After driving to the NMCA FST Carburetors NA 10.5 season championship and giving a short but sweet speech at the NMCA Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components at the Indiana Convention Center last December, David Theisen set his sights on 2019.
He had his naturally aspirated 611 cubic-inch big-block Chevy freshened by its builder, Chris Uratchko of Uratchko Racing Engines, and he had a new Turbo 400 built by Dave Klaput of Proformance Racing Transmissions, and then he loaded up his fast and famous 1969 Firebird and made the trip from Michigan to the first NMCA race of the year, the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. He ripped off a 7.87 to qualify in the second spot and made it to the semifinal, where he was forced to lift and lost.
The following month, he headed south again, but this time, it was for the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway in Georgia, where he flew to a 7.89 to qualify in the fourth spot and exited in the second round of eliminations with a 7.95. The next stop on the tour was the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway in Tennessee, where Theisen had a 7.88 up his sleeve to qualify in the third spot before he had to get out of the throttle and lost in the first round of eliminations.
Soon after returning home, Theisen saddled up again and took his Firebird, which is wearing new Santhuff’s front shocks, to an Aeroquip Heads-Up Series race at Milan Dragway in Michigan, where he entered the All Motor class, as he often does, but he ran into trouble during qualifying.
“I blew the engine in qualifying,” said Theisen. “We got it to Chris Uratchko, and he determined that we tore it up pretty good, and he started working on it right away.”
With the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by FST Carburetors in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois quickly approaching, Uratchko wasn’t going to have much time to rebuild the high-horsepower engine.
“It needed a new crank, rods and more,” said Theisen. “Unfortunately, the new crank didn’t arrive until the Wednesday before the race, and Chris (Uratchko) told us to head to the racetrack in Illinois, and he would finish the engine and drive it from his shop in Michigan to the racetrack in Illinois as soon as he was done. Chris is a very busy person, and he still pulled all-nighters to get it done. ”
Uratchko arrived with the rebuilt engine on Friday morning, just a few hours before the first round of qualifying, and he, Theisen and Theisen’s crew members, Steve Mastalier and Kevin Wright, got it into the engine bay of Theisen’s Firebird just in time to make the call to the lanes.
“That was my first time doing that much work at the track,” said Theisen, with a sigh and then a laugh. “It was pretty much a miracle that we were able to fire up the engine in time for the first round of qualifying.”
In his Firebird wearing the number 1 in the windows, Theisen went on to lay down an 8.04 to qualify in the third spot, and he made it all the way to the semifinal round of eliminations before losing with an 8.33.
Currently holding down second place in NMCA FST Carburetors NA 10.5, Theisen is preparing to leave the Great Lakes State to head to the Buckeye State for the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals, this weekend, Aug. 22-25 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
“I’ve won this race the past two years, and it would be nice to be able to do it again,” said Theisen. “In addition to Chris Uratchko, I really want to thank my crew, including my wife, Anna, my parents, Virginia and John, Kevin, Sean and Big Steve.”
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(Photos by NMCA and courtesy of David Theisen)