Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
September 4, 2014
Photos By: Marc Christ, Evan Smith

It's one thing to go to the track and make passes to see how fast your car can go. It's another thing to ensure that you are faster than the guy in the other lane, especially when championship points in the NMRA are on the line. Competitive racing is not cheap, from a financial or personal standpoint, but the rewards can be highly fulfilling when round wins turn into race wins.

Lebanon, Ohio's Phil Hines enjoyed many round wins in 2003 when he became the NMCA/NSCA Limited Street champion, but obtaining a championship in NMRA Street Outlaw would be a lesson in perseverance.

Phil began his racing endeavors behind the wheel of "Old Betsy," an '86 Mustang GT that started life as a street car, but progressed into a 466ci, nitrous-ingesting monster running 9.20s back in the mid '90s.

"In 1999, I had the fastest street car around my neck of the woods," Phil told us. "The car got too fast for the street, so I ran the old-school NMCA Easy Street class from 1999-'02." Hines finished Second in points in 2001 and 2002.

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"The NMCA merged with the NSCA in 2002 and later combined Easy Street with Limited Street. I won the championship in 2003 and came in Third in 2004." Old Betsy was a formidable piece of machinery at that point.

It had Blue Thunder heads, a stock block, crank, and steel rods—nothing major. I loved nitrous and followed Steve Johnson (Induction Solutions) with my nitrous stuff."

It was time to step up for Phil, though, as he looked to compete in the Street Outlaw division. Old Betsy made way for a new ride, and along with it came a change for Phil who had little experience with supercharging or fuel injection.

He found his new ride in late 2004 at his local track. The late Jim Summers and Mark Wilkinson built and tuned the '01 Mustang for Phil's good friend, Wren "Pops" Vanderpool.

In 2005, Phil debuted in Street Outlaw with a 7.65 at 186 mph with a small-block pressurized by a ProCharger D-3R blower. Under threat of installing a nitrous engine combination, Summers went to the first two races with them to tune the car. Summers wouldn't be able to go to every race, however.

"I didn't know anything about computers, and we tried to tune it over the phone when Jim couldn't make the next race," Phil remarks. By the end of the year, he was tuning his own car.

The next eight years would be both a learning experience and a lesson in perseverance for Phil, who often found himself squaring off against John Urist, who took the Street Outlaw championship every year from 2006 to 2012.

But 2013 would turn out differently, as Phil led the points chase throughout the year and sealed the championship in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at the NMRA finals. In addition to the NMRA championship, Phil was also the first person to run a 6s on 275mm radials. At South Georgia Motorsports Park for the Lights Out radial race, Phil's Mustang stopped the clocks in 6.89 seconds. He also had the Outlaw 8.5 record for a while at 4.89 seconds in the eighth-mile.

For 2014, Phil is back to defend his title, with a few new changes to his ATF Street Outlaw ride. All he would offer, of course, is that there is slightly more compression and more camshaft stuffed inside the aluminum block. There's also a new billet intake manifold, but more testing is required to see if it proves to be the right direction for the induction system.

You can bet there have been numerous changes to the Mustang over the years in the quest for round wins. The car started life as a body in white; just a bare shell from Ford that was turned into a purpose-built race car by Racecraft Inc. While the front has been equipped with very familiar tubular front suspension, the rear was fitted with a ladder bar design to get the estimated 1,900-2,000 hp down to the track surface.

The PPG Bright Amber Metallic body benefits from lightweight carbon-fiber panels, including the hood, bumper cover, and decklid. There's also a Racecraft aluminum rear wing, which sheds weight while providing much needed top-end stability.

Nestled under the carbon-fiber hood you'll find a stout BES Racing Engines bullet, 423 cubes in all. Based on a Fontana aluminum block, the rotating assembly consists of an Eagle steel crankshaft, Ross pistons, and GRP connecting rods. In addition to the machining and assembly of the short-block, BES also CNC-ported the Edelbrock SC1 cylinder heads. These magical aluminum wonders of airflow have been equipped with Ferrea valves and Jesel rocker arms that can handle the stress of the custom (and top secret) solid roller camshaft, as well as the 24-25 psi of boost pressure provided by the ProCharger F1-X blower.

Phil employs and air-to-water intercooler to reduce the intake charge temperature, and an Aeromotive fuel system with 225-lb/hr injectors provide the required fuel charge to the huge amount of airflow moving through the engine. And remember when he admitted to not knowing anything about fuel injection? Well, Phil has a firm grasp on the inner workings of the Big Stuff 3 engine management system, and occasionally gets a little help from the guys at PTP Racing.

There aren't many automatic transmissions that can handle 2,000-plus horsepower, but Rossler has perfected its two-speed unit to do just that. It's shifted via a B&M shifter, and Phil told us that he's running a Coan torque converter that he's had for eight years!

Outlaw-spec cars rarely run anything less than a Ford 9-inch rear, and Phil's rocket is no exception. His is stuffed with Strange internals, and connected to the Mickey Thompson wheels you'll find the company's M/T ET Street Radial Pro 275/60/15 tires.

Once you have the right equipment to go fast, you need a support system that can get you to the races, through the rounds, and onto the next event. For Phil, much of that help comes from his sponsors; ATI Procharger, Mickey Thompson, BES Racing Engines, MSD, Cincy Speed, Gary Rohe Race Cars, PTP Racing, Steve Morris, Aeromotive, Edelbrock, Afco, Jesel, Ferrea, and Rossler Transmissions. Sponsors play a pivotal role often rebuilding components and overnighting them to a racetrack just to make a round. Also helping Phil are Jason and Shawna McCoy, Bobbie Schock, and Phil's children: Austin, Ali, Britney, and Alexsis.

Last year, Phil Hines ran the entire NMRA series as well as a few local NMCA events—he came in Third in points in NMCA Street Outlaw. This year, he has bigger aspirations, as he plans to run both ATF Street Outlaw in the NMRA and Stainless Works Street Outlaw in NMCA. Last year's success was a longtime in the making, but if anyone has the perseverance to see this year's efforts through, Phil does. Check out an NMRA or NMCA race near you to see how his story turns out.