More than 500 racers from across the country converged for the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Force Engineering, July 22-25, 2021 at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
They were utterly unflinching from the starting line to the finish line at what’s known as The Fastest Track in Michigan, and they gave it everything they had to edge out the competition and earn an Edelbrock Victor Award.
A galaxy of fans gathered to take in all of the action alongside representatives from Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge // Mopar and other respected companies. The PRI Road Tour also was on site at the fourth of six NMCA events and fifth of six NMRA events this year.
On the NMCA side, Steve Summers shimmied to a 3.70 to set the pace in the always-astonishing VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod category, but featured in the final round were Craig Sullivan his just-debuted “El Mero Mero” 1949 Mercury and Randy Adkins and his eye-catching 1957 Chevy. Sullivan won with a 3.75 to Adler’s 3.89.
Ron Rhodes rocketed to a 4.19 to lead qualifying in NMCA Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw/NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw. Mustang drivers bowed out early, resulting in an NMCA battle in the final round. Leading up to that, however, Tony Hobson’s machine was the highest qualified NMRA representative thanks to a 4.30 at 164 mph rip. However, Hobson fell to Marty Stinnett and fellow NMRA racer Steve Halprin lost to Ron Rhodes, both in the second round. In a highly anticipated final round of eliminations, Rob Goss reacted with a .0007 at the hit and won with a 4.21 in is Challenger after Rhodes went into wheelspin in his Camaro.
Tripp Carter tackled a 7.77 to lead qualifying in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, a category closely-watched by faithful fans. The final round of eliminations, however, put the spotlight on Bill Skillman and Chuck Watson II, who is fresh off a win in NHRA Constant Aviation Factory Showdown at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. With all eyes on them, Skillman went through the traps with a 7.77 to take the win over Watson II, who recorded a 7.84.
Vince Khoury kept his foot planted on the pedal to a 4.35 in his Firebird to lead qualifying in ARP Nitrous Pro Street, and the Michigan-based driver pulled off a win with a 4.43 when Jake Naumann’s Nova was a little sluggish off the line.
Eric Bardekoff carried the momentum of his number-one qualifying effort — a 4.57 at 155.28 mph — to the final round in the combined Edelbrock Renegade / Xtreme Street category. Sporting a new Whipple supercharger under the hood, Bardekoff powered to the finals where he found a familiar opponent. Squaring off with defending champion Joel Greathouse, who lit the red bulb—handing the victory to Bardekoff who sailed to the win with a 4.58 at 155.93 mph.
Leonard Long rowed the gears of his G-Force transmission to a 7.82 to set the pace in qualifying in Dart NA 10.5. The Pennsylvanian proceeded to park in the NMCA Winner’s Circle with a 7.84 against John Langer, who landed at 7.96.
Driving Scott Milhimes’ Mustang, Charlie Booze Jr. qualified in the top spot in G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock thanks to a 9.88 at 135.46 mph. Right behind him on the qualifying sheet was Shane Stymiest, who clicked off a 9.91 at 135.46 mph. The two would meet again on Sunday evening as both ran consistent rounds en route to the final round. Booze got the leave to beat the quicker Stymiest to the stripe.
After switching to a ProCharger P-1X supercharger in time for this weekend, Samantha Moore didn’t miss a beat. She qualified at the to of the JDM Engineering Limited Street pack with an 8.38 at 165.68 mph — an amazing feat for an off-the-shelf street blower. The co-owner of Vector Motorsports didn’t stop there, as she took that performance to the final round, where she pulled away from Michael Lewandowski to take the win with an 8.42 at 165.81 mph to his 8.92 at 151.62 mph.
It was Two-Valve to the front in Richmond Gear Factory Stock as Mark Anderson ran the table, claiming the number-one qualifier position and taking the win in his high-revving Fox. Running progressively quicker with each round of eliminations, he face off against defending class champion John Leslie Jr. in the finals. When the tree dropped, Leslie yanked the wheels sky high but upon returning to earth his car scraped the wall as Anderson cruised to the NMRA Winner’s Circle.
In Coan Stock/Super Stock Combo, Brad Zaskowski wrapped up the win despite breaking out with a 10.17 on a 10.18 as Bruce Lang left the line just a little too early and turned on the red light.
Brent Wheeler ran right on his 9.75 index to lead qualifying in Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock, but Jim Netherland and T.D. Holland went to the final round of eliminations. Both drivers broke out, but Netherland nabbed the win with a 10.22 on a 10.25 index, while Holland ran to a 9.71 on a 9.75 index.
It came down to the number-two qualifier and the number-12 qualifier in Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, but the higher qualifier prevailed. In a role reversal, Adam Cox was slow on the tree in the final and Matt Hargett took that edge all the way to the stripe for the win.
David Mormann ran right on his 11.00 index to lead qualifying in Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle, but the final round of eliminations saw Andy Warren wheel to a 10.02 on a 10.00 index to wrap up another win against Matthew Keiser, who also recorded a 10.02 on a 10.00, but wasn’t quite as quick off the starting line as Warren.
Scott Williams was ready with a .001 reaction time to lead thirty-four fellow competitors in MagnaFuel NMCA Open Comp qualifying, but after he exited eliminations, Matt Nap, with a 12.10 on a 12.04 dial, defeated Phil Wrobleski, who broke out with a 9.53 on a 9.56 dial.
Stacked with 33 cars in the field, ARP NMRA Open Comp was competitive to say the least. Surviving five rounds to enter the final battle was a grind, but Jason Henson was still on his game. In a battle of New Edge Mustangs, he faced off with number-two qualifier, Charlie McCulloch, with an Edelbrock Victor Award on the line. Henson cut a light and nailed his dial-in to drive away with the win.
NMCA TorqStorm Superchargers True Street and NMRA QA1 True Street drivers went for a scenic 30-mile drive before returning to US 131 Motorsports Park to make three successive laps down the track surface. Tim Flanders took the overall win with an 8.99 average, while Don Walsh Jr., the 2019 NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod champion, was the runner-up with a 9.60 average. Matt Caldwell was the 9-second winner, Tyler Hassing, owner of Force Engineering, was the 10-second winner, Cary Shotwell was the 11-second winner and Mike Baker was the 12-second winner. Other standouts were Rodney Ward, the 13-second winner, Ray Williams Sr., the 14-second winner and Dom Hoffman, the 15-second winner.
In Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning it was a clash of F-150 vs. Ranger as Mike Motyka squared off against Randy Conway in the final round. Though Conway qualified higher in the fourth spot, it was Motyka who got the jump at the tree and never looked back even though Conway ran right on top of his 10.27 index.
Late-model HEMI vehicles, including Challengers, Chargers, Demons and Hellcats,were front and center for the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout, where Tony Demaio drove to the overall win with a 9.55 average. Alan Scruggs settled into the runner-up spot with a 9.67 average. Also seeing success were Evan Smith, the 10-second winner, Jeffrey Lindgren, the 11-second winner, Jeff Smith, the 12-second winner, Ken Mason, the 13-second winner, Mac Gibson, the 14-second winner and Shawn Beverly, the 15-second winner.
The eight quickest drivers in the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout made it into the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 presented by Red Line Oil on the final day of the event, and Alan Scruggs used a holeshot and a 9.41 to upset Tony Demaio, who drove to a 9.19.
It was a battle of red S197s in the HP Tuners Super Stang final. Defending champ Kevin McKenna, who qualified in the fourth spot with a .036 reaction time, squared off against Rodney Ward. McKenna cut a better light and ran down the slower Ward, but got on the brakes too hard before the stripe as Ward won with a 12.83 on a 12.80 dial-in.
Bryan Parker cut the best light to earn the first slot in Race Pages Digital Ford Muscle qualifying. Chopping down the tree would serve him well in the last round where he faced Rodney Ward, who was pulling double-duty this weekend. He cut an .034 light to Ward’s .045 and rode that advantage to the win with an 11.45 on an 11.50 dial.
Chevrolet fans saw Glenn Pushis power to a 10.01 to lead qualifying in Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin Dickey Parts Center. On race day, he rolled up next to Ronnie Hackelton for the final round of eliminations, and the battle of the Camaros ended with Pushis picking up the win with a 10.00 to Hackelton’s close 10.04.
Kurt Anderson, who’s famous for high-flying wheelies in his Camaro, clocked a 9.77 on a 9.75 index to lead qualifying in LME Street King presented by Chevrolet Performance, and then hung his front tires before hauling to the win with a 9.78 on a 9.75 index against Keith Vennekotter, who turned on the red light.
Tom Poston ran right on his 11.50 index to lead qualifying in Proform LSX Rumble presented by Chevrolet Performance, but DeWayne Massengale and Kevin Rowand met in the final round of eliminations. There, Massengale motored to the win with a 12.08 on a 12.00 index, while Rowand turned in an 11.24 on an 11.00 index.
In Cor-A-Vent Factory Stock, Ryan Van Dusen, behind the wheel of his Corvette, outran Paul Petcou, who was piloting his Challenger RT.
Terry Pennington led qualifying with a 9.56 in Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST), a category for cars that appear as they did when they were in the showroom. Later, he was to face Don Giannone in the final round of eliminations, but he had breakage, giving Giannone the win with a 10.62.
Racers of the Motor City Muscle Challenge, a heads-up, naturally aspirated class where cars roll on 9-inch tires, were a special part of this event, and Shawn Staniszewski stopped the clock at 9.00 to lead them in qualifying. He also made it to the final round of eliminations, where he ripped off an 8.89 to upset Richard Eldred, who raced to a 9.37.
In Fastest Street Car Bracket Open, Stan Jones Jr. claimed the victory with a 5.57 on a 5.56 dial over Christine Kirbitz, who broke out with a 6.18 on a 6.19 dial.
This event also hosted the final rounds from the rain-shortened NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance, which was in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. In VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod, Steve Summers sailed to a 3.70 to outrun Chip King, who clocked a 3.73, while in NMCA Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw/NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw, Tony Hobson won, despite spinning the tires under his high-horsepower car at the hit, as Randy Matlock wasn’t able to attend. In Dart NA 10.5, David Theisen dished out a 7.96 to defeat Joe Clemente, who turned in an 8.04, and in Holley EFI Factory Super Cars, Tripp Carter traveled to a 7.77 to better Bill Skillman and his 7.80.
NMCA racers will continue their chase to the championships at the NMCA All-American Nationals, Aug. 25-29 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The facility, owned by the Bader family, is one of the favorite stops on the NMCA tour.