Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1985 Mustang - Repeat Offender
NMRA True Street Project
Former MM&FF tech editor Steve Baur, who dreamed up and still owns Repeat Offender, called Friday morning of the race weekend to say he was under the weather and wouldn't be able to drive. Since we're usually busy covering the event, we scrambled to reach our reserve test driver and good friend Tony Gonyon of TunersInc. When we asked him if he could drive for us, he happily accommodated our request. Tony's years of drag racing experience proved priceless, as we spent the first few runs ironing out everything during Friday's test and tune session.
Driver in-hand, we passed tech with flying colors. On the first run during time trials, Tony familiarized himself with the car, the transmission, and our pushbutton-shifting situation. Back in the pits after the low-11-second run, Tony said that the engine seemed to be misfiring. Puzzled, we began pulling spark plugs, only to find all of them fouled--presumably from only running the engine long enough to drive in and out of the shop and onto the trailer over the past months.
On Tony's pit cart, we searched out spark plugs and stumbled upon the Emmett Head Performance crew. The Georgia-based company had plenty of plugs to choose from, and spared a set of Autolites for our not-running-so-good notchback. The guys even let us use a gapper and antiseize. We popped the plugs in and it was back to the staging lanes.
A few passes in the 10.90s and 10.80s helped build our confidence, but Tony informed us that the 4-5 up-shift was lazy. With the help of our guy at TCI, Scott Miller, we used the FAST 6X EZ-TCU to adjust the “6X Overlap” function, thus eliminating the shift flare. Tony requested a shift light, so we simply programmed the tachometer to light up red at 6,500 rpm, a feature of the Auto Meter Competition Series.
Another problem we were having was crankcase pressure. Since we don't have a PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system, pressure in the crankcase was pushing the dipstick out about 4 inches and forcing oil out of our breather caps. Back on the cart, we went straight to the UPR Products display on the manufacturers' midway. There, we found a billet oil catch can to which we could attach two hoses. We installed the can, solving all of our problems--or so we thought.
On Saturday, before the True Street meeting and subsequent cruise, Tony had the chance to make another time trial. On this run, a nut fell onto Tony's foot from under the dash. We took a quick look, but couldn't determine its origin. Unalarmed, we continued. We later found (after the competition) that the nut held the brake pedal pivot bolt to the brake pedal assembly. Thankfully, it stayed in place. Sorry for the scare, Tony.
On the street, Repeat Offender did wonderfully. Everything stayed cool, fuel consumption was low, and it was even quiet enough for Tony to carry on a conversation with his wife, Sherry, who rode with him on the cruise. Remember, this was its first time on the street, and it made its way back without a hitch.
During the competition, the weather was hot and humid. There was a slight headwind, but we didn't really care--our car was making its debut. Runs one and two yielded a 10.96 and a 10.95, respectively. But instead of backing it off a little to try for the 11-second win, we told Tony to go all out and try for a spot in the Spring Break Shootout set for the following day. Unfortunately, the trans was starting to get hot and flared on the 3-4 upshift. The run wasn't wasted, though, and resulted in a 12.59, making our average 11.50. Not bad for its first time in competition, and certainly a good place to start its racing career.