Evan Smith
November 21, 2014

Since moving to Florida five years ago I've had some amazing experiences and made wonderful friends. While I left my home track, Englishtown Raceway Park, and most of my family back in New Jersey, I've enjoyed being 45 minutes from the NMRA Spring Break Shootout, the 24/7 sun (save for when it rains), and being relieved of snow-shoveling duties.

And while my golf game has improved by a healthy amount of strokes, racing my personal Mustang has suffered. I shouldn't be complaining, considering the insane opportunities that have come my way. I've raced Mustangs in the Chump Car series at Daytona, won class with Jeff Lacina in the grueling 2012 One Lap Of America in a Roush Stage 3, and served as test driver for Ford Racing in the Cobra Jet program. Bongiovanni Racing was kind enough to place me behind the wheel of its CJ Mustangs, and we even brought home a few wins for the team.

But all through it, my own NHRA Stock Eliminator Mustang has sat idle.

The excitement and questions that have come my way have me chompin’ to resurrect the Fox.

I've toyed with the idea of selling it—man, I hate to see it collecting dust. My racer friend Jack Matyas says not to fall in love with sheetmetal, but it's too late. I've owned the '87 LX 5.0 since December 1987 and it's actually been a big part of my career. I drove it to college, raced it practically every Friday night that E-Town was open—it was even stolen twice and recovered. In 1995 it officially became known as MM&FF's Project Stocker and, in its prime, took home numerous NHRA Class Wally trophies and set a few NHRA national records as well. Configured for NHRA Stock, the 5.0 H.O. went 11.80s at 112 mph.

In 1997 we converted the Ford Mustang to 1993 Cobra specs. That change allowed us to run GT-40 heads, 0.480-inch lift cam, roller rockers, Cobra intake, and a 65mm throttle body. Though I struggled in the beginning with the clutch and tune, ultimately the combination produced a 10.65 at 123 mph. That run came at Maple Grove Raceway at just under 3,000 pounds with me in the seat. Not bad for a basic small-block with mostly stock parts. But credit goes to Jim Kuntz of Kuntz and Company for the engine and Jimmy LaRocca for the tune. In fact, last time it was out, Project Stocker qualified number one at the NHRA Gatornationals.

Despite being parked for a few years, the Mustang remains popular, getting many "likes" on Facebook and Instagram when I post pictures. The excitement and questions that have come my way have me chompin' to resurrect the Fox. The question is do I pick up where I left off running the Cobra combination, or do I try something different like Coyote Stock, or NHRA Super Stock? The options are endless. Lastly, do I repaint or just clean up the classic Stocker paint scheme? EJS