Michael Johnson Associate Editor
November 1, 2002
Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense: If you're looking for a body-in-white Mustang for your next home project, try Roush Performance (800-59-ROUSH). Remember, you'll also need all the glass and weatherstripping, trim pieces, a donor interior, taillights and headlights, and other various pieces before you start adding your drivetrain.

Have you ever had a gremlin in your Mustang that had you chasing your tail? Of course you have-every Mustang owner has. Gremlins can drive you nuts. Everything about the car is great-except for this one problem you can't track down.

With our beloved Mustangs, it could be several things. The hunting idle problem (anyone who's owned a Fox 5.0 has been there) is one of them. What about incurable detonation for you '94-'95 GT owners? We've heard about that one more than once. Cracked intakes are the sore spot with '96-up Two-Valve owners. Nitrous backfires are cool for our cameras, but they wreak havoc on parts, and chasing down the cause can make you blow your top. Blower guys either battle belt slippage or blown head gaskets, or both. Turbo guys are always battling traction woes. If you've experienced any of these problems, trying to solve them is a lesson in patience and perseverance.

One racer who has plenty of both is Pro 5.0 pilot Brandon Switzer. Ever since he debuted the car seen here, there's been a gremlin haunting its performance-until now. He didn't want to say what it was, but he finally figured it out. "Things are starting to turn around," Brandon says. "We've definitely chased ourselves around for a while."

Tony Bischoff and Gary Rohe from Bischoff Engine Service (812) 637-5933 helped Ricky out with a trick, little Pure Street mill. It's based on a 4.060-inch bore, '91 5.0 block, which measures out to 310.8 ci with the help of a stock crank and 10:1 Ross pistons connected to Probe rods. Brian Tooley from Total Engine Airflow ported the Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads and stuffed them with 2.02- and 1.60-inch valves. The camshaft is a custom BES piece that specs out to 0.500 inch lift (per legal class limit) with the help of 1.5 Crane roller rockers. And, as stated in the NMRA rule book, the lifters are stock-replacement units. All totaled, there are an estimated 450 flywheel horses ready at the blip of the throttle for Ricky's enjoyment.

Fortunately, Brandon has been around long enough to realize you have to take the bad with the good, and to not let it get you down. And at just 27 years of age, he's way ahead of the curve.

Brandon began racing when he was 16, and he started at the top in Pro 5.0 with his high school car-an '83 GT with T-tops. Fresh out of high school, he started his own business called Racer's Edge with the money his parents had set aside for him to use for college. He decided to go the entrepreneurial route after watching too many of his friends go to college and drink themselves back home without an education. He thought there had to be a better way, and Racer's Edge was it.

Through the business, Brandon took his '83 GT to the next level by running as fast as 9.06 at 151 mph and winning the '95 Bradenton Fun Ford over the Keen Brothers. After the '83 GT, he debuted a purpose-built coupe with GT ground effects that wore the now-famous Brandon Switzer-purple hue. The coupe was a Pro 5.0 recordsetter until he wadded it up at the '96 Fun Ford Bradenton race.

The coupe was totaled, but the powertrain was fine. Brandon removed the engine and put it in Stormin' Norman's red and white coupe. He then won the '97 Fords at English-town race, along with a Cobra body in white, which he turned into one of the nicest Pro 5.0 cars at that time. Not only was it pretty, but it was also fast, with a nitrous/Powerglide combination. Once he had the Cobra figured out, he sold it to fellow Pro 5.0 racer Steve Habodas. When Steve exited racing, he sold it to Outlaw racer Crazy Moe Atat. Moe raced it for a while, but he sold it to drive Pande Talevski's Pro 5.0 monster.

To take advantage of the ever-progressing Pro 5.0 rules, Brandon enlisted the services of Mark Wilkin-son's RaceCraft shop to build him the Pro Stock-style car you see here. The 25.1C chassis boasts carbon-fiber body panels, but he's still not able to meet the minimum allowed weight. The lightest he can get the car is 2,350 pounds, but according to Pro 5.0 rules, the lightest he can legally weigh is 2,200 pounds. He says this is due to his steel quarter-panels and roof instead of the complete carbon-fiber bodies, similar to what many of the other Pro 5.0 racers use.