By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Mike Bowen
It has been more than two decades since Shawn Olson has raced, and he’s ready to row through some gears.
The Vienna, Ohio resident, who has chosen to compete in NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock, purchased a chock-full of character 1966 Mustang from a seller in Indiana and turned it over to NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock racer Mike Bowen of Powerhouse Automotive in Girard, Pennsylvania in December to take it from a street car to a strip car.
“Coyote Stock seemed like a good place for me to start with the NMRA, and Mike Bowen, who recommended the class, seemed like a good person to help me get a car together,” said Olson, who added that he has known Bowen for a long time.
Bowen, who sat out the Performance Racing Industry show and the NMRA Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components in December as the car was delivered to his shop that weekend, wasted no time tackling the project in front of him.
“The Dark Moss Green car had a 6-cylinder engine and only 21,000 miles on it, and it was very clean,” said Bowen. “The first thing I did was inspect it and remove the interior, gas tank, driveshaft, engine and transmission, and then I started modifying the frame rails and wheel wells.”
In the days that followed, Bowen worked around-the-clock to relocate the spring mounts inboard, install new frame rails, larger inner wheel wells in the rear, CalTracs traction bars, Calvert Racing split monoleafs, an AJE K-member, Moser axles, Menscer Motorsports-massaged shocks and Viking struts. He also modified the pedal assembly to utilize a cable-actuated clutch.
The car also spent some time at CHE Performance in Girard, Pennsylvania, where Chuck Dworek installed a rollcage and performed some chassis work, and when Bowen brought the car back to his shop, he installed into its engine bay a sealed Coyote Gen II engine purchased from Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center and a G-Force G101-A transmission.
“I also started squaring everything up and building the headers,” said Bowen. “Fitting the headers takes a ton of patience, and there was definitely some yelling.”
As soon as Bowen is finished with the headers, he’ll remove whatever he has to remove to be able to carefully paint the rollcage and engine bay.
“There’s an immense amount of work in this build, but each day, we get over a little hump,” said Bowen of Olson’s car which rolls on Mickey Thompson slicks wrapped around RC Comp wheels and will stop with Aerospace Components brakes.
Olson and Bowen plan to roll the race car out of the trailer at the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Feb. 27-March 1 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. Bowen, a former G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock driver who finished second in points in NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock last year, also plans to race his popular Maverick at the event.