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Oct 18, 2011
Lakeland, FL

Seventh Wonder
Bart Tobener was the first to pilot a 2015 Mustang into the 7-second zone
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Bart Tobener and the NMCA

With the launch of every new performance car platform, the race begins for tuners and drivers to push that hardware to new milestones. When it comes to Mustangs, eclipsing certain quarter-mile elapsed times is the ladder these brave souls try to climb first. At the onset of the 2015 Mustang, the new S550 platform quickly moved past the 11-, 10- and 9-second barriers. Then the pace slowed a bit.

When e.t.’s get quicker the effort expended increases exponentially along with the cost of turning a street car into a race car. It took longer for us to see an 8-second S550 than it did to see one run in the 10-second range. Of course, breaking into the 7-second zone is even more difficult, but on June 25, 2016 during the NMCA event in Indianapolis, Indiana, racer Bart Tobener did just that.

You can watch that pass right here…


The first time we ever met Bart he was under a Mustang working and he’s been doing that for decades. These days he applies his expertise at Race Parts Solutions and Jodar Performance Products, but still finds time to build and race Mustangs. It helps, of course, to have the support of your family.

“I can't thank my wife Kristie Rae enough for standing beside me through all my racing addiction!” he said.

After Bart laid eyes on the 2015 Mustang for the first time, its look resonated with him before it did for many of the car’s early detractors.

“When I first saw one I really liked it, so I said.... ‘Let’s get one and build a bad-ass race car out of it!’” Bart explained.

Building an all-out NMRA Renegade car out of the latest Mustang presented numerous challenges. Often it meant that Bart had to rely on his own savvy and fabrications skills to get the car where it needed to be.

“…There is not very much that the aftermarket makes for these cars in terms of a hardcore drag car, so I had to pretty much make other parts fit or just fabricate them up,” he said. “On top of that... there is no one else that can help you with data like shock settings or anything.”

Clearly he’s figuring out the new platform. Not many races into its campaign and this DiabloSport-sponsored S550 staked its claim to that elusive 7-second milestone by running a 7.99 at 171.45 during Extreme Street qualifying at the NMCA All Star Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. Better yet, once Bart dialed it in, the car ran the number will little drama.

“I know some people may not want to hear it, but it felt slow...” Bart said. “The car leaves pretty hard, but it is very stable. I am sure the longer wheelbase is a big factor there as well as the car sitting so low.”

Since it ran so well, the next step is obviously seeking even lower e.t.’s and that means cranking up the boost.

“On the 7.99 pass it was actually the first pass under targeted boost down the track. We have had quite a few ‘new-car issues’ and it was the first time we had everything come together,” he said. “The pass the night before was a little quicker in the eighth mile by .04 and it had more mph. It should have gone a 7.88-7.91 by the data, but I lifted at the 700-foot mark.”

Once this car hits its stride, it might just hold this S550 e.t. record for a while. Bart thinks there is a lot more potential locked up in the existing combo and even more if he starts making aggressive hardware changes.

“By what I am seeing with the data so far the car should go 7.50s to 7.60s and then there is always the idea of putting a bigger turbo on it,” he teased. “I happen to have one.”


With a parachute, carbon fiber doors, and Optic Armor windows, Bart Tobener’s 2015 Mustang is clearly a race car, but it does maintain street gear. The headlights, taillights, brake lights and reverse lights are all functional.


Boosted by a custom turbo kit built by Bart and controlled by a Holley Dominator EFI system, a robust Coyote 5.0 built by MPR Racing Engines provides the steam for those 7-second passes.


Bart got his start tinkering with car audio systems and his attention to detail shows through with this super-sano mounting of the Holley EFI digital dash in place of the factory touchscreen display. He did get a helping hand from Derek Craft who wired the whole car with a Speed Wire setup.


Safety and reliability come first in race cars and Bart turned to Scott Black at Chassis Pro to construct the 25.3 cage and fab up the CJ-style suspension.

The Mod List
Block: Stock Coyote 5.0-liter, filled and sleeved by MPR Racing Engines
Crankshaft: Stock
Rods: Manley billet
Pistons: MPR Racing Engines custom
Camshafts: MPR Racing Engines custom
Cylinder Heads: Coyote Four-Valve ported by MPR Racing Engines
Intake: Holley Sniper
Power Adder: Custom turbocharger system fabricated by Bart Tobener w/ a 76mm Renegade/XS spec turbo, a Chiseled Performance PT2000 intercooler, Race Part Solutions MD 104 Blow-Off Valve and JGS Precision 60mm wastegates
Fuel System: Magnafuel fuel pump, Magnafuel regulator, Jodar Performance Products fuel filters, Jodar Performance Products Y-blocks Fragola fuel lines, Fragola fittings and 160 lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Custom turbo headers by Bart Tobener
Transmission: Proformance Racing Transmissions Powerglide w/ Ultimate Converter Concepts converter
Rearend: Strange Engineering 9-inch w/ ARB Air Locker, Strange 40-spline axles and a 2016 Cobra Jet-style four-link rear suspension

Engine Management: Holley Dominator fuel injection system w/ Holley Smart controller, 36-1 external crank trigger wheel and Holley digital dash
Ignition: Holley Coil-Near-Plug Smart Coil

Front Suspension
K-member: Watson Racing
A-arms: Watson Racing w/ UPR front travel limiters
Struts: Strange Engineering
Springs: Strange Engineering
Brakes: Strange Engineering
Wheels: Weld Racing 17x4-inch polished V-series
Tires: Mickey Thompson

Rear Suspension
Shocks: Strange Engineering
Springs: Strange Engineering
Brakes: Strange Engineering
Wheels: 15x12-inch Weld Racing double-beadlock
Tires: Mickey Thompson


Established Member
Jun 30, 2015
US Hawaii
Did you see the install thread in engines?

Dyno results within the week on a street setup.

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