The 7th Annual Lucas Oil NMCA West Coast Shootout presented by JE Pistons on June 2-4, 2017 lured racers from near and far with a great weather forecast and hot competition on track. This event, the second of four races in the VP Racing Fuels NMCA West Drag Racing Series, featured an array of heads-up and index classes, as well as the Hotchkis Auto X presented by Nitto Tire.
In ProCharger Outlaw Street competition, Johnny Coleman’s ’69 Camaro led qualifying with a 4.73-second performance, and the horsepower that drove it to that took Coleman to the final round where he faced the ’68 Camaro of Michael Orban. Coleman looked to make it two wins in a row by taking the starting line advantage, but Orban edged him out at the stripe, 5.386 to 5.501.
Making it two in a row in ARP Outlaw 8.5 competition was Orland, California’s George Raygoza. Raygoza qualified number one with a 4.97 from his Chevy Nova, and he faced Tim Orello in the final round of competition. At the stripe, it was Raygoza first with a 5.15 to Orello’s off-pace 7.43 effort.
Defending class champion Mike Silva saw his reign of terror on the Lucas Oil Ultra Street class come to an end at the West Coast Shootout. While Silva qualifying at the top with a 5.329 and collected quick ET of the weekend with a 5.323, he came up ever-so-short in the final round against Dan Dagata who edged Silva out with a 5.341 to Silva’s 5.347.
Lucas Oil NA 10.5 continued to deliver tight racing all weekend and season opener winner Joe Keurjikian once again set the pace in qualifying with an 8.113-second performance. The final round pitted Keurjikian’s ’69 Firebird against the late-model ’91 Camaro of Victor Brum. With a slight advantage at the start, Brum maintained and squeaked by Keurjikian for the trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle after his 8.246–to-8.249 victory.
The Meziere Top Sportsman ranks swelled this weekend in Fontana and former Pro Mod competitor Mack Moffat qualified on top with a 6.87-second run. Moffat would race to the final round where he was paired up with the ’09 Cobalt of Don Meziere. Meziere drilled Moffat to the tree with a .037-to-.257 reaction time advantage and then pushed him out at the top end, with Moffat’s break out 6.87 run on his 6.90 dial in while Meziere’s 7.14 on a 7.06 proved victorious.
Following in his uncle’s footsteps, or perhaps racing groove, was Champion Cooling Pro Comp competitor Zach Meziere, who raced his way into the final round against Kenny Snow in an all-dragster matchup. Meziere went .009 on the tree to Snow’s .050 and that was enough for his 8.924 on an 8.90 to defeat Snow’s 8.902/8.90 effort.
Like many of the final-round races this weekend, the NMCA West Open Comp final was a nail biter as well. Ron DeHoop drove his ’67 Chevelle through three rounds before meeting Kevin Stokesberry and his ’71 Chevelle in the final. DeHoop used his starting-line advantage to push Stokesberry out and it worked—DeHoop ran 10.561 on his 10.54 dial in, while Stokesberry gave up the win by running under his 9.53 dial in with a 9.512.
The final round of TBT Racing Products Street Comp racing saw the finalists of the season opener in a very familiar place, and resulted in a very similar outcome. The Mustang of Jan Vanderpool and the Nova of Mike Sayle would meet again, and both drivers left the start line at exactly the same time. At the stripe, Sayle had run 10.938 on his 10.92 dial in, but it wasn’t enough to beat Vanderpool’s 10.545 on a dial in of 10.54 seconds.
Jay Shelton was certainly gunning for back-to-back wins, but came up short in the final round of Edelbrock Super Quick competition. Shelton faced Mark Miyashiro, who grabbed the reaction-time advantage (.024 to .164), and at the finish line, Shelton stayed in the throttle a little too long and broke out, running a 10.505 on his 10.54 dial in, thus handing Miyashiro (8.399 on an 8.32) the win and a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
After five rounds of tough competition, Trey Sommers showed he had what it took to win in Calvert Racing Quick Street. Sommer’s wheel-standing ’56 Chevy faced Kris Johnson’s ’72 Duster in the final, and grabbed a significant reaction-time advantage—.048 to .108. He used it and his 10.346 on a 10.27 dial in to defeat Johnson’s 10.091 on a 10.07 effort.
While he’s been making it a habit of doubling up at the NMCA West events, Brent Calvert bowed out in round one of Open Comp, but he faired much better in the Mustang Madness category. There, he went three rounds to get into the final against Justen Spencer. At the light, Calvert was gone in .003 seconds and Spencer was just a blink behind him at .007. At the stripe, though, Spencer took too much running a 9.569 on a 9.58 dial in, while Calvert went 8.782 on an 8.78 dial for the win.
San Dimas, California’s Merle Williams narrowly missed back-to-back wins in Classic Performance Products Nostalgia Street Car competition. After several rounds of racing, Williams squared off against Steve Cox in the final round and was ready to take the win home with a 10.505 run on his 10.50 index, but his heartbreaking -.001 red light put an end to that. Cox was .015 on the tree and ran it flat out to a victorious 10.470 on his 10.50 index.
Gear Vendors True Street was chock full of racers this weekend and Bill Fowler once again showed that his Fox-body Mustang was a nose ahead of the rest. Fowler averaged 9.579 seconds across three runs, which proved quicker than runner up Dan Geis’ 9.756 average. Michael Webb grabbed the 10-second win with a 10.549 average; and Sean Oltan was right behind him with an 11.148 to nab the 11-second award in his Nissan GTR. Next up was the 2000 Camaro of Drew McKinley who edged out a tight group with a 12.018 average, and Gene Federico was similarly accurate at 13.036 for the 13-second prize. Melanie Green once again proved her ’06 Mustang was a consistent 14-second-winning car with a 14.136 average, and Victor Vallicella drove his 2014 Mustang to a 15.275 average for the 15-second win.
The 2017 Lucas Oil NMCA West Coast Shootout featured the first of three Top Dragster shootouts that the VP Racing Fuels NMCA West Drag Racing Series will host this year, and the event win this weekend went to Jason Dawson of North Las Vegas, Nevada. Dawson faced a tough competitor in the final round of competition in Dustin Lee, who drove to a 7.844 on a 7.84 dial in. Dawson’s 7.680 on his 7.65 dial in likely wouldn’t have been enough, but Lee was -.007 on the tree and handed Dawson the win.
In the Edelbrock Bracket Showdown on Saturday, Bob Earleywine took the Super Pro win, Mike Nordahl grabbed the Pro award, and Jack Swanson grabbed the trophy in Sportsman. Sunday’s winners were Cecil Wiles Jr. in Super Pro, Trevor Hayes in Pro, and Willie Hoefer in Sportsman.
Also contested at NMCA West events is the Hotchkis Auto X presented by Nitto Tire. The autocross is run by Racing Byrds and features everything from American iron to sport compacts. The competition is friendly, but fierce. Saturday Winners include: Sports Car Class—Tom Kamman 2002 Corvette, Classic Muscle—Greg Thurmond 1965 Corvette, Modern Muscle—Paul Molina 2017 Mustang, Compact—James Gassor—2008 Saturn Sky, Truck—Wes Drelleshak 1959 Apache. On Sunday, the winners were: Sports Car Class—John Lazorack III 1988 Dodge Conquest, Classic Muscle—Greg Thurmond 1965 Corvette, Modern Muscle—Greg Biddlingmeier 1988 Mustang, Compact—Pat Sheely 2017 Ford Focus ST, Truck—Mike Sullivan 1965 El Camino, Hotchkis Cup Winner— Mike Cuthbertson 1968 Camaro.
The championship chase continues at the 6th Annual Energy Suspension NMCA West Street Car Nationals September 15-17, 2017.