Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
September 1, 2002
Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense: With the Glidden-built 311 under the hood for the Columbus NMRA race, Bruce qualified third in Real Street with a 10.39 at 127 mph. He ran another 10.39 in the first round of eliminations, and then a 10.42 at 128 mph in the second round. Had he not broken the driveshaft in the third round, Bruce believed the car had a 10.20 in it.

In the Mustang drag racing arena-where some people change power adders as often as they change underwear-it's rare for a racer to be loyal to only one means of unnatural aspiration. If you've been paying attention the last few years, you know the Pro and Outlaw ranks used to be dominated by Vortech supercharged cars. With a Vortech XX-Trim supercharger and an Igloo intake, you had a good chance of takin' it to the house against all comers, unless they had the same combo.

However, in a quest to beat Billy Glidden (one of the few who has stuck with nitrous), just about everyone in Pro and Outlaw swapped to ATI-ProCharger D3M superchargers. Then the turbo-charger really turned performance on its ear, and racers followed suit.

Well, now it seems ATI-ProCharger and Vortech are returning with new turbo fighters, and we're already hearing of a couple racers making the switch back to beltdriven horsepower. It's enough to wear out even the most seasoned Mustang follower, including those of us who get paid to keep track of such goings-on.

Bruce Hemminger's steadfast nitrous inhalation makes overcoming Tim Lynch's switch to a turbo a little easier to digest. If Bruce's name jogs your Mustang memory banks, that's because he's definitely not one of the new kids on the block. As a matter of fact, he's the first-ever nitrous Mustang Outlaw racer to run in the eights, and he did it with this car. But we're getting ahead of ourselves

Back in the day, Bruce started racing on the street with his '85 GT. The car featured the usual Edelbrock intake, Holley carburetor, MAC H-pipe and headers, and 3.73 gears. Then he came across a screaming deal on an '86 four-cylinder coupe for $400. With the intention of making the car wicked fast, one of the first things he did was have Race Engineering in Crown Point, Indiana, install a full rollcage. With the car in racing form, Bruce started bracket racing. But when the heads-up bug bit hard, he entered the Fun Ford Outlaw ranks in 1999. Years of pounding the street surely helped Bruce on the strip. He won the Norwalk Fun Ford event that year and had the first nitrous Outlaw car to run in the eights.

In 2000, Bruce made the switch to NMRA Super Street Outlaw. "It was a year I'd like to forget," he says. He hit the wall in testing at Indianapolis Raceway Park, and put the car back together only to hit the wall again at the World Ford Challenge that same year. He managed to make it to another race before the season was over, but the year was basically a wash for him.

The Race Engineering rollcage Bruce installed back in the day still inhabits the cockpit. These days it's joined by RCI racing buckets, Auto Meter gauges, and a Pro-5.0 shifter sticking through the tunnel.

With the escalating cost of Super Street Outlaw racing, Bruce initially decided to sit out the '01 racing season. The '86 sat primered and unpainted the entire year. However, as the season progressed, Bruce began to change his mind. "My love to race took the best of me," he says. "I found myself at the track with my '92 black LX five-speed that I bought from the dealership where I work." He bought the car for $2,500. It already featured headers, an off road H-pipe, Flowmasters, a Ford Racing Performance Parts Cobra intake, 3.73 gears, a 65mm throttle body, and a C&L 73mm mass air meter. The car ran a best of 12.14 on the motor and 11.14 on-what else-a single shot of NOS juice. With just the addition of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads and a Race Engineering six-point cage, he found himself at the Byron, Illinois, NMRA race where he entered Real Street. "I managed to qualify second with a 10.80 at 123 mph and finish with a runner-up," Bruce says.

He also attended the NMRA World Finals at Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he again qualified second with an even quicker 10.65 at 126 mph. His luck ran out in the semis at Bowling Green, but he still managed to finish ninth in Real Street points attending just two races.

Bruce says, "My biggest claim with this car is I am racing with factory electronics-no PMS, EPEC, chips, etc. These are the electronics that 'real street cars' use every day." Along with those people mentioned in this article, Bruce would also like to thank Barry DeYoung at Van Drunen Ford (where Bruce works as Ford sales manager), Rich Bogart, and his sponsors White's Pit Stop, Glidden Racing Engines, and Race Engineering.

For 2002, the '86 received its new Shelby-esque paint by Dale George at Swill Racing. But the car still had a carbureted Outlaw engine in it. In order to compete in Real Street, Bruce had to convert the car to fuel-injected specs. Out went the carbureted 347 and in came the stock block 302 from the black hatch. With many parts purchased from White's Pit Stop and Dale Metlika from ProPower, and the addition of a tubular K-member, a new fuel system, and Bogart Fluted Stars, the car was ready for the NMRA Bradenton, Florida, opener where Bruce ran a best of 10.60 at 127 mph. However, his weekend ended after only one round at the hands of Paul Wiley. At the next NMRA race in Reynolds, Georgia, the car improved to run a 10.45 and finish runner-up.

This engine bay has seen 'em come and go. By the time you read this, it will have another new tenant in the form of a Glidden Racing Engines-built 311ci powerplant with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads and a corresponding Trick Flow street intake. A Voss Performance cold-air induction will feed air to the nitrous'd powerplant. The engine shown now resides in the trailer, just in case.

So far, Bruce has proven he has the fastest nitrous car in the class, and to keep that distinction he had a Glidden Racing Engines-built 311 under the hood by the Columbus, Ohio, race. He hoped to realize a two-tenths gain with just the engine swap, and his 10.39/127 pass there showed the potential. However, with where he is with his tune-up and what he believes he has left, Bruce says "There just may be a nine-second pass in the making. By [running] the first nitrous Outlaw car in the eights, I feel I must [have] the first nitrous'd Real Street car in the nines."

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block
Stock 5.0
Rotating Assembly
Stock crank,
{{{Eagle}}} rods, Ross pistons, Speed-Pro rings
Cylinder Heads
Trick Flow Twisted Wedge
Intake Manifold
FRPP Cobra
Camshaft
Stock
Power Adder
NOS nitrous
Size of Kit
"Less than most would think"
Exhaust
MAC headers, MAC H-pipe,
and DynoMax mufflers
Fuel Pump
Aeromotive
Fuel Injectors
FRPP 24-lb/hr
Transmission
Pro-Shifted TTC Tremec TKO
five-speed
Clutch
Centerforce Dual-Friction
Shifter
Pro-5.0
Rearend
8.8 with Moser spool,
Moser 33-spline axles, and 3.55 gears
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management Stock
Ignition MSD 7AL 3, MSD coil,
Moroso Blue Max wires, NGK plugs
Gauges Auto Meter
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
Springs Moroso Drag Springs (front),
stock four-cylinder rear)
Struts/Shocks Lakewood {{{90}}}/10 (front),
Lakewood 50/50 (rear)
Rear Suspension TRZ adjustable upper
and lower control arms
Wheels Bogart Fluted Stars
Tires Mickey Thompson
Brakes Aerospace
K-Member D&D Motorsports
Rollcage Race Engineering