The winter was longer and colder than usual here in central PA and at CJ Pony Parts. Everyone on the Gotta Have Builds team was anxiously awaiting the warmer weather, which we knew was going to bring us to the first local NMRA race at the Maryland International Raceway (MIR) in southern Maryland. Bill and Rick jumped at the chance to race CJ’s two 2013 Mustang GTs, Gotta Have It Race and Gotta Have It Street, in the NMRA’s Roush Super Stang class.
On Friday morning, May 3, Bill and Rick started the typical three hour ride to MIR, which took over five hours that day, thanks to traffic and construction. They hauled Gotta Have It Race on the trailer and drove Gotta Have It Street to the event. Once they arrived at the track, they met up and pitted with longtime friend and racer Bob Cochran and the 1948 Ford Flatbed Truck that he races in the Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning class. The Gotta Have Builds team also shared a pit area with CJ Pony Parts’ friend/customer Bob Schaeffer and his turbo V6 Mustang. Bill and Rick quickly prepped the cars and went through registration and tech to get ready to race.
At 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, the lanes opened for a test-n-tune session. Both Bill and Rick wanted to get a handful of test runs in so they could practice on the .500 pro tree. Rick needed all the practice that he could get, as he didn’t manage to make a single clean pass until Bill reminded him to turn off traction control. After a few more passes during test and tune, Rick’s best reaction time was just a .132 and Gotta Have It Street’s best time was 13.03 @ 111.24 MPH. Bill only made a couple of passes and was having some issues dialing in the car on the radial tires required by the class. With his best test and tune pass of 11.43 @ 121.42 with a 1.41 reaction time, it was time for qualifying.
First round of qualifying was on Friday night and started at 7 p.m. Once late afternoon came around, the temperature and DA started dropping and was making for some fast passes. Rick finally had a nice clean pass and Gotta Have It Street went 12.68 @112.18 MPH. Rick even cut a decent light with a .077 off the line. Bill and Gotta Have It Race ran an almost identical 11.44 @ 121.28 MPH with a .078 reaction time, which was not as fast as we have been running; however, it was consistent, which is how you go rounds in SST.
The second and third rounds of qualifying didn’t start until Saturday afternoon. Rick and Gotta Have It Street’s best pass was a 12.50 @ 112.87 MPH with a .094 light. That was the highest MPH ever for Gotta Have It Street and only .01 from its best ever time. The previous bests were set with the much lighter Racestar Dark Star drag wheels, so 12.50 @ 112.87 is very impressive for a car that had a race weight of over 4000lbs with an Eibach coilover road race suspension, huge Ford Racing SVTPP wheels and massive SSBC brakes and only a JLT intake, SCT XCAL3 tuner and Roush exhaust helping it make more power.
In the second and third rounds of qualifying, Bill was fighting clutch issues with Gotta Have It Race. The radial tires require a different launch than a slick; for example, when you dump the clutch, they tend to spin. The second qualifier was a 11.73 at only 117.02 MPH, which was way off what it had been running before. The low MPH was an issue. Bill decided to cool the clutch way off and add a little air to the back tires for the third qualifier. Bill had a .085 light and the changes worked as Gotta Have It Race ran another 11.43 @ 120.08 and was dialed in for Sunday’s eliminations.
The first round of eliminations for the Roush Super Stang class started bright and early Sunday morning, at 9 a.m. Rick decided on a 12.70 dial-in for Gotta Have It Street, while Bill went with an 11.50 dial-in on Gotta Have It Race. Both dial-ins were slower than each car’s best runs, but Bill and Rick wanted to leave a little bit of margin for error. If they made it past the first round, the remainder of the eliminations were to be during the middle of the afternoon, meaning it would be warmer and the track would be slower. The morning air was cool and crisp and many other competitors had been breaking out and running under their dial-ins.
Rick and Gotta Have It Street were first up and paired against Larry Firestone, who finished 5th in last year’s championship. Rick got the advantage at the starting line with a .061 reaction time compared to Larry’s .099. Rick led the race through the finish line and both racers broke out running faster than their dial-in. Larry was closer to his dail-in with a 11.471 on his 11.50, while Rick ran a 12.644 on his 12.70 dail-in. This gave the win to Larry by the very small .0275 second margin.
Bill and Gotta Have It Race were only a few cars behind Rick, and he was lined up against Marco Ponce Jr. who finished 4th in points in 2012. Bill and Marco have a friendly rivalry between our 2013 GHIR and his 2012 Real Deal Boss; our car has been quicker down the quarter mile, but Marco beat us last time we ran heads up. Bill dialed-in an 11.50 to Marco’s 11.53, so it was all but a heads up race. Marco got the starting line advantage with a .053 to Bills .129 light. However, Bill made up the ground immediately, and both cars went down the track door handle to door handle. Going through the traps, both drivers lifted but Marco let off a little sooner running 11.56 on his 11.53 dial-in at only 120 mph instead of his usual 125. Bill broke out with an firstname.lastname@example.org, a little slower than the 121-122 it was running in similar air.
Both Bill and Rick were consistent but choosing the right dial is what makes SST so tough. We had a great weekend with lots of customers coming up to see the cars and check out some of the modifications they saw us do in our videos. There are still several NMRA races left in the season, so hopefully we get a chance to go out and avenge our first round losses!
After a long winter, spring has finally arrived and everyone on the Gotta Have Builds team was excited to finally be able to get Gotta Have It Race down to the track for some much needed quarter mile therapy. On Saturday, April 20, JLP Performance’s Ford Shootout became the first drag racing event of the year. See how the team did…
Last November, Bill and Gotta Have It Race were able to run consistent 11.1-11.2 passes with a best of 11.05 seconds at 123 MPH on a cold day with mine shaft air at Cecil County Dragway. Back in November, Gotta Have It Race was on Hoosier slicks and managed a 1.52 60 foot time. Since then, the team has added about 100 lbs. of weight in the form of a Maximum Motorsports 6 point roll bar and changed the shocks out for a set of Lakewood 50/50 drag shocks.
Early in the morning on Saturday, the Gotta Have Builds team gassed up and headed to Cecil County Dragway for JLP Performance’s Ford Shootout. The air was cool, but not as good as the last time out, so Bill wasn’t expecting to break any records and was just looking forward to making some passes and getting some data out of Gotta Have It Race. They arrived at Cecil County and found a nice selection of quality cars already there, so they started getting Gotta Have It Race ready to race.
Their day was almost over before it started when they found a broken valve stem on the front tire, but the team was able to make a temporary repair so Bill could run for the day. They raised the front tires to 45 PSI and dropped the slicks down to 15 PSI, then Bill headed to the line for the first pass of the day. Gotta Have It Race ended up being the first car down the track and Bill had no idea what the prep was like, so he decided to start with a 5000 RPM launch and see what happened. The track had more bite than expected and the tires shook badly, so Bill lifted, then got back in it and went 11.52@122 MPH with a 1.688 60 foot. Given the shake and the lift it was a promising pass.
Bill took Gotta Have It Race back to the pits, cooled the car down and lowered the tire pressure to 13 PSI so the tires would take more hit and hopefully not shake like the first pass. For his next pass, Bill did his usual second gear burnout and brought Gotta Have It Race to the line. The track was working so he went with a 6000 RPM launch and the car hooked better than ever before! His 60 foot was a 1.503, which was very close to the 1.40s that the Gotta Have Builds team was looking for. Three power shifts later and Bill was rewarded with an 11.19@121 MPH, which was pretty much on par with his November passes but in worse air.
The new Lakewood 50/50 drag shocks were working well with our combo, so it was time for a Hail Mary pass. The team let Gotta Have It Race cool down for an hour, then headed to the line with 12 PSI in the tires. Bill did his normal burnout and pulled the line. Caution was thrown to the wind as Bill revved Gotta Have It Race to 7000 RPMs and dumped the clutch. The car left HARD as Bill pulled both wheels off the ground on the way to a 1.501 60 foot. Again, so close to hitting the goal! Everyone felt that Bill should have been bracket racing, since he ran a near identical 11.17@122 MPH, which ended up being the best run of the day. Bill ran several 11.2 passes and had some great runs versus some other 5.0 powered cars.
Overall, it was a good and competitive day at the track. Everyone had a great time at the Ford Shootout and they are certainly looking forward to getting out on the track some more as the 2013 racing season unfolds.
While the Gotta Have Builds team doesn’t quite have their 2013 racing schedule nailed down yet, you can check out the CJ Pony Parts events page, where that information will be posted as soon as it is available.
If you remember, CJ Pony Parts’ Gotta Have It Race 2013 Mustang GT reached 11.05 in it’s last race of the 2012 season, which means it is required to have a major safety upgrade for the 2013 NMRA racing season: A Roll Bar.
NHRA & NMRA rules require roll bars in any car going faster than 11.49, which Gotta Have It Race crossed towards the end of the 2012 racing season. So, to make our Mustang legal for the 2013 season, we decided that it was time to install a new Maximum Motorsports roll bar. While our Gotta Have It Green powdercoated roll bar does look amazing, this upgrade is solely based on safety, which is important as we plan for our racing schedule for 2013.
Our Maximum Motorsports Drag Race Roll Bar not only provides more safety for Bill and Gotta Have It Race, but it also provides additional rigidity to the chassis. It features E-Z Remove style door bars, which help with side impact safety, but also can be removed by popping out two bolts, making it much easier for the driver and passenger to get in and out in non-racing situations. The roll bar’s installation also allows the interior to remain intact, so you can still have a comfortable ride when you’re off the track.
Each of Maximum Motorsports’ Roll Bars come in unfinished, bare metal and bolt onto the chassis, with no welding required. However, the main hoop and rear supports do require welding to conform to NHRA/NMRA rules. After that, for a high quality finish, it’s recommended that the roll bar be painted or powdercoated, then padded on spots that could come in contact with the driver. When we ordered our roll bar, we did have it powdercoated prior to installation and welding, but that was purely for the installation video, as we will be welding the main hoop and rear supports, then re-powdercoating the finished product to make sure everything is installed properly, compliant to NMRA/NHRA rules, and still looks amazing.
In the video, Bill shows us how to install the Maximum Motorsports Roll Bar onto Gotta Have It Race. It’s a pretty complex job, requiring a solid 10 hours of work, assuming you can get some help from a few friends. In nearly 28 minutes, Bill gives a complete overview of the Maximum Motorsports roll bar and walks through each step of the installation, including some of the specific challenges for 2013 Mustang owners.
If you’re involved in NHRA or NMRA racing, or just like to race for fun, this is likely an installation you’ve considered. Hopefully you find it much less intimidating after watching Bill install this on Gotta Have It Race, and you get moving on protecting yourself and your investment in your Mustang as you look towards the 2013 racing season.
Despite the assertion that Gotta Have It Race was done for the year, Bill and the Gotta Have Builds team were determined to see if it had a little more in it and could hit the 11.20s, if everything could go just right.
Bill and Steve headed to chilly Cecil County Dragway on Saturday morning, November 24th. The air temperature was right around 40 degrees when they arrived and did not get much warmer throughout the day. Cold is fast, as long as the track would cooperate and have enough bite. To get the car ready, Bill removed the passenger seat, back seat, and a few other things to take about 75 lbs. out of Gotta Have It Race. The trusty Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials were put on the shelf and Bill mounted a set of Hoosier 28×10 slicks off of his personal car. With the added bite of a full slick, combined with the slight weight reduction, the team was hopeful that Gotta Have It Race might even skip the 11.20s and run in the teens.
For his first pass, Bill lowered the slicks to 12 PSI, did his usual 2nd gear burnout, and pulled to the line. He had been leaving the line at about 4500-5000 RPMs on the drag radials, but since he had full slicks on, he revved to 6200 RPMs and dumped the clutch. The tires bit and then shook as they tried to grab. The shake was so bad that Bill had to lift and practically abort the run, but 12.4 seconds later Gotta Have It Race went across the line at 114 MPH. Bill got the car back to the pits and checked the suspension to make sure the tire shake didn’t hurt anything. Everything looked good, so he let the car cool down for around 20 minutes to prepare for the next pass. After putting in so much time getting the car to work on radials, the team was starting to think the slicks may not have been a good idea.
For the next pass, Bill and Steve raised the tire pressure to 18 PSI to force the tires to spin and planned on a softer 4500 RPM launch, just to get the car down the track and get a time that was similar to what the team was getting on radials. This did the trick, as the car left much smoother with a 1.63 60 foot time. Three clean shifts later, Bill went through the traps in 11.31 seconds at 122 MPH! While it was a new best for Gotta Have It Race, Bill knew there was much more to be had. He had run a 1.59 60 foot on the radials and felt that mid to low 1.5s should be possible with the slicks. The car moved around a bit as well, so it was far from a clean pass.
Bill lowered the air pressure to 15 PSI and lined up next to the Gotta Have Builds team’s friend, Ronnie Reynolds, who was in his fast 2001 GT with a powerful 5.0 coyote under the hood. Bill pulled up, decided to take the leave (meaning the slower car leaves first, with the faster one chasing), dumped the clutch at 6000 RPMs on the first yellow, and took off. Ronnie left 3 tenths of a second later and the race was on.
Bill held off Ronnie’s hard charging 2001 GT for about 1000 feet, but Ronnie caught him in the end. Bill knew Ronnie’s car was capable of hitting 10.80, so he knew he had had a good pass. The time slip gave him the news he wanted to hear: 11.16@123 MPH! As the team had hoped, Gotta Have it Race skipped the 11.20s and went right into the 11.10s! See the video of this pass above!
For his next attempt, Bill tried launching at 6000 RPMs, this time with 13 PSI in the tires, and backed up his last pass with an 11.15@123 MPH with a 1.55 60 foot! The 1.55 was what Bill was looking for, but the car moved around on the shifts, which hurt the ET a bit. The Gotta Have Builds team had met their goals but were still not satisfied, knowing there was a little more to be had. They had started the day hoping for 11.20s and dreaming of 11.10s and now had started thinking “can a basic bolt on 2013 GT run 10s?” It was time for an all or nothing pass.
The team lowered the tire pressure to 13.5 PSI and headed to the lines against good friend and CJ Pony Parts customer, Bob Schaeffer, and his turbo 2005 V6, which had run 11.40 on his last pass. Bill did a big second gear burnout and pulled to the line. Bill stepped on the gas and brought Gotta Have It Race up to 6500 RPMs, with the engine screaming when the light dropped. Gotta Have It Race left with both wheels off the ground, covering the first 60 feet in only 1.53 seconds, the best ever! The 1/8th mile went by in 7.07 seconds and Bill was doing almost 98 MPH. Gotta Have It Race was on the best pass ever as Bill closed in on the stripe. He went through the traps right at 7000 and knew he had run a new best. Bill ignored the return road speed limit and got to the timing shack as fast as possible to grab his slip: email@example.com mph!!!! While it was painfully close to the 10’s, it was still a killer pass for a 3650 lb. bolt-on car.
The Gotta Have Builds team had a great year with their 2013 GT. The best pass when the car was completely stock, having only the Race Stars and drag radials installed, was a 12.05@111 MPH, so it picked up a full second and over 12 mph with just bolt-ons, which is a true testament to how good these new 5.0 motors are. Now it’s time to put Gotta Have It Race away for the winter and get a roll bar installed, so it is 100% legal for whatever next season brings!
One week ago, we posed the question “How Fast will Gotta Have It Race run at the ABM Nats?” and received a huge response from our followers on Facebook and Google Plus on what MPH Gotta Have It Race would hit during one of its last times out for the 2012 race season. Our last blog shared all of the work Gotta Have It Race has had done recently, and the entire team knew it would go faster than the previous best of 11.51@118 MPH.
Last Friday, the Gotta Have Builds team loaded up Gotta Have It Race and headed down to Cecil County Dragway to take part in the 11th Annual ABM Nats, which is run by CJ’s Product Specialist and the regular driver of Gotta Have It Race, Bill Tumas. The ABM Nats are a fun day at the track to remember Andrew “Krimpet” Bauer, a fellow racer who passed away in 2002. Krimpet’s beloved 96 Cobra is always at the event and is always the first car to go down the track.
Since Bill would be starting his day driving Krimpet’s Cobra, he threw the keys to Gotta Have It Race to CJ’s forum/tuning guy, Steve Riss. Steve has attended most of the NMRA events this year as part of the Gotta Have Builds team, handling the photos and video, but never taking the car down the track. He earned his chance today to make a pass in the car he watched through a lens so many times. However, having zero experience in the car, Steve left pretty hard with a 1.77 60 foot time and tripped the clocks with an 11.98@121 MPH, a solid 2 MPH faster than the car had ever run before!
After letting the car cool for 45 minutes, Steve grudgingly returned the keys to Bill, who soon headed to the lanes with Gotta Have It Race. Bill returned the favor and tossed Steve the keys to Krimpet’s Cobra, which he raced the rest of the day. With a more experienced driver behind the wheel of Gotta Have It Race, Bill was expecting great things from the race car. For his first race, Bill was lined up against Bob Shaeffer’s wicked turbocharged 2005 V6 coupe, which runs in the mid 11s, so he knew it would be a good race. Unfortunately, Bob had troubles in the burnout box, so Bill lined up for a solo pass. With nobody to race, Bill made sure the RPMs were right in the sweet spot and dumped the clutch. He got a little wheel spin, then Gotta Have It Race was off with a 1.63 60 foot time. The car shifted beautifully and the slight hesitation on shifts was gone. The scoreboard lit up with an firstname.lastname@example.org MPH, the quickest and fastest pass ever for Gotta Have It Race–see the video above! The entire Gotta Have Builds team was thrilled with the pass, and knew the 1.63 short time left some ET on the table.
Bill tried a more aggressive launch and a few other things, which resulted in several passes in the 11.4-11.5 range. By then, it was getting late in the day and the air was starting to go away but Bill had a grudge to settle with our good friend and CJ’s customer, Scott Lehr, and his 2011 GT500. Both racers have gone back and forth all year at the track and had been smack talking all day. Now it was time to get serious and line them up. Scott’s GT500 had recorded a 11.35@122 MPH earlier so Bill knew we had our work cut out for him.
Bill got a good luck fist bump from Troy, the three year old son of CJ Pony Parts’ Buyer/Product Development guy, Rick Moyer, then headed to the lanes. After side by side burnouts to put some heat in the tires, Bill and Scott pulled to the line. Both drivers were a little anxious and went red, so the race was on for the faster ET. Bill covered the first 60 feet in only 1.59 seconds, his quickest 60 foot ever, and finally got Gotta Have It Race into the 1.5s on the drag radials! Scott was right there with a 1.60 and both cars were door to door. The lighter weight and better gearing of CJ’s 2013 had Bill out in front at the 1/8th mile 7.27 to Scott’s 7.39.
Bill knew the GT500 would probably reel us in a little up top, but he was still out in front at the 1000 foot mark, with the nose of the GT500 right next to our driver door. At that point, Bill was pushing the gas pedal so hard there is probably a dent in the firewall as he watched the nose of the GT500 slowly making up ground as both drivers were heading for the traps. Right at the trap, the GT500 went past us but Bill held on for the win! Bill pulled around and picked up the time slip and, once again, had a new best! Against Scott, Gotta Have It Race recorded a 11.34@118 MPH! Bill’s 1/8th mile ET and MPH were good, but he lost a couple MPH up top, probably due to the weather, as the GT500 ran a couple MPH off as well with an 11.46@119 MPH.
It was a GREAT race and a GREAT event to end our racing season…..maybe. Cecil County Dragway is open for a few more weeks and the Gotta Have Builds team still feels 11.20s are possible. Plus, Scott wants a rematch. As of now, Gotta Have It Race is the fastest naturally aspirated 2013 GT the team knows of, and isn’t far off of the fastest Stock Longblock 6 speed Coyote ever. The Gotta Have Builds team definitely feels that it’s time to work on some plans to take some weight out of Gotta Have It Race and shoot for 10s next year!