5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1994 Mustang Drag Car - Spray And Prey
This Georgia Native Proves Nitrous Still Wins In Pro 5.0
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.
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.
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 DRIVETRAIN||ELECTRONICS|
|Ford Racing Performance Parts||MSD 7AL3|
|FRPP Yates (ported by Billy||Auto Meter|
|Intake Manifold||SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS|
|FRPP (ported by Billy Glidden)||Springs|
|Power Adder||Lamb Pro Stock/Koni|
|Nitrous Oxide Systems Fogger||Rear Suspension|
|Exhaust||Four-link w/ anti-rotation device|
|Zarteck headers||and wishbone locator|
|Barry Grant 400 (2)||Bogart Force 5|
|9-in with a Strange spool, 4.30||Lamb|
|gears, and 40-spline axles|| |