The second race of the 2014 NMCA West season was a heck of a show, drawing large crowds to a special and rare outing at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona this past weekend. The Hedman Hedders Nostalgia Street Car class saw an action packed group of 33 drivers make the cut for Sunday’s eliminations with Kale Mallory snagging the number one spot after he battled his way to the top during an intense round of qualifying.
The first round of eliminations saw some interesting early match ups including one between series veterans Jan Vanderpool and Steve Cox. Unfortunately Jan jumped the gun with a -.035 in his ’67 Mustang handing the victory to Steve and his ’68 Camaro early in the day. It was a similar story between number one qualifier Kale Mallory and opponent Nichol Marino when Marino left before the ambers, handing a first round win to Kale in an easy victory. Hank Promov’s 582-powerd Vega carried him into the next round as he defeated Lancaster native Jim Johnson and his small block Camaro. Promov’s 9.570 on a 9.50 index was close enough to take the “W” while his opponent’s 10.014 on a 9.00 index sent him packing. Finally, Mike Nordahl’s consistency started to show early with his defeat over Mike Powell when he ran a 10.664 on a 10.50 index with a scorching .006 reaction time.
In the second round, Steve Cox faced off against 2013 champion Ron DeHoop in a heads up battle of 10.50 index cars that ended with De Hoop heading home early. Cox cranked out a 10.546 with a quick .019 reaction, but DeHoop’s 10.553 at 126.71 miles per hour just was not enough to keep him in the running for the Wally. Mr. consistent Mike Nordahl and his ’64 nova continued his outstanding streak of reaction times leaving the line against Bryan Strange with a .009 as his opponent broke out. Number six qualifier Hank Pramov would score another impressive victory over second round opponent Mark Smith and his ’71 El Camino. Pramov crossed the finish at 9.543 seconds on a 9.50 index.
In the third round the tables began to turn some of the crowd favorites. Number one qualifier Kale Mallory saw red as he fouled with a -.041 giving the consistent Hank Pramov the green light to move forward into round four. Steve Cox’s luck from round one caught up with him as he was defeated by Merle Williams’ ‘55 Bel Air in an extremely close race that separated drivers by a minimal margin of 0.002 of a second at the finish. Finally, Mike Nordahl improved upon his streak beating Evan Kowalski’s 496 big block Monza in excellent fashion running a 10.580 with a 10.50 index leaving the line with near perfect .002 reaction.
Mike Nordahl opened round four with a screaming race to the end against Matthew L. and his ‘65 Falcon to see who would be advancing to the semi-finals. Both left it all on the track running some outstanding times. Matthew L. recorded a 10.459 at 122.52 miles an hour leaving the line at .021, but it was Nordahl who would move on running a perfect 10.500 at 127.17 miles per hour with a .013 reaction. Pramov would also continue his win streak defeating Merle Williams after his upset over Steve Cox in the previous round.
Pramov caught a break with a Bye run as Eric Christinson left early against Nordahl in the semi-finals, setting a date on the strip between the two. The last race of the day brought the crowd to their feet as Pramov faced off with the super-consistent Mike Nordahl to see who would take home the Wally. With his 10.50 index, Nordahl got to leave the line first, which he did with a lightning quick .002 reaction time. One second later Pramov got his green light and left the line with a .011 reaction. Pramov’s big block Vega chased down Nordahl’s Nova as both drivers asked their cars to give them everything they had. As the two cars crossed the finish line they were so close that only the timing computer could tell them apart. With a difference of only .007 of a second between them, it was Pramov that would bring home the Wally in one of the best races of the NMCA West season this year.