Marc Christ Associate Editor
November 1, 2009
Photos By: Steve Baur

To hold everything up in the front, John chose Moroso drag springs and Lakewood 90/10 struts. In the rear, stock springs supported by a set of Lakewood 50/50 shocks assist traction, and a Competition Engineering sway bar helps prevent body roll. Then, John installed a pair of UPR adjustable lower control arms to obtain maximum traction for wheels-up launches.

John left the interior mostly stock, with the exception of safety equipment and instruments. A Competition Engineering 10-point rollcage and five-point harness keep him safely enclosed and NHRA-legal. Dash-mounted Auto Meter gauges report engine conditions, and deviously hidden in the console are the nitrous controls. A Hurst Quarter Stick allows John to rip through the gears on the track and the street.

Nitrous oxide controls are cleverly hidden in the console.

Lucky for John, his hometown of Palmetto, Florida, is a mere 20-minute drive from Bradenton Motorsports Park, where he competed in the True Street event at NMRA's '09 season opener. Fuel system failure prohibited him from finishing, but an improved setup is in the works. His best elapsed time to date is 9.92 seconds at over 135 mph. On the chassis dyno, the Merc put down a ground-pounding 430 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque on the juice, but John feels the converter is too loose to get an accurate reading. Regardless, that's not bad for a stock-block 331.

"I know the car has more in it, but good blocks are not budget friendly," John tells us. "I won't get rid of it, so I will keep making it faster." With the addition of a Boss 302 block in the future, John has his sights set on low 9s. Never satisfied, we know John and his non-stereotypical Mercury will continue to rise to the top.