Stalba hopes new TAD rules will help give team a winning season

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Top Alcohol Dragster driver Karen Stalba and her AA Auto Salvage team have been busy over the offseason, doing everything they can to bring home another regional championship. Karen has been securing new additional marketing partners, while her team has been working over every aspect of her nitro-burning A/Fuel Dragster. The New Jersey-based group hopes their efforts will bring the car back to its race-winning ways of 2011.

Stalba, who won the 2011 Division 1 TAD championship, struggled to perform over the last two years, winning just once last year. Karen believes her team’s work over the winter, as well as the introduction of new A/Fuel rules, will help bring a higher level of performance to the program.

“We found a lot of problems and inaccuracies over the winter. We had a few ‘aha moments’. The team has looked over everything, making sure we have a good tune-up and the right components to start with this season. As far as the new rules, I think the added percentage of nitro will help, especially in the hot weather. Before we start playing with the new rules, we need to get our tune-up from last year sorted out,” said the mother of two.

The new rules, introduced to the TAD class in December 2013, are meant to benefit the nitro-injected A/Fuel dragsters. A/Fuel teams are allowed to use 95% nitromethane fuel, up one percent, chilled ten degrees cooler than last year’s minimum temperature, running through an insulated main fuel line.

“We’ll have the same crew back again this season,” Karen said. “My dad, Tom Benkovich, and Erick Cindrich, are the co-crew chiefs. They tune the car and maintain it. Larry Bucher will also be back with us. My mom, Margaret, and Erick’s wife, Donna, also come out and help us. It’s a great family operation.”

Husband Tom Stalba also helps when he can, but he will be doing double duty this year, racing in many events and several classes, including Comp Eliminator, Super Comp and Super Gas.

Stalba and the AA Auto Salvage A/Fuel Dragster team plan on attending at least seven regional events and six NHRA Mello Yello series national events. They will start their season at the first East Region event of the year at Virginia Motorsports Park, April 4-5. (Richard Muir photo)

All hail! King Ford returns to NMRA

KingFordReturns-logoThe NMRA Keystone Automotive Ford Nationals has announced the return of King Ford, one of the most popular Ford drag racing competitions of all time. Taking place at the 11th Annual McLeod Racing NMRA Ford Super Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, the weekend of June 12-15, King Ford is a full-scale battle royale. The class winners of Fast Ford, Quick Ford, Street Ford and Nostalgia Ford will face off on Sunday afternoon for the right to be crowned King Ford.

After the winner is proclaimed King Ford, he/she will be adorned with a crown, cape and scepter, drenched in champagne, then carried to the winner’s circle by servants where they will be presented with a special King Ford prize package. The King will also receive a personalized, reserved parking spot for the following season in a high visibility location along with a special feature in Race Pages, the official publication of the NMRA series.

Bounty Hunter program returns to DSE Sportsman Series

Racers in the DSE Sportsman Series (www.SportsmanRacingSeries.ca) will again have an extra opportunity each Sunday of a DSE event to take home an extra $50 if they can defeat the Saturday winners in Renegade Race Fuels Super Pro or Modified in any elimination round of the Main Event.

Returning in 2014 to the program is GreenLight Property Maintenance (GPM) owned by Steve Ferstl, which operates in Burlington, Ontario, and specializes in lawn and outdoor care.

NecksGen-RestraintJoining GPM this season is Bullet Motorsports and a new product they are carrying called the NecksGen Head and Neck Restraint System.

“The NecksGen Rev is simple to use, eliminating the hassle of recruiting help to put it on and, more importantly, the sliding tether allows me to keep a close eye on my competition,” commented Bullet Motorsports owner Bob Jennings.

The first opportunity for racers to take home the Bounty Bonus will be at the Third Annual Season Opener, which takes place June 7-8 at Cayuga Dragway of Toronto Motorsports Park.

Mickey Thompson returns to NMCA as series and Super Street 10.5W class sponsor

Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels will return to NMCA racing as an official 2014 series sponsor as well as the Super Street 10.5W class sponsor. The company will also offer contingency awards for all pro, sportsman and special-event classes, and Mickey Thompson Motorsports will be on site at most events offering trackside support.

“It’s great to renew our relationship with NMCA as both a series and contingency sponsor,” said Tom Kundrik, Motorsports Manager, Mickey Thompson. “Our support of the oldest and most recognized all-domestic vehicle drag racing series in the country is something we’re very proud of, and we look forward to another great year.”

Parker makes first appearance at Adelaide in this Century

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This weekend Australian Super Stock Champion Darren Parker will make his first appearance at Adelaide International Raceway since the 1999 Springnationals.

Back then Parker competed in Super Street but now he returns behind the wheel of his Pontiac GXP looking to kick start his Super Stock Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship title defense.

Squaring off against teams from Super Stock and Competition Eliminator in the combined Super Comp category, Parker said he is expecting some fierce competition.

“Craig Geddes and Wayne Cartledge are fast wherever they compete in their dragsters and Daniel Camilleri ran 0.2 seconds under the DD/GA record at Calder Park two weeks ago,” he said. “Any one of the ten drivers is in with a shot.”

“Super Stock is a tough class and when you add the Competition Eliminator guys to form Super Comp at the smaller meetings I would say it is going to be even harder (to repeat as champion).”

“Like all forms of drag racing, to win in Group 2 I’ll need good reaction times combined with smart qualifying and racing. I need to win each round without hurting the index (or record) if possible.” (Joe Maday photo)

CARS extends DSR sponsorship; Mia Tedesco to drive TAD and Super Gas at Gainesville

Mia Tedesco with her Super Comp dragster back in 2012.  (file photo)

Mia Tedesco with her Super Comp dragster back in 2012. (file photo)

C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, which offers automotive service contracts that can be tailored to meet a customer’s specific needs, has extended its marketing partnership with Don Schumacher Racing through 2014.

Michael Tedesco, C.A.R.S. president, founded the company in 1998 in Murrysville, Pa., near Pittsburgh. About 12 years ago, Tedesco purchased Keystone Raceway in Alexandria, Pa., which soon was renamed Pittsburgh Raceway Park and has undergone considerable upgrades.

The C.A.R.S. brand has sponsored major drag racing events and most prominently, fields a four-car, full-time NHRA Sportsman team. Veteran driver Jason Lynch handles two of the racecars on the C.A.R.S. Protection Plus Racing team and is the driving coach for Mia Tedesco, the 20-year-old daughter of Michael Tedesco, who drives the other two.

Mia, who began competing in NHRA Jr. Dragsters at age 8, races a 180-mph Super Comp dragster and 160-mph Chevrolet Cavalier in the Super Gas category. This year she takes a big step toward achieving her goal of driving a 330-mph Top Fuel dragster by competing at seven events in NHRA’s 270-mph Top Alcohol Dragster category with an A Fuel Dragster.

Her first event in the Top Alcohol Dragster, which is owned and operated by Hirata Motorsports, will be the NHRA Gatornationals, where she also will compete in the Super Gas category.

No Problem Raceway to honor Hebert with Hemi ‘Chootout’

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No Problem Raceway (NPR) and Division 4 Good Guys have announced the inaugural Tim Hebert Hemi “Chootout” to be contested during the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals March 21-23 in Belle Rose, La.

Hebert was a long time NHRA D4 racer who passed away suddenly at age 53 on June 2, 2013, after participating in the NHRA Englishtown national event. His orange and white 1968 Barracuda has been seen at NHRA and Hemi Shootout events throughout the United States for decades and will be participating in this first “Chootout” with his son Rory at the wheel.

Qualifying for the $12,000 cash purse and other prizes will be on Friday, March 21, with the “Chootout” on Saturday.

Southland Dodge (Joe Teuton), Steve Kent Services (Steve Kent), Paillot Brothers Construction (Joe and Jerry Paillot), Engines, Inc. (Lloyd Wofford), Henson Family Dealerships (Fred Henson), 3001 (Stephen Hebert) and NPR are sponsors of the first event. (Ron Lewis file photo)

Brett Lyons named to new NHRA sportsman field marketing position

The NHRA will expand its sportsman racing programs by creating a new staff position in the NHRA Field Marketing Department.

The new position, NHRA Member Track/Junior Drag Racing League Program Manager, will be responsible for strengthening and expanding NHRA member track and NHRA grassroots programs through strategies focused on the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League and other NHRA youth programs. The new position will report to Eric Lotz, NHRA’s director of field marketing.

Veteran NHRA marketing professional Brett Lyons, who has worked most notably in NHRA’s Youth & Education Services programs since 2008, has been named to this new position.

“Brett has the skill and enthusiasm needed to take NHRA’s youth and sportsman programs to the next level,” said Josh Peterson, NHRA’s vice president of racing administration. “He recognizes that our sportsman programs are the foundation of NHRA and will carry that message in all of his endeavors.”

NMRA starts season at Bradenton with Jack Roush’s daughter driving on propane

SusanRoushMcClenaghan-MustangThe National Mustang Racers Association Spring Break Shootout is this weekend, March 7-9, at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park.

Susan McClenaghan knows her way down the racetrack, growing up with Jack Roush as her father. She’s been around fast Fords her whole life. Making her first pass in 2005, McClenaghan got hooked on drag racing and moved to NMRA drag racing the next year. Since then she has become a star in the NMRA Exedy Modular Muscle class and a tough competitor.

McClenaghan races a 2010 Mustang that combines cutting edge performance with Roush innovation. Her aluminum 311 c.i. Mod motor is a heavily modified and destroked Ford GT Supercar 5.4L engine. But the biggest surprise is the fuel.

The Roush Team did a lot of research and development on alternative fuels and McClenaghan, with teammate Donnie Bowles, brought liquid propane into the NMRA. This liquid “green” racing fuel has great performance capabilities and works well in hot or cold conditions, which makes it perfect for constantly changing weather conditions over a race weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens throughout the season. (NMRA photo)

2014 Chevrolet Performance LSX Challenge Series Schedule

LSX-wheelsupProMedia Events has announced that the Chevrolet Performance LSX Challenge Series is back for 2014. It is the premier racing series for street-based vehicles powered by Chevrolet’s LS and LSX engines and it takes place at four select events around the U.S.

The championship again will be decided at the 8th Annual Chevrolet Performance LSX Shootout, held in conjunction with the NMCA World Street Finals in Indianapolis, Indiana.

May 30-June 1: Chevy High Performance (All-GM) Nationals, Atlanta, GA
Aug. 21-24: NMCA Muscle Car Nationals Featuring the Detroit Big 3 Shootout & Chevrolet Performance LSX Challenge Series, Norwalk, OH
Sept. 5-7: Holley LS-Fest, Bowling Green, KY
Oct. 9-12: NMCA World Street Finals Featuring the 8th Annual Chevrolet Performance LSX Shootout, Indianapolis, IN

At the Holley LS Fest, as in the past, LS Fest organizers will allow racers to follow the rules and classes of the LSX Challenge Series, with points and contingency awarded during it applying to the championship.

Racers competing for the championship must participate in three of the four races, including the LSX Shootout.

The LSX Challenge Series features six racing classes each season: JE Pistons Drag Radial; ERL Performance All Motor; Holley EFI Real Street; Proform LSX Rumble; LME 5th Gen Camaro; Gear Vendors True Street.