Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
December 1, 2002

Horse Sense: Mike Smith also owns a 2000 Saleen-turned-race-car. He won the '02 NSCA St. Louis Limited Street class with this car running an 8.45-second e.t. at more than 168 mph.

The gorgeous '02 body-in-white Mustang has been accented with Bullitt trim, a carbon-fiber RaceCraft hood, and a RaceCraft wing, all wrapped in several skin-tight layers of blue. Mike Duffy's craftsmanship can be seen on the starting line. This car runs consistent 1.20-second short times with more than 1,700 horses trying to rip the tires off the rims. Besides a full-on 25.1C chassis, Mike Duffy has worked out the suspension limitations on the small-tired cars. One of the key points to why this is the premiere car in SSO at the time of this writing is that Mike Duffy recognized that aftermarket ladder-bar suspensions were being tweaked in some of the other cars he had put together. By building his own ladder-bar components from thick chrome moly, the 7-second, 10-inch-tired cars are beginning to stay straight again.

When Jason "The King" Cohen won the super-tough Pro Street Outlaw class at the '99 World Ford Challenge in Joliet, Illinois, Mike Smith was there. When Jason won his first NMRA event, Mike was there. And, in NSCA Limited Street competition, Mike has backed up his teammate through the good times and bad. As the years have worn on and the victories have added up, Mike has become increasingly interested in getting into the action in a more direct way than tuning the engine and prepping the car for the next round. So, during the winter of 2001, Mike contracted Mike Duffy Race Cars to put together the baddest, most technologically advanced, 10-inch-tired Mustang ever created.

"I've always had the two-car team in mind," Mike says. "I wanted to race. So, we built another car. I knew what to build for SSO, and so far the new car is working out nicely."

We'd have to agree. Despite the storm warnings that circulated throughout Albuquerque and San Antonio, jaws dropped when this blue bomber was backed out of the trailer for the first time at Reynolds, Georgia. Mike Duffy had learned from John Urist and Todd Fluman, two other well-recognized customers of his, how to put these cars together. "It's the best car I've done," Mike Duffy says. "Mike spent the money where I told him to. He's got the best we can do for right now!"

According to Mike Smith, the good thing about having a two-car team is that the drivers/tuners can compare notes on the two cars without getting misinformation from a competing driver. You also have the compatibility of parts, especially in the engine-something that Jason and Mike made sure of as they assembled the blue car. They set up the blower and injection system the same way, all in an attempt to further develop the successful racing program for which the two men are known.

Inside the confines of MDRC's 25.1C certified chassis is where Mike gets down to business. "It's the best of Fluman's and Urist's, plus he made it better in other areas," Mike says regarding two more of Mike Duffy's well-recognized SSO cars. Yards of chrome-moly tubing form the chassis, subframe, and Funny Car-style cage surrounding the driver. You will also find Kirkey Racing seats, Auto Meter gauges, and a Race Pack data logger. Interestingly, Mike doesn't even have a tachometer in the car. "I don't need a tach," he says. "I have only a shift light-it saved me $100. Plus, stuff happens so fast, you can't even see [a tachometer]." A Cheetah shifter is connected to the Transmission Specialties' Powerglide (maintained by Greg at Transmissions to Go). The Continental converter stalls up to whatever rpm Mike wants to launch. Typically, he sets the chip in the two-step at 4,000 rpm. After that, he shifts once into high gear at 8,500 rpm, and goes through the traps at more than 9,000 rpm with the blower screaming away!

If you've followed this sport, you already know this car is an impact piece. Plain and simple, it has changed the sport and elevated it to a new level. At WFC, only Bob Glidden could put Mike away. And the consistency that his car shows, making 7.80-7.90 runs look easy, speaks volumes about the importance of a cutting-edge chassis guy if your butt is going that fast on a 10.6-inch tire as measured. Mike's goals for the rest of the season are to keep the car in the 7.90 zone, but keep it there round after round with no mistakes. That's a tall order, but this is the most likely car to do it. As for winning an NMRA Outlaw race with a blower car (the turbocharger cars have a stranglehold on this class), Mike says, "We'll see if the blower cars can win. I sure would like to. I have to!"

The odds-makers will tell you it's a safe bet Mike Smith will win in SSO with the blue blower car. All we know is he's not a silent partner in this deal any longer.

ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block RDI 9.2-in deck, aluminum
Cylinder Heads Brodix 202 (ported by {{{Fox}}} Lake)
Intake Manifold FRPP
Camshaft Cam Motion
Power Adder ProCharger F3 (D3 in photos)
Exhaust MDRC headers, Straight Line Performance mufflers, and MDRC tailpipes
Fuel Pump MagnaFlow
Fuel Injectors 160 lb/hr
Transmission Powerglide
Rearend Fab 9 with Strange spool, Strange axles, and 4.10 gears