Written by Ainsley Jacobs
When James Webb’s son, Cru, was born almost 17 years ago, he voluntarily made the decision to sell his car and focus on being a father and husband instead. Now that Cru is grown, Webb is getting back into the swing of things and taking the rest of the family along for the ride.
Hailing from Parma, Ohio, Webb picked up his ’87 Mustang nearly a decade ago. “I’m the second owner, I knew the person before me who had it, and it’s only got 27,000 original miles on it,” said Webb proudly of his prized pony. At the time, the Mustang had a 306 ci engine with a Vortech supercharger on it, and Webb would take it out to have a little fun on the streets every once in a while.
Unfortunately, Webb’s life was severely derailed in 2012 when he was rear-ended by a drunk driver and sustained a broken back. “I had two surgeries and was in the Cleveland Clinic for a month doing massive rehabilitation,” recalled Webb, who has since tried to put the accident behind him and live as if it never happened. “I was bad off for a couple years, so the car sat, but I wanted to go racing again.” Webb’s wonderful wife, Heather, supported him throughout the entire ordeal and her support continued thereafter – she was the one to encourage him to build his hatchback and get back to racing.
Enter Tim Lyons, Robbie Kellerhals, and the rest of the crew at Lyons Custom Motorsports. Around August of 2016, Lyons and his guys got to work and soon converted the simple street car into a dedicated, purpose-built G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock contender.
Webb was able to acquire one of the last few first-generation Coyote engines on the market, and the modern bullet was tastefully transplanted into the ‘80s-era automobile where it looks perfectly at home. Backing the engine is a G-Force Transmissions G-101A and a Ram clutch. “For Coyote Stock, I knew I’d need a stick to be competitive,” noted Webb, who worked with Mike Norcia at Ram to spec everything out. Lyons built a set of custom-fabricated headers to flank the engine, and they run into a matching, custom H-pipe and muffler system.
All the necessary bells and whistles needed to make Webb’s Coyote Stock entry a contender were added to the project, and no corner was overlooked. A JLT cold air intake, Aeromotive fuel pump, Griffin radiator, ATI dampener, MMR water pump pulley, and JPC Racing alternator pulley were just a few of the items checked off the install “To Do” list.
Out back, one of Lyons’ 9” rear ends sits proudly, and it’s complimented by a host of other Lyons-made components including a K-member and set of control arms. Menscer Motorsports struts and shocks were added, while the axles, center section, and brakes came from Strange Engineering.
Final assembly was handled by Kellerhals himself, and he did a killer job. Meanwhile, the finishing touches for the build were to install the Optic Armor front windshield, tighten down the Kirkey racing seats, bolt on the timeless Weld Mangum wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber, and send the completed car off to Matt Caheely for paint. “Matt knocked it out of the park on that, the car looks awesome!” added Webb, whose expectations were far exceeded.
“This project was a lot of fun and can’t wait to see it run! I’m a little biased, but I think it turned out perfect,” added Lyons. “Robbie Kellerhals got to make the first road test in it and I’m pretty sure he’s still smiling!”
Once it was deemed “ready to race,” Webb headed out to put the inaugural track-based test passes on his Mustang in late September. “It was my first time in a race car in about 18 years, and my first time with a stick, so I had some problems staging but I’ll work it out,” he laughed. “The car is awesome, works great, and my son, Cru, is my crew chief. He picks up the RacePak and does all that, and without him, I don’t think I could do this at all.”
With his sights set on debuting his new G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock entry at the 19th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals over the weekend of September 28-October 1, 2017, at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Webb’s short-term goal is just to go out there and have fun.
“I can’t thank my wife, Heather, enough for all of this. She manages the money and made sure that this got done – without her, it wouldn’t have happened. Her support and encouragement means the absolute world to me,” Webb said appreciatively. “Also, thanks so much to Tim [Lyons], Robbie [Kellerhals], and Matt [Caheely] for making this dream happen!”
Long-term, though, Webb will focus on racing the entire 2018 NMRA schedule and beyond, and working his way up so that he can eventually hang with the top guys in the class. “I’ve been watching Coyote Stock for quite a while, and I know it’s a driver’s class and it’s not the easiest, but I know it’s something my son and I can do together,” added Webb, who hopes the father-son team can reverse their roles after a few years in the game.