The first official day of the World Cup Finals: Import vs Domestic (WCF) was delayed due to rains that moved in during the morning and that caused the final test session to be canceled. The Maryland International Raceway staff worked hard at getting the track into shape for the first round of qualifying and that work paid off as the track was in stellar shape when racing began.
Glen Hunter’s Big Bad Chevy
The WCF draws the most unique mixture of race cars to any drag racing event ever put on and Glen Hunter’s 1956 Chevy Belair stands out in the crowd. This heavy Chevy is packing 540 cubic-inches of big block power along with a pair of 88mm BorgWarner turbos backed by a TH400 Transmission. The kicker, Hunter’s Belair is a legit streetcar and has been on Drag Week for more than 10 years straight.
“It’s always been a streetcar every since I’ve owned it. I got the car when I was in junior high and it’s been through many changes and combinations. For the longest time, it had a supercharger as a power-adder but I wanted to be more competitive at Drag Week so I went to the twin-turbo setup. I can’t leave anything alone, it’s just in my nature with cars. The speed is what makes it fun for me and being competitive” Hunter explains.
Hunter really treats the Belair like a true street car and drives it to local car hangout spots whenever he can. Besides the week-long Drag Week torture test, Hunter takes his shoebox to Super Chevy Shows to get some laps in. In the first round of qualifying at the WCF Hunter wowed the crowd with a 7.08 at 200 MPH.
You would think that such a big car would be a handful blasting down the track at 200 MPH, but according to Hunter, the car is actually easy to drive. “The car drives really nice going down the track, it feels like a big luxury car going down the freeway. The radials really make it even better so it doesn’t feel like you’re driving something this big at all.”
Dan Rensch Ready To Overcome Adversity
Ohio native Dan Rensch had the WCF circled on his calendar as a must-attend event so he could reach his goal of a six-second pass at 200 MPH. The problem is that his 1972 Nova and lady luck decided to fight him for the entire 2019 season to make that happen.
“I changed a bunch of stuff with the car this year by taking a lot of weight out and making some tweaks to the 416 cubic-inch LS engine along with the transmission. During the summer I wrecked the car at Streetcar Takeover so it needed to be fixed to make it track-worthy again. We made some other changes at this time and just have been fighting the car all year,” Rensch says.
When Rensch unloaded the Nova and made his first pass it appeared his goal was within reach when the boards were lit up with a 7.03 at 204 MPH. However, on the next pass disaster struck and has made Rensch’s WCF weekend a little more difficult.
“I changed the tune-up to give it some more power and looking at the slip it improved the short times, but at about 1,000 feet it chucked the driveshaft out of the car. I heard a lot of metal clanging noises but thankfully it wasn’t coming from the front of the car, it was coming from the rear of the car. It turns out the gear failed and it took the third member with it,” Rensch explains.
Rensch isn’t going to denied his goal of a six-second pass so he reached out on social media for parts and his fellow racers came through. “I’ve got a new third member and driveshaft coming, so provided there aren’t any other issues the car should be ready for the Friday night qualifier. I’ve been looking forward to this event all year so I’m going to do everything I can to make the show.”
Jay Meagher And Real Street Are Here To Go Fast
Jay Meagher and the Real Street team have put a lot of miles on their Supra over the years on the street and the track. The team has conquered Drag Week and run at the WCF before but this year they have changed classes with the goal of going faster than ever in their streetcar.
“In the past, we’ve raced Street Fighter but this year we made the jump to X275 vs Hot Rod, this is our first time competing in such a serious class. Running against this level of cars we just want to go faster than we ever have. The car is still pretty much in street trim the only change is to a mechanical fuel pump since the electrical pump had issues on Drag Week,” Meagher says.
Getting ready for WCF took some work since the Supra was fairly heavy. Meagher and the Real Street team all have different roles so it was easy for them to do what it took to give driver Geo Castillo a killer ride. “To try and drop some weight we cut the stock floor out since it’s a double-thick and that’s what bumped us up to X275 vs Hot Rod. We don’t have a car that’s going to run in the front of the pack but we’re here at one of the best races of the year to have a good time.”
Team Vixen Goes From No Prep To Full Prep
Going from no prep racing to the WCF could be the biggest swing in types of drag racing you would ever see and that’s exactly what Jack French and the Bruder brothers have done. After the last No Prep Kings race in Texas French and the team decided to load up and drive straight to Maryland to compete in the WCF.
“We’ve never really run Vixen in the quarter-mile before so we’re excited to see what it will do up top. We’re actually leaving the big tire setup from NPK on the car and only made a gear change for quarter-mile racing. Nick Bruder is taking care of the tune-up and he plans on taking some timing out and adding some fuel up top to keep things safe for the engine. We’re hoping to see 3.80s in the eighth and 5.70s in the quarter-mile,” French says.
The WCF isn’t totally uncharged territory for French and the Vixen team.
“We raced here a few years ago with the car when it was new and on radials, but it really wasn’t ready at that time to run all out. During that event, we only ran to maybe 700 feet but that let us get a lot of data and that was huge. This time we’re going to turn it up and run it the full length of the track with all 5,000 horsepower pumped in. It’s going to be interesting to see what it does on a prepared surface turned all the way up, it should be fun” French explains.
Round One Of Qualifying
With the staging lanes packed with cars, the first round of qualifying began at the WCF and racers were greeted with an outstanding racing surface. In Outlaw vs Extreme Jomar Gomez was able to get a clean pass off with a 5.86 at 249 MPH in his Toyota Avalon-bodied machine. Victor Flores landed in the second spot with the only other five-second pass at 5.94 in his Toyota Camry. Paul Major was the first domestic on the board in the third spot behind the wheel of his twin-turbo Corvette with a 6.11 pass.
Radial vs Modified has a slew of cars that all ran close together during the first session of qualifying. Carlos Olivo sequired the top spot with a 6.39 pass in his rotoary-powered RX8. Eric Laferriere followed Olivo closely in the second spot with his 1997 Supra that’s powered by a BAE HEMI by running a 6.43. Limited Drag Radial star Andy Manson rounded out the top three with a 6.53 pass in his ProCharged Mustang.
X275 vs Hot Rod was dominated first round by the domestic cars of X275. Former WCF winner Vinny Palazollo led the first round of qualifying with a 6.72 blast at 205 MPH. Adam Bastarache was able to secure the second spot with a 6.92 run while Brian Devilbiss landed in third with a 7.05 hit at 193 MPH.