Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
February 1, 2003

Horse Sense: Robin Lawrence has been to every NMRA event where Factory Stock has been a class. He is the only racer with perfect attendance in this class.

Hours and hours of refinement go into each run on an NMRA Factory Stock car. Uncle Robin Lawrence has one of the tops in the business as it has busted off a best of 11.79 at 114.68 mph. That came with a 1.574-second short time on BFGoodrich Drag Radials. Koni drag struts, AVO shocks in the back, HP Motorsport caster/camber plates, Mega Bite double-adjustable upper control arms, and an antiroll bar give the car the hook. HP Motorsport frame connectors and a Metal Crafters (Monmouth, Illinois) cage keep the chassis tweaking in check. BFG D/Rs measure 275/60/15 in the back.

We're not really sure who started the joke about Robin Lawrence (the Factory Stock flier whom you see here) and James Lawrence (well-recognized founder/owner of the NMRA) being related. However, we're sure that once you take a look at how fast these F/S cars are, the joking will stop. Oh, sure, you may not think that low 12s or high 11s in the quarter-mile are fast. They probably aren't-if you have a good set of ported aluminum heads on your 5.0 Mustang coupled with a juice system and a matched intake and cam. But once it hits you that the F/S cars get it done with none of that, you will begin to realize just how serious Uncle Robin Lawrence and his F/S brethren are at getting a car from point A to point B faster than you'd think possible.

A Kirkman Composites 5-inch cowl hood and the stock, muscular lines of the LX notchback get the job done for this F/S favorite. Bright red paint adorned by sponsor and contingency logos set off the Monocoque and Weld rims.

When you look at F/S, think NHRA Stock Eliminator with less equipment. Racers are limited to a stock cam, GT-40 heads (if you want to take a weight penalty of 300 pounds), a Cobra intake, short-tube headers, no power adder, and drag-radial tires (yeah, no slicks allowed). The magic begins to happen right off the starting line, such as 1.70-second short times on drag radials with a 3,300-pound car making around 310-350 rwhp! Impossible, you may think, until you see more than 10 F/S cars do that at any NMRA race. Most of these guys are gear-banging freaks-they like their five-speed T5s pro-shifted and light. Making the power, getting it to the ground, and doing the whole thing with so little equipment is the name of the game. No, you won't find a group of Mustang racers who are much more hard-core than those who try F/S.

Robin Lawrence is one of the best. He liked the class the day the rules were introduced in 2000 by his nephew-uh, we mean NMRA founder James Lawrence. The vision was a low-cost class that offered relatively stock 5.0 and modular Mustangs the chance to experience big-time, heads-up thrills on a pro-tree. The concept has worked, and Robin, along with dozens of other racers, make up the core around which F/S has flourished for the last two seasons.

Robin's first 5.0 came in 1984 in the form of a new GT. From there, he graduated to the EFI '88 GT and easy mid 13s. In 1990, he performed one of the first four-cylinder-to-V-8 conversions in the country. And by 1994, he had started construction of an Outlaw-type black '91 LX notchback that saw heavy action in NMCA's B-EFI class from 1996 to 1997. Robin had planned on running SSO at NMRA, but he realized the class was quickly becoming more than what he wanted to get into. He began racing F/S at the class debut in Columbus, Ohio, in 2000. From that point on, it has been a F/S whirlwind for Uncle Robin as he's tried to stay on the cutting edge of this grassroots class.

The '88 notch you see here was actually his daughter's daily driver during high school. He had converted it into a 5.0 car with an AOD for her. Once Robin got the car, he swapped heads, cam settings, exhaust, suspension, gears (4.10s), shifter, ram air, and a few other little tricks. It ran 13.48/100.45 in qualifying, but the class at Columbus was dominated by Joffre Lafontaine and Gabe Large who were running 12.90s. From that point on, the car has been a rolling testbed for all Robin's theories and breakthroughs with the F/S rule book firmly in his mind.