Written by Jason Reiss

The NMCA returned to Milan, Michigan, this weekend for the Third Annual JE Pistons NMCA Muscle Car Nationals this weekend, just three short weeks after the Concord, North Carolina stop on the tour. After a difficult Friday that was rained out thanks to Mother Nature, the skies lightened up for Saturday and Sunday, and we got some great racing into the books.

In the Scorpion Performance Pro Street class, eight competitors showed up to take their shot at the Milan Dragway 1320, highlighted by Troy Coughlin’s 6.35 shot during qualifying. As racing action progressed, heavy favorite Coughlin went out in semifinal action, thanks to a starter that wouldn’t start in the burnout box, opening the door for Chris Rini and Noel Felton to do battle in the final round. In an anticlimactic final, Rini popped through the carburetor and didn’t re-fire the car, giving Felton a single pass. Felton took the run, turning in a 6.53 before the hood flew off through the traps, handing Felton his very first NMCA Pro Street class win.

Mickey Thompson Tires is the sponsor of the heavily-contested Super Street class, filled with names like Nick Scavo, Jim Robbins, and Tony Nesbitt. Robbins qualified number one with a stout 6.77 elapsed time, followed by Scavo’s 6.95, with Nesbitt the only other competitor to qualify in the 6-second zone. Eliminations saw Nesbitt slice through his side of the ladder, beating Jeff Andre in the first round before advancing to the final when Bill Lutz was waved off by the starter for a fluid leak. Scavo took out local-boy-made-good Jim Monson in the first round, 6.92 to Monson’s 7.15, then advanced to the final against Nesbitt when Frank Mewshaw left before the tree activated in the semifinal, setting up a final round between the two Illinois-based competitors. The final matchup between the nitrous-oxide-assisted Nesbitt and the twin-turbo-boosted Scavo was an incredible job of wheel-twisting by Nesbitt – he nearly crossed the centerline after smoking the tires, but managed to reel it back in and outrun Scavo for the win!

ARP’s Nostalgia Pro Street class had a stout field of 14 cars battling for the gold, headlined by Joe Bucaro’s 7.42 top qualifying effort. 2008 Champion Jim Widener took out Tim Oros and Kevin Parent before meeting up with Joe Bucaro. Bucaro cranked off a stout 7.44 to move on to the finals, while Widener blew the tires off to end his weekend. On the other side of the ladder, Chuck DeMory beat Danny Shemwell, before facing Barb Nesbitt. Nesbitt broke the driveshaft right off the hit, sending DeMory on to face Mitch Mika in the semifinal. Mika had been on a tear all day in the left lane, but chose the right for this matchup. At the hit, Mika blew the tires off, sending DeMory to the final round. The final-round battle between old vs. new Mustangs saw Bucaro nail the holeshot and carry that advantage through the starting line, running a 7.47 at over 179 mph.

Vortech Xtreme Street, one of the strongest classes that the NMCA has to offer, had 17 competitors vying for the gold on Sunday. All season long, Chris Singleton has been setting the world on fire, and he did it again here in Michigan by qualifying with a 7.96 effort to top the field. As eliminations moved on, Jamie Stanton, Singleton, and Steve Cagle took out the competition to move on to the semifinal, with Singleton having a bye into the final round. Stanton and Cagle faced off in a battle of the #2 and 3 qualifiers, with Stanton taking the win, 8.41 to 8.66 and setting up the final round. A classic Chevrolet vs. Ford battle ensued, with the Ford of Singleton taking the win after Stanton lit the angry red bulb on the starting line.

Next up is the Comp Cams Pro Stock contingent, led by Butch Kemp’s wicked 8.45 qualifying effort. Eliminations turned out to be a ‘survival of the fittest’ contest, with each racer having their fair share of issues. Don Bowles won over Jason Russell and Skip Baskin before taking the bye into the final round. On the other side of the ladder, Ben Mens beat customer Robbie Blankenship in the first round before facing off against #1 qualifier Kemp in the second round. Both racers staged, launched, and went into wild wheelstands. As they powered downtrack, Kemp got out of shape, tried to correct, and went up onto two wheels in front of Mens before smashing into the left-side retaining wall on the roof, sending Mens to the semifinal against Andy Schmidt, who arrived there via wins over Ed Zebrowski and Mike Konigshofer. Mens and Schmidt faced off, and Mens stood the car up hard onto the bumper, handing Schmidt the final-round pass. The final round was all Ford, featuring Bowles Roush Competition Engines’-built beast and Schmidt’s Bischoff Engine Service powerplant. On this day, Schmidt’s 8.49 did the deed over Bowles’ 8.53.

BFGoodrich Tires Street Radial, a ‘new’ class this year, had seven racers vying for the gold. 2008 Champion John Macaluso cranked off an 8.84 to take the sop spot on the ladder, followed by Tim Hendricks’ 9.01. Macaluso had a first-round bye, before taking out Jessie Coulter in the semifinal. On the other side of the ladder, Jay Canella did the deed over Scott Carter’s nitrous-injected firebreather, then knocked off heavy hitter Tim Hendricks to meet up with the champ. The two nitrous entries pulled into the lights, and although Canella turned in an 8.82 to Macaluso’s 8.82, Macaluso’s quicker reaction time won him the race.

Drag Racer Magazine Mean Street has had its challenges, but Don Baskin has been on a tear all season long, with a 10.04 during qualifying to lead the field. With only four competitors in the mix, the first round was also the semifinals, and Baskin advanced over Mike Winters to move on to the finals. Alan Von Ahnen qualified second with a strong 10.10, then took out Doug Johnson in their pairing. The final round saw Baskin’s 9.93 take out Von Ahnen’s 9.99 pass.

Hamburger’s Nostalgia Muscle Car saw number one qualifier Andy Warren run through his side of the ladder, winning over Bill Deaner and Jerry Miles on his way to the final round. On the other side of the ladder, local boy Greg Winters eliminated Paul Osipoff and John Zombeck before taking the bye into the finals. The final round saw Warren take the win when Winters broke out.

In Hedman Hedders Nostalgia Super Stock, featuring some of the finest Detroit Iron ever produced, number one qualifier Jeff Millward ran through some stiff competition, including semifinalist Kurt Neighbor. On the other side of the ladder, number two qualifier Fred Radner did the deed to everyone he faced. In the final round, Radner put together the better package over Millward and take home the win.

McLeod Open Comp, filled with some of the toughest racers on the NMCA circuit, saw 31 competitors trying to take home the gold. Adam Samfilippo took out everyone on his side of the ladder, including number one qualifier Jenni Merrick. Mr. Open Comp, Larry Geddes, also took out the heavy hitters he came up against to meet Samfilippo in the final round. A double-breakout race saw Geddes take the win.

In the Eaton Late Model EFI class, local racer Chris Cadle took his 2010 Camaro through Chris Schneider, David Hembree and Dan White to the final round. Al Corda, no slouch himself, won over ’08 Champ Doug Winters and Bobby Barrick before taking the bye into the finals. Cadle took the brand-new car through the traps with the better package, earning himself a win!

In the Speed Freak Inaugural Fastest Street Car shootout, Marc Schankweiler took his gorgeous Nova to the final round, running 8.5x elapsed times all day long. Mount Pleasant, Michigan’s Marcus Wills ran through some of the Michigan area’s best to meet up with Schank. Schankweiler took the win with an 8.56 at 151 mph over Wills.