As the old saying goes, the reports
of their demise were greatly exaggerated. With a great show of determination
and cooperative effort, Tony DePillo and the staff, sponsors, racers
and fans of the National Street Car Association cleared the hurdles
thrown in their path over the course of the off season and proved
once and for all they were made of sterner stuff than some gave
them credit for.
Leaving the aggravations of the past six months in the dust, the
NSCA kicked off the 2004 season in style as they brought North America's
best quarter-mile doorslammer competition to No Problem Raceway
Park in picturesque Belle Rose, Louisiana .
The event was the Corteco Gaskets NSCA Drag Racing Series presented
by BFGoodrich Bob Waldeck Memorial Cajun Nationals, and if ever
there was a perfect location for a drag race it was at this pristine
track located 40 miles northwest of New Orleans .
Of course, a perfect location is nothing without perfect weather,
and once again everything went the NSCA's way, with bright, warm
days greeting big crowds of enthusiastic fans on Saturday and Sunday.
They got their money's worth and then some as action in the weekend's
14 classes of heads-up and index competition turned up the thermostat
even higher, with a number of upsets, surprises, tremendous on-track
performances and a few scary incidents combining to present the
best the NSCA has to offer.
The most heart-stopping event of the weekend came during Friday
night's test and tune session when 21-year-old Cody McManama, of
Wallingford , Connecticut , took his new 1999 Pro Street Monte Carlo
out for its first shakedown pass.
As Cory shifted into second gear, the second stage of nitrous came
in at the exact same time, throwing the car out of control and into
the wall. Fire erupted shortly thereafter, and the track rescue
personnel had to act fast to extinguish the flames and get the driver
Fortunately, McManama escaped uninjured, but the car and its brand
new 737-inch Musi Mutilator powerplant were left a lot worse for
wear. There was guarded speculation that the car could be repaired,
but Cody will unfortunately be sidelined for a few NSCA events this
Including the new-for-2004 Top Street class, there were battles
for points and bragging rights in 14 categories in Belle Rose. As
an added incentive, all previous class records have been retired,
so everything was up for grabs at the season opener. This is how
everything shook out:
|For the first time in recent memory there were no
green cars in the winners circle following the final in Comp
Cams/TCI Engineering Pro Street . Scott Merkel emerged victorious
with his new S-10 Chevy truck.
Comp Cams/TCI Engineering Pro Street Scott Merkel,
Hauppange, NY, '00 S-10, 6.942, 203.03 def. Scott Allen, New Iberia,
GA, '92 Firebird, 6.810, 203.71
| Edelbrock Pro Outlaw saw the two top dogs in the
class fighting it out once again for top spot on Sunday. It
was James Clark taking the win this time around, taking out
three-time champ Marc Dantoni in the big showdown with his newly
repainted Monte Carlo .
Edelbrock Pro Outlaw James Clark, Laurel, MS,
'97 Monte Carlo, 6.654, 209.92 def. Marc Dantoni, Stanton Island,
NY, '68 Camaro, 6.712, 207.21
|There were a half dozen Nitrous Express Nostalgia
Pro Street cars on hand in Louisiana, and when the smoke cleared,
it was Connecticut’s John Schroeder taking the trip to
victory lane when local favorite David Beeson left too early
and lit the dreaded red bulb.
Nitrous Express Nostalgia Pro Street John Schroeder,
Stanford, CT, '02 Camaro, 7.569, 181.45, -def. David Beeson, Baton
Rouge, LA, '78 Camaro, 9.130, 110.33 (foul - .044)
|In Pro Nostalgia, John Jones did the memory of Bob
“Cape Fear” Waldeck proud, taking the car dedicated
to Waldeck’s memory to the final round. His opponent was
Paul Adams, however, who earlier set new performance records
for the class, and it was Adams coming out on top in a battle
of ’66 Ford Fairlanes.
Pro Nostalgia Paul Adams, Barboursville, WV,
'66 Fairlane, 8.755, 155.02, -def. John Jones, Cranston, RI, '66
Fairlane, 8.976, 149.02
|The final in ProCharger Super Street had an international
flavor as Canadian Vito Montesano faced off against No. 1 qualifier
Kenny Bennett. Bennett, driving Tony Bischoff's '95 Olds Achieva,
took an easy win after Montesano fell asleep at the tree, his
.860 reaction time leaving the door wide open for Bennett.
ProCharger Super Street Kenny Bennett, Cincinnati,
OH, '95 Olds, 7.426, 197.77, -def. Vito Montesano, Richmond Hill,
ON, '01 Trans Am, 8.181, 169.76
|Drive Train Specialists Super Modified is one of the
most competitive classes in the NSCA, and multi-time champion
Jim Huber has a lot to do with that. Serving notice that he
was on the hunt for another title, Huber cut a great .005 light
in his final round match against No.1 qualifier Roland Lursky,
and went on to take the win, and the points lead, in a great
Drive Train Specialists Super Modified Jim Huber,
St. Leon, IN, '00 S-10, 7.683, 181.06, -def Roland Lursky, Chesterton,
IN, '86 Trans Am, 7.747, 185.36
|Goodyear Limited Street saw recent class convert Frank
Mewshaw as the last man standing on Sunday afternoon, thanks
to an incredible string of circumstances. Mewshaw, who qualified
third, had a competition bye in the first round, and then had
all three of his competitors break allowing him to move right
up to the winners circle uncontested.
Goodyear Limited Street Frank Mewshaw, Indian
Harbor Beach, FL, '84 Camaro, 8.805, 130.08, -def. Cuy Richardson,
Georgetown, KY, '86 Mustang, BROKE
|2002 Competition Engineering Hot Street champion Rick
Moroso is determined to take the title back from defending champ
Tim Davis, and he started off on the right foot in Louisiana
, setting new class E.T. and MPH records enroute to a big season-opening
victory. Moroso qualified his '61 Corvette in the No. 1 spot,
and then went on to take an 8.663, 152.26 to 8.812, 152.11 win
over Pennsylvania 's Larry Perkins.
Competition Engineering Hot Street Rick Moroso,
Guilford, CT, '61 Corvette, 8.663, 152.26, -def. Larry Perkins,
Collegeville, PA, '66 Nova, 8.812, 152.11
|Jamie Stanton was nearly unbeatable in BES Real Street
competition last season, but he struggled a bit in Belle Rose.
After qualifying his Camaro in the top spot, Stanton lost out
to Bobby Shahan's AMX in the first round. Shahan then fell to
Illinois-based Ron Ramsey in the final in spite of taking a
.023 to .082 advantage off the line. Ramsey's 9.203, 148.02
to Shahan's 9.307, 145.00 was more than enough to bridge the
BES Real Street Ron Ramsey, Waterloo, IL, '87
Monte Carlo, 9.205, 148.02, -def. Bobby Shahan, Cabot, AR, '69 AMX,
|Chicago 's Chris Singleton qualified his '72 Nova
in the No. 1 spot on the BFGoodrich Drag Radial Eliminator sheet,
and outlasted the competition to take a big win. Singleton dispatched
defending champion Dave Rudisell in the semifinals, and went
on to chalk up a decisive victory over Florida 's Michael Fratena
in the final.
BFGoodrich Drag Radial Eliminator Chris Singleton,
Marengo, IL, '72 Nova, 8.776, 158.32, -def. Michael Fratena, Indialantic,
FL, Camaro, 9.070, 159.87
|Mr. Gasket Nostalgia Super Stock had the largest car
count in Belle Rose, with 17 beautiful classic hot rods on hand.
After five tough rounds, 21-year-old college student Stephanie
DiMino of Pennsylvania was the one posing for winners circle
photos, however, overcoming mechanical problems and a flat tire
to claim her first career victory.
Mr. Gasket Nostalgia Super Stock Stephanie
DiMino, Norristown, PA, '66 Impala, (9.50) 9.582, 122.98, - def.
Joe Ewing, Evansville, IN, '63 Dodge, (10.50) 10.492, 124.05
|Ramchargers American Muscle featured 11 of the country's
best factory hot rods, led by top qualifier Arnold Jordan of
nearby Baton Rouge , LA. Defending champion Mike Davis destroyed
his transmission during qualifying, but a laborious overnight
rebuild saw him back out for the start of eliminations Sunday
morning. At the end of the day, however, it was Jerry Ferguson's
'65 Coronet out of Westlake , LA emerging victorious.
Ramchargers American Muscle Jerry Ferguson,
Westlake, LA, '65 Coronet, (12.25) 12.258, 107.82, - def. Larry
Fleming, Franklin, KY, '70 Cuda (13.00) 12.964, 97.77
| Comp/FAST EFI Eliminator was the personal stomping
ground for New York 's Todd Merkel in 2003, and if his performance
in Belle Rose was any indication, the competition is going to
be in for a tough time once again this season. Merkel joined
his brother Scott in the winner's column with his victory over
Moby Smith in the final round.
Comp/FAST. EFI Eliminator Todd Merkel, St.
James, NY, '86 Firebird, (9.50) 9.597, 135.10, -def. Moby Smith,
Franklenton, LA, '97 Cobra, (12.50) 12.700, 105.41
|Pro-Filer Performance Products Top Street is the newest
class in the NSCA this season, and the battle for the early
points lead was waged by Randy Jewell, of Rochester , NY and
Danny Blankenship of West Columbia , SC. Jewell
qualified in the top spot, but handed the class win to his opponent
when he left .004-seconds too early and fouled out.
Pro-Filer Performance Products Top Street Danny
Blankenship, West Columbia, SC, '99 S-10, 10.009, 91.38, -def. Randy
Jewell, Rochester, NY, '00 Corvette, 6.974, 196.53 (foul -.004)
The next stop on the Corteco Gaskets NSCA Drag Racing Series presented
by BFGoodrich tour is the weekend of May 1&2 at Atlanta Dragway
in Commerce , Georgia .