By Mary Lendzion
While it would have been completely understandable if it had taken Tony Hobson some time to become competitive in his new car, it didn’t.
After selling his newer Mustang and purchasing an older Mustang from fellow NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw driver Manny Buginga in January of this year, he and his colleagues at HPJ Performance, and his tuner, Eric Holliday of JPC Racing, began preparing the RaceCraft-built car to put down an astronomical amount of power.
They installed into it the DiSomma Racing Engines-built small-block Ford that had been in his other Mustang and is topped with Edelbrock SC1 cast heads and a billet Thompson Motorsports intake. They paired it with a new ProCharger F-3D-102, which is smaller than his previous ProCharger.
“We had to make new intercooler piping and new zoomie headers for it,” said Hobson, who backed the power with his Turbo 400 by Proformance Racing Engines and converter by Neal Chance.
With everything in place on the car with suspension components by Menscer Motorsports and Santhuffs, a new set of Weld wheels wrapped with Mickey Thompson drag radials and new paint perfectly applied by CeeJey Auto Body, Hobson headed to the Mid-West Drag Racing Series event in mid-June at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, where he entered X275 with the hope of getting his car dialed in.
“The track was very hot, and we were fighting traction issues, but we continued to make changes to our suspension, and Mark Menscer got us on the right path with our shock settings,” said Hobson.
The following week, Hobson loaded up for the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
“We made a few passes before qualifying, and we were able to set the car up to be consistent for some A to B passes, even though the track was very hot there, too,” said Hobson, whose tuner, Eric Holliday, is an expert with the popular AEM Infinity software.
Despite the fact that he only had several passes on his new car, he hit the tires hard and handled a 4.44 to qualify in the second spot in the combined NMCA Mickey Thompson/NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw category.
He proceeded to push to a 4.46 and a pair of 4.53s to win the first through semifinal rounds of eliminations, and then, in only his second weekend in his new car, he flew to a 4.51 to runner-up against Phil Hines, who flew to a 4.50, in the neck and neck final round of eliminations.
“The margin of victory in that round was so tight that when Phil and I got out of our cars on the top end, we were asking each other who won,” said Hobson, with a laugh. “After the race, I was just pretty speechless, and so happy that we were able to do that with the new car. It’s very well-built, and I have a lot of great companies and people, including Eric Holliday, JPC Racing and my coworkers at HPJ Performance, in my corner. I’m very grateful.”
Now Hobson, who is a technician and fabricator for HPJ Performance, is ready to give it another go at the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance, July 30-Aug. 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. He’ll have his work cut out for him again, as a full field of drivers is expected for NMCA Mickey Thompson/NMRA VP Racing Madditives Street Outlaw competition, and all of them are just as determined as he is to arrive at the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle, but the thought of that doesn’t distract him.
“We’re planning to hit it full on,” said Hobson. “That’s our mindset. We’ll see what happens.”