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1987 GT NMRA Fun Ford Race Car Robert Hindman: Mod Squad Demi-god
2001's modular points champion in both NMRA and Fun Ford
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There's nothing fancy here, just a good, old '87 GT transplanted with a '97-spec Four-Valve Cobra modular, backed by a Dynamic C4 automatic, and emboldened by a 150-horse hit of nitrous. Yet, in the hands of Tennessee's Robert Hindman, this is the car that competitors in the '01 modular categories must have hated to see staging in the lane next to them. Though it was a brand-new combination for last year's season, Robert's cammer Fox had the consistency and dependability to out-point runners-up Steve Ferguson and Gary Youngblood in Fun Ford's lucrative Mod Motor class. And over in the NMRA's Vortech Modular Muscle class, it was also enough to edge out Paul Svinicki and Roxanne Shepard for that championship title.
Right about now is when we'd normally be getting all wide-eyed and technical about the exotic combination that might lead to such simultaneous points victories in two separate Mustang drag-race sanctioning bodies. But there just isn't much to say. A glance at the 5.0 Tech Specs sidebar will clearly show that, under its Foxy old skin, there are no parts made of unobtanium and no rocket-science, high-tech secrets waiting to be revealed. This is just a good race car at the hands of a good driver.
With its best e.t. of 11.92 seconds, the brightly hued hatchback is swift enough, but it's certainly not the quickest cammer out there in quarter-mile land. Then again, it doesn't have to be-the Open Comp format used so far in modular racing favors a repeatable combination. So give Robert full points for putting together a package that is almost robotic in its reliability and uniformity. And it doesn't hurt that the 26 year old has proven himself to be a damn good drag racer, no matter what combination he's been wheeling.
Robert's quarter-mile exploits began in 1996 in this same car, then still powered by its original 5.0 pushrod with minor modifications. After running at some local tracks, he heard about the Fun Ford event at Bristol, checked the rules, and found that his GT-which he had bought from his mother back in 1993-was perfectly suited to the Trophy Stock rules. He went to Bristol and won the event, which was enough to encourage him to enter five more races that year, winning every one of them and bringing him the championship in his rookie year. In 1997, he won five of the six Fun Ford events he entered and again took the championship. He slipped a bit in 1998, winning only four races and finishing second in points.
Robert's first season in the new Mod Motor class was 1999, not driving this car, but a buddy's. He managed to win the first race at Bradenton, then finished second in the next one, but admits that, "after that, it was all downhill" for 1999. In 2000, he pedaled a '98 GT owned by Charles Calloway and ended up third in Fun Ford's modular points (and 10th in NMRA).
By the beginning of last season, he had mated a juiced, but virtually stock, Four-Valve with his faithful Fox chassis. On the Dynojet, the combo produced 295 rear-wheel horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. Unrealistic as it may be to expect immediate results with an all-new combination, the car started off with a Second Place at NMRA's inaugural Orlando event, and then went on to win the following weekend at the Spring Break Shootout.
It only got better from thereand the rest, as they say, is history, with Robert now entitled to carry the number one for the '02 season in both NMRA and Fun Ford modular competition. Rules changes in Fun Ford mean he won't be wearing it on this faithful old Fox, but given his successful history, we have no reason to doubt he'll do well with whatever he brings to the track.
Horse Sense: For 2002, at the urgings of principal sponsor, Team Mustang, Fun Ford's Mod Motor rules now require '96-or-newer Mustang bodies.