Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
October 19, 2010
Photos By: Paul Rosner

We've heard the term "sports widow," meaning the husband dedicates so much time to a certain sport throughout the season that the wife feels abandoned. Though NMRA racer Dave Ginter would count himself a big sports fan, his wife, Kristy, would be considered a drag racing widow. The joke between Dave and Kristy is once the NMRA racing season starts in March, she jokingly says, "Ok, see ya in October." Luckily for Dave, their anniversary is in late October so it's the perfect to unwind and enjoy quality time with Kristy. Dave says October is "when my friends and family get to see me."

However, from March to October, Dave stays busy working on this '98 Cobra, which he races in NMRA Real Street competition. Dave bought the car as a roller. The previous owner wanted to build it into a full drag car, but he didn't have the heart to cut up the 26,000-mile gem. Dave did-so he bought it, stripped it, and cut it into a race car.

A week after purchasing the Cobra, it was stripped and on the way to Team Z Motorsports for a rollcage and suspension additions. Dave sent pictures of the car in its stripped condition to the previous owner. "He took it really well," Dave says. In Dave's defense, he wouldn't have cut the Cobra if it was totally original, so don't punch Dave in the teeth the next time you see him. The original engine was long gone, so originality was out the window. Still, the roller set Dave back $9,000, but once he stripped it and sold off the stock parts he didn't need, Dave was only into the car for about $4,000.

Playing around with rare cars is nothing new to Dave, as the car that basically caused all this was his '01 Saleen. Dave had a lot of fun going to the track with the Saleen, which boasted a Four-Valve conversion with a ProCharger hanging off the front. Because of the fun he had at the dragstrip, Dave wanted to take his fun nationwide. If it was fun at home, just think of the fun it would be traveling all over creation to race at different dragstrips in a national series.

Or so Dave thought. After looking at potential classes, he kept coming back to the NMRA's Real Street class since it was close to what he was already running with his Saleen. He ran a Modular engine with a ProCharger in the Saleen; the top man in the class, Tim Matherly ran the same basic combo, albeit in Two-Valve form.

When Dave set out to actually do the deal, he started doing his homework on who to work with to accomplish his racing goals. One of his first phone calls was to Team Z Motorsports in Flat Rock, Michigan. Team Z owner Dave Zimmerman is one of the go-to guys in the Mustang community for rollcage construction and suspension set up. "The first time I talked to Dave Z., it was apparent how knowledgeable he was. The fact that he was going to be at the races played a big part in why I chose Team Z," Dave says. With Dave Z. at the track, Dave can bounce different ideas off of him, and get his help during those times as well. You'll recognize a theme going here.

When it came time to get the car tuned, Dave's first choice was MV Performance. Obviously, MV's Tim Matherly enjoys tremendous success in Real Street with a ProCharger-boosted Modular combination. Dave knew in order to get to the top he had to rely on those already at the top. Once Team Z had done its job, Dave took the car to MV to have it tuned with an existing Two-Valve, ProCharger-boosted combination under the hood. However, that combination was down on power compared to Tim and Jim Breese's combination, which is also a MV-built combo. After hearing that news, Dave had MV build an engine for the car, and horsepower came up to level with Tim and Jim's cars. Once done, the combo pretty much followed the MV Performance blueprint for Real Street.