Passing the Test
Watson Racing ran the first 8-second pass in an IRS-equipped S550
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Watson Racing
We are on the eve of the biggest Ford drag race of the year, the NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The air should be cool and the times should be quick. Curious about how its Mustang would perform on the big stage, Watson Racing took its street/strip SEMA project out for some test hits. It turns out those three test runs were the quickest runs yet for a 2015+ Mustang still running an independent rear suspension.
Chuck Watson Sr. and one of the company’s tuners loaded the car on an open trailer and headed down to Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, to log a few passes in advance of the NMRA World Finals. With not much more than the car and a tire gauge on the trailer, there wasn’t a lot tweaking done at the track. In the unseasonably warm weather—the high was 86—on September 17, Chuck Sr. ran three 8-second passes, the quickest being an 8.906 at 153.47 mph. The quickest run yet for a 2015+ Mustang.
Surprisingly, not much about the combo had changed since it clicked off that 9.13 at Norwalk a few weeks ago. “Honestly not a whole lot. We tweaked the tune a bit,” John Phillips, Watson Racing Products Manager, said. “We wanted to get some test hits prior to NMRA Bowling Green to see where we are at.”
To see how the car responded on drag radials and running through the mufflers, you can watch the record-setting pass right here…
With any luck, you’ve been following the progress of Watson Racing’s street/strip S550 right here on the SVTP Front Page. Built for the 2014 SEMA Show, this 2015 Mustang was constructed to run quick quarter-mile e.t.’s while retaining its street manners. The car’s upgrades include a Whipple supercharger, FAST EFI, lightweight windows, a bolt-in 9-inch IRS, and a 10-rib blower drive. Before dipping into the low 9s, the Watson team finally removed the car’s manual transmission in favor of a more consistent Turbo 400 automatic.
Though the IRS out back is a robust, Watson Racing creation, this car is still the quickest 2015+ Mustang yet with an independent rear suspension. Certainly that record will be challenged this weekend in Bowling Green, but it’s possible the lower e.t.’s could come from this same car as it responds to the cooler air at Beech Bend.
“As with most other racers, our assumption with running Bowling Green in October is a couple tenths quicker due to the cool weather, let’s hope Mother Nature cooperates,” John added. “Other than that, we just plan to have fun.”
It definitely will be fun to watch. Watson Racing is rumored to participate in the first-ever NMRA Grudge Night, squaring off against BMR Suspension’s Kelly Aiken in the after-hours action. We’ll be on hand to see how it plays out, so stay tuned.