Erik CarlstedtOrange, California
Erik Carlstedt bravely runs his second-gen in the Outlaw 8.5 heads-up class. We say bravely because these guys put 1,000-plus horsepower to tiny 8.5-inch-wide slicks—a combination that’s guaranteed to bite you if you’re not a really good driver and chassis tuner. Erik has had the car for about six years and wanted to get into heads-up drag racing, and figured Outlaw 8.5 might be a good place to get his feet wet. Very wet. He makes his power from a conventional small-block that displaces 427 cubes and inhales a 300-350 shot of nitrous from a Fogger setup managed by a Lingenfelter nitrous controller. The car ran its best-ever pass on Saturday of the NMCA West event: a 5.51 at 134 mph in the eighth-mile (the class is the only one in the series to run eighth-mile). He qualified fourth in the field and made it all the way to the semi-finals.
Tony AneianNorth Hollywood, California
Tony has been a fixture for the last 10 years on the West Coast heads-up scene, running with the NMCA West, PSCA, and West Coast Hot Rod Association. He competes in the NA 10.5 class, which requires naturally aspirated engines and 10.5-inch-wide slicks. This class runs in both the NMCA’s East and West Coast series, but the two regions have slightly different rules and minimum weight requirements since the classes “came up” a bit differently in the two regions. Tony’s underhood bullet is a 510ci motor built by Bischoff Racing Engines (BES) that uses 24-degree Edelbrock heads … and that’s all that Tony would admit to. Racers, ya know! The trans is a Chrysler TorqueFlite (sorry) from Pro Trans in Lancaster, California, and the 9-inch rearend is located by a ladder bar suspension. Tony won the NA 10.5 class championship the last two years, won the PSCA race in Sacramento the weekend prior to Fontana, and ran a 7.99 at 170 mph at Fontana, making it all the way to the final round. He finished runner-up.
Andrew BerryPaso Robles, California
It’s a stretch to call Andrew Berry’s Pro Mod car a Camaro, since it’s a Tommy Mauney full-race tube chassis with a carbon-fiber body that sort of resembles an early Camaro, but there’s no doubt that it’s cool and was one of the nicest race cars at the event regardless of make and model. The powerplant is an all-billet 481X motor from Proline Racing Engines in Georgia, with a pair of huge 88mm Precision Turbo hairdryers and all the bells and whistles. On paper, the car is good for high-5s in the quarter-mile at over 250 mph, but Fontana’s track saw the brand-new car’s first-ever pass on Friday of the NMCA West event. Berry said, “It had no runs on it before this event, so we’ve had some hiccups here and there with wiring, the boost controller … you know, new car bugs. We’re just trying to make progress every time we go to the water box.” The car lost in the first round thanks to those new car gremlins, but it’ll be back in the hunt at all the NMCA West and some of the PSCA races in 2014, as well as the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield in October, where it was invited to qualify for the 16-car field.