Clash of Clans
The baddest power-adder 5.0-liter machines will battle this season in the NMRA’s Coyote Modified class
By Steve Turner
While the winter has been pretty miserable in many parts of the country, it’s almost time for some Spring Break drag racing action, courtesy of the National Mustang Racers Association. Racers from all over the country will converge on Bradenton Motorsports Park to kick off the season, but there’s one class we’ll be paying special attention to, and that’s the ProCharger-sponsored Coyote Modified class.
A class that pits some Coyote-powered Mustangs with limited power adders in a heads-up battle is plenty to pique our interest. However, in full disclosure, your favorite Ford performance web site —SVTP—is also the presenting sponsor of the class. Part of what drew us to putting our logo on this class is the ever-growing importance of the Coyote engine in our world.
“The Coyote engine is becoming a huge part of NMRA Ford Drag Racing on several fronts. We obviously have two dedicated categories to that engine combination and if you look at other class like American Racing Headers Factory Stock, HP Tuners True Street, and Roush Super ’Stang you can see its relevance in those categories as well,” Mike Galimi, NMRA Race Pages Editor, explained.
“We will even see at least two Coyote-powered cars in Renegade for 2015 as well as our successful Turbo Coyote Shootout. We’ve jumped into it because that is the what the market is demanding, stemming from the performance shops that participate with us to the manufacturers that are sponsors, and most importantly the enthusiast community,” Mike added. “It is a new and exciting platform and we need to accept it. If one were to learn from past mistakes, the NMRA didn’t do enough to embrace the modular platform in the earlier years. Today, if you were to evaluate the engine platforms in competition a rough eyeball estimate puts it at 50/50 or slightly leaning toward the modular platforms—including Coyote—so we have to embrace the technology and give it a home on our racing circuit.”
And, given it a home they have. Last season, the Coyote Modified debuted as a class and cars were flying. The championship points battle came down to the wire at the last race of the season in Bowling Green, Kentucky. That kind of excitement is what you envision when you launch a class showcasing the wonders of modern Ford performance.
As with any racing class, things change in the off-season, and for Coyote Modified, its second season embarks with a new title sponsor in the form of supercharger manufacturer, ProCharger.
“Our attraction to the Coyote Modified class was pretty simple. We absolutely love this motor platform! Ford really knocked it out of the part with these motors, and they really respond well to ProChargers,” Erik Radzins, calibrator and social media pro at ProCharger, said. “Our 2011-14 customers have had absolutely stellar results with our products, and the launch of our 2015 Mustang system has been of to a great start as well.”
“Last year, with such a new class everyone was shaking down their combos and getting in the ‘groove’ so to speak. With this year being a little more settled you have to think the bar is going to be raised, big time,” Erik added. “And it’s proven to not just be a big-money class, as there are some very competitive cars with pretty mild combos that street guys really can relate to. Sponsoring this class really brings a great contrast to other classes we sponsor such as Street Outlaw in NMCA West. All I know, is this is a class that I personally can’t wait to watch all year…”
Likewise, in the off-season, NMRA officials tweaked the rulebook to improve class parity and make for even more competitive racing.
“As for what changes the off-season rules will bring—I would have to say car count! The goal is always to keep the fields fair, competitive, and growing,” Mike said. “It is certainly not an easy task trying to balance several different opinions and passions from racers, manufacturers, and shops but our guys have worked hard to try and accomplish those goals.”
Indeed, the class will see the return of several cars returning from last season. Some will have tweaked combos, but the championship ride will return with a new driver behind the wheel, as Frank Varella makes the move to Renegade and a new driver takes the wheel of the Hellion Power Systems B-Team Coyote Modified machine.
“The cage and chassis were upgraded by Behind Bars Race Cars,” Dwayne said. Haley James will be driving, and DiabloSport added themselves to our sponsor list, so the car has a whole new look…”
Running hot on the heels of the B Team entry last season was runner-up, Terry “Beefcake” Reeves in his Vortech-boosted machine. Naturally, he’s tweaked his combo a bit over the winter to push its performance level higher.
“For 2015 we are making a couple changes, we are going to a 25.3 chassis to make the car legal to the 6.50 et range,” Terry said. “We are adding a Holley EFI system to the car, this should allow us to get a little more out of the car. We are motor-plating the engine and going with some custom Stainless Works headers. That’s really about it, nothing super crazy.”
Another player making a strong case last season was Dyno Joe Cram. He recently partnered with Holbrook Racing Engines to create a race-tweaked Coyote engine that picked up over 200 horsepower over last year’s combo.
“New for 2015 is a lot, this year we campaign a new Bullet from Holbrook Racing Engines out of Livonia, Michigan,” Joe explained. “Chris Holbrook and his team are just awesome to work with and make some of the most power out of these small-cubic-inch mod motors, and we plan to take advantage of their expertise and put on a great show in the NMRA Coyote Modified class.”
“This year we also are welcoming a new sponsor in DeatschWerks. A lot of upgrades have gone on during the off-season, but most we are keeping close to the hip. I have a feeling in Coyote Modified, a lot of people and a few newcomers have stepped the game up a bunch,” Joe added.
Speaking of newcomers, a racer joining the Coyote Modified ranks this season is none other than VMP Tuning’s Rebecca Starkey. As one of the early drivers to pilot a Coyote Mustang into the 9-second zone, she has a great track record running these cars, and she hopes to balance improved performance while still appealing to VMP’s customer base.
“We have a lot of plans for the season. At the forefront of my Coyote Modified program is the intention to keep the car street-friendly. It is important to me to keep the car relatable to the spectators and Mustang enthusiasts. Thus, my intention is to run my 2.3-liter VMP TVS, keeping boost moderate with improved camshafts; a Fore fuel system will allow me to support higher horsepower, into the four-digit range,” Rebecca said. “Later in the season, I will be debuting a Darton MID-sleeved system on a MPR engine. I am excited to be one of the first with the system on a Coyote. I am certain that it will prove to be successful for us, and the research and development that I do will benefit the consumer. In the spirit of keeping the car street-friendly, I will also be running select True Street Events.”
It’s no surprise there will be some ProCharger-backed racers running in the class sponsored by the supercharger company.
“Especially with all the ProCharger guys running in this class, it seems only natural that the competitiveness will be at an all time high. Joe Cram, Craig Baldwin, Aaron Bates, Joe “Coffeeman” DeCaria, Michael Bell, and Chris Jones will all compete with our blowers,” Erik said.
You can see, the 2015 season looks to be pretty exciting. Despite the off-season rule changes, the cars will definitely be flying. With the season kicking off this weekend, we can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.
“For what changes the off-season rules will bring—I would have to say car count! The goal is always to keep the fields fair, competitive, and growing,” Mike said. “It is certainly not an easy task trying to balance several different opinions and passions from racers, manufacturers, and shops but our guys have worked hard to try and accomplish those goals.”
As far as e.t.’s depending on the weather, I think 8.3s to 8.6s out of the gate are going to be needed to be competitive,” Terry said.
As you might imagine, the cars will undoubtedly get quicker as the season soldiers on.
“The NMRA chose to add weight to help slow the class down, but I see several cars in low 8.20s and to be a top contender I think the car needs to be capable of running low teens to 8.20s.” Dyno Joe said. “All in all, it should be another great season of tough racing and I for one am looking forward to it.”
“It will take 8.20s to be a top runner and probably, by mid-season, 8.0s are going to be the winning ticket,” Dwayne predicted.
We too are looking forward to it, and you can be sure to see plenty of coverage on the class right here on the Front Page of SVTP, so stay tuned. It should be a fun ride from here to the end of the season.