Pat Musi Stands On Top of the NHRA
Pro Modified field at Norwalk Raceway Park
For many, Norwalk Raceway Park has provided a great memory from its legendary IHRA events, big bracket races, or one of the Bader family’s famous action-packed shows. For New Jersey’s Pat Musi, it will be remembered as the location where he overcame a stacked field of some of the toughest door-slammer racers in NHRA’s newest professional category, Get Screened America Pro Modified. The 2010 NHRA event at Norwalk was just the second GSA Pro Mod event for the veteran engine builder and 8-time Pro Street world champion. He was once again behind the wheel of Frank Brandao’s King Kong 5 Stratus, built by Jerry Bickel. It was the first-time Musi was back in a NHRA professional final elimination round in 29 years. His last NHRA final was in 1981 when he was runner-up in the Pro Stock division in the Gator Nationals at Gainesville Raceway.
The team’s weekend started off strong as Musi took the provisional top spot on the ladder after the first qualifying shot Friday afternoon. But the blower cars came on strong and Musi was eventually bumped down to fourth overall, but the quickest nitrous car in the 23-car field. “I knew after qualifying that we had a good shot at winning if we could be consistent and keep our act together,” said an elated Musi. The team was began the weekend running its 865ci engine but eventually borrowed a 903ci engine that Musi had built for Dennis Radford. Both engines were equipped with four stages of Edelbrock nitrous and most importantly an Edelbrock XT-R EFI system. Musi was more than happy to open up about the XT-R EFI system, “I think we really opened people’s eyes with the success we had at Englishtown. We were the first to hit 200 mph in the 1/8-mile and we did it in NHRA trim, not at a no-rules Outlaw race. Now Rickie Smith and Dennis Radford have converted to the Edelbrock EFI.”
For Musi, being deadly consistent was the key to victory. The opening round was a little off his 5.96 qualifying but the 6.02 at 239 mph proved to be enough to dispatch Troy Coughlin. It was in round two that Musi stumbled just a little bit and if it weren’t for the courteous gentleman sitting in the other lane, Musi would have been eliminated. The King Kong 5 Stratus failed to fire when the team rolled the car in front of the water box. “Ed Hoover was a gentleman and allowed us to make a race out of it. He could have pulled up to the starting line and lit the bulbs but he waited for us to get the car started.” Musi kept to his game plan of consistency and tuned the car for the track; he would run 6.08 to take down Hoover who had gone 6.13.
The semi-finals pitted Musi against the supercharged car of Raymond Commisso and he took the win on a holeshot, 6.05 to a quicker but losing 6.01. That set Musi up to face the twin turbocharged entry of Brad Personett. Musi is well versed in facing turbocharged entries as he fought against them for years in the Pro Street wars. Musi sealed his trip to the Winner’s Circle by throwing down a 5.98 at 239 mph to edge out Personett’s 5.99 at 251 mph effort.
Winning a NHRA event is tough and no one knows that more than Musi. All of this wouldn’t have happened if Frank Brandao didn’t leave his Stratus stateside for Musi to race. Musi was also appreciative of his customer, Dennis Radford, for loaning him a 903ci engine when the team’s primary 865ci bullet was wounded. Pat would also like to thank Rickie Smith, Liz Musi, Lizzy Musi, Rose Musi, Robert Hallberg, Joe Letteratis, John Hall, and Annette Hall. He also wants to thank all of his current sponsors. From here, Musi hopes to run more events as he has shown they are a contender, but it will all depend on funding for the rest of the year. Musi is actively seeking sponsorship to continue the dream of competing in the GSA Pro Mod category. Interested parties should contact him at Pat Musi Performance.
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ABOUT PAT MUSI
Owner of Pat Musi Performance and Pro Street/Pro Modified racer with eight championship titles credited to his name in the competitive Pro Street ranks. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Pat Musi Performance. He certainly hasn’t slowed down after all these years. Two years ago Pat Musi Performance moved into a brand-new 10,000 square foot facility. The shop builds everything from stock engines for restoration projects to street performance and bracket racing engines, and of course Pro Modified/Pro Street bullets in excess of 900ci. Musi contributes to the R&D of many products for several companies, most notable Edelbrock where his name is worn on a line of cylinder heads and crate engines. He also works with the engineers at that company on nitrous oxide system development and EFI technologies. His customer, Joe Dunne, currently holds the NMCA Pro Street record with a 6.19 using a Musi 864 engine and Edelbrock XT-R EFI and Edelbrock Nitrous. www.PatMusi.com
ABOUT FRANK BRANDAO
A longtime customer of Pat Musi Performance and native Curacao resident, he first built King Kong 1 back in 1980. The Jerry Bickel-built King Kong 5 is a no-holds-barred Pro Modified effort with a double frame rail chassis and the latest nitrous-inhaling monster engine from Musi. The body is a carbon fiber replica of a Dodge Stratus. King Kong 5 continues to have a strong fan following in Curacao, where Musi drove it to the island’s quickest door-slammer pass of all-time—6.33 at 228 mph. Brandao shipped the car back the United States so Musi can run in the NHRA Pro Modified ranks. The car will remain in the U.S. for the duration of the 2010 season and Brandao will run King Kong 4 on the island of Curacao.