5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
Fox Mustang Drag Car - The Natural Hook
Fox Lake's Cory Roth Is Hooked On High-RPM, Naturally Aspirated Hot Street Racing
Horse Sense: Driving John Edwards' famous purple '89 sedan, Cory captured the '98 FFW Street Stock championship. It was his first season in heads-up competition after running the bracket races for several years.
NMRA's Hot Street and FFW's Street Bandit are two of the hottest classes in the world of 5.0 Mustang heads-up, pro-tree drag racing. Ohio's Cory Roth was one of the first racers to throw his hat in the ring as a top player in this all-motor, tuner's class. As one of the key players at Fox Lake Power Products [(330) 682-8800], Cory has access to some of the best equipment in the country for assembly of small-block Ford race engines. However, as you will soon learn, Cory and his dad, Al, have busted their butts to get this car ready to race in 2002.
Nothing comes easy in heads-up racing. And Hot Street, where you can't just pump up the nitrous or turn up the boost, is a class where if you're not on top of things, the competition passes you by-fast!
In 2000, Cory competed in Ron Robart's old True Street GT. That car had gone as quick as a 9.40, utilizing a 302 with Trick Flow Street Heats and a ton of nitrous. Cory took the chassis, added the engine described here, and suddenly had a real competitor in Hot Street (minus the sauce, of course). Cory, Al, and the Fox Lake team learned a great deal about Hot Street that year, as did the rest of the Mustang racing world. Cory would eventually runner-up at Columbus and then shock the 2000 NMRA H/S season champion, Sammy LaManna, with an upset win at the NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
With an ever-increasing level of sophistication to his testing procedure, and big-time power, Cory was on his way. The only problem was the GT had a few drawbacks. It was a solid car, no doubt, but it was never designed to take the abuse of a stick-shift car coming out of the hole at 9,000 rpm. The old girl was starting to twist on Cory, and further usage would only add insult to injury. So, the construction of the red sedan you see here was initiated. Cory and Al put some long nights into its creation, and by the Mid Michigan NMRA event of 2001, a completed race car rolled out of the trailer.
Able to hit 9.30s from the word go, the team has worked hard on their track-to-track tuning and consistency. A large part of that is getting just the right setup in the G-Force five-speed. It utilizes an adjustable "slipper-style" Ram clutch with a Ram pressure plate. "If you miss a shift, you broke it!" Cory says. "It's made to take the power. It's the same thing they use in Pro Stock truck."
One of the controversies that has exploded in Hot Street is the weight penalty placed on manual-transmission cars-a whopping 250 pounds! Racers who utilize the stick think that's too much weight for something that most sanctioning bodies penalize at only 150 pounds. They also know the fans love to hear these screaming small-blocks pounded by a stick.
Cory would be content with a penalty in the 100-150-pound range, but that extra 50 pounds really plays havoc with the suspension tune and parts longevity. Some racers, such as '01 NMRA H/S champion Billy Laskowsky and Chris Beningo, set their stick-shift trannies on the garage floor and bolted in a Powerglide. Regardless, if you're a fan of H/S, this is something you may want to watch. If the sanctions drop the weight, look for the stick cars to come flying out of the gate as the favorites. 5.0
As for 2002, watch for Cory and his team to be at all the big races. They lost almost half of the '01 season to construction and testing, so they're looking to get back in the game in a big way. Cory expects nine-ohs out of this thing-a number he may have to run just to keep up with the likes of Laskowsky, Neighbor, Simons, LaManna, Hanlon, and Law.