By Ainsley Jacobs
Photos Courtesy of Tony Hobson
Be warned, NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw crew: Tony Hobson is coming. The fabricator from Moscow Mills, Missouri, is on a mission to move up to the big time for 2019 and he’s already done all the legwork to make his Mustang run the number.
Just one and a half months ago, Hobson’s 2014 Ford Mustang was sitting up on jack stands as a shall with its front and rear suspensions completely removed. “Renegade cars are pretty much already Street Outlaw cars just with smaller power adders, so when they switched the class to eighth-mile, the car was going to basically already be set up for Street Outlaw and it just made sense to put a bigger turbo on and go faster,” Hobson explained of what prompted the change. He’s been thrashing ever since, and the results are definitely noteworthy.
To start, Hobson had his engine builder, Rich Groh of Rich Groh Racing, go through the 5.4L Ford GT block-based bullet for some freshening up. “After a full season last year [in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade] it had about sixty passes on it, but Rich checked it out and said everything looked good,” noted Hobson, who had the RGR team make a few small adjustments to the engine to accommodate the higher boost and horsepower levels it will see thanks to the new Street Outlaw-legal 88mm turbo from Jose Zayas at Forced Inductions.
Hobson’s sponsor AEM is back on board for his 2019 season, and so his Infinity-8 standalone engine management system will remain in place along with all of his other AEM goodies including coil packs, dash, and more with JPC Racing mastermind Eric Holliday handling the keyboard and tuning once again.
Next, Dave Klaput and Doug Skinner at Proformance Racing Transmissions upgraded Hobson’s Turbo 400 to use a new gearset with undisclosed specs. He’ll still be running his billet aluminum bolt-together ProTorque EV1 converter with its billet stators, too.
Out back, Hobson reworked the entire back half of the car. “There’s a full chromoly 9” rear end from Marty Merillat, and a wishbone setup in the rear – no more panhard setup,” elaborated Hobson of what changes were made. Stiffening up the rear suspension a ton will help put the newly-acquired power to the ground, and Rick Reynolds at CorteX Racing revalved Hobson’s JRI shocks to better enable the car to hook.
Nearly three hundred pounds of weight was removed from Hobson’s Mustang overall, thanks in part to the Optic Armor windows and trick carbon fiber doors he acquired through his employer, Larry Jeffers Race Cars.
Finally, Hobson’s six-week marathon came to a close as he hauled his new NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw machine over to Cool Touch Graphics in St. Charles, Missouri, where it was wrapped with a badass new gray, lime green, and black AEM Infinity-centric wrap that also nicely shows off the new Weld Racing Full Throttle front and Alpha-1 rear wheels.
“I took it to HPJ Performance to use their in-house chassis dyno to break in the engine, and I’m estimated it’ll make about 1,700 horsepower once we let it eat,” said Hobson, who is clearly sandbagging on the numbers and laughed that he can’t give away all his secrets. “Also, Mike Zacheis and Mike Bibas from HPJ are both going to help me out with trackside support and getting the car ready between rounds, and I am really grateful.”
Hobson expects his newly-minted Street Outlaw ride to be competitive and is shooting for 4.30s in the eighth mile. He plans to attend all six of the 2019 NMRA events, and hopes to throw in some NMCA races as well. “The car is X275 legal, so I’ll likely hit a few of those, too, but running Street Outlaw has always been my dream,” he added.
Fortunately, Hobson’s got a great group to help him chase that dream, including his employer. “Thanks to Larry [Jeffers] for his support and for giving me the flexibility that enables me to be off racing,” continued Hobson, “and, of course, to my wife, Lydia, for always being there to encourage me and allow me to dedicate our lives to this sport.”
With his S197 loaded up, it’s time for Hobson to head on down to Florida for the 25th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park and make his first official NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw runs.