Conventional wisdom in drag racing chassis choice pushes racers towards cars that are lightweight or have impressive aerodynamic assets to provide the best advantages possible. Randy Dolensek could care less about that wisdom and that’s why he pilots one interesting heads-up race car in the form of a 1969 Mercury Cyclone. His big-body Mercury rips off seven-second passes in the NMCA Nitrous Pro Street class and does it with Ford power under the hood.
Dolensek’s history with the Mercury brand has been a long-standing one, since he first started driving legally. Dolensek purchased his first Cyclone from his brother while he was still in high school to use as his primary form of transportation. After that purchase, Dolensek has owned several more of these classics, and his current is the fastest by far.
Racing in the heads-up world was never really on Dolensek’s radar when he first began making laps down his home track at Great Lakes Dragway in Wisconsin. His initial experiences on the famed quarter-mile were just time runs to see what his rides could do, but that all changed in the mid-1990’s after he ran into a group of traveling racers.
“I was at the track making some test hits when a group called the Modified Super Stockers made an appearance that day. They were looking for more cars and said I would be a great fit to race with them based on what I was running at the time. That was my first experience with heads-up racing and I was hooked — I ran with that group until they stopped touring. Since then, I have done mostly heads-up racing with different groups,” Dolensek says.
The 1969 Mercury Cyclone that Dolensek races in the NMCA Nitrous Pro Street category started life as a Cyclone CJ, but now has the Spoiler II NASCAR nose on it to make it an even more unique car. The 25.2 chassis was constructed by Blitzkrieg Motorsports and is home to a 598 cubic-inch Mike Duke Racing Ford engine with C-460 heads. The big Ford mill is controlled by a Holley EFI ECU that works with an MSD Grid and Racepak data logging system. The fogger nitrous system uses Speedtech nozzles and BTR solenoids. Behind the engine is a three-speed Proformance Racing Transmissions unit with a Neal Chance Racing Converters torque converter.
When it comes to racing Dolensek likes to keep his goals as simple as possible while having fun.
“We just want to really keep the car running while trying to increase our mile-per-hour, while decreasing the elapsed times we run. Many people don’t know what the car is and what the nose represents. You won’t see two of these cars at any track we visit and we like it that way.”
Randy Dolensek’s Cyclone is just one of those cool cars that you get to see at the drag strip and it takes you a second to realize what it is. The fact that he has kept it Ford-powered, updated it to EFI, and beats on it like he hates it makes the car even more fun. Next time you’re at an NMCA event make sure to check out this big brute up close … you won’t be disappointed with what you see!