Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
September 1, 2008
Smith and Company in Richmond, Virginia, applied the Chrysler Blue Pearl Metallic paint to the body. The SN-95 Mustang body remains largely stock, but underneath its skin, little else is factory. The front bumper cover, hood, and Racecraft wing are the obvious exterior deviations. The Weld Racing Magnum wheels with Mickey Thompson ET Front and BFGoodrich drag radials stick out as race-only pieces as well.

Horse Sense: Phil Clemmons is an auto shop instructor at Richmond Tech Center. His students range from 10th to 12th graders, and he's even taken his car into the tech center for work. He's had at least one student attend races with him to help out.

It's all Les Baer's fault. He just had to build a purpose-built race car when everyone else was perfectly happy racing their glorified street cars. While the Scranton brothers, Jimmy and Vic Keen, Tim Matherly, Billy Glidden, and others were basically racing their cars from high school, Les came out in 1999 guns a-blazin' with his Racecraft-built SN-95 Mustang race car. Even though every other racer cried foul, who could blame Les? While those other guys struggled to get weight off their cars and work around leftover stock components, Les and Racecraft's Mark Wilkinson enjoyed mechanical freedom, and the car's performance showed.

It's interesting to note that among the racers listed above, Les is the only one no longer racing. However, he left a mark on the Mustang drag racing scene that remains today. Even though he's content to sit out in the show field with his Boss 429 or any number of other breathtaking Mustangs, Les showed the way to do it, and we still see the effects today.

Take Phil Clemmons for example. His former Drag Radial car ("Dream Team," Apr. '05, p. 162) was a daily-driver-converted race car. Even then, the car you see here was in the works. When the NMRA opened up the rulebook to allow coilover rear suspensions and mini-tubs, Phil wanted to take advantage of those changes and make sure the car wouldn't be restricted by any safety regulations. He also wanted to start with a clean slate, enabling him to put weight where he wanted it. In any type of drag racing, that's the idea.

His old GT didn't allow him to take advantage of that concept. A purpose-built car would, so Team Z Motorsports took the stock body and chassis, adding to it a 25.5C chassis and rollcage, and mini-tubs to fit Phil's drag radial of choice. While they were at it, Team Z took care of the intercooler mounting and bolting on the suspension. When Phil got the car back, he took care of the intercooler tubing, and all the little-and big-things that go into getting a race car ready for competition. To get the car dialed in, Matt Wirt helped Phil get the suspension race-ready.

Speaking of which, Phil made his return to drag radial running in the NOPI series in April 2007. He found himself racing many of the same guys from his first stint in the NMRA, during which he won rookie of the year in 2003, the Drag Radial championship in 2004, and runner-up in 2005. Phil at first used many of his old GT's engine components, but the current Fox Lake Power Products-built 356ci engine is new from the block up.

With a ProCharger F-1R on board, Phil hopes to return to the top of the NMRA drag radial class. If he won a championship with a glorified street car, we're sure he can do the same with this purpose-built hot rod.

Fox Lake Power Products took a Dart 8.2 block and filled it with a Sonny Bryant billet crankshaft, GRP connecting rods, and JE pistons. Fox Lake then custom-designed a camshaft for Phil Clemmons' ProCharger F-1R supercharged combination to work with Trick Flow's legendary high-port cylinder heads and Edelbrock's Super Victor EFI intake. The ProCharger stuffs 23 pounds of boost down the small-block dynamo's throat through an Accufab 90mm throttle body. Phil tunes the combo to differing track and weather conditions using a FAST XFI engine management system, while an MSD ignition system makes sure it stays lit.

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
Block
Dart 8.2 deck
Rotating Assembly
Sonny Bryant billet crank, GRP rods, JE pistons
Displacement
356ci
Camshaft
Fox Lake Power Products custom grind
Heads
Trick Flow high-port, Fox Lake Power Products-ported, Harland Sharp shaft roller rockers, Victory titanium valves, Manley NexTec valvesprings
Intake
Edelbrock Super Victor 8.2 EFI
Throttle body
Accufab 90mm
Power Adder
Pro-Charger F-1R and intercooler, 23 pounds of boost
Exhaust
Kooks headers modified by Matt Wirt Race FAB Engineering, DynoMax Bullet mufflers
Transmission
TCI Pro-X Powerglide, Ultimate Converter stall converter, and TCI Outlaw shifter
Rearend
Team Z Motorsports 8.8, Strange Engineering axles and spool, Motive Gear3.73 gears

Electronics
Engine Management
Fast XFI
Ignition/
MSD 7531 Programmable Digital 7, Denso spark plugs
Gauges
Auto Meter full-sweep electric, tied into Auto Meter 17-channel datalogger