Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 1, 2002
Longtime Pro 5.0 superstar Derrick Smith brings a former Jerry Haas Pro Stock chassis to life with a Billy Glidden small-block and lots of nitrous. The use of a Dynamic Powerglide (and a 4,500-rpm stall converter) in Pro 5.0 is not only unique, but it also allows him to run at a 2,275-pound race weight-unprecedented in the history of Pro 5.0. At the Reynolds, Georgia, NMRA event, Derrick pounded the turbo cars, setting a new NMRA record at 7.27/189 (which eventually was bettered by Steve Grebeck) and taking John Gullett all the way to the final. John won, but Derrick served notice that this nitrous car was here to stay!

Horse Sense: Derrick Smith's father owns a Ford dealership, Parkway Ford in Georgia, while Derrick runs a successful body shop just up the road.

It all started in 2000, when John Gullett and Joe Silva, borrowing from what others had learned in Pro 5.0 before them, took it to the next level. By combining the brutal power of the turbocharged, small-block Ford powerplant with the control of the five-speed Liberty transmission, magic started to happen. They could leave the line under power, control wheelspin, and then bring on the big boost for a finish-line romp that left nitrous and blower guys wondering what just happened.

In the two to three years since racers first began talking about this combination, many teams have jumped ship to run with the turbo guys. Turbocharging allows for unthinkable power, a reliable engine under extreme racing conditions, and the potential to turn up the power just in case someone gets close. Still, there are nitrous stalwarts who refuse to give into the spool appeal, but they are certainly the minority.

When NMRA rule makers sat down at the beginning of the '01 season, they tried to devise a set of Pro 5.0 rules that would allow massive weight cuts for nitrous combinations. The most extreme example of this would be someone who chooses to run a nitrous pushrod engine with an automatic transmission. Considering the race weight of 2,275 pounds, NMRA technical officials felt this combination of parts would at least have a fighting chance against the Grebecks, the Marshes, and the Rimmers of the world.

Tinwork and chrome-moly bars are the artistic signature of Jerry Haas, builder of many a Pro Stock chassis-including this one, now working the Pro 5.0 ranks. Derrick shortened the nose and wheelbase to get it down to an NMRA-legal wheelbase length (101.5 inches +/- 1 inch) by lopping 1 1/2 inches off the nose. The '94 Mustang body is a Hairy Glass carbon-fiber copy of the factory offering. Derrick applied the PPG red, yellow, black, and white design himself. The wing is by Jerry Haas, and the Force 5 rims are by Bogart.

One man who agrees with this philosophy is Derrick Smith from Cartersville, Georgia. As with many Pro 5.0 racers, he began his career on good old NOS power. But unlike so many others out there, he hadn't given up, and he hadn't dropped the blue bottle.

"After reading over the rules for the '01 NMRA season," Derrick says, "we had two choices. We could build a new car or buy a used [Pro Stock] car. A friend of mine had this car, and I called to see if he'd sell it. I went to look at it and determined that all it needed to fit the rules was to move the front wheels back 1 1/2 inches. I bought the car and took it to Zarteck Race Cars in Dallas, Georgia. Zar mounted the engine and trans, shortened the front end, and built the exhaust. We had the car ready by the Reynolds NMRA race. Billy Glidden went with me to tune the car. We unloaded Friday with no runs on the car, and went two 7.50 runs. Saturday, we qualified number two with a 7.30. We went all the way to the finals, setting low e.t.'s and a new e.t. record with a 7.27."

If you're the competition, the scariest part about this car is Derrick's consistency. He doesn't have to be the fastest car to go rounds. He almost tells you what he's going to run, and it's the job of the guy next to him to go faster. That finals' appearance at Reynolds is no fluke. He went to the semifinals at Columbus and Bowling Green, and he made it to another final round at Maryland. And if Derrick had attended more races in 2001, he could have won a couple of them.

Power to the 33x16-inch Goodyear slicks is delivered by an Inland Empire aluminum driveshaft and a 9-inch rear housing a Strange spool, 4.30 gears, and 40-spline axles. Lamb Pro Stock front struts work with Lamb springs and the tube chassis. In the rear, Koni shocks, an anti-rotation device, and a wishbone locator plant the four-link suspension. Typical short times are in the 1.08-second range, with a best e.t. of 7.26/189 with only one stage of NOS fogger!

Interestingly, Jerry Haas has shown a great deal of interest in his former Pro Stock chassis. Jerry was at the World Ford Challenge, and he spent the majority of the weekend making slight adjustments to the car-adjustments that only a master chassis man would know if they had worked or not. Is Pro 5.0 the new testing ground for Pro Stock? With the new chassis rules coming out, one would think so. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, Pro Stock will be a testing ground for Pro 5.0!

Derrick's success certainly didn't come alone. He thanks his mom and dad; his wife, Tosha; Billy Glidden; Preacherman; Zar at Zarteck; Harold, J.R., and Lenny at Dynamic Trans and TCT; Pennzoil; Geddex; Steve Johnson and NOS; HAL shocks; Bogart wheels; and, of course, Parkway Ford.

Derrick's future plans include driving for an up-and-coming Pro Stock team anchored by Charlie Hunt. But he will most assuredly stay true to his Pro 5.0 roots. Billy is hard at work putting together an aluminum version of this same motor (Derrick is 150 pounds over the class minimum), and there will be a second NOS fogger system onboard for 2002. With a sea of turbochargers to mow down, look for Derrick to spray and prey!

Created in the dungeons at Glidden Racing Engines, the sole purpose of this piece is to propel Derrick Smith's Pro 5.0 car faster than any turbocharged Pro 5.0 car in town. Want some? Billy whipped up a 9.2-inch-deck Ford Racing Performance Parts block (4.125-inch bore and 3.900-inch stroke), a billet crank, GRP aluminum rods, and Ross pistons in a torrid, 398ci frenzy. It's designed to survive at 9,500 rpm under the direction of copious amounts of nitrous oxide injected via an NOS fogger system. The intake is an FRPP single-carb casting worked over by Mr. Glidden that holds a 1,050-cfm PRO Systems squirter. The heads are Yates castings, with endless proprietary work done by Billy himself. No word on how much the spray is worth-estimates in the 400-horse range are close-but off the sauce, this masterpiece of Billy Glidden engine building is worth 840 horses.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINELECTRONICS
BlockIgnition
Ford Racing Performance PartsMSD 7AL3
Cylinder HeadsGauges
FRPP Yates (ported by BillyAuto Meter
Glidden) 
Intake ManifoldSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRPP (ported by Billy Glidden)Springs
CamshaftLamb
CompStruts/Shocks
Power AdderLamb Pro Stock/Koni
Nitrous Oxide Systems FoggerRear Suspension
ExhaustFour-link w/ anti-rotation device
Zarteck headersand wishbone locator
Fuel PumpWheels
Barry Grant 400 (2)Bogart Force 5
TransmissionTires
Dynamic PowerglideGoodyear
RearendBrakes
9-in with a Strange spool, 4.30Lamb
gears, and 40-spline axles