School of NMCA
Students at the School of Automotive Machinists (SAM) have done some upgrades to their '95 Mustang Cobra, including a new paint scheme and beefing up the power department to get it race-ready for the new season. The students and their instructors will compete in the NMCA Hot Street class.Meanwhile, we got some updates from the Car Craft Street Race competitors. Mike Dezotell says things are starting to fall in place with his '88 Mustang. As of this writing, the engine was about to be bolted in, and the champion Mustang was due at the chassis shop for extra bars and to have a new hood fastened on. Also moments away from installation were a new intercooler from Reichard Racing and Bassini Xhaust. Scott Hovey is raring to go for another round of competition as well, with his '88 Mustang now out of the chassis shop and headed for graphics and a brand-new engine.To compete in or learn more about the Car Craft Street Race Class or NMCA racing series, visit fasteststreetcar.com. You can also sign up by calling 866/694-3475.--Tori Tellem
Get Your LSD Fix
Not that kind. We mean Lambo-style doors. Hey, there's an audience for 'em on a Mustang. Or at least the company behind them thinks so and therefore created this conversion kit for the '05 as a direct bolt-in (so no fabrication needed) that fits like factory. Go to www.lsd-doors.com if you're hungry for more.--Tori Tellem
Dyno Don Nicholson1927-2006
The sport of drag racing lost another of its greatest racers in January when Dyno Don Nicholson passed away at the age of 78. Nicholson was acknowledged as one of the pivotal drag racers of the 20th century. This is not a statement made lightly, since to this day Nicholson holds the NHRA record for final-round appearances in the most number of Eliminator categories, stretching from the now-defunct Street through Stock, Super Stock, Comp, Pro Stock, and even Funny Car. While most enthusiasts recognize his accomplishments behind the wheel of Ford products, he actually started his racing career and garnered his nickname while racing Chevrolets, earning his place as the first man to use a chassis dyno to help tune his cars.Nicholson was a major player during the rapid transformation of carbureted and gasoline-powered Factory Experimental cars to the first elemental blown, nitromethane versions of today's Funny Cars. Those early Funny Cars were literally the crowd favorites, yet Nicholson chose to return to his normally aspirated roots of Pro Stock in 1970. When we asked Nicholson several years ago why he abandoned the faster rides, his answer was simple and succinct: "Too many of my friends were getting hurt."
That wisdom eventually led to Nicholson winning the '75 IHRA and '77 NHRA Pro Stock championships, besting the best of that early breed, including such luminaries as Larry Lombardo driving for Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, Bob Glidden, and Frank Iaconio. Ford race-engine builder and cylinder-head designer Jon Kaase notes, "When I was just getting started in drag racing, Dyno Don was my hero." So much so that Kaase eventually moved from Ohio to California to become Nicholson's crewchief during both the good and the more arduous years when the wins became more difficult to achieve.
The word "legend" is often used in eulogies and remembrances, and over the years it has lost its impact. But in describing Don Nicholson, it is the perfect term that stakes a claim alongside his accomplishments. Racers are the rare ones willing to take on the incredible physical, emotional, and monetary challenges that the sport presents. Despite this difficult path, Nicholson made drag racing his career and was very successful. For that, along with his gentle demeanor and effortless humanity, he will always be remembered.--Jeff Smith