5th Annual Marion County Nostalgia Funny Car Nationals
After the turnout at last year’s event we thought it would be tough to top, we were looking to have over 30 funny cars this year. As the week before the event progressed the number of expected funny cars were being whittled down due to various reasons. Friday came and the cars started to fill the pits. There was a wide range of cars from past entries to many new cars that had not been to the event before.
As the sun rose and Saturday got under way many of the teams were socializing and preparing their cars for the early evening show. By noon the spectators had started to file in and this continued all day. You could see and feel the excitement from the spectators. Mid-afternoon several of the entries took to the track to make test runs. The cars made successful test passes and it looked like the evening show would be a good one.
As is customary we had the Nostalgic Notions and Great Lakes Gasser groups on hand and combined they brought 25 gassers to help compliment the show. We had several display cars on hand, two of which were unique. John Francis brought out the Pocket Rocket rocket car that was campaigned in the early 80’s by Larry Nagle from Cleveland, Oh. Nick Lazzaretta brought out the just out of storage Mickey Thompson Reveller Pontiac Grand Am. Both cars got a lot of attention from the crowd all day long.
Well the day had slipped away and it was time to bring up the fiberglass monsters and tear up the track. After a brief introduction from the track owner Mark Primavera the first pair was brought up to the line.
Two of the GLNFCC regulars were first out; it was Rocky Ausec in the Solid Rock Mustang up against the Sharkey’s Machine Omni. Both cars came out with strong burnouts and old style dry hops. The Mustang was out first but the Omni nipped him just at the line. This pair definitely set the pace for the evening. From there on it was more great side-by-side runs by the blown cars. The usually strong contingents of injected cars were down to two from the East Coast. We did have a little fun as Ed Kasicki from Mantua, Oh, stepped in with his BBC injected front engine dragster.
First round Eddie was up against the always-entertaining No Money No Funny 69 Nova driven by Willie Johnson. The run was just plain, cool old school dragster VS funny car. Willie Ran a 7.94/167 to the dragsters 7.97/167. Frank Barnard in the Poison Arrow closed out the round with a stout 7.99/164 with his injected car.
The cars hurried back to the pits to prepare for round two. After a round of gassers and some bracket racing it was FUNNY CARS to the lanes. This round was under the lights and even more exciting then the first round. First up was the traveling husband & wife team Chris & Krista Massarella from N.J. with the Total Insanity Monza They were up against the recently finished Timoszyk Family Parts Peddler Cuda. Chris did his best to try and win the best burnout on this run. You could not see either car down track as the smoke just laid in the night summer air.
The Monza was out first, the Cuda tried its best to reel him in but came up just a little short. Rocky Roxlau came all the way from N.J. to attend his first FCN and brought his gorgeous Time Bomb 72 Vega. They have had some issues getting the car down the track, but the car came alive at MCIR and ran two great 7.32 passes. Another team that traveled a ways was the Sweetman Brothers. They have attended the race before but always had a gremlin follow them from Delaware. This year they were able to make a clean run first pass then on the second pass Drew showed the crowd how to use up the whole lane on one run. This is what makes watching a funny car race exciting.
Rocky Pirrone always the showman brought along his flame show and a plan to avenge last years defeat. Second round Rocky laid down a strong 6.99 to put him in the finals against the Damn Yankee who had also been in the final at the first two Marion County Funny Car Nationals.
There are many great stories within this event but the one that really defines the event and the participants is this one. Bob Trysek from Pittsburgh, Pa. has put together the car of his dreams. It is a 72 Vega called The Crazy Bear. It is a recreation of a BB/FC that he worked on in the 70’s before he went in the Navy. Bob knew the car count was down and brought the car out to be a part of the show. Being a new car Bob found a few gremlins that he battled on Friday & Saturday, but not alone, every time he was working on the car there was a GLNFCC member or two by his side helping him out. After trying to make a test pass Bob dejectedly said he was not comfortable enough to run the car.
Bill Hallett who runs the Red Barn Cuda was sidelined as he hurt his car the week before at a race in Illinois. Of course Bill was not happy not being able to participate in the event as he has raced at every FCN. Bob asked if Bill would drive his car. He said yes. The first round they had an electrical issue but came back out second round and Bill motored the Vega down the MCIR quarter mile on its maiden voyage. That is camaraderie.
The Poison Arrow took on the Excelerator front engine dragster this round. The dragster moved first and crossed the finish at 7.98/168 to Franks close 7.98/164, now that was a race. To close out the round we had a treat for the crowd. Lance Good in Sharky’s Machine did an old school fire burnout. It looked spectacular and he finished by making another mid seven second run.
This led us to the finals and the bragging rights for the year. Who would get The Best Funny Car East Of The Mississippi Cup for 2012? Unfortunately since both injected cars were from N.J. this was a given to the East Coast, but there is still a big rivalry between the Old Veteran Willie Johnson with the No Money No Funny against the youngster Frank Barnard in the Poison Arrow. Frank had won the last two years in the injected class. Both cars sounded strong and did killer burnouts; both teams appeared to be loaded for bear. Both cars left about the same and were nose-to-nose past the finish line with Willie taking the win and his first FCN title.
Up next were the blown finals, pitting the Screamin Eagle Trans Am with a 6.99 against the Damn Yankee Vega with a 7.38.
The night air had moved in and the track was changing so the 4 tenths difference was not a given. Both cars came out and boiled the big slicks way past half-track. The crew did their best to see through the smoke to back them up. The tree came down and both cars were off, it seemed at one point the Trans Am started to pull away but the track showed it was in charge and had both drivers using their steering wheels. Both cars used up much of their own lane and threaten to cross over. The Screamin Eagle just inched out the win and will go home to Philadelphia with the hardware they deserved.
There were many special awards given out and to see a complete list of those check out our website www.nostalgiafunnycarnationals.com.
Marion County Funny Car Nationals 5 had to be the best overall event yet, yes we were down on car count but that did not hurt the quality of the show one bit. Plan ahead for #6.
Special thanks to the following sponsors, Mike’s Roofing Inc, Peak Products, Herculiner, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Pace Performance, Good Vibrations Motorsports, Total Flow Products, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, Rick’s Towing, Lininger Trailer Sales, Classy Carts, Warped Worm Engineering, M J M Trucking and The Stark County Racers Association.