A near miss after his 1400-horsepower Fox body Mustang broke loose at a mid-season race last year was more than enough to make popular NMRA QA1 True Street presented by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords driver Mike Jovanis anxious to track down the cause.
So the New Jersey resident delivered his car to Matt Wirt at Racefab Engineering in Virginia, who had recently rebuilt his friend Rick Riccardi’s Capri after a wreck during an NMCA Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 race.
“When I got loose like I did, it was enough to give me a bad scare,” said Jovanis, who had earned a win with an 8.31 average at the NMRA season-opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park a few months prior. “The car went back and forth three or four times. I couldn’t find the problem and didn’t want to race until someone could.”
After going over the car with a fine-tooth comb, Wirt upgraded its cage to 25.5, and replaced its upper torque box – which had been used and abused through the years – with a RaceCraft upper torque box. He also reconfigured the car so that it would accommodate 315/60 drag radials on 15X12 wheels using a TRZ-fabricated nine-inch with UPR suspension and Afco shocks massaged by Menscer Motorsports.
A new set of Baer SS4+ Deep Stage Drag brakes was then added, and Troy Baum of RaceWires tidied up the car’s wiring and installed a new Haltech Elite 2500 engine management system featuring on-board traction and boost control, individual coils, EGTs in each cylinder and additional sensors.
Jovanis and his crew have just finished installing a narrowed, fabricated aluminum fuel tank from Behind Bars Race Cars which will provide a safe clearance for the new tires.
With help from Matt Laszaic from National Parts Depot, a set of OEM fabric Kirkey seat covers and matching rear seat covers were provided by TMI Products, which pleases Jovanis, who favors a factory-appearing interior in the car which sees as much street time as it does strip time,
“The rear seat was re-installed using a convertible upper seat to fit between the new wheel tubs and a lower seat was carefully trimmed to fit around the bars,” said Jovanis.
For power, Jovanis will continue to rely on a DiSomma Racing Engines-built 347 cubic-inch small-block Ford on a Dart block featuring Trick Flow High Port heads and a Trick Flow R intake, as well as a Forced Inductions T4 turbo, Hughes Performance-built Powerglide and UCC converter. The skilled driver has been 8.11 at 175 mph with an 88mm turbo and 8.26 at 167 mph with a 76 mm turbo, and he has a 94mm turbo sitting pretty while it waits to be invited to the party.
With the upgrades behind them, Jovanis and his crew are set to make the 18-hour trip to Bradenton Motorsports Park on Feb. 25, 2016 to test in preparation for the 22nd Annual NMRA Nitto Spring Break Shootout, March 3-6, 2016, also at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
“The 8.11 at 175 mph I ran last year was despite the chassis challenges I was having,” said Jovanis. ”So the hope is now that everything is sorted out, I can try to run sevens in True Street. We aren’t going to stop until we get there.”