Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
October 30, 2015
Photos By: Ford Performance

The Ford Performance Cobra Jet dominance continued in Las Vegas at the NHRA Mello Yellow Toyota Nationals as Kevin Skinner captured his second Factory Stock Showdown victory of 2015. Skinner, driving a 2014 supercharged Cobra Jet, qualified mid-pack, but diced through the tough field to secure an undefeated record for the Ford Mustang in Showdown action this year. The win comes just days before the expected release of the 2016 Cobra Jet at the SEMA show.

“The Vegas Factory Stock Showdown win gives Kevin two on the season, his first being Englishtown,” said Jesse Kershaw of Ford Racing. “Bo Butner won the other two in Gainesville and Indy. These guys are MVP’s for the Cobra Jet brand and Factory Showdown,” Kershaw added.

The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown is made up of modern muscle cars, including the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, Dodge Drag Pak Challenger and Chevrolet COPO Camaro. The Showdown consists of either FS/XX (supercharged) or FS/X (naturally aspirated) classes with exciting heads-up action. Racers first battle within their respective class, then the finalists meet to determine the Factory Stock Showdown championship. To equalize the n/a and supercharged cars, the final race uses a handicapped start with indexes determined by each racer’s best e.t. But there is no breakout, the first one to cross the finish line is the winner.

Skinner got off to a strong start at The Strip at Las Vegas, defeating Chuck Watson in Round 1, while Chris Holbrook got a bye, and former U.S. Nationals winner Bruno Massel beat Gary Coe with his blown COPO Camaro.

In Round 2, Massel ran a shut-off 8.81 on a single, and Skinner used a .002 light and an 8.61 elapsed time score a holeshot win over Holbrook, who ran 8.57 at 157 mph.

Both Massel and Skinner were ready for the FS/XX class final—Massel ripped a .015 light but Skinner was quicker with a .010 bulb. The COPO marched to a strong 8.68 at 156 mph, Skinner’s CJ charged to a wickedly fast 8.64 at 150 mph to win the FS/XX category.

Showdown standout Bo Butner, who captured the first two Showdown wins of 2015, drove his all-motor CJ to the FS/X final, but a -.001 redlight handed the win to David Barton and his quick Challenger. This set up the Skinner vs. Barton Factory Stock Showdown championship match.

With the handicapped indexes locked in (8.99 for Barton and 8.61 for Skinner), the Dodge driver launched first, but he did so with an unusually late .125 light. Skinner moved with a .092 and poured the coals to his Holbrook-built 5.0 Coyote engine. The powerful CJ ran 8.59 at 155 mph to clip Barton, who ran 8.97 at 148 mph. This gave Skinner his second FSS championship of the year. Skinner’s previous win came against a tough field at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, better known as Englishtown when he beat Bo Butner in an all CJ Final.

The win also secured a clean sweep for Ford and the Cobra Jet Mustang of the four NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events. “Ford had an amazing year against some great racers, and all credit goes to our teams for making it happen, I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication,” Kershaw added.