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Corvettes Square Off at Bradenton Motorsports Park for 2016 NMCA

Corvettes helped kick off the drag racing season in style

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If the first race of 2016 is any indication, the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) is in for an exciting year. The 14th Annual Ross Racing Pistons Muscle Car Mayhem kicked off at Bradenton Motorsports Park on March 10 and continued through the weekend, with a number of shocking finishes on Sunday, March 13th. The NMCA is hosting six regular events this year (not including the CP Nationals and the NMCA West series). Racing classes include: Xtreme Pro Mod, Radial Wars, Street Outlaw, Xtreme Street, 632, NA 10.5, Nitrous Pro Street, Chevrolet Performance Stock, Factory Super Cars, Top Sportsman, Nostalgia Super Stock, Nostalgia Muscle Car, True Street, and brackets.

Corvettes represented three serious contenders in the VP Racing Fuel Xtreme Pro Mod class, the newest and fastest class that the NMCA offers. The class boasted an impressive 20-car field, and the #3 qualifier was the silver split-window ’63 Corvette coupe driven by Adam Flamholc. The Swede clicked off a 3.86 at 195mph in the 1/8-mile during Round 1, only to bow out in Round 2. His blown 526ci combo will rattle your fillings out, which is an experience you must have in your life. Richard Cohen’s C6 made it all the way to the semifinals before losing out to Randy Adler’s ’57 Bel Air. Cohen’s blown 526 never broke the 4-second plane, which put him out of contention with Adler and, eventual winner, Raymond Commisso’s ’69 Camaro. Chris Rini, also in a ’69 Camaro, was one of the favorites to win, but had a serious crash in the quarterfinals. Chris was airlifted to a local hospital with a few broken bones and bruises, but was released a few days later. The safety equipment and crew did its job well.

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Keith Berry’s black twin-turbo ’02 Z06 was the only competitor in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars to break the 4-second barrier, going 3.98 at 189mph to take the top spot in qualifying. Berry went rounds, but ultimately fell to longtime nemesis in the class Dewayne Mills, in the ’68 Camaro, in a close race (4.006 to 4.016). The twin-turbo Corvettes of Mark Woodruff and Paul Major represented some serious firepower, but both had issues that saw them take a Round 1 exit.

Local Curt Steinbach had the blue ’63 split-window coupe that competed in the 632 class with a (surprise) 632ci nitrous combo. Curt met his match in the final round against seasoned vet Ken Quartuccio in the similarly powered ’69 Camaro. Quartuccio took the win in a close race – 4.42 to 4.45. Camren Massengale was the lone Corvette in Edelbrock Xtreme Street. His ’01 Z06 runs a 440ci LSX combo with nitrous and normally competes in the LSX Challenge Series. This year the NMCA aligned the rules so that racers could jump between LSX Real Street and Xtreme Street to get even more track time. The Z06 made its fastest pass yet, going 7.80 at 163mph in the ¼-mile during qualifying, but bowed out in the first round of eliminations. With just a little more seat time, the Z could easily challenge for the top spot.

With five more NMCA races left, plus two additional LSX Challenge Series events, we are sure to see plenty more Corvettes at the drag strip this year. The next stop is in Commerce, Georgia for the Borla Exhaust All-Star Nationals on August 7-10. However, the first race of the LSX Challenge Series is the Chevrolet Performance Nationals (also in Commerce) on June 3-5. See you there!

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