While Robbie Blankenship was a force in NMRA Hot Street and NMCA Pro Stock, he has become fiercer, faster and a fan-favorite in NMCA Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5 in the past several years.
He proved his powerfulness at last year’s NMCA season-opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida by qualifying in the second spot with a 7.80 and taking a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle in his Mustang motivated by a small-block Ford built by Book Racing and topped with Ford Racing D3 heads, an HRE sheetmetal intake and two Book Racing Dominator-style carburetors.
He stayed strong with a 7.88 to qualify in the second spot, and a 7.77 to set the category’s elapsed-time record, at the second NMCA race of the season at Atlanta Dragway and finished as the runner-up when the rear-end under his Mustang let go. He swapped it with a new one, and made some changes to his engine, but ran into a bit of trouble after that.
“I was running well, but sometimes, in an attempt to do better, you go the wrong way, and that’s what happened when, after the race in Georgia, we changed the cooling in the engine to be sure that the cylinders were cooling evenly,” said Blankenship, who declined to detail what the changes were. “Unfortunately, it made it worse, we struggled at the races after that, including the final race of the year in Indiana, and we ended up scuffing the pistons and doing a little cylinder damage in the block.”
Despite the trouble, Blankenship wrapped up a totally respectable fourth place finish in NMCA Fuel Systems Technology NA 10.5 points, and then sent his engine from his home in Florida to Bob Book of Book Racing in Illinois for some repair and a deep-dive to determine what was causing engine issues.
“Because of the cylinder damage, we had to hone the block, and then we changed the cooling back to the way we had it at the beginning of last season when we were running so well,” said Blankenship. “We wanted to get the engine back to being reliable, consistent and durable.”
When work on the engine wrapped up, Book put it on the dyno, and in addition to making music, it made good power before making its way back to the engine bay of Blankenship’s blue Mustang last weekend. Now, he’s preparing to belt in for the NMCA’s season-opening 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem, March 7-10 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
“We just got the engine back on Friday, and we’re good to go,” said Blankenship, whose crew is his father, Robert Blankenship, and Lee Cowles, and whose wife, Kris, and children Brooke, Caitlin and Chase Blankenship, support him at the races.
“We’re planning to test before the race, and we have a lot of data and experience tuning for the weather conditions we’ll have, so hopefully, it won’t be too difficult to get dialed in,” said Blankenship. “Bradenton is our home track, and we usually have family and friends supporting us there, so it will be good. Of course, after that, we hope to go to all of the races and be in the running for the championship.”
To hear the heavenly sounds of Blankenship’s engine being revved on the dyno, head to Book Racing’s Facebook page for a video clip of it. Then, hear it again during a live feed of the race by, via presenting sponsor , along with , , , , , , and .
(Photos courtesy of NMCA and Robbie Blankenship)