Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
August 1, 2005
Photos By: Steve Turner

I have been going to the dragstrip since I was a child," NMRA Renegade racer Bob Cook says. Bob can remember his little brother sleeping in his mother's arms while at the dragstrip. His family spent many a Friday night at the now closed US 30 dragstrip in Northeastern Indiana. Bob remembers seeing Big Daddy Don Garlits, Chris "The Golden Greek" Karamesines, TV Tommy Ivo, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen.

First off, Bob is old, boys and girls. Second, you can see why he still drag races to this day, after seeing those legendary racers at such a young age.

But, the ride he first used to get in on the 1,320-foot action was a couple wheels short in the form of a Kawasaki Z1 (he bought the bike in 1977), a legendary bike back in the day and still popular at dragstrips today. "I started running 12.0s," Bob says, "and ended up running the Pro Stock Class in the IDBA and NHRA with a best of 8.52 at 154 mph."

Bob hung up his leathers in 1987, and met his wife, Sherry, shortly thereafter (they married in 1988). Son Kris came along in 1990, with daughters Lauren and Megan entering the Cook family in 1992 and 1996, respectively. Many of those years Bob spent going to school, working, and helping to raise a family. Nevertheless, in the midst of all that, he found the funds to purchase this '90 GT in 1993.

The GT boasted just 37,000 miles when Bob bought it, and he continued to use the car for daily transportation until it had 125K on the clock. "It was looking rough, and I never really liked the blue/gray two-tone paint." A buddy offered Bob a screamin' deal on a paint job. So good that it seemed too good to be true, but he decided to let his buddy paint the car. "It looked so clean when I got it back that I didn't want to drive it daily," Bob recounts. To that end, he bought a Taurus to replace the Mustang as daily transportation.

Then, a co-worker's friend needed to unload some Mustang performance parts. "I went to his house and ended up buying just about everything he had," Bob says. He acquired MAC long-tube headers, an aluminum driveshaft, Weld wheels, and some other go-fast goodies. With Route 66 Raceway not far from Bob's New Lenox, Illinois, hometown, he once again found himself back at the dragstrip. "Next thing I know, I'm running 12.0s and buying more and more parts." Then he got in touch with the Mustang drag racing scene and decided the Renegade-style class looked affordable.

Bob tried to have the car ready by the '99 World Ford Challenge held at Route 66 Raceway, but instead of racing, he played spectator after running out of time. His blue GT would have to wait until the '00 NMRA season to make its debut with Bob hitting the races near his neck of the woods. "I started with a 306 with an NOS single nozzle nitrous kit," he says. For the '01 season, Bob utilized an NOS plate system combined with an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake. After the plate system, he stepped up to an NOS Fogger system, which got him into the 9-second zone.

For the '03 season, Bob's GT needed a few upgrades to stay competitive, namely making the switch to a Vortech YS-Trim supercharger. The Swill Racing crew was making the switch as well, so he decided that if it could make the Swill crew fast, he needed to follow along. We love the Swill Racing crew (in a totally heterosexual way, BTW), but until recently, it was more known for its drinking exploits than its on-track performances. The switch definitely paid off for Bob's racing program with his first blower pass at the '03 Reynolds, Georgia, race being a 9.75. Then, he began receiving tuning help from fellow EFI Renegade racer Bob Kurgan. With Kurgan's tuning help and advice, Bob continued to improve throughout the '03 season. Furthermore, with the NMRA making legal Vortech's YSi-Trim supercharger, Bob's performance took on a whole new level.

At the '04 NMRA Bradenton opener, Bob destroyed an engine because he didn't check and change out the valvesprings after running the '03 season. Bob Kurgan came to the rescue with a pair of Fox Lake Power Products-ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads and a set of Ross flat-top pistons. PER Race Engines re-sleeved Bob's R302 block and added a 0.040-inch overbore. The engine was back together in six days, which was in plenty of time for the NMRA Reynolds, Georgia, race. There, Bob re-tuned the new combination and the car's performance level picked up again. "I ended 2004 with a win in Columbus, runner-ups in Georgia and Kansas City, No. 1 qualifiers at Maple Grove and Joliet, and finishing the season Third in points."

As usual, the '05 NMRA season opener brought Bob back to Bradenton, and his pit was Damage Incorporated once again with a holed number-7 piston after qualifying. He almost packed it in, but he noticed the EFI Renegade attrition rate was higher than the price of gasoline. With at least 15 people jumping in to help, Bob's engine was out of the car, cleaned up, and the number-7 cylinder was beer-canned since he didn't have a replacement piston to go in the hole. The engine was back under the hood and running in time for eliminations, and with so many racers out, Bob made it past the first round. An also-hurt Clair Stewart, however, ended Bob's run for points with a 9.11 to Bob's 9.28 on seven cylinders. That's a far cry from the 8.60-8.70s he's used to when his GT is running on all eight cylinders, but to run low 9s on seven cylinders speaks volumes for his racing program.

Speaking of Bob's racing program, he thinks his wife, Sherry, may be of the mind that the car should be sent back to the kitchen, but to us, it's oh so right.

Tech SpecsEngine And DrivetrainBlockFRPP R302Bore4.040Stroke3.00Displacement308 ciRotating AssemblyEagle crankshaft, Scat steel H-beam connecting rods, D.S.S. pistons, Childs & Alberts piston rings, Billet Fabrication custom oil pan w/kickoutsCamshaftCompHeadsTrick Flow Twisted Wedge, Fox Lake Power Products-ported, Harland Sharp 1.6 shaft rockers, dual valvesprings w/dampenerIntakeHolley SysteMAX II, port-matched by Fox Lake Power ProductsThrottle BodyAccufab 75mmMass AirPro-M 80mmPower AdderVortech YSi-Trim superchargerFuel SystemWeldon 2035 fuel pump, stainless steel braided fuel lines, Cartech fuel rails, Siemens/Deka 83-lb/hr injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulatorExhaustKooks 171/48-in long-tube headers with 3-in collectors, Kooks X-pipe, DynoMax Bullet mufflersTransmissionDynamic Racing Transmissions Mighty Mite C4, TCT 9-in 5,000-rpm stall converter, JW Ultra Bell housing and flywheel, Turbo Action Cheetah SCS shifterRearendMoser-built 8.8, spool, Motive Gear 3.90 gears, Moser 33-spline gun-drilled and star-flanged axles

ElectronicsEngine ManagementStock computer, Anderson Ford Motorsports PMS with InterACQ software, Uego 1000 wideband sensorIgnitionMSD Digital 7, Blaster coil, Moroso Ultra 40 wires, NGK plugsGaugesAuto Meter

Suspension And Chassis Front SuspensionK-memberPA Racing tubularControl ArmsPA Racing tubularSprings Afco coiloverStrutsStrange adjustable w/ BBK caster/camber platesSteeringPA Racing Pinto rack-and-pinion setupBrakesAerospace ComponentsWheelsBogart Force 5TiresGoodyear Eagle Rear SuspensionSpringsStockShocksQA1 12-way adjustableTraction DevicesHP Motorsport Megabite upper and lower control arms, UPR antiroll bar, spherical upper bushingsBrakesStrange EngineeringWheelsBogart Force 5 15x10TiresMickey Thompson E/T DragChassis StiffeningTRZ Motorsports chrome-moly rollcage, HP Motorsport subframe connectors