Spring has sprung and brought with it the start of the 2015 racing season. Returning for another four events at the Auto Club Dragway, in Fontana, California, the NMCA West series brings together the fastest street cars from all over the west coast in an epic battle to take home a real NHRA Wally trophy and other prizes. This season is primed to be one of the most competitive yet after the super close championship in 2014 that saw Ron de Hoop edge out series veterans Steve Cox, Jan Vanderpool, and Mike Nordahl in the final race of the season. This was Ron’s second straight Nostalgia Street Car championship and which painted a big target on his back at the recent season opener.
Ron de Hoop started off the elimination round with a Bye thanks to his number one qualifying position allowing him to really get a feel for the track and his car that morning. Meanwhile, Steve Cox squared off against Jan Vanderpool in a 10.50 index battle that saw Cox edging out Vanderpool by mere fractions of a second at the end.
Moving into the second round, Ron de Hoop lined his Chevelle up against Paul Geis and his scary fast Chevy pickup. If this matchup looked like déjà vu to the crowd, it is because these two squared off in the semi-finals of the 2014 season opener where de Hoop’s breakout gave Geis the opportunity he needed to take the event win. But Ron was determined not to let the past repeat itself as the lights dropped. Paul Geis snapped a lightning fast .012 reaction time against Ron’s .078 and the race was on. The two classic Chevys sped down the track with Ron making up ground. As they approached the line Geis overestimated his ET and, in a reversal of fortunes, broke out by .031 seconds, giving the round to Ron.
Moving into the semi-finals, Ron de Hoop lined up against series veteran Steve Cox for an epic 10.50 index battle. Off the line Cox had the advantage with his near-perfect .008 reaction time against Ron’s .029. Both racers were neck and neck down the strip as they approached the line, but Ron just couldn’t make up the deficit as both drivers ticked off almost identical E/Ts. This meant that the ever-consistent Steve Cox would be facing down Jim Losquardo and his ’62 Nova in the finals.
Fresh off his previous Bye, Losquardo looked confident as the two Chevys approached the starting line. That confidence showed through as Jim pulled the best reaction time of the day, a .006, against Steve Cox’s much slower .076. With both car’s running a 10.50 index it was a pure drag race down the 1320 feet of blacktop. Towards the end of the track Steve Cox started to make up ground, but just couldn’t overcome the .07 second difference in reaction times as the two cars crossed the line 0.034 seconds apart in a near photo finish. This meant that Jim Losquardo was taking home the first Nostalgia Street Car Trophy of the season and is now the current points champion. Will he be able to keep his lead as we go into the second race of the season on June 5-7? Only time will tell.