Jim Baker's Then and Now

Historic SCSN

Sunshine Clear Skies No wind

Photos by Brad Baker


Promoter Mel Roth dialed up some great weather for Street Car Super Nationals 14. That and the use of all four lanes at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway provided racers and fans alike with the best race since 2004.


We don’t know the final car count, but suffice it to say it was probably a record. The limited ‘down’ time was provided by LVMS Drag Racing Manager Jeff Foster and Mel getting their heads together to use one pair of lanes for slick tires and the other pair for radial tires. This plus fewer oil downs and crashes than this reporter remembers, just kept the action going strong all four days.


But wait, this was 2018 not 2004 when an unknown entrepreneur named Mel Roth started the PSCA (Premier Stock Car Association) from his home in Las Vegas, NV. If you check out the link under Mel Roth, you will see this race back in 2008!

Ed Thorton (above) won the 2018 version in convincing fashion even though he trailed #1 qualifier Rick Hord for most of the event.


Hord had dominated Pro Mod action since Thursday night, but when the final rolled around about 8:30 PM Sunday, his team could not make the call. Thornton only had to take the line for his first major Pro Mod title in seven years. Knowing the cold fans had stayed to see the showdown, Ed unloaded a whopping 5.54 at 274.61 for the WIN!


It was a solid win for a deserving team from Chino, CA, but not the first or most exciting during the past 14 years. That honor goes to Mike Maggio who has been a mainstay of PCSA events, finally winning it all in 2015. Maggio tried hard to win the Top Speed award bonus, and the main event, but also could not make the call on Sunday.

With twenty cars in round one, only four races evolved as many were broken from the three days of qualifying and Thursday’s $20K Top Speed Run. Scott Oksas ran a strong 5.82 to defeat Dale Pederson. John Durden started his run to the semi-finals with a win over popular Bob Moore and his ’60 Chevy Pro Mod. Dean Bettenson drove the ’57 Chevy der Bunkerjunker over Dal Sangha with a close 5-second duel by two racers from Canada.


Finally, Jay Diedrich shot a winning 5.70 at 254.14 at John DeJonge’s 6.92.

Back in 2013, Troy Coughlin brought his NHRA winning Pro Mod back to Las Vegas where three weeks earlier he had won his season title at LVMS! The popular driver quickly claimed the title! Today, Troy has fully retired from the sport.



Champion: Ed Thornton, Chino, CA, ’70 Camaro, 5.54, 274.61

R/up: Rick Hord, Belle Isle, FL, ’16 Corvette, 5.58, 263.15



Champion: Mike Keenan, Albuquerque, NM, Corvette, 3.94, 201.10

R/up: Mark Woodruff, Arnold, MO, ’16 Corvette, 3.90, 205.88


Nearly as popular as Pro Mod is its cousin, Outlaw 10.5. (This means the maximum tire width is only 10.5 inches) Mark Woodruff came from Arnold, MO (St. Louis suburb) to qualify #1 and march all the way to the final, where he was upset by Mike Keenan of Albuquerque, NM, in a battle of Corvettes. We remember when SCSN13 winner Steve Nicholson from Langley, BC, Canada, won the class with a 900+ cubic inch Pat Musi motor. Steve was a semifinalist this year.


The radial tire group was headed by Magna Fuel XDR on the eighth-mile course. Headliners here included #1 qualifier, Johnny Coleman of Lakewood, CA, who was a struggling newcomer back in 2010 at SCSN; Chris Alston of Alston Chassis Works; Lamar Swindell, Jr. from Beach City, Texas; and Kevin Wallauer from Victorville, CA, who won Small Tire at the MCATS last spring! Josh Edwards from Chandler, AZ, kept going rounds until none remained.

This is a photo of Chris Alston back in 2012 at SCSN. The stock chassis ’63 Nova with an Alston Engineering front end was a pioneer to today’s 1/8 mile all out races. Chris was back at SCSN14 with a Camaro.



Champion: Clint Downs, Yukon, OK, ’74 Nova, 4.41, 160.77

R/up: John Urist, Albuquerque, NM, ’15 Mustang, 4.42, 162.72



Champion: Dan Dagata, Pomona, CA, ’66 Mustang, 5.26, 134.40

R/up: Mike Silva, Madera, CA, ’64 Chevy II, 5.33, 132.23



Champion: Derek Cooper, Littleton, CO, ’89 Mustang, 4.71, 155.88

R/up: Brad Medlock, Sherwood, AR, ’13 Mustang, 4.34, 162.22



Champion: Josh Edwards, Chandler, AZ, ’73 Camaro, 4.31, 173.41

R/up: Matt Bell, Bloomington, IL, ’93 Mustang, 4.34, 183.24


Champion: Donnie Bowles, Madisonville, KY, ’05 Mustang, 10.26, 130.44

R/up: Brent Calvert, Lancaster, CA, ’14 Mustang, 8.76, 154.42


We were impressed by repeat winners at SCSN 14. To win this race once is exhilarating, but to do it again, is well ‘over the top’! Donnie Bowles with one of the most eye appealing rigs at the event, the Jack Roush Mustang hauler and its cargo, won MMR Open Comp for consecutive titles. What makes the team even more impressive is that they are powered by Propane.


Although Giuseppe Gentile did not win Big Tire again, he was in the final, out in front and had to lift or crash, settling for Runner-up.


Champion: John DeJong, Abbotsford, BC, ’67 Camaro

R/up: Giuseppe Gentile (above), Ontario, CA, ’04 Mustang



Champion: Frank Yee, Las Vegas, NV, ’04 Mustang

R/up: Kevin Wallauer, Victorville, CA, ’67 Camaro


Champion: Daniel Pharris, Sikeston, MO, ’14 Lexus

R/up: Roger Holder, Bakersfield, CA, ’68 Camaro


While many racers attempt perfection in Bracket Racing, very few we have known over the years are able to obtain it. Not so with Mark “The Beav” Beavin of Clovis, CA, and Mesa, AZ. You see, going into SCSN-14, Mark held an impeccable record at Bracket Racing and LVMS. At the recent MCATS, Mark won the Friday Gambler, then was R/up and Semifinalist in the Pro and Super Pro classes. Good job, but wait … Mark was the winner in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. OK, so what did he do here? Well, he won seven rounds to WIN the largest field of SCSN-14, and then five more rounds to finish R/up in Electronics.


Champion: Mark Beavin, Clovis, CA, ’72 Duster, 11.09, 102.93

R/up: Lisa Johnson, Boise, ID, ’74 Duster, 11.87, 97.89



Champion: Mike Rock, Nampa, ID, ’01 Drag, 8.12, 149.81

R/up: Mark Beavin, Clovis, CA, ’72 Duster, 10.98, 107.79

There is no award for ‘Best Engineered’ car at SCSN. If there were, Brian Fitzpatrick from Lake Havasu City, AZ, would top our list. The amazing dragster cranks out times of 6 seconds, with a speed near 250 mph. So, what is the big deal? Look at the photo, take it all in. The digger is powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder Toyota motor. But the engineering does not end there; it is hooked to a five speed LENCO transmission. We asked if it was shifted by air? More or less, was the answer. Brian utilizes the servos which are used by virtually every Big Show Nitro team (to time the clutch) not shift a transmission. The engine is tilted so the bell housing is near the RH frame rail, making room for a huge intercooler to cool the boost from the turbo. It is amazing!


If you were at SCSN back in 2012, you must remember when Dennis Soto squared off with PSCA winner, Don McDavitt.

Who has forgotten these two from SCSN’s past? It is a title run by Dennis Soto (far lane) and Don McDavitt.  Both won a lot of PCSA events.

Hundreds of worthy and interesting stories occurred during the 2018 event, but this one got my attention. Way out in the upper pit area, I stumbled on this non-descript blue Vega. Vegas were my favorite Pro Stock car during the ‘70s so I stopped to ask about the car. It is raced by Mike Shaw from Lehi, UT (near Salt Lake City). Mike related that neither he nor his drag racing friends have any idea where to go to continue their passion. A few weeks ago, the track at Salt Lake City closed permanently!


His car is Big Block Chevy powered but nearly stock including the all steel front end. With 560 cubes it turns low nines and over 140 MPH. Mike doesn’t want to stop racing so he came to LVMS and SCSN-14 to see if the long trip (over 400 miles) is feasible.


We were happy when Mike made it to round three where his good .041 RT caught the brunt of school teacher Dave Melgride’s better .006. We wish Mike and all the stranded Salt Lake area racers the best going forward!


Champion: Brent Calvert (above) Lancaster, CA, ’14 Mustang, 8.79, 155.70

R/up: Jason Biscay, Rochester, WA, ’68 Mustang, 11.67, 111.56



Champion: Sergio Crespo, San Francisco, CA, ’65 Mustang, 10.56, 120.79

R/up: Ron DeHoop, Bellflower, CA, ’67 Chevelle, 10.55, 124.06



Champion: Nick Kendrick, Lake Havasu City, ’65 El Camino, 8.58, 157.78

R/up: Troy Lind, Nampa, ID, ’71 Chevelle, 9.53, 142.64


In all respects and from any angle, 2018 was a tremendous race. Great weather and hordes of quick cars will do that. Jeff and Randy plus the entire Las Vegas Motor Speedway crew did a flawless job all four days. Certainly, Mel Roth and his statistician Brandon Mudd once again kept everything in order.


Until Next Time, Be On Time!  




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