The National Street Car Association held its season opener at Red River Raceway with
the first annual Cajun Challenge. The track in Gilliam, Louisiana, was voted IHRA Track of
1998 because of its superior facilities and excellent track surface. The times from the
first ever NSCA race did not disappoint with excellent times in the heads up categories.
The race had to be called after sundown Sunday though due to dropping track temperatures
along with fast approaching rain from the west.
The first ever Pro Modified race held by the NSCA was not perfect but growing pains are
to be expected. Eleven teams showed up for the race after three rounds of qualifying.
Billy Harper was the low qualifier with a 6.44 shot in the final session. The field was
anchored by Harold Martin's problemed 10.70-second run. The first round was anticlimactic
as the odd sized field and breakage caused a number of single passes. Iowa-based car
dealer Carl Moyer took the first race over the broken Radiac Abrasives Lumina entry of
Mitch Stott. The high tech EFI entry of Moyer ran a consistent 6.649, 207.66 -- just .05
off his qualifying run of 6.59. Gary Shearer and Harold Martin were up next. The race was
over quickly with Shearer running 6.500, 210.53, over Martin's tire spinning 10.95. Next,
Steve Vick in the ex-Tommy Mauney 1968 Camaro ran a solid 6.484, 215.55, on a solo pass.
Billy Harper was next with a new engine setup from Gene Fulton and help from Shannon
Jenkins. Harper shut off on his bye run to a 7.562, 131.15, after his career best 6.44 in
qualifying. Landon Jordan then drove "The Kid" '63 Corvette of new owner Ray
Brooks to a solid 6.540, 205.04, to back up his 6.50 qualifying time. Ed Hoover ran low ET
of the weekend on his solo with a solid 6.42, 1217.98, run in the Trussle Motorsports
Corvette. Quain Stott ran 6.481, 215.00, in the Lee Boy Paving Corvette to advance to the
next round. The round ended with another solo, this time by Mike Castellana and his new
Western Beef '57 Chevrolet. Castellana's 6.52, 205.13, defeated Ronnie Diamond, whose car
was unable to start in the staging lanes.
The second round was better than the first but the weather was worse. In addition, the
track surface started going away. Castellana redlighted, giving the win to Harper, who
received no ET on his crossed up run. This led many to believe that Harper crossed the
center line and hit the center cone at mid track. Harper still was credited with the win.
Quain Stott easily beat Carl Moyer with a 6.60, 210, to Moyer's shaking 11.66. Steve Vick
pedaled to a 6.838, 183.52, to win over Landon Jordan's shaking and spinning 17.51
shutoff. Ed Hoover was the winner next with a 6.65 over the worst run of Gary Shearer's
weekend, a dismal 12.25, 77.29. Frank Sheffield called off the race before the semifinal
In Pro Street, ten competitors came from across the county to compete. The amazing twin
turbo Ford Probe of Racin' Jason Betwerda with Mike Ragusa driving took the number one
spot with a 6.812, 205.51. Danny Scott was number two at 6.972, 198.37, in his Chevelle.
The number three qualifier was Pro Street newcomer and Louisiana-based match racer Paul
Daigrepont with a 7.041, 195.28. Daigrepont drove a 1994 Camaro that was last seen as
Leroy Roeder's Autoville Used Cars Pro Stocker .Top Sportsman racer Billy Bridges also
entered Pro Street for the first time and worked up to a super 7.072, 195.11, run in his
repainted all red 1998 Camaro for fourth. Steve Kirk, Jr., was number five in his 1969
Camaro with a 7.091 197.39. (Kirk showed he meant business, however, when he went 6.88 at
206 on a late Saturday test pass that tremors through the pits.) Chassis builder Billy
Webb recorded his best ever run in his small block Lumina with a 7.27, 191.73, that blew
out the side window to take spot number six. Lawrence Conley in the Tweaked II
turbocharged 1998 Camaro also laid down his best ever run at 7.347, 190.54, to garner the
number seven spot. The Culver Bros., with brother Joe driving the former Thunder Chicken
Thunderbird, ran a troubled 7.934, 194.31, to end up in the eighth spot. Florida racer
Randy Blackman in his all black '68 Chevelle ran 7.95, 163.99, to take the ninth spot.
Blackman's run hurt several parts that kept him from making the first round. The final
spot was taken by Joe Ditmar in his super sano 1974 Chevy Luv pickup at 8.48, 154.12.
The first round started with Daigrepont beating Culver 7.192, 167.91, to a shutoff of
13.97. Daigrepont's run was costly, hurting the engine and ending his day. Mike Ragusa set
a new NSCA record with 6.801, 207.18, pass that floored Ditmar's best ever run of 8.263,
151.87. Billy Bridges won his first ever Pro Street race, 7.122,195.99, to Conley's worst
pass of the weekend, 8.25, 141.15. Steve Kirk beat Billy Webb next with a smooth 7.009,
199.08, run to Webb's troubled 11.33. Danny Scott ended the round on a solo pass when
Blackman could not show. Scott went 8.906, 107.02.
The second round started with a solo run by Ragusa whose 7.71, 146, was good enough to
make the semifinals. Billy Bridges took the green light then backed up to the pits to win
when Daigrepont could not return. The run of the round happened when Danny Scott beat
Kirk, 6.865, 204.01, to 8.630, 113.15, to wow the crowd. The purse was split when the race
Outlaw Pro Street brought a wide variety of vehicles to Shreveport to race in big
grooved tire class. Local legend Mike Steele was the number one qualifier at 7.178 in the
former Rickie Smith Firebird. Chris Shortridge was number two at 7.55 in his nitrous 1997
Camaro. ASCS racer Kevin McCurdy was number three at a solid 7.60 in his blown small block
Camaro. 1998 Texas Quick 8 Champion Frankie Taylor caused a stir with his 7.68, 205.98,
run in his first race on street tires. The Animal Man, Alan Mahone, ran his best ever pass
with a 7.70, 176.79, in his wild '67 Camaro. Scott Nestler took his beautiful '67 Nova to
a nice 7.79 run. Jim Brock was fastest pickup with an 8.14, 166.23, run in his '69 Chevy
Stepside. Joel Cooper in his 1979 Chevy pickup ran a solid an 8.432, 157.23. Damon Perez,
also in a Chevy pickup, ran next to last. Steve Hall in 1951 Mercury broke the car on an
11.51 run to end his weekend. Vinnie Pacifico in the Mike Castellana small block Corvette
broke a belt drive, also ending his weekend without making a run.
The first race was between Steele and McCready with Steele slipping and sliding to an
8.29, 142.91, win over McCready 's breaking 11.10 second shutoff. Taylor laid down the
pass off the weekend in the Taylor Brothers & Jim Brooks entry with super 6.96,
211.07, to set a new NSCA record. Chris Shortridge won at 8.89, 177,to Brock's worse 9.83,
162. Mahone won another crossed-up race, 9.40 to Perez's 10.86. Joel Casper then oiled
down the track, getting all over the place on an 11.15 pass that lost to Rob Emmons' 8.26,
160.77. Nestler had to wait nearly an hour to solo at an 11.43, 71.44, .to end the round.
The second run had Emmons over Nestler, 11.46 to 17.30 in an off pace contest. Frankie
"The Mad Man" Taylor then beat Mike Steele 7.23, 185.66, shutting off to beat
Steele's slipping 8.49, 184.40. Shortridge laid a holeshot on Mahone in a side by side
slugfest with Shortridge ending the Animal Man back to Chi-town, 8.091, 180.26, to
Mahone's quicker 8.00, 186.41. The semifinal never happened, but Taylor got the extra
points for having a bye in the semis. Emmons had broken a cam drive and would not be able
to run in the semifinal to face Shortridge. Emmons, Shortridge, and Taylor split the purse
with Taylor getting the contingency money. Taylor had a good weekend, taking a new record
at Shreveport while car owner Jim Brooks was runner up at Sealy, Texas, to Gaylen Smith in
his Big Jim Lumina.