MBE Cylinder Heads & Manifolds Partners With PDRA

Owner Matt Bieneman Weighs in on MBE Successes, Performance Based Racing and the Direction of the PDRA

PITTSBORO, N.C. March 13, 2015: MBE is the leading induction specialist in the country, with cylinder heads and intake manifolds used in championship winning programs from NASCAR and NHRA Top Fuel, to Sprint Cars, Dirt Late Models, NHRA Pro Stock and more. Owner Matt Bieneman began his education on his father Dave Bieneman’s Top Fuel car while he was still in his pre-teen years. From that young age, the Detroit native has never stopped learning and striving for greater performance in racing. Now his Mooresville, NC based business is a clear leader in cylinder head and intake manifold technology.

“Dad raced Top Fuel from the early 80s up through the early 2000s and won numerous IHRA races,” Bieneman relayed of his not-so-humble beginnings. “When I was 17 I went to work for a Pro Stock engine builder around where I grew up in Detroit named Sam Gianino. From there I worked for Chuck Etchells for a couple of years on the first four second Funny Car and then from there went to work for Connie Kalitta and Dick Lahaie. I was there for their Championship years in the 90s.

“All the best people worked for the Kalittas at that time. Of us crew guys, the Bonifantes also have their own business, and I think seven other guys have gone on to be world championship winning crew chiefs in Top Fuel or Funny Car. We were a very motivated group. We would work until 10pm. You didn’t have to ask us to. We were having fun. That’s what we wanted to do. That’s why we won. We just outworked everybody. If the engine builder was running behind, we’d go get a box of beer and clean parts for him. Everyone pitched in. We didn’t think anything of it.

“I got to the point where the next step was to become an assistant crew chief and then crew chief, but I just did not like the road,” Bieneman added, pointing to his switch to the NASCAR industry. “I can’t do what those guys do. I got to the point where I was able to do just about everything for Kalitta. I had a good education from my dad’s Top Fuel car, so I could pretty much do everything on the cars. My learning curve had pretty much stopped. So I got hired at Joe Gibbs. That same month they hired me, they hired Jason Line. Small world. We became good friends because of that. We were both drag racers who just wanted to move forward.”

Bieneman acted as the Cylinder Head Department Manager at JGR, handling all R&D and day-to-day cylinder head operations for them for over two years. With a well-rounded background and education, Bieneman saw the next step was to start MBE. The company quickly started breaking records and racking up championships with its customers.

“In the beginning of 2010 we started working with Tommy Delago and Mike Green on the Top Fuel stuff at Schumachers and we developed our own cylinder head,” Bieneman told. “They finally decided to race it in 2010 at the second Vegas race after testing it for about six months. The national record at that time was 321 MPH and they went 327, and they did it eight times. The next fastest car was 6 MPH behind. So we gave them a huge gain. The following year [Matt] Hagan won the Championship, set all the national records, first Funny Car in the 3s. I think we were 2, 3, and 4 in points in Top Fuel that year as well.”

MBE Cylinder Heads and Intake Manifolds have led Schumacher cars to numerous championships as well as been on board three Winston Cup Championships, Daytona 500 wins, four Super Comp Championships, and broken countless Competition Eliminator records. MBE was part of five PDRA wins last season and helps power many top PDRA racers including Anthony Disomma, Mike Stawicki, Brandon Snider, Eric Latino, Gene Hector and more.

“I’ve had training since I was a little kid, so I think that goes hand in hand with my success,” Bieneman said of his rise to the top of the industry. “Fortunately I was able to go from learning on my dad’s car to working for a Pro Stock engine builder which immediately makes you refine all your skills. You have to or you’re just going to get fired. I got that job because my father was friends with him. I was very fortunate, however. I was only there seven months before he made me his only full time employee. I was certainly pushed to learn quickly. He took a chance on me, and I still appreciate it to this day.

“In part because of my training there, every job we do at MBE we treat it like it’s an NHRA Pro Stock. We’re very, very meticulous on how we do the work. We don’t cut corners. Everything is done with an exact science and to the highest standard.”

It’s this work-hard, perfectionist mentality that has led Bieneman’s company to be a strong presence in the racing industries for over a decade now. The same drive and determination exhibited by MBE is what birthed the PDRA into existence and pushes the young series as it heads into its sophomore year. Bieneman believes that the PDRA is a good fit for MBE because of the no rules, pure performance mindset.

“What’s happened is NHRA Top Fuel, Cup stuff, all that is not performance based anymore,” Bieneman explained. “They have to run spec parts and that’s why all of the Pro Mod development is extremely appealing for us- because we can still be creative, and we can make changes, and we can do new things. And that’s what we’re good at - me and the group we have here at MBE.”

MBE will post PDRA contingency for their cylinder heads in Pro Extreme, Pro Boost, Pro Nitrous, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster this season.

“The PDRA is full of a group of racers that just want to get better all the time,” continued Bieneman. “They don’t want rules so they can be stagnant. We try to explain to people there’s never been a rule that has saved a racer money. If they can name it, I’d like to hear it. That just does not exist. What happens is when they make these rules, the people with the most money will definitely win because they’ve got the finances to refine things better than the others. The rumor that the spec stuff helps is absolute BS. That’s why the Forces and Schumachers win every championship. The Wilkerson types in NHRA are working with such a narrow window they’re not going to be able to afford to do that.

“The rules separate everybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s Pro Stock or what it is. That’s what happens. The PDRA is growing. Right now is a great opportunity for them. Car counts went up every race last year. Notoriously in the later races car counts go down, but that did not happen with the PDRA. I was watching it pretty close all year. We’re certainly looking forward to this year.”

For more on MBE, visit them online at www.mbellc.com


Based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, the Professional Drag Racers Association is the top sanctioning body in the United States for the sport of eighth-mile drag racing. The PDRA’s professional categories include Pro Extreme, Pro Nitrous, Pro Boost, and Pro Extreme Motorcycle along with Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Pro Jr. Dragster, and Top Jr. Dragster. The 2015 PDRA schedule consists of ten national events. Follow the PDRA: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

Professional Drag Racers Association