It was the first time that year and would have prevented John from locking up the championship, but fate intervened. Although they had swapped the Turbo 400 for the Powerglide successfully the night before, they didn't add the required weight to keep the car legal with the much lighter Powerglide in it, and Cagle was disqualified when he parked on the scale after the run. As a result, the win went to Langer, who worked his way through the field for the event win and secured the championship in the process.
It tells a lot about a person's character that they would help a competitor when that competitor's success could cost the helper so dearly. But as one of the other NMCA racers told me, "I'm not interested in beating a hurt car or getting a bye because someone broke. A championship against weak competition is meaningless. I'll win or loose on the track."
For John, being able to enjoy the championship surrounded by friends and competitors who respect what he has accomplished is all the more rewarding. So good luck to John and all those who would chase a dream on their own terms, and congratulations on winning his first NMCA Pro Stock championship in a way that that can make him and the entire Pontiac hobby proud.
Take A Ride In The Nmca Pro Stock Champion '69 Pontiac Firebird
John explains, "I strap in and check the high and low shift limiters as I wait my turn to do my burnout. I pump the brakes about three times to make sure everything is working properly. After a high-gear-only burnout on the rev limiter, I let go of the line lock, then re-engage to keep set revs down. Back to Neutral as soon as gas is off, I back up to begin staging. I check all gauges, recheck the seatbelts, and prepare to run.
"I hit the trans brake, pre-stage, and start the data recorder. Concentrating on the lights, I launch at 6,800 rpm off the transbrake when they flash on, ride the wheelie, and when the horizon reappears, I'm ready to shift at 8,600 rpm to Second gear. A very short time later, the tach is at 8,600 again, and the Third gear shift is made. I hit the chute just before I cross the line. After the traps, I leave the water pump and fan on, and shift to Neutral.
"If I win, I go to the scales of the tech department to weigh the car and check the data playback for anything significant. Once in the pits, I study the data in detail, looking for any potential performance increase I might get from a converter and/or gear swap, and I'll check the valvetrain before the next round."
John Langer's 2006 Nmca Pro Stock Championship '69 Firebird Specifications
Classes Run: NMCA Pro Stock, RAM Racing 10.5, Atco 8.5 index
Year/Model: '69 Pontiac Trans Am clone
Race Weight: 3,250 lbs (NMCA), 3,200 lbs (Ram Racing), 3,075 lbs (Atco 8.50 index)
Curb Weight: 2,850 lbs
Fuel: VP Race C25
Engine: 525-cid IA II block
Engine Builder: John Langer/Bischoff Engine Service
Power Adder: None
Carburetor: DaVinci Dominator, 1,050 cfm
Jets, Primary/Secondary: #90/#90
Spacer Plate: 2-inch Super Sucker
Intake Manifold: Edelbrock Victor
Airbox: Rick Moroso custom fabricated
Fuel Pump: BG 400
Heads: Wenzler Series II
Head Porting: Bischoff Engine Service (BES)
Flow Numbers: 380 cfm/240 cfm at 0.750 lift at 28 inches of water
Valves: Titanium 2.275 intake/1.70 exhaust
Pistons: Ross forged, 4.350-in, semidomed, fit to combustion chamber to maximize compression
Rings: Childs & Albert
Rods: GRP forged 6.600-in
Compression Ratio: 18.4:1
Crankshaft: Bryant, billet, 4.400-in stroke