Frank H. Cicerale
October 1, 2008
Photos By: Shaun Strayer
The interior of Mark's Mustang is dressed in no-frills, business-only attire. Most, if not all, of the stock appointments were heaved in the name of safety, speed, and light weight. Sitting in the back seat is the large-by-huge Spearco intercooler, with its plumbing running along the passenger side. Throw in a 25.5 rollcage; a custom-fabbed dash showcasing only the needed switches, controllers, and a RacePak computer, and you can see this car's true purpose.

Once the turbine wheel is spinning, the exhaust is funneled out via a 4-inch exhaust. Supplying the needed high-octane go-juice is a Weldon fuel pump that is regulated to supply pressure to the FAST fuel injection system at 40 psi. Knowing that a strong spark would be needed to light the fire in the combustion chamber, an MSD 10 ignition box, coil, and wires conspire with an MMR distributor drive and NGK TR6 plugs to kick off the combustion process under boost figures ranging from 26 to 41 psi. Chilling things out beforehand is a Spearco intercooler. All told, the powerplant was dynoed at 1,781 rwhp at 26 psi of boost and a mind-bending 2,108 rwhp at 41 psi.

With so much power on tap, it was only natural that the rest of the car and its attending drivetrain be upgraded to rock-star status. This began with the trans that would reside in the trans tunnel, as there's no way the stock tranny would fit behind the turbocharged mod monster. A "top secret" Neal Chance converter resides in front of the Mike's Transmission 2,500hp Monster Glide two-speed GM derived slushbox. The fluid is kept cool thanks to an intercooler bathed in ice, and the power runs to the back end via a carbon-fiber shaft. Under the hind end of this Pony, a Strange 9-inch Ford can be found, filled with Strange 40-spline axles, a spool, and 2.91 gears.

Next on the checklist was the suspension, as without a complete overhaul, this Pony wouldn't have a prayer of getting the power to the ground. Forward of the firewall, Granatelli tubular upper and lower A-arms and a K-member conspire with AJE struts to throw the weight rearward upon launch. Putting the heavy S197 on a bit of a diet, as well as aiding in front-end upheaval, is a manual steering-rack conversion. Aft of Mark's seated position in the cabin, the conventional suspension system was deep-sixed in favor of a drag-race-specific setup featuring Strange shocks and MMR's adjustable ladder bar and custom wishbone pieces. The nasty little Mustang hangs Mickey Thompson ET Drag skinnies up front, and wrinkles the sidewalls of the Mickey Thompson 28x10.5 ET Drags rearward. The hoops wrap around Weld's Magnum 2.0-style rims. Poking out through the spokes of the wheels are the Wilwood disc brakes located on all four corners. The binders are aided and abetted thanks to a pair of Simpson parachutes, while wheelie bars keep the front end from landing on the moon when the hammer is dropped.

The factory bonnet was set aside in favor of a 4-inch cowl fiberglass hood, and sitting on the rear decklid is a custom Skinny Kids Race Cars sheetmetal wing, which, at the speeds this Pony will be traveling, is a necessity. With elapsed times expected to be well into the 7-second zone, the interior was turned into a business-only office. The fabricated aluminum tubes that run to and from the intercooler sitting in the rear seat funnel through the passenger-side firewall and former seat location. The door panels were gutted and covered with black carpet, and the stock gauges were replaced with a RacePak computer with a dashboard readout. The center dash tower, which formerly housed the radio and HVAC controls, now has the needed switches, MSD RPM select controller, and boost controller taking up residence. The glovebox can't be opened because the FAST engine-management system resides there. Before each quarter-mile blast, Mark settles into a Kirkey race seat covered in black material, and pulls down tight on the Simpson five-point harness. Keeping things legal is the custom MMR 25.5 rollcage