The third stop on the NMCA-Flowmaster traveling tour was at the storied Maryland International Raceway in scenic Budds Creek. The track, nestled in a rural area less than an hour from both Washington D.C. and Baltimore, is the crown jewel of the IHRA sanctioning body and hosts some of the hottest racing action in the Mid-Atlantic region. The racing action wasn’t as dramatic as the previous event, held at Atlanta Dragway (Commerce, Georgia) as some readers might remember the intense fire that erupted under the hood of Super Street 10.5 racer Tony Nesbitt’s ’02 Corvette. This event was highlighted by extremely quick performances, thanks to excellent track prep by the Maryland International Raceway track personnel and favorable weather conditions.
The quickest and fastest cars of the NMCA, the Pro Street category (sponsored by Kooks Custom Headers) made the most noise, figuratively and literally. Evolution of the breed has brought these cars to the brink of Pro Modified–style competition with loose rules and many flavors of engine combinations. Several racers had the 5-second zone in sight as the coveted barrier has yet to be eclipsed in NMCA action. The front runners for this historic pass were points leader Joe Dunne, defending series champion Chris Rini, newcomer Alex Viscardi, and veteran Vincent Demieri. All four are capable of 5-second performances and all left nothing on the table in Maryland.
Dunne was closest a 6.00 at 237 mph in his ’68 Camaro as he sat atop of the Pro Street field in qualifying. He sits inside a Jerry Bickel–constructed Pro Modified–style chassis, and a Pat Musi 864ci engine with four stages of Edelbrock nitrous provides the power. A Liberty five-speed clutchless manual transmission is responsible for transmitting the power. Rini drove his new Jerry Bickel ’69 Camaro Z/28 to a best of 6.06 at 235 mph for the second spot on the elimination ladder. Rini runs a nitrous-gulping 825ci engine from Buck Racing Engines, which is based on a Dart block and cylinder head package. Thanks to major sponsorship from ATI Performance Products, an ATI Powerglide and torque converter package transmit the power to the massive 33x17.5 slicks. Viscardi runs a turbocharged ’67 Mustang GT500 from Jerry Bickel Race Cars under the watchful eye of noted Pro Street racer Chuck Samuels. Vincent Demieri also turned to Jerry Bickel for a Pro Modified ’68 Camaro and tapped Pat Musi for an 864ci bullet and four stages of Edelbrock nitrous, just like Dunne. Demieri chose to run a Lenco clutchless manual transmission.
The Pro Street racers left Maryland without dipping into the 5s but the next chance at fate comes a month later at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. The track and weather conditions will give the front runners of Pro Street a chance at clinching history. Here’s a glimpse at the Pro Street highlights along with the other happenings during the NMCA’s stop at Maryland International Raceway.