Dale Amy
July 1, 2005

We have come to know and love the NMRA's Super Street Outlaw class as "The 10-Inch-Tired Freak Show." It brings the sickest collection of street racers, adrenaline junkies, and class clowns to premier drag-racing facilities around the country. Fans are crazy over SSO, with its racers delivering side-by-side, 180-mph action on diminutive 28x10.5-inch tires. The action is hot and heavy with the illusion-and sometimes reality-that a big-time wreck is ready to happen at the drop of the transbrake button. As we grow through the lean years of Pro 5.0, SSO is now a mainstay at NMRA, with fields of 30-plus cars not uncommon.

With all of that going for it, what could possibly be wrong with SSO? In a word-money. It takes pails full of cash to build a competitive SSO car, and it takes buckets full to keep a cutting-edge freak machine up and running. Starting from scratch, you're in it for $125,000 to build the car and probably another $50,000 in expenses to run the season assuming nothing major breaks, bends, blows up, or twists into junk. Besides the competition, the pressure to perform-and win-has really taken its toll on SSO racers through the years. You will often see someone make a big splash with a new car only to settle to the back of the pack or fade away into the great Mustang oblivion. Ever wonder why it is so tough for SSO champions to defend? It is likely that they are emotionally and financially spent after a year of intense competition.

And it is because of all of this immense stress that it is so refreshing to tell the story of one Jimmy "The Cubby Bear" Dahl, a Chicago street racer turned SSO regular who has been in the trenches of this class for almost a decade. The best part of the story is that Jimmy has enjoyed years of SSO action on a shoestring budget. How has he done it? He lives by a simple philosophy: "I look at used parts like this: it was good when it was new, so why is it bad now?"

Living by that one simple rule has kept Jimmy from running his bank account in to the ground. His motor was used from 1998 until it finally expired in late 2004 when the street crank gave out causing a terminal failure of the block, rods, heads, and, well, everything else. Prior to that, it had seen one set of fresh pistons and head gaskets every 10-16 passes, and annual valve jobs, valve springs, and a bearing/ring job. Being a member of the extended ASSC Racing family has put Jimmy in touch with some of the hottest Mustang racers in the country. He's also gotten plenty of second-hand parts from Jim Summer's Big Red iterations, including ignition components, the throttle body he still uses, and other random pieces that add up to big money if you buy them.

Prior to the car pictured here, Jimmy started his Mustang love affair with an '85 GT that saw a performance exhaust and gear upgrades. Then, he purchased a new '93 hatchback that, with Dart heads, a Powerdyne supercharger, and a GT-40 intake, ran 11.60s at more than 120 mph in full street trim. Eventually, that car gave way so Jim could focus on his first serious SSO, a white-with-orange-striped hatch that ran an 8.32 at 168 with the same drivetrain that found its way to the car featured here.

With the 8.32 (run at the '01 NMRA Bowling Green event), Jimmy had reached a personal goal of running faster than Kenny Moss' SSO world record set in 1998, but Jimmy was often criticized for some of the things missing on the car. Namely, he had used up his piggybank to buy speed parts while neglecting some common sense safety equipment. Larry Steiner of ASSC often asked Jimmy how he could go almost 170 mph with stock brakes.

All of this came to a head at that same event, when the eventual SSO class winner, Jason Cohen, stopped by to look at Jimmy's car. "It had been my ultimate goals to run 8.30s with that car," Jimmy told us. "But, it really bothered me when Jason came by and said, 'What a Mickey Mouse setup this is!' I told him that this was all that I could afford, but it really bothered me-it still bothers me. I finished up as the number nine guy in points that year, and no one realizes that I'm the lowest-budget guy out here. And, I still finished in the top 10 in points!"

Jimmy's greatest moment came during the '02 World Ford Challenge smack dab in the middle of one of the toughest fields of Outlaw racers ever assembled. As detailed in the pages of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords, Jimmy was in the thick of things when he faced Dan "The Desert Eagle" Millen in the semifinals. He had done his burnout and was ready to stage. Dan had an uncharacteristic technical difficulty and couldn't start the car at the head of staging. Despite the urgings of his fellow Chicago street racers, Jimmy decided to shut his car off and wait for Dan. That gentlemanly gesture cost Jimmy the race as Dan would go on to win the event, but it did define him as a total class act with loads of sportsmanship.

For 2005, Jimmy has a renewed interest in this class as Vern House at Pro Fabrication has stepped in with a loaner motor so he can continue to chase his dreams. The new mill is a 400-inch, 9.5-inch deck Windsor that sports Edelbrock Victor Race heads and approximately 200 more hp than what Jimmy had been working with. He wants to run 7.60-7.70s and once again return to the top 10 in points. But, SSO is the most competitive class in all of Ford heads-up racing, so the road won't be easy for him. Luckily, Jimmy's crew chief and girlfriend, Megan, encourages him as only a tough Chicago chick can. Tony Sincore, Joey D, and Mark Enwia will also be put into play to push Jimmy to the top.

If you've ever dreamed of mixing up with the best small-tired racers in the world, but thought you couldn't afford it, take heart. Jimmy Dahl is just like you-scraping by with repaired, used, and borrowed parts, in an attempt capture his dream of going rounds against the best the NMRA can offer. So, if you're at an NMRA event, stop by the pits and give Jimmy Dahl's program a look. It might be something that you can do too!

Tech SpecsEngine And DrivetrainBlock R302Displacement 360ci (4.160x3.400-in bore and stroke)Cylinder HeadsTrick Flow Twisted Wedge R; ported by Mike Haley of Hi-Flow Heads; 360 cfm at 0.750-in liftCamshaft"Bad Ass Billy Boy" Cam Motion solid-rollerIntake ManifoldEdelbrock Super VictorThrottle Body90mm AccufabPower AdderProCharger F-3C supercharger (36-plus psi)Exhaust Vern House Pro Fabrication 2-in (non-stepped) headers with 4-in collectors and Dynomax Bullet mufflersFuel SystemTwin 2035 Weldon fuel pumps, -10 line with -8 return, Mark Enwia fuel rails, Ford 160-lb/hr injectors, Weldon fuel pressure regulatorTransmissionPerformance Automatic Turbo 400, Continental 5,800 rpm converterRearendFab-9 housing, Strange spool, Moser 35-spline axles, 4.10:1 Strange gearing, Strange driveshaft

ElectronicsEngine ManagementFAST tuned by Mark Enwia of Fast Times MotorworksIgnitionMSD 7AL (non-programmable), MSD Pro coil, ACCEL 300 wires, NGK-10 sparkplugsGaugesAuto Meter tachometer and Auto Meter gauges

Suspension And ChassisFront SuspensionK-memberPA RacingA-armsPA RacingSpringsAFCOStrutsQA1WheelsForce-VTiresMickey ThompsonBrakesStrangeRear SuspensionTraction DevicesVern House Pro Fabrication ladder bar suspension with wishbone linksSpringsAFCOShocksAFCOWheelsForce-VTiresMickey Thompson 28x10.5BrakesStrangeChassis StiffeningFull chrome-moly funny car cage with 25.1 SFI chassis certification tag