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Eight-Second Pony

Time to Give It A Ride

Jefferson Bryant - April 19, 2012 10:00 AM

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I managed to get into the 9s so quickly, I started thinking, well, let’s go for 8s.

There are reasons why Fox-body Mustangs are popular dragsters. They are affordable, lightweight, and going fast is easy.

Jason Flowers of Ponca City, Oklahoma, knows this well. This car is not the first Fox-body he has built or even his first Mustang. From Paxton-powered small-blocks to big-blocks with gobs of nitrous, Jason has built six of them in all. This one started out like many projects, a high-performance street car that morphed into an insatiable quest.

The original plan was to build a nine-second street car that ran on pump gas. At a recent Mid-America Team Shelby Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the ’91 hatchback was running in the upper 9s. That evening, at the midnight drags, Jason slipped past 9.60, which earned him “Bad Boy” status at Tulsa Raceway Park. A Bad Boy is a street legal car with full exhaust that runs under 9.60 in the quarter. Once you earn this, you get free entry to the dragstrip for the rest of the year. The success caught Jason a little off guard. “I managed to get into the 9s so quickly, I started thinking, well, let’s go for 8s,” he said.

To get there, he upped the nitrous feeding the 414 Windsor to 250 horsepower. The SVO motor still runs on pump gas, though it is now E85. Next, he ordered a custom-ground bumpstick from COMP Cams and changed the torque converter. Veteran engine and chassis builder Troy Scott tweaked the suspension. As a result, the Mustang ran 8.96 on the first pass of the season.

A professional paint and body man by trade, Jason handled most of the build himself. He also called on the service of two very good friends of two good friends. Tracy Focht has been something of a crew chief for the Mustang, present for just about every trip to the dragstrip, helping tune and tweak the car. As mentioned, Troy Scott was also very helpful in setting up the car and providing race parts on a budget.

In getting down to the tech specs, the 414 Windsor SVO block was fitted with an Eagle crank and H-beam rods, and 10.6 compression Probe dished pistons. The custom-ground camshaft came from COMP Cams with .268-inch intake/.272-inch exhaust at 0.50-inch lift, with a massive .693-inch intake/.685-inch exhaust lift on a 114-degree centerline. The engine is fed by a pair of AFR 225 aluminum heads with Probe shaft-mount roller rockers, an Edelbrock Super Victor intake, topped with a Quick Fuel 950cfm E85 carb. The ignition is powered by an MSD Digital 6, ProBillet distributor and a Blaster 2 coil. A set of custom-built Kooks headers feed the three-inch crosspipe and bullet mufflers. A NOS fogger system provides the extra 250 horsepower and is controlled by an NOS progressive box. The car runs on both 93 octane and E85. The engine makes 800 horsepower at the rear wheels.

For the drivetrain, there’s a Dynamic X6 C4 transmission to provide the forward action, with an Ultimate Converter Concepts torque converter. The nine-inch converter features 3,200 rpm stall for streetable driving. Out back, the Ford 8.8-inch rear was built with 3.55 gears, 31-spline Strange axles and a spool. A Ford Racing 3½-inch aluminum driveshaft connects the two.

The chassis is built with subframe connectors. UPR caster/camber plates, tubular arms and Strange 10-way shocks (converted to coilover) suspend the front of the car, while UPR adjustable spring perches and more Strange 10-way shocks handle the back end. All told, the Mustang weighs 3,100 pounds with Jason in the driver’s seat.

Wheels and tires are Billet Specialties Street Lites; 15x4 up front, and 15x10 wrapped in 28x10.5s Mickey Thompson ET Drags on the back.

The body is mostly stock with a few mods. The Harwood six-inch cowl lift-off hood has been altered to allow the windshield wipers to work. An SOS sheetmetal wing graces the back of the hatch, and a Stroud parachute rests above the Cobra rear bumper. Being a professional painter, Jason sprayed GM Laser Blue (a Chevy Equinox color), and it is stunning.

To legally run in the 8s, the car needed a 10-point cage, which has been certified to 8.50. A sheetmetal rear firewall ensures the safety of the occupants. A pair of RCI poly racing seats with five-point harnesses hold occupants in place. A triplet of Auto Meter gauges live under the edge of the cowl for easy engine monitoring.

While “eight second runs” and “budget” don’t really work together, Jason estimates that he has a little under 20K in the Fox-body. All he has to do now is enjoy it, one ¼-mile blast at a time. The Mustang has posted its best runs as 5.72 seconds at 124 mph in the 1/8-mile and 8.93 at 152 in the quarter, with a 60-ft time of 1.28.

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