NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem 2019 Coverage From Bradenton


Sunday morning brought the fog to Bradenton as we pushed the clocks ahead an hour and we move into eliminations at the 17th annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem.

Photo gallery


Edelbrock Xtreme Street racer Ray Cox got loose on the gear change in the final qualifying session last night. He worked the steering wheel hard in collision avoidance maneuvers but wound up nosing into the wall near the 1/4-mile.

Cox walked away unhurt and the car escaped with major damage but will need a new nose section and tree to mount the front end as well as some repairs to one quarter panel and at least one wheel. He was still searching for a cause that initiated the incident but it may have just lost traction at the gear change as he was having trouble with that on earlier runs. He had thoroughly checked over and inspected the car and found zero leaks. We're just glad Ray is unhurt in what could have easily been a serious wreck.

James Lawrence leads Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw with a 4.389 at 166 mph in his NMCA debut with his new SO/X275 spec Mustang.

Leonard Long has made some consistent runs this weekend to lead the FST Carbs NA 10.5 class.

Dwight Ausmus has a fresh bullet for 2019 with some updates to the Tiger heads and a new All Pontiac Tiger intake manifold for increased airflow. The engine was on the pump at BES last week and Dwight installed the engine here in Bradenton. We asked about the number but Dwight was evasive, telling us “everything went a little higher RPM-wise.” He qualified fifth with a 7.96.

Real Speed Racing’s Walter Drakeford is one of the latest racers to make the switch to Procharger. The engine was unchanged internally and Patrick Barnhill offered his help to get the tune updated for the new power adder and then Walter, Patrick and Marty Chance had a conference call to select a new converter which is working very well. This is his third race with the new combo with a best so far at Orlando last weekend of 4.73 at 151. He wound up fifth on the sheet with a 4.75 with the F1A91 head unit at 3,075 pounds.

Leah Pritchett earned tenth spot in Holly EFI Factory Super Car with a 7.93 at 172 mph in the DSR backed 2015 Dodge Challenger. Did I mention we totally love the graphics on this car?? Old school to the front please.

Patricia Musi landed second in ARP Nitrous Pro Street with a 4.48 running out of the Bankston Racing camp.

Jeff Ensslin earned top spot in ARP NPS driving the Patrick Patterson-owned ’68 Camaro. His son Jeff is qualified in the teams Trans Am but lost the crankshaft and thrust bearing in the second session. The team has a spare engine at the shop and may be able to make the call for round one later today.

Team MMR’s Greg Seth Hunter landed seventh in Xtreme Pro Mod with a 3.81. The team is looking for a 3.70 this weekend and is getting getting close. Mark Luton’s car was suffering some electrical issues and did not qualify this weekend.

Mark Hoadland has a new engine based around an aluminum block from HRE. The team worked hard to finish it up and replace the jet boat engine he was using before. They finished the car here after dynoing late Friday night. He went number two off the trailer and wound up in third with a 4.500. The team from left to right is, Steve Constantine,Mark Hoagland, Jordan Hoagland, John Sloan, Harry Ridenour and engine builder Daryl Hameetman.

Xtreme Pro Mod had an interesting round one today with John Stanley facing off with Greg Seth Hunter. Stanley left before the tree activated and Hunter left on time but the car made a move to the center and he struggled keeping the car in his lane. Ultimately, he crossed and hit the 1/8-mile markers but the rules are worst-or-first and Stanley’s early launch effectively gave Hunter a single run and the round win.

Xtreme Pro Mod Top Qualifier Joe Baker advanced with a 3.74 at 199 over Kyle Megginson running out of Jackson, Mississippi.

Jim Widener put his BES Corvette into round two of Xtreme Pro Mod with a win over Shane Novak, a 3.79 at 196 over Novak’s 3.92 at 192.

Steve Summers wound up in a single after Feeney’s Camaro would not engage reverse. He ran a 3.94 at 168.

Paul Roderick Jr. was paired up with Terry Monroe in Holley EFI Factory Super Car, earning the round win with a 7.96 to Monroe’s 8.02.

Leah Pritchett had a nice wheels-up launch and earned her way to round two with an 8.01 at 170 to get by Kevin Lumsden’s COPO.

Mark Pawuk would do his job on the tree taking a hole-shot win over Scott Libersher with an 8.03 to Libersher’s 7.97.

John Langer scored a round win in FST Carbs NA 10.5 over Don Baskin, running an 8.03 to Baskin’s 8.10. He faced some trouble in the shut down as his chute failed to deploy and wound up in the field trying to stop. He and the car are OK and will make round two. Langer  had some extensive upgrades done in the offseason, including a front half, back half and double frame rail upgrade. He told us this will probably be his last year running an NA combination, “It’s set up for multiple classes now with multiple rear suspension set ups. We made it versatile so that we could do anything we want with it. It’s pretty light so we can move ballast around where we need to for any classes we want to run.” We asked what his plans were and he said ” We got some things in the works..”

Don Baskin and Jordan Ensslin faced off in ARP Nitrous Pro Street. Ensslin traveled back home for a spare engine overnight and made the call but it would not make the trip, kicking off two rocker arms on the pass as Baskin went on to earn the win with a 4.75.

Archie Marasco (near lane) and Walter Drakeford from Real Speed Racing faced off with each other in round one today — an unfortunate pairing for the Clearwater, Florida-based team. Marasco failed to hook and Walt went right down running a 4.87 at 154 MPH.

Phil Hines got left on the tree by Florida based Brian Criste who hole shotted his way to a round win with a 4.70.

Troy Pirez Jr would skate his way to round two on luck as number one Xtreme Street qualifier Lou Iacopetti went red. Pirez struggled getting the General Lee to grab the starting line in qualifying so this was a big break for him.

“The Chicken Man” Tripp Carter made it through to round three in Factory Super Cars with his Watson Racing prepped machine. From left to right is Chuck Watson II, his wife Robin Watson, Janet Roderick and Wanda Carter, Tripp’s wife.


Joe Baker is still in Xtreme Pro Mod with his blown Vette, getting around Billy Albert in round three. “We got a little loose out there,” he said “but still won it, made a decent pass. He shook right off the line and I had to pedal it one time. This is our first time out since October and we are going to try this NMCA deal for this year. Baker made some changes to the program the middle of last year and made two or three NMCA races. Baker uses Chuck Ford engines and blowers.

In the semifinals, Baker was involved in an accident while racing Tom Blincoe. He moved towards the center and the car got loose and crossed over the line. He avoided contact with Blincoe but hit the right side wall and ricocheted to the other lane, hitting the wall very hard. We are going to publish the official word from the NMCA’s Steve Baur here:

Xtreme Pro Mod driver Joe Baker was involved in an on-track incident at Bradenton Motorsports Park earlier this afternoon during the semifinals of the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem event. The NMCA safety team extricated Baker from the vehicle. Upon extrication, Baker was alert, talking, and moving his extremities. Baker was transported to a local medical center for a complete evaluation.

Chris Holbrook supplies engines to Ray Skillman Racing and was over there getting one swapped in to his car the other day after a miss caused a head gasket failure. “Our day started out really good; we got by round one, round two, just tuned on it a little and went an .83 so, I don’t know, I think maybe we can win this thing.” Chris told us. Chris runs a 2018 Cobra Jet updated with a new front end with a John Holt chassis with Varsity Ford as the major sponsor. Here a crew member is packing the ‘chute preparing for round two while Chris is on the lap top.

Bill Lee Jr. stole the show in the Hemi Shootout and the Arrington/Redline Quick 8 coming away with the win in both classes over two days.

Steve Cagle made the trip south this week for the NMCA 2019 season opener and promptly shattered his driveshaft in the burnout box on the first day here. Luckily for him, and John Langer, who also had a driveshaft issue, Precision Shaft Technologies (PST) is based in Clearwater and is equipped as a full service driveshaft shop and was able to get replacements out here on short notice. He qualified sixth with a 4.59 and made a couple of rounds before taking a loss to James Lawrence’s turbocharged Mustang in Street Outlaw. Cagle ran one event with the NMCA last year and has been doing some X275 and grudge racing close to home the past few years. He plans to attend Memphis and Atlanta and will determine the rest of his season on how the car does. He runs a BES 582 topped with nitrous from Induction Solutions and just put in a Rossler three speed transmission before coming here. “We have some tweaking to do, probably have to change some gearing around and maybe adjust the converter some. I’ll have to call Kenny over at PTC and see what he thinks after looking at the data.” Steve told us.

Final Results Sheets


Tom Blincoe earned the VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod win this weekend in his David Monday Race Cars 1963 Corvette over Jim Widener. Blincoe got faster every round ending the day with a 3.75 at 201 for the Procharger boosted Chevy. Widener had a little tougher road to the final and pulled off an upset over Steve Summers in the semi final running a 3.80 at 198 to Summer’s off pace 3.88 at 175. Jim and Tom were near identical at the tree but Widener lost traction early and smoked the tires approaching the sixty foot.

“It was definitely a fairy tale weekend, we had a wonderful time. Drew’s car, the third pass down the track was a bullet. We worked really hard, we came to Bradenton and tested earlier and worked our tails off and I think it’s really showing…” Bill Skillman told us after the winner circle photos. “Chris Holbrook builds great power but we still have to get it down the track, you gotta get the suspension working and the right gear ratios. I really have to thank Tomi Laine and Dave Yudeny, who are our co crew chiefs of course my son Drew, Joey Gwynn, Anthony Bivens who is one of our great crew guys Everybody works their tails off, Turbo who drives the truck really was a lot of support in the pits this weekend. We had Tommy and Dave come over from the Pro Stock team, and they’ve got a lot of knowledge. These cars are going fast, not just because of the power but because of the whole package. I’m really happy, it’s a good win, I’m excited for this eight race series with the NMCA, COPOs against the Cobra Jet Mustangs and the Drag Pak cars, everybody has a lot of fun, it’s a great class.” The main sponsors for the Skillman team are Valvoline and Axalta Coatings along with Ziebart, AAGI Insurance Group and Indianapolis Car Exchange. The Skillman’s run a fourteen location dealership franchise with eighteen brands in the Indianapolis area.

James Lawrence ran the table in Street Outlaw this weekend scoring a 3.38 to top qualifying and earning the event win in a close match with Shawn Pevlor. Lawrence’s strategy is to race the track and play the odds. He softened it up in the heat to a 4.50 earning his way by Steve Cagle, then put up back to back 4.442’s in the semis against Eric Kenward and the final. Pevlor, who is driving Tony Bischoff’s Mustang piloted in previously by Nick Bacalis, was right there all weekend and tested the track to the three thirty on a semi final single before running a 4.488 next to Lawrence.
Lawrence purchased the car from Daniel Pharris who nearly won the championship last year with it and converted it to an 85 MM turbo on alcohol for the 2019 season and use horsepower from KBX. Lawrence is a multi time NMCA Champion and is looking for another one in 2019. “We have a great crew, these guys work their ass off..” Lawrence told us. “ We had Matt Kesatie crew for us this weekend coming on board to help out here in Bradenton… This was a tricky race to win, when Ayers broke it gave us a better path to the finals, I didn’t have to go through him, but every round is important. I’m a percentages racer” He said. “I try not to beat myself, so we’re kinda going forty four, we went a fifty when it was really hot in round two. I gotta thank my crew this weekend Joseph Trujillo, Chase Driskell, Dean Jigamian and Matt Kesatie, we can’t do this without all the guys hard work. My wife Melissa most of all and my family for supporting me and the team out here.” Lawrence uses VP Fuels, Precision Turbo 85 MM Gen 2 with a special thanks to Aeromotive Fuel Systems, Total Seal Rings and Diamond Pistons for coming through in the clutch.

Patricia Musi and the team faced a hectic week to get the ARP Nitrous Pro Street Camaro back together for the the event this weekend. Once the engine was back in the weather was bad the the team came here without any testing. “ We came here blind and you know me I want to win all the time,” she told us. “So we busted and busted hard and sure enough the first race out we won it and I am more than happy with everything. I gotta thank my husband Michael Bankston, all my crew, Kyle, Ashton, Hayden, Aaron, Doug and Kate, they’ve been awesome. I’m just happy to put Papa in the winner circle again and I plan to do it a lot more this year” Photo Courtesy BME photography.

Mark Hoagland showed up late on Saturday morning with a new HRE aluminum 632 and ended qualifying third with a 4.50. “Hats off to Daryl and the whole crew, Jordan Hoagland, Mark, Harry Ridenour, Steve Constantine and the big thanks to Daryl for the amazing job and dedication to give us a solid engine and get us to the winner circle.” Crew Chief John Sloan told us. “ Most important is all of our wives and the support they give us, they couldn’t make it this weekend but for all the support and help, Daryl’s wife for putting up with all the late nights at the shop, without their support we wouldn’t be able to do all this. I can’t forget Clayton Murphy from Chassis Engineering, he is a huge part of our success getting us the right shocks and getting the chassis set up right” Hoagland runs an FTI transmission and bolt together converter with a recent round up upgrades to the car from Cameron Johnson Race Cars.

Troy Pirez Jr finally found the winning set up on a round two single scoring a 4.73 at 148 earning him lane choice with Bill Trovato in the semis. Pirez took an .008 advantage at the tree and the pair were locked side by side to the stripe with Pirez earning the round with a 4.774 to Trovato’s 4.794. The other pair was Tony Orts and Troy Pirez Sr with Tony pushing the tree and leaving early, ending a good weekend for the Oswego, Illinois based Racer. The old man took the tree in the final and made his best run of eliminations but Jr earned the win taking the stripe first with a 4.717 at 149.72 to a 4.744 at 149.87.
“We struggled all weekend, we didn’t make it down the track four runs in a row, knocked the tires off every time. It came together though and we go the win.” he told us. “Sr. left first but I horsepower him/ It was then thousandths margin of victory at the end.” Pirez uses Fast Forward Race Engines, Diamond Pistons, PTC converters with PRKE nitrous and owns Innovative Racecraft based in Tampa. Ruben Pino crew chief with Ron Fondaw and Bill Gregan on the crew.

Leonard Long earned top qualifier and the event win in FST Carbs NA 10.5 this weekend after meeting in the final with John Langer’s 69 Trans Am. Long was away first and held the advantage to the stripe running a 7.89 at 174 to Langer’s best effort during eliminations 7.79 at 173 after showing up with freshly redone ride. Photo courtesy BME Photography.

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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