race reports

NMCA All-Stars and Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge at Atlanta

Words by Mike Galimi

Photos by Ian Tocher and courtesy NMCA

Eric Gustafson, Pro Mod winner. 


The NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport celebrated its 10th year at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA, on April 5-8, and while the cool, wet weather provided some challenges, the NMRA/NMCA/Atlanta Dragway staff and the racers worked hard to give spectators a great show and complete the event. A combined event showcasing both the NMRA and NMCA series, the All-Star Nationals delivered exciting, side-by-side racing for fans of all brands.


Boasting the world’s fastest street cars, the VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod class saw 22 cars try to qualify for the 16 available spots, and Jason Hamstra set the pace and the unofficial class record in qualifying with a 3.67 performance. Hamstra would go out in the semifinals to Eric Gustafson, who went on to meet Craig Sullivan in the final round. This was the first time both drivers had been to an NMCA Pro Mod final, and Sullivan drilled the tree with an .020-second reaction time, but Gustafson drove around him for the win, 3.77 to 3.85.



Bradenton Mickey Thomson Radial Wars winner James Lawrence was hoping to double up in Commerce, but he was outshined in qualifying by 2016 champion DeWayne Mills, who took the top spot with a 3.88 run at 206 mph. In the final round, it was Marty Stinnett and his Mustang facing Mills and his Camaro.

After taking a slight starting-line advantage, DeWayne Mills (far lane) held on to post a holeshot win over Marty Stinnett in the NMCA Radial Wars final. Mills ran 3.889 at 203.98 to beat by seven-thousandths of a second the 3.886 at 194.86 put down by Stinnett.

The two cars darted dangerously close to each other just as they crossed the eighth-mile finish line, however, and after Stinnett steered away he lost control and collided heavily with the right wall. Stinnett walked away unscathed, but his car sustained heavy damage.


At this event, the NMRA’s VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw class runs with the NMCA’s Vortech Street Outlaw class, and Andy Manson grabbed the top spot in qualifying with a wicked 4.28-second run. Clicking a 4.23 off during eliminations, Shawn Ayers driving Fletcher Cox’s Gold Dust Mustang worked his way to the final round of competition where he would face Manson.

With team owner and 2018 Super Bowl champion Fletcher Cox (left) looking on, Shawn Ayers from Corinth, MS, beat number-one qualifier Andy Manson in the VP Racing Street Outlaws final with 4.24-second pass at 164.93 mph. 


ARP Nitrous Pro Street saw the return of 2016 NMCA Top Sportsman champion Shawn Morrow, but longtime class racer John Trobiani put his 1968 Camaro on top of qualifying with a 4.69, eighth-mile time. Trobiani took out Morrow in the first round, but fell in the second and final round when James Noel took the win with a 4.79 run to Trobiani’s 4.86.


Coming off a huge showing at the season opener where Geoff Turk was the first to dip into the 7-second zone, the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars contingent was back in action with Carl Tasca leading qualifying thanks to an 8.06 time. Turk had once again worked his way to the final round, and edged out Chuck Watson for the trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a close 7.99-to-8.04 win.

Hard-charging Edelbrock Xtreme Street featured a number of new competitors in the class, one of whom was Shaun Arnold, who topped the qualifying sheets with a 4.80-second performance at the wheel of his turbocharged 1969 Ford Falcon. Another debut entry was Tim Knieriem, who put his nitrous-enhanced Mustang into the final round against Arnold. It was a tight, all-Ford race to the finish with Knieriem edging out Arnold for the 4.73-to-4.81 victory.


The cool weather this weekend looked favorably upon the naturally aspirated cars of the ARP NA 10.5 class. Twelve hungry competitors entered the fray and David Theisen set the pace with a 7.85 from his big-block-powered, 1969 Firebird. Theisen squared off against Bradenton winner Robbie Blankenship in the finals, but Blankenship had mechanical problems at the hit, and Theisen scored the class win with a 7.78-second elapsed time.

Coming off a victory at the season opener, Jesse Wilson set the pace in Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center qualifying with a stellar 10.09 performance. Wilson would meet Haley Rounsavall in the final round of competition and take the win with a bracket-like 10.09 to Rounsavall’s 10.31 run.


Lots of new competitors arrived for Coan Engineering’s Stock/Super Stock Combo, and Dennis Breeden topped the qualifying sheets with a -1.712-second under run on his 11.00 index with a 9.68. Breeden reached the finals, but gave the win to Darren Morris after red-lighting.


The always entertaining, wheels-up ATI Performance Products Nostalgia Super Stock class saw Doug Poskevich put his 1969 Ford Fairlane at the top of the qualifying sheet after running a 12.000 on his 12.00 index. However, it was Corky Bumpus who took the final-round victory over Bruce Lang.


The second of two Ford Falcons topping qualifying sheets belonged to Cindee Hall of Deland, Florida. She drove her ’63 model Falcon to a 13.007 on her 13.00 index in Detroit Trutrac Nostalgia Muscle Car, but it was Steve Wilson who was the class winner after defeating Jacob Weigl.


With 24 racers and the top three qualifiers all grabbing triple zero reaction times, MagnaFuel Open Comp is full of top-notch talent. Joe Hutchins topped qualifying, but in the final round, Will Spearman took the starting line advantage and used it to defeat Kelly Pierce.


As the event title implies, there are a several all-star shootouts that take place within this race. The eight racers in each showdown include the top two point finishers from each sanction, two randomly drawn racers, and two who are picked by the previous year’s champions. In the new-for-2108 Street Outlaw shootout, NMRA racer Andy Manson got the better of the NMCA’s Daniel Pharris. In a 180-degree turn, the Sealed Stock shootout saw two Chevrolet Performance Stock entries in this year’s final, with 2017 class champion Jesse Wilson taking the win over Haley Rounsavall. Finally, in the Open Comp shootout, it was a real barn burner that pitted 2017 LME Street King champion Kurt Anderson against the NMCA’s 2017 Open Comp and Stock/Super Stock champion Ricky Pennington, the latter of which secured the victory.


In Gear Vendors True Street competition, Randy Thomas averaged 8.98 seconds over his three-runs to take the top honors in the class. Jeff Brady grabbed runner-up honors with a 10.02 performance, while Alan Hill took the 11-second win with an 11.17. DeWayne Massengale was awarded the 12-second prize for his 12.10 average, while Erick Pedersen rounded up the 13-second award for his 13.007 average. Rounding out the field were Nicholas Massengale with the 14-second win at 14.01 and Allen Smith for the 15-second win with a 15.61.


The All-Stars offered a bracket program and Chas Ledford took the Bracket 1 win, while Michael Gardner was the victor in Bracket 2.


Results from the NMRA cars are available at here.




Bringing Chevrolet performance back to the Atlanta area, the NMCA hosted the first round of the 2018 Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series during the 10th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Stars presented by MAHLE Motorsport event.


New this year is the Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, which is open to LS- and LT-powered vehicles. Drivers compete in a True Street-style of competition. Normally, longtime LSX competitor Tom Calabrese aims for the 12-second True Street average behind the wheel of his 2010 Camaro, but for this event, he was able to hold the loud pedal down, and run 12.03, 11.98, and 11.82 for an average elapsed time of 11.94 seconds and the overall class win. Paul Smith grabbed the runner up prize with a 12.13 average and Oscar Campos received the 13-second award.


In LME Street King competition, Jenna Pierce-Wilson in her 2010 Camaro grabbed the top qualifying spot with a 9.758 on a 9.75 index. The final round of eliminations paired 2017 champion Kurt Anderson against Jeff Brady. In the late-versus-early-model Camaro battle, Brady used a better reaction time to push Anderson into breaking out at the top end, with Brady clocking a 10.09 on a 10.00 index for the win and Anderson going 9.98 on the same index.

Looking to double up for the weekend, Tom Calabrese grabbed the top qualifying spot in Proform Rumble with a 12.008 on a 12.00 index. He would make it to the final, but came up short against David Rickey (shown), who used a sizeable starting line advantage to get his 11.05 on an 11.00 index to defeat Calabrese’s better 12.01 on a 12.00 index.


Next, the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series moves to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the event will play host to the LSX Shootout, a longstanding tradition in the series that celebrates its first year at Beech Bend Raceway, May 17-20. 



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