The third event for the Stick Shift Mafia’s Cash Days and Stick Shift Shootout was held Friday April 27th at Lakeland Dragstrip. The no-prep event has drawn more racers and crowd to Lakeland each time and is already the top such series in the state. The Stick Shift Mafia is based in Lakeland, Florida and was founded by local racers Anthony Heard and Ricky Paulk. If you follow the NMRA’s Spring Break Shootout at all you may recall that Heard has won the Tremek Stick Shift Shootout within the HP Tuners True Street competition the past two years.
The group has successfully taken their street meets from “somewhere in Mexico” to the track with a no-time format and is gaining interest across the bay area and beyond with four new competitors entering Cash Days this month, for a total of fourteen cars in class and five Stick Shift Shootout racers.
After the drivers pulled chips for opponents and lane assignments, last month’s Stick Shift winner Harrison Cumbie faced off with Kyle Southwick, with Cumbie taking the win. CJ Russel, Cliff Calhoun, and Jay Nadal had singles to get them out in first round.
The same procedure applies for the Cash Days racers, with Rob Butcher’s pure Pontiac-powered ’65 Catalina getting past Tim Halfke’s big block Chevy-powered Fox. Aaron Lundquist advanced over Casey Howell, driving Mathew Uzzan’s “DeezNutz” Mustang. Alex Menees took a loss to Nick Wills’ Winter Haven-based Nova after a big move to the left at the hit in his Red Firebird.
Two-time runner-up Andrew Richards met his match with John Fernandez’ LT1 Firebird, who went on to take the round after Richards had an ignition issue in his Trans Am. Bad Company Racing’s Mustang entry driven by Michael Bodiford Jr. took an upset loss to Terry Bianchi’s “She Money” and Justin Williams put his Nova out in front of first time competitor Bob Stuller’s naturally-aspirated Jeep CJ. Bobby Jones and Robert Itani had byes this round.
John Fernandez, Terry Bianchi, Robert Itani and Rob Butcher would advance to the semifinals in Cash Days, with Fernandez facing Butcher’s Catalina and Bianchi’s 302 single turbo “She Money” pairing up with Itani’s “Baby Hawk” nitrous-assisted, small block Chevy-powered Mazda RX-7. Butcher spun at the hit as Fernandez went right down the lane again, as he’d been very consistent so far in competition. Itani’s little Mazda hooks hard and is well known in the Daytona area as a tough car; he advanced over Bianchi to meet Fernandez in the final.
Fernandez took the advantage on reaction time versus Itani and was able to stay out in front on the hard-running Mazda, putting Pops’ Firebird in the winner circle in Acme Racing’s first Stick Shift Mafia Cash Days attendance.
The Firebird runs an LT-1 topped with a 650 carburetor, dual plane intake and a fogger system for a simple combo that certainly runs better than one might expect. The next Stick Shift Mafia Cash Days is scheduled for May 22 at Lakeland Dragstrip With Devastation Motorsports putting up a $50 bounty on the double-up Stick Shift Shootout winner, Harrison Cumbie, which is being matched by racer Cliff Calhoun.