Michael Galimi
September 11, 2006

"I will go 7.20s and over 200 mph on drag radials," proudly proclaims David Wolfe, builder and driver of the Ken Nelson-owned '89 Mustang LX that has set the drag radial world on fire. If you heard those words come out of anyone else's mouth, you'd probably laugh, but David is deadly serious and well on his way to backing up that bold claim. He showed his hand with a 7.40 at 197 mph at World Ford Challenge 9-and that was on the "small" Mickey Thompson drag radial tires with a single turbo. Soon he'll use the "big" drag radials and a set of twin turbos.

Now that we have your attention, we'll let you in on a little secret: The parts used to build this stock suspension superstar were pulled off the shelf at Wolfe Race Craft (www.wolferacecraft.com). The company has been responsible for the world's quickest and fastest stock suspension Mustangs since 2000, when David worked his mojo on Job Spetter Jr.'s world-championship notchback. He also worked his magic on Dwayne Gutridge's seven-second, barrier-breaking, drag radial Mustang.

Each year competitors rely on Wolfe suspension components to set records and win championships. So what prompted David to build this car and race it himself? "I wanted to show the drag community that you can go really fast with stock-style suspension. I have always told everybody that a properly done stock suspension was as fast as any ladder bar or four-link." David put up rather than shut up with his claims, and this car proves his point.

Over the winter of 2004/2005, David's buddy Ken Nelson had a half-finished Mustang and the itch to go racing. He yanked the car from another shop and dropped it off at Wolfe Race Craft to get "the full treatment." That meant David had total control over the project. Ken gave him one instruction-build a winner, no excuses. David wouldn't have it any other way.

The first order of business was safety, so the company's 25.5-certified rollcage kit was welded into place. Next was a set of upper and lower control arms that attach to fortified mounting points on the unibody. The other side of the control arms attach to a nine-inch housing. David welded in his double antisway bar to keep the rear from shifting under extreme launches, tire shake, or from the demented power put out by the engine. Some applications call for a single antisway bar, but David reserves his double antisway bar setup for Stangs making a lot of horsepower, like this one.

Anthony Jones Engineering K-member and A-arms make up a bulk of the front suspension, while QA1 provided the adjustable front struts and stock-style rear shocks-no true coilover rear shocks on this race car. The shocks were moved inward to make room for the various-sized tires used on this Mustang. The rear meats fit nicely under the body thanks to the Wolfe mini-tub kit.

With the assortment of bars in place, it was time to start adding the "go" to the equation. Hans Feustel Racing Engines was selected to build a potent small-block Ford engine, though turbocharging would help feed the 382ci mill. A Dart block houses a Lunati 3.750-inch steel crankshaft, low-compression JE pistons (4.030-inch bore), and Carrillo steel rods, while a Canton oil pan covers things up and contains the oil. The upper end has a super-top-secret solid roller camshaft from Turbo People and a pair of TFS Twisted Wedge R heads (ported by Hans Feustel Racing Engines). David converted an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold to an EFI setup. A Wilson 105mm throttle body is bolted to a custom sheetmetal elbow. All ignition compo-nents are from MSD.

At the time of the 7.40-second blast, the Stang wore a single turbocharger, but a second compressor is being added. The single-turbo setup features Kooks Custom Headers that feed a monster Turbonetics 106mm turbo unit. With Job Spetter Jr. at the controls of the DFI Gen 7 engine management, the 106mm spools up instantly and makes 27 psi. The engine produces an estimated 2,250 hp. An aftercooler from Turbo People chills the boost and helps produce those proud ponies. A pair of Turbonetics 88mm turbos and a new header system from Kooks is being fitted and will be finished later this season. The combination is virtually identical to what most Outlaw 10.5 racers are running, and should make 2,400 or so horsepower.

David can pick from an assortment of tires depending on which type of event he attends. For WFC, he ran 325/50-15 M/T drag radials, but he runs the M/T 315/60-15 for Outlaw Drag Radial racing. When running at local events in the Limited Street category (3,200 pounds, real 10.5-inch tires, no wheelie bars), he bolts on a set of M/T 29x10.5-inch tires. The team has set records no matter what class is run with the Mustang. At WFC they ran 7.40 at 197 mph (325/50 size tires), and that was accomplished with a demented 1.30 60-foot time. Those numbers are the quickest and fastest ever for a drag radial-equipped drag car.

As mentioned earlier, the Stang sees a variety of racing action, but is mostly run at local events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. One class the car has dominated is the Texas True Ten 5 series (otherwise known as Limited Street), which is basically an Outlaw 10.5 car with stock framerails and real 10.5-inch slicks. In this trim, the car has gone 4.84 at 154 mph in eighth-mile competition. Weight varies on track conditions and rules, but the Stang tips the scales anywhere from 3,200 to 3,400 pounds. Last year, the team pulled in over $30,000 in winnings, and the car left the state of Texas only once. David pocketed $5,000 from WFC this year, and it looks as if he will better his winnings in 2006.

Winning is a serious business to David, but not more so than proving what he preaches-and he was more than happy to put up rather than shut up.