K.J. Jones
April 8, 2006
What more can we say? Dart Machinery (248) 362-1188; www.dartheads.com, with its Iron Eagle line of 302 and 351W race blocks (8.2-, 8.7-, and 9.5-inch deck heights), has emerged in the last two years as the undisputed leader throughout the entire all-Ford drag-racing scene when it comes to the engine blocks found in almost every class where aftermarket engine blocks are permitted. Iron Eagles are made of superior iron alloy and are available in bore sizes of 4.000 (standard) and 4.125. Each block features five splayed, four-bolt main caps, and 8.2/8.7s have a standard-302/2.249 main-journal diameter and 9.5-deck blocks take a Cleveland/2.749 main bearing. Super-stout cylinder walls support a 0.185 overbore. That kind of durability is exactly what a racer needs to produce max power with a naturally aspirated or power-adder-assisted small-block. It makes no difference whether you're new to the hard-core racing game or an old vet-when it comes to building a powerplant for your 'Stang, Dart has proven to be a winner.

Horse Sense: There currently are two major sanctioning bodies dedicated to hard-core, Ford-only and Mustang drag racing: The National Mustang Racers Association and Fun Ford Weekend series. These groups, as well as several other fastest-street-car/door-slammer-style drag-racing organizations nationwide, are the lifeblood for those who are addicted to racing hard-core, heavy-hitting 'Stangs in various heads-up classes.

Here's the deal: You want to go Mustang racing. You've got a car, you've got a plan and, in a perfect world, you've even got a full-house sponsorship deal and are set up with enough cubic dollars to get you through five seasons of hard-core, heads-up drag racing-let alone one year. You're pumped and you think you're ready to play the game on a serious level. That's great! We should all be so luc... CUT!

Stop the melodramatic music-let's get real here. Our world will probably never be that perfect, especially when it comes to the Sportsman level of racing we're involved with-really, on a grand scale, even Pro 5.0 racers are still sportsmen of sorts. By their own admission, while their cars and equipment are all major-dollar, the spoils-when there are spoils-of racing victories are not paying the bills. Sure, sanctions such as the National Mustang Racers Association and Fun Ford Weekend have grown to become the premiere series for heads-up and bracket-style 'Stang drag racing, but they're still pseudo-professional, since most competitors have day jobs, families, and lifestyles that make it all but impossible to compete on a fulltime, all-I-do-is-race basis.

But the question is, what does it take and what do you need to go racing at this high level? Dedication, time, and the all-important money are the obvious requirements, but they're certainly not the only ones a race program needs. We thought it would be interesting to give current and potential racers and Mustang-racing fans a look at some of the parts, tools, and racing equipment we think are essential for being in the hard-core 'Stang-racing game-from the entry-level, Open Comp classes all the way to Pro 5.0.

We've compiled this broad-ranging synopsis of trick pieces-some common and some not so common-that are offered for today's serious Mustang racer. When we say "serious" Mustang racer, we're not ranking one type of racer over another. We're simply referring to the guys and ladies who battle for glory on the NMRA, FFW, or other heads-up circuits each season, from the entry-level classes to the pro categories. Our selections were based on many of the products we hear about or see at industry trade shows, in the manufacturers' midway at race events, on Mustang enthusiasts' Web sites, and from conversations with hard-core racers themselves.

Contrary to widespread belief, not all hard-core race Mustangs are run with fuel injection. These two carburetors by Barry Grant (706) 864-8544; www.barrygrant.com-the 750-cfm Race Demon DR (drag race) shown here and the 1050-cfm King Demon DR pictured below-are two examples of the parts you need if carburetion is more your speed.

Hard-core racers bust their butts and their wallets each year in their quests to get it done. By considering and investing in some of the parts, tools, and racing equipment discussed here, we believe a racer will have an easier go at achieving the main objective, which is, of course, winning! We're not saying one piece carries more importance than another. This is not a ranking, but rather a rundown of what we believe is a variety of some of the true, must-have items for a racing program to gain an edge.

We encourage anyone to make a move into the Mustang-racing madness. And to those already involved, keep up the great work. Hard-core 'Stang racing is hot right now and the action can't be beat. As you take your plunge into this insane world, remember that racing isn't cheap. Establish a solid plan and make good investments in parts and equipment. Hopefully, some or all of the products featured in this rundown will help put you on the right track for success when you go racing at the NMRA/FFW "big-dog" level.

Note: It's important that you consult a sanctioning body's rule book before purchasing some of these parts or any hard-core performance part for your race 'Stang. Never assume that a part deemed legal for one class or organization is going to be accepted by others.

The Race Demon directly replaces 4150-style carbs and is well suited for stroker 302 and 351-based Ford engines, while the King Demon ably fills in for Dominator-style units that are commonplace on the naturally aspirated and nitrous big-block combinations found in Pro 5.0.