Dr.Jamie Meyer
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.

One of the most difficult decisions to be made during the buildup of your 5.0 or 4.6 Mustang racer is choosing in which heads-up class you want to race. There are three main sanctioning bodies-FFW, NMRA, and WFC-and each has its own rule book. Although there are similarities between the three, it's best to choose one class in which to focus all your efforts. Regardless of whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, the one piece of advice we want to give you is to choose a class you can afford. If you spend all your loot on the car, you'll have nothing left for expenses-fuel, entry fees, hotel, and so on-when it's time to go racing.

Tricky Ricky Reynolds, a computer software engineer from Cincinnati, weighed all his options and decided the NMRA's Pure Street class was just what he wanted. It's an all-motor class with limited modifications to mostly street-oriented 5.0 vehicles. With a class such as Pure Street, you can still have a 10-second ride (if you're really good) and not go broke replacing blowers, refilling nitrous bottles, or grenading short-blocks.

"I grew up in the 5.0 Mustang era," Ricky says. "I ran in True Street for a few years-I got spanked! I wanted to build a real race car, and Pure Street fit my budget. It has definitely been a learning experience. The first thing I learned was that you're not going to roll it off the trailer and run the best pass. Also, the time involved in maintaining a real race car was much more than I ever imagined."

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.

Ricky bought a body-in-white '01 GT on which to base his project. He added all the parts he could afford, spending the most money on the drivetrain to make sure it would hold up during the course of the season. Starting literally from the ground up, Ricky was able to fashion a race car the way he wanted it without concessions to any factory or previous changes to the car. And, by doing the vast majority of the work himself, he saved a ton of money. Along the way, Ricky found out his buds at CPL Racing [(513) 732-3244] were going to be invaluable in getting his program going the right direction-namely, down the quarter-mile track. Andy Law and the gang helped with man-hours as well as some of the nicest fabrication work in the area.

With help from his wife, Tricia, Ricky competed in several NMRA events last year. While he didn't win a race in the ultratough Pure Street class, he qualified well and went some rounds. Most importantly, this experience has added greatly to his knowledge about heads-up racing.

Taking all the tricks he learned from his Pure Street combination, Ricky is applying them to a new Renegade setup that will debut sometime this summer. Look for a 200-horse Nitrous Express combination to feed a BES 358-inch engine (Ford Racing Performance Parts 8.2-inch R block, billet crank, BME aluminum rods, and a much higher compression ratio) featuring a Spyder intake and the same Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. Andy "The G-Man" Law worked with Greg Dantzler at Baumann Engineering [(864) 646-8920] to come up with a wild 4R70W transmission combination that Ricky believes will put his 3,150-pound combination into the 9.20s. It's the crossover capability from one sanctioning body to another that has Ricky really turned on about running Renegade.

It looks as though Tricky Ricky will be having even more fun, with a never-registered Mustang and a bottle full of spray.