NMCA and NMRA invaded Route 66 Raceway for the 13 edition of its combined event, The Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing. From Pro Mod to True Street, hundreds of cars have entered the gates of the world class race plant in Joliet, Illinois.





Pro Mod

In round 2 of Pro Mod, number 9 qualifier Billy Harper would pit his nitrous fed Viper against the turbocharged Corvette of Don Walsh Jr. Harper (3.854 ET) would be the upset winner of the weekend when Walsh (4.179 ET) started hazing the tires a few hundred feet before the finish line. Harper went on to upset the supercharged 57 Chevy of number 5 qualifier Randy Adler in the semifinals.

Jason Hamstra bowled through Stephen Stringer, Jackie Slone, and Kyle Megginson on his way to the finals.  His win over Billy Harper in the final round was decisive, running a 3.692 ET at 207 MPH over a slowing Harper's 4.793 ET. And to make the win sweeter, Hamstra's winning pass backed up his quarter finals run of 3.661, a new NMCA Pro Mod national record.

Factory Super Car

Ford Mustang Cobra Jets ruled Factory Super Car eliminations. Challenger Drag Pak cars were gone at the conclusion of Round 2. A fleet of COPO Camaros were in the trailer after Round 3. The last two Fords standing? Chuck Watson and Kevin Skinner. Skinner would send Ted Hughes, Goeff Turk and Leonard Libersher home before getting a Round 4 bye. Watson would defeat Glenn Pushis, Scott Libersher, Gardner Stone and Jason Dietsch before winning over Skinner in the final. Watson’s 2016 CJ would post a 8.066 ET at 169.3 MPH, while Skinner would lift after breaking traction early, carding a 21.064 ET.  
In Nitrous Pro Street Tim Ensslin had the car to beat all weekend. In the semi-final match-up with Jennifer Rice it was his car that beat him when the throttle linkage failed. Rice, the number 5 qualifier would meet number 2 Tricia Musi in the final and would defeat Georgina Buckley, Andy Vogt and Ensslin to get there. Musi would trailer Scott Masielski, Mike Bankston, and Matt Salmenin before taking the final 4.516 over Rice’s 4.519.
Number 1 qualifier and category points leader Shawn Ayers drove Fletcher Cox’s “Gold Dust” Mustang to victory over Daniel Pharris in Street Outlaw competition. Pharris, of Sikeston, MO, earned his way to the final by defeating Brian Criste, Manny Buginga, and Andy Manson. He received a bye in round 4. Ayers defeated John Amick, Phil Hines, a round 3 bye, and Alton Clements before facing Pharris in the final. Pharris left on Ayers by .023, but Ayers would get around Pharris just before the stripe, posted a 4.319 ET to Pharris’ 4.343 for a .001 margin of victory.
NA 10.5 is the domain of high winding mostly stick shifted muscle cars. It takes precision to win here and no one was more precise that David Theisen. Earning his way to the final round from the Number 1 Qualifying position, Theisen and his ’69 Firebird defeated Terry Strange and Dwight Ausmus, and got a 2nd round bye before facing final round newcomer Chad Neuenschwander. Neuenschwander prevailed over Wayne Roberts, Rick Hornback and Rich Nye. Theisen’s experience was evident in the final as he led Neuenschwander from start to finish.
The Stock/Super Stock Combo final featured two local players from NHRA’S North Central Division. Defending race champ Daryl Bureski (1970 Olds 442 G/SA) of Elgin, Illinois would be challenged by Joliet, Illinois’ Brad Bishop (N/SA 1989 Mustang). Bishop would leave with a .019 RT and hit his 12.33 dial-in with a 12.336 ET. Bureski gave chase and crossed the stripe with a 11.448 ET, breaking out from his 11.46 dial-in. So it was Bishop for the hard fought win.
Open Comp is the ultimate bracket racing class in both NMCA and NMRA. The regulars in the series are razor sharp as drivers with extremely well prepared cars. So it was not a surprise to see multi-time class champ Susan Roush McClenaghan in the final. And it was only a surprise to those that don’t know non-regular Mike Lawson, to see him and the family’s strikingly beautiful 1967 Nova in the final round. Lawson is an accomplished bracket racer in his own right who has won class championships here, and has made hundreds of passes down Route 66 Raceway. With neither driver taking the other lightly, Lawson hit his 10.02 dial-in with a 10.029, but lost to McClenaghan by going -.008 red. McClenaghan went under her 9.48 dial-in with a 9.42 ET but still won due to Lawson’s red light. 

Once the winners in all categories were determined, the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing was staged. This unique runoff pits the NMRA winners against the NMCA winners in a team format. NMRA holds an 8-4 advantage over the NMCA over 12 previous match-ups. In this edition, NMCA took an early 2-0 lead. The NMRA team then countered, winning next six pairings. NMCA added one more win, then NMRA sealed the deal in the next two pairings. The final tally for the day was NMRA with 10 wins to the NMCA’s 3. The overall record over 13 seasons is firmly with NMRA earning 9 team titles to NMCA’s 4. NMRA team members each earned the coveted Nitto Tire Diamond Tree ring.





With 22 classes set to complete qualifying and begin eliminations, a full day was in store for NMCA and NMRA racers.

Pro Mod

David Monday's attempt to break into the Quick 16 in Pro Mod didn't go as planned when his supercharged Corvette went into tire shake at 200'. It was so violent the carbon fiber rear wheel housings shattered and exited the rear of the car.

Twenty nine Pro Modified cars would make at least one qualifying attempt. In the end it would take a 3.93 to get into the Quick 16. Don Walsh Jr.'s  3.709 from Friday would keep the #1 position, and Jim Widener would get in with the aforementioned 3.930.

First round of eliminations took place Saturday night. Billy Harper, Jackie Slone Jr., Rick Hord, Randy Adler, Dan Stevenson, Kyle Megginson, Jason Hamstra and Don Walsh Jr. would all advance to race on Sunday.
Pro Modified legend Shannon Jenkins was making the tuning calls on three cars this weekend. The Kyle Megginson driven Camaro of Mike Bankston would qualify 3rd. Jackie Slone Jr. would qualify 7th Both are Musi powered and nitrous fed. Jenkins would also call the shots on the Bankston owned Nitrous Pro Street Firebird driven by Tricia Musi.


Jenkins gave Megginson and Slone's Camaros plenty of power in round 1, as both carried the front wheels past the 330' mark. Megginson would defeat Marcus Birt with a 3.838 ET and .000 reaction time. Slone would send Eric Gustafson packing with a 3.785 ET.
Walsh would run low ET (3.708) and top speed (217.04) of the round in his victory over Jim Widener.


Factory Super Car

Number 1 qualifier Joe Welch would get a bye run in the first round of Factory Super Car action. Choosing the left lane and running for lane choice in Round 2, the Challenger carried the front wheels to 200'. Then things went bad as the car made an immediate right turn, spun, then slapped and backed into the right lane wall. Welch was examined by track medical staff and deemed fit to race another day.

Nitrous Pro Street


In Nitrous Pro Street's final qualifying session, John Trobiani's Camaro started backfiring before the finish line, where the engine expired with a large pop, then began to burn at a rapid rate. Trobiani exited the smoke filled cockpit under his own power. Cleared by medical personnel, the 14th qualified Trobiani was not able to make the call for eliminations due to damage to the car.
Nitrous Pro Street Number 1 Qualifier Tim Ensslin advanced out of the first round of eliminations along with Jim Bell, Jennifer Rice, Joe Buccaro, Andy Vogt, Mike Bankston, Mike Salminen and Tricia Musi.


Stock/Super Stock Combo

The StocK/Super Stock Combo class has is in its second season at NMCA and it has proven to be very popular with class racers from NHRA. Low qualifier Jack Larson and his trusty Underdog Mercury Comet advanced out of first round eliminations.
Daryl Bureski is defending event champion in Stock/Super Stock. The former NHRA North Central Division Stock Eliminator champion also advanced.
Accomplished NHRA Super Stock racer Fred Bartoli advanced over the formidable David Barton in Round 1.


NMCA Xtreme Street

Xtreme Street is populated with purpose built high 4 second race cars. Burbank, Illinois' Cody Mendeisis didn't qualify his 1994 Chevy S10, but is notable for the fact that this is a licensed and insured street driven vehicle that Mendeisis has successfully run in Hot Rod Drag Week.
Al Corda is an accomplished racer, having won numerous races and championships over a 50 year career. The former owner of Rock Falls Raceway in Eau Claire, Wisconsin did double duty at the Super Bowl, racing in Nostalgia Super Stock in his Dodge Dart, and in Street King in his 2015 COPO Camaro. Corda advanced to race in both classes on Sunday.



Don Walsh Jr. grabbed the number 1 qualifying spot from Jason Hamstra in the second session. Walsh’s turbocharged Corvette lit up the clocks with a 3.709 ET at a booming 213.7 MPH
Holding nearly a 10th in the bank over the number 2 qualifier at the end of Q1, Jason Hamstra ran what some believed to be an insurmountable 3.749 ET. Hamstra was bumped to the Number 2 spot when Walsh snatched it away in Q2.
Billy Harpers Viper carried the front wheels to 300’ en route to a 3.839 ET in Q1. Good enough for the provision number 2 in the first session.
NHRA Pro Mod regular Dan Stevenson entered to get some test laps in with new tuner Steve Summers. Stevenson is currently qualified number 13, posting a 3.896 at 203.9 MPH. Summers is a two time NMCA Pro Mod champion.
2017 Nitrous Pro Street Champion Jeff Rudolph has stepped up into Pro Mod with this Steve Summers poered and tuned Camaro. Rudolph hold the provisional 10th spot with 3.855 ET.
Joe Welch and his Drag Pak Challenger held the Number 1 qualifying position in Factory Car Showdown through both session on Friday. In the first he put a 8.033 on the board. In the second Welch bettered that with a 8.027 ET at 169.70 MPH. Paul Roderick holds the provisional number 2 spot with a 8.127 in his 2016 Mustag Cobra Jet.
The 1969 Firebird of Highland, Michigan’s David Theisen has a significant margin over number 2 qualifier Robbie Blankenship  in NMCA NA 10.5, who lost the number one spot to Theisen in the second session.
Pat Musi made history and some say made Pro Street with the “Popeye II” Firebird in NMCA competition in the early 2000’s. Today this iconic car is back in service thanks to Mike Bankston. It even has a Musi behind the wheel, Pat’s daughter Tricia. Proving the car is still a force to be reckoned with, Musi drove to the number one spot in Q1 in Nitrous Pro Street with a 4.505.
Musi didn’t hold the spot for long. Lakeland, Florida’s Jason Ensslin wheeled his Trans Am to the top spot in session 2 with a 4.389 ET.
Twenty combined NMCA and NMRA Street Outlaw competitors made qualifying runs on Friday. When all was said a done, the always competitive Andy Manson put his Mustang at the top of the sheet in Q2, running 4.324 at 174.7 MPH.
Nostalgia Super Stock
Hortonville, Wisconsin’s Jeff Frees drove his NSS/B Barracuda to the provisional Number 1 qualifying spot over 25 other Nostalgia Super Stock drivers.

Racing resumes at 9:00 AM Saturday with the final qualifying and time trials session. Eliminations begin Saturday night at 5 PM.