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.

Big hook is the name of the game if you choose to go heads-up NMRA racing. Getting the power to the ground will win you more races than having the hottest motor but no traction. To that end, Tricky Ricky added Fox chassis four-cylinder springs, a QA1 K-member, and CPL Racing subframe connectors and antiroll bar. Yes, the rear control arms are stock, Fox-chassis units-rare to find on such a capable machine. The 8.8-inch rearend houses a Strange spool, Strange 31-spline axles, and 4.56 gearing. Power comes through an FRPP aluminum driveshaft. Rims are from Bogart, with Goodyear skinnies and Mickey Thompson 26x10-inch slicks (Pure Street class limit). Short times are always in the 1.40s, with big wheelies the norm.

Inside the car is a mild-steel, eight-point S&W rollbar that Ricky installed himself. A TCI line lock, a full array of Auto Meter gauges, and a removable steering wheel from an older Fox-body 5.0 Mustang are the standout features. The Pro-5.0 shifter is connected to a Jim Swarr-built, pro-shifted Tremec from Hanlon Motorsports. The clutch and pressure plate are from Ram, and they are contained in a blow-proof bellhousing should the worst-case scenario of clutch integrity come true.

Who would cut up a new '01 GT to go Pure Street racing? No one we know. Ricky Reynolds picked up a body-in-white GT from Total Performance in Detroit, Michigan, to begin his project. He painted the car black after adding an aftermarket 2.5-inch cowl hood, a Saleen front bumper cover, a junkyard full of trim and interior pieces, and hours of time and effort to get this puppy roaring to life. Ricky's best e.t. has been an 11.32-second pass at more than 123 mph (1.48-second 60-foot time). Not bad for a hydraulic-roller 302 with no power adder and a race weight of 3,200 pounds.

Block Stock
Cylinder Heads Trick Flow Twisted Wedge (ported by Total Engine Airflow)
Intake Manifold Vortech upper/
Holley SysteMAX II lower (ported by
Total Engine Airflow)
Camshaft BES custom
Power Adder None
Exhaust Pro Mustang long tubes,
Dr. Gas X-pipe, and DynoMax Bullet mufflers
Fuel Pump Essex
Fuel Injectors FRPP 36 lb/hr
Transmission Tremec five-speed
(pro-shifted by Hanlon Motorsport)
Rearend 8.8 with a Strange spool, Strange 31-spline axles, and 4.56 gearing
Engine Management EEC IV with Johnson Motorsports/Autologic chip
Ignition MSD 6AL
Gauges Auto Meter

Springs Four-cylinder
Struts/Shocks QA1
Rear Suspension CPL antiroll bar
Wheels Bogart
Tires Goodyear (front),Mickey Thompson (rear)
Brakes Stock