Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
February 1, 2005
Photos By: Steve Turner

A few years ago, UPR's Mark Mainiero was quoted as saying, "If it wasn't for 5.0 Mustangs, I would still be racing Pontiacs." Well, we're fairly sure that's how the quote went. One thing we do know is that every Mustang drag racer wishes Mark would've stuck with the wide-track cars because once he got his hands on a 5.0 Mustang, it was on.

Mark's son, Joe, was insanity behind the wheel, both on the track and running from the local South Florida authorities. With Mark's mechanical genius and Joe's never-lift attitude, the two were seemingly unbeatable both on the street and at the track.

Unlimited Performance quickly earned a reputation for building fast Mustangs. At every Fun Ford Bradenton race in the '90s, it seemed Joe was at the wheel of some wicked, new Unlimited Performance creation. The twisted launch told you the car was serious, as if you didn't already know.

Then there was Willie Figueroa, who must've become bored winning so often at the wheel of Unlimited's Lightning (remember that one?) and "the red car," as it was simply known. And Bart Tobener was highly successful in his Renegade days, winning a string of consecutive races split between the Fun Ford and NMRA races. But possibly the least famous of the three is UPR's latest racer and driver of this red car-Jeremy Martorella.

We say "possibly the least famous" about Jeremy because he hasn't been the one driving the previous red UPR GT to three straight WFC Wild Street victories while running mid- to low-8s. That was Willie's best work. And Jeremy wasn't the one in 2002 who used to hammer his EFI Renegade competition even with a faulty computer that would make the car intermittently shut off while going down the track, and still run 9.0s. That was Bart's talent.

We're not saying Jeremy's not equally as talented as the other guys. It's just that his focus has been on Fun Ford Weekend's Trophy Stock-now Street Warrior-class. In true UPR fashion, Jeremy dominated the class, winning the championship three years in a row from 2001 to 2003. He also raced in NMRA's 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords-sponsored Real Street class in 2002, finishing third in points. Jeremy's next trick was to jump in the EFI Renegade car formerly owned by Bart Tobener (Mark Mainiero purchased the car from Bart), run three races, and finish eighth in points.

Stepping into the seat of Bart's car was no easy task for two reasons. First, it was a second faster than Jeremy's Street Warrior car. Second, Bart is 6'4" and Jeremy is 5'8" with his racing heels on, so he needed help to see over the hood for those first few races. One of the changes made to the car for 2004 was to move the Kirkey racing seat forward 6 inches and in a more upright position so Jeremy doesn't mimic many of his fellow South Florida residents who are unable to see over the steering wheel.

The most obvious change to the car is its paint. Built by Bart, the car wore basic black for a long time. Later, graphics were added to the front, but the car was still a basic GT body style. For its new rendition, Joe Mainiero required the Mustang to be equally at home on the show field as it was on the dragstrip. The car had to showcase what UPR is all about these days-a combination of go-fast goodies and billet accessories.

Even with Bart's success in the car, Mark Mainiero knew he had to step things up for 2004. Always in communication with LaRocca's Performance, he discovered Jimmy LaRocca had a Kuntz & Co.-built complete 306 for sale, so he snapped it up and threw it in the car for the new season. The combination of Jimmy's EFI Renegade success and having a Kuntz engine helped seal the deal for Mark. The power adder of choice for the car is an ATI-ProCharger F1C supercharger.

As is the UPR custom, the car made its debut at the first race of the NMRA's '04 season at Bradenton. Right out of the gate, it did exactly what it was supposed to by being competitive and garnering a lot of attention, especially from racing fans. Jeremy claimed the title as having the fastest '03 Cobra in the country, except that it's not an '03 Cobra. It seems people kept coming up to him saying, "Nice '03 Cobra." Jeremy and the crew have even been invited to match race against real '03 Cobras, only to be uninvited when it's discovered how fast the car is and that it's not an '03 Cobra

For his next trick, Jeremy needs to find more time to dedicate to making the car faster, but if UPR has anything to say about it, this car will be tricking the competition soon enough.

Block Dart
Displacement 306 ci
Rotating Assembly FRPP crankshaft,
Crower rods, Ross pistons
Cylinder Heads Edelbrock Victor Jr.
(Kuntz & Co.–ported), Jesel rockers
Camshaft Comp Cams,
Big and Round–spec
Intake Manifold Holley SysteMAX II
(Kuntz & Co.–ported)
Throttle Body Accufab 75mm
Mass Air Pro-{{{M}}} 80mm, UPR Big Mouth filter
Power Adder ATI-ProCharger F1C
Exhaust Kooks headers and mufflers
Fuel System Weldon fuel pump
and regulator, UPR rails, 160-lb/hr injectors
Transmission Dynamic Racing
Transmissions C4, TCT 5,{{{600}}}-stall
converter, B&M shifter
Rearend Mark Williams 8.8,
Moser spool and axles
Engine Management EPEC
Ignition Crane, Moroso plug wires,
NGK plugs
Gauges Auto Meter
Front Suspension
K-Member UPR tubular
A-Arms UPR tubular
Springs QA1
Struts Koni
Wheels Bogart
Tires Mickey Thompson Front Runners
Brakes Wilwood, Hawk pads
Rear Suspension
Springs UPR
Shocks QA1
Traction Devices UPR Pro-Series rear
suspension kit
Wheels Bogart
Tires Mickey Thompson E/T Drag
Brakes Wilwood
Chassis Stiffening Demon Motorsports
cage and subframe connectors