competition bye into the final. There, it was all Snavely, as he got off the line just .015-seconds behind Luton, but charged to victory, 5.24 to 5.50.
Snavely is reportedly onboard for the full tour with the NMCA WEST this season, and with the points lead in-hand already, he might be hard to catch.
In Mickey Thompson True 10.5, Dana Cook, at the wheel of the GT500 Mustang formerly raced out of the MMR shop — and with only five runs on it with a brand new combination — qualified No. 1 with a stellar 4.64 at 159.82 mph, with Rich Hoyle and his ’63 Nova right on her heels at 4.66. The rest of the class was well back in the qualified list, with Walt Brock sitting third with a 5.04. But as anyone that’s been around this sport very long can attest, as long as you’re in the field, you have a shot, and Lakewood, Calif. native Johnny Coleman proved just that, driving from the very bottom of the field — with just a 5.91 best to his credit in qualifying — to the win.
Coleman ripped off an out-of-nowhere 4.77 in round one to upset Hoyle, and then survived an off-pace match with Brock in the semifinals, with his 5.31 edging out a slowing 5.69. Cook, meanwhile, was working her way through the field, taking an easy single in round one before laying down a 4.69 in the semis to oust Lonnie Patrick. The final round was to be a heck of a match based on earlier performance, but Cook was dead-late at the tree, giving up more than two tenths of a second to Coleman, and that was all-she-wrote, as Coleman’s 4.69 was more than enough to outrun a slightly quicker 4.67 by Cook.
The weekend was a challenge all-around for the ProCharger Street Outlaw combatants. Ryan “Toaster” Jones was the only racer to make a representative run in qualifying, leading the field with a stout 7.54 from his ’65 Nova, which was more seven tenths ahead of the next closest racer. Jones stayed right on pace in the first round, running a 7.44 to down a struggling Artis Houston, while on the opposite side of the ladder, James Lawrence in the Dragzine.com supercharged Camaro was busy cranking off low elapsed time of the meet with a 7.36 at 203 mph. Unfortunately, Jones encountered mechanical woes and couldn’t make the call for the final, giving Lawrence a free ride to the winners circle with a cruising 8.90.
In ARP Outlaw 8.5, Orland, Calif. native George Raygoza ran the table in his big block-powered ’68 Nova, as he qualified atop the field with a 5.05 at 145.67 mph and marched his way through eliminations, ousting Erick Aldrich in round one and Richard Shelly in round two to punch his ticket into the final.
On the opposite side of the ladder, Anthony “Big Worm” Smith was doing much the same with his small block Ford-powered Mustang, besting Tim Orello in the opening stanza and No. 2 qualifier Dan Hale in round two. The final was all Raygoza, though, as he ran a 5.17 for the second round in a row to easily defeat Smith’s slowing 6.51.
Like Snavely and Raygoza, Peoria, Ariz. racer Vic Brum was also victorious from the top qualifying spot, doing so in Lucas Oil N/A 10.5 in his big block ’70 Chevelle. Brum clicked off an 8.13 at 167.57 mph in qualifying to pace the field by more than two tenths and was never headed in eliminations, downing Brad Udell in round two with an 8.24 before sealing the deal in the final, as his 8.22 was enough to drive around No. 2 qualifier Ryan Bells’ 8.37.
In Nostalgia Street Car, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. racer Jim Losquardo drove his E/NSC ’62 Nova to victory, using a killer .006 reaction time to down Steve Cox.
Racing suspension guru Brent Calvert was victorious in Mustang Madness in his 2014 Cobra Jet Mustang as he ran closer to his 8.58 dial with an 8.61 to defeat Greg Dreher, who got away first but couldn’t run the number.
Aerospace Components-sponsored racer Justen Spencer won out in the always-tough Open Comp eliminator, driving his 281-powered 2000 Mustang past Brent Calvert in the final. Spencer got a slight .041 to .045 edge out of the gate and pushed Calvert under his 8.60 dial with an 8.58.
Doug Crumlich took Pro Comp in his B/PC ’96 Corvette with a defeat of Hollis Colleasure, putting together an 8.91 on his 8.90 dial with a stellar .007 light.
In Quick Street, Ramona, California’s Tommy Dutcher took his ’93 Mustang to the winners circle when final round opponent Chris Davis fouled out with an -.011 red light. And in Super Quick, it was Palmdale native Ricky Deuschle that emerged victorious over Michaelyn Roelle in a tight race, as Roelle was better on the tree but broke out by .012-seconds.
The NMCA WEST is back in action at Fontana on June 5-7, with dates to follow in mid-September and mid-October to close out the year.