Michael Johnson Associate Editor
February 11, 2010
Photos By: Tracy Stocker

Horse Sense:
Proving not much would get done without financial and familial support, Jason would like to thank his wife/banker, Wendy, and crewmember/son, Gavin.

The drag racing landscape would look a lot different if not for the Fox Mustang. Back in the late '80s/early '90s, every young male was attracted to a Fox Mustang like Lady Gaga to a freak show. Fast, crude, and inexpensive, the Fox Mustang re-energized every dragstrip with young guys looking to wax whomever was in the other lane, even if it was another Fox Mustang. With the popularity of the Fox Mustang, every Mustang owner goes around with a bulls-eye on the back window-every other performance car on the road wants to beat a Mustang. The same goes for the dragstrip, where Mustangs are the cars to beat.

Jason Hovan either hates to lose, or he just loves drag racing as much as the rest of us. For anyone who lines up against Jason, just know he'll be sprayin' the house down to beat you.

The reason behind Jason building this car is simply because he wanted to. Since the majority of us Mustang guys are in love with a 28x10 1/2-inch slick, Jason wanted the look of a Super Street Outlaw car. Actually, he planned on building a fast street car, but as you can see Jason discovered that once he got started on the car, it was like an out of control snowball. A rollcage turned into 25.5C chassis. A performance engine build turned into a 384ci slice of humble pie with a judicious side of juice. However, I'm getting ahead of myself so let's take a step back.

Apparently an overachiever at everything, Jason graduated high school a year early in 1991. As you know, 1991 was Fox Mustang heyday. Like Usain Bolt in a foot race, the Fox Mustang was way in front of the competition. You couldn't throw a rock without hitting one, and who but a Brand X fan would want to throw rocks at a Fox Mustang. You get the picture, and if you were there it is a glorious memory. Jason was there, and he was in the thick of it.

In 1991, the big news was the introduction of the Pony wheel, arguably one of the nicer Mustang wheel designs. However, Jason was still rocking his old-school four-eye. Like the rest of us, Jason soon got rid of the '86 for a newer Fox. Including this black coupe, Jason has owned five Foxes so he knows a little bit about the legend. With this car, which he's owned over seven years, Jason wanted to take the performance up a notch over his past Fox cars.

He started out at Craig Nolty's C.E.N. Fab Race Cars where his dreams of a 10.5 Mustang took shape. Jason had a clear plan, but at some point that went out the window, and in went a 25.5C-legal chassis. At least Jason won't have to go back and do more work to the car to make it legal, he took care of that in one fell swoop. Jason made sure to keep the rear suspension setup intact so he could still race in stock-suspension classes. "There's nothing that looks cooler than an Outlaw car, but to keep the stock suspension and apply a ton of power to a small tire is what attracted me to a 10.5 car," Jason says.

To provide that ton of power Jason ended up at On The Bumper Performance in Olmstead, Ohio. Jason worked with OTBP's Bill and Al Klein on a 302-based stroker, starting with a Dart 8.2-deck block, an Eagle crank and rods, and Wiseco pistons. All told, the poked and stroked 302 now boasts a stretch-mark-inducing 384 ci. Brother Al worked over a pair of Trick Flow R-series heads to flow over 350 cfm before dropping on an Edelbrock Super Victor intake with a Dale Cubic-modified Holley 850 carburetor.

That's all well and good, but when Jason puts his foot in the water pump, somewhere north of 300 hp joins the party thanks to a Nitrous Express plate system. Since this is a relatively new combination, Jason is hoping for something south of the 9-second zone, which is what the car ran prior to its current form.