Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
May 5, 2003
Photos By: Michael Johnson

It's no secret the 5.0 Mustang has revived grassroots drag racing. Along the way, a few ingenious people decided to devote themselves to racing in sanctioning bodies to see who had the baddest Mustang in the land.

From those beginnings we have arrived to where we are in 2003--12 racing classes within the NMRA, with no slowing down in sight. It's almost unbelievable to think Mustang racers have that many classes from which to choose. But that's one of the good things about the Mustang drag racing market. Because there are so many different combinations a racer can run, the sanctioning bodies have based their classes around combinations, restricting them accordingly.

One such heavily restrictive class in NMRA is Real Street--sponsored, of course, by 5.0&SF. And one racer making an impact in Real Street is Westbury, New York's Jay Mingolelli.

We won't go into all the rules of Real Street, but to give you an idea, it's open to both pushrod and 4.6 Two-Valve modular Mustangs. Pushrod engines are limited to 311 ci while modulars are held to a maximum of 289 cubes. Pushrod engines are allowed to run a select list of "street-style" aftermarket heads, but the modular must make do with factory heads, which is basically mandatory since no one makes an aftermarket Two-Valve head save for Ford Racing Performance Parts '96-'98 units. Porting of heads--except for factory E7 heads, that is--is illegal. For all other heads, the only legal operations that can be done are valve jobs and milling for increased compression.

Intake modifications are strictly prohibited in Real Street. But racers are permitted to run selected aftermarket units, while the modular crowd is able to run a Bullitt or FRPP intake in place of the factory plastic unit. Stock cams are required for both pushrod and modular powerplants. Power adders are limited to commercially available, standard mass production-style, street-type systems.

Single-nozzle nitrous kits are the only legal way to run the funny stuff, and several pushrod racers have found that's the best way to get it down the track in the low 10s. Automatic transmissions are prohibited in Real Street, making it a true driver's class.

As for Jay--he first got into Mustangs in 1989 when he purchased an '86 GT. He then became interested in Grand Nationals before they became fashionable--he even had one that ran 9.90s with a Duttweiler engine. But once the Grand National secret got out, the car became too expensive to maintain. He sold the GN and bought a new '92 Mustang coupe. After driving the car home from the dealership, Jay ripped off the stock heads and installed new aftermarket ones, along with 4.10 gears and an exhaust. The car routinely ran in the 12s as if it was nothin'.

Still owning the coupe, Jay bought another Grand National and once again began to play with the turbo V-6. He regularly campaigned both cars at Mustang/Grand National shootouts. However, when he started his own trucking business, both the coupe and the GN went down the road. Jay concentrated on the business side of things for a while until the New Edge Mustangs came out in 1999. He even tried to order a '99, but a fire at the Ford plant kept him from getting one until the 2000 model-year run. He ordered a convertible because he had seen Racin' Jason run his convertible into the seven-second zone and because he'd never owned a ragtop before.

While waiting for his '00 GT, Jay assembled a slew of performance parts to make ready for the car's transition into a rowdy street machine. By the time the car arrived in October 1999, Jay's living room was already home to a Vortech T-Trim with aftercooler, a 255-lph fuel pump, larger injectors, a shifter, Weld wheels, and 4.10 gears. Jay broke the car in by driving it to the beach several times, but once it reached the 500- to 600-mile mark, the assembled parts found their way onto the car. With the new parts, and with the stock bottom end, heads, and intake, the car went 11.13 at the track. Jay then added an FRPP '96-'98 Two-Valve intake that he modified to fit the '99-up PI heads, MAC long-tubes and Pro Chamber H-pipe, Flowmaster dumps, and a DiabloSport chip. At the '01 Fun Ford opener in Bradenton, Florida, he ran a best of 10.91 at 128 in Mod Motor action.

All told, Jay's fastest pass with the mostly stock combination was a 10.85. He hoped to go quicker on the next pass, but unfortunately the fuel-pump sock collapsed and starved the engine of fuel, thus spelling the end after 60 brutal passes. Jay met Randy Haywood of True Blue Performance halfway through the '01 season. Jay expressed an interest in running Real Street utilizing a modular combination, and he thought who better than True Blue could build a competitive modular powerplant. When Randy saw Jay's talent and desire, the two formulated a plan to go Real Street racing. Jay is one of the few Real Street racers running a modular powerplant. He does so because he's familiar with it and he knows its limits. And, with True Blue's expertise at the helm, he knew he was on to something.

Jay also saw Real Street as an excellent way to get his feet wet in the world of heads-up Mustang drag racing. "I never knew how hard heads-up racing would be," he says. He thought he'd be coming in on the ground floor by starting out in Real Street, but once he began racing against the likes of Jeremy Martorella, Bruce Hemminger, Gabe Large, and Joffre Lafontaine, Jay realized a tough road lay ahead. "Those guys run a tight ship," he says. But Jay's in drag racing for the long haul. He even has the goal of racing Pro 5.0 or NHRA Pro Stock one day, and he knows he has to start somewhere. "I don't know what else to do with myself," he says, "except to race."

Soon, Jay will discover how tough the Renegade class is as he is moving up with a True Blue-built Four-Valve under the hood and a Dynamic C4 tranny in the tunnel. A Paxton Novi 2000 will continue to be the power adder of choice. Looks like Jay will be off restriction real soon.

138_0303_1z 2000_Ford_Mustang_GT_Convertible Front_Passenger_Side138_0303_2z 2000_Ford_Mustang_GT_Convertible Rear_Driver_Side
Jay bought the convertible before the onslaught of body-in-whites became available to the public. He sort of regrets the amount of money and time he put in the car, especially when he thinks about how he could've done all this work to a body-in-white instead of his former daily driver. Still, the convertible makes for a nice race car--even more so with Bogarts at each corner. A black GT with Bogarts--hmm!
138_0303_4z 2000_Ford_Mustang_GT_Convertible Front_Passenger_Side
Jay (right) would like to thank Randy, Ray, Mark, Keri, Dan, and Chris from True Blue Performance. He also wants to thank Kim at Pro-M, Goran at CPR, Mark Mathews at JBA Racing, James Meiser at Torco, Dale Metlika at ProPower/ModMax Racing, Mac Jr. at MAC Products, Ed Curtis at Flowtech Induction, Bob Hanlon and crew, and--last but not least--Damean Dinolfo (left). "Without Damean," Jay says, "this could not have happened."
138_0303_5z 2000_Ford_Mustang_GT_Convertible Interior
The GT's interior features the addition of Jaz racing seats, Auto Meter gauges, a 10-point cage, and a Pro-5.0 shifter protruding through the transmission tunnel. We kinda feel sorry for the shifter since it's abused by the 265-pound Jay, but it sounds as though it'll get a reprieve for 2003 with Jay making the move to Renegade. He is staying with sponsors that helped him in Real Street, while picking up a couple more with ATI Performance Products and Meziere coming on board. Bob Hanlon's crew chief, Kenny Curtis, is setting up the chassis.
138_0303_6z 2000_Ford_Mustang_GT_Convertible Engine
Jay had more than 60 passes on the stock engine before the fuel-pump sock collapsed, starving the engine of fuel (can you say "Kaboom!"?). When he met Randy Haywood of True Blue Performance, Jay's engine program took a giant leap forward in both power and reliability. Using a Cobra block, True Blue crammed in Manley rods and Ross pistons featuring Total Seal rings, all swingin' on a Cobra steel crank. Factory Two-Valve heads boast a Flowtech Induction going-over per Real Street rules and ModMax valvetrain components. A Bullitt intake plays host to a stock throttle body and Creative Performance Racing 50-lb/hr injectors, rails, and adjustable fuel-pressure regulator.
138_0305_jay_specs_z138_0303_3z 2000_Ford_Mustang_GT_Convertible Front_View