QA1 True Street has always been one of the hottest NMRA classes and it seems that the competition continues to heat up each year. In 2021, Sean Kelley plans to join the fray with his 1989 Mustang coupe.
Kelley is no stranger to the NMRA or to high performance for that matter, but most of the time he’s focused on his customer cars at his shop, Kelley Performance in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In fact, we’ll be bringing you some news really soon on one of his customer builds, but for now, let’s tell you about Kelley’s personal car.
His last ride was a 2018 Mustang with a twin-turbo setup and not even a thousand miles on the odometer.
“I was going down the same rabbit hole and didn’t want to mess up [another] a brand new car,” Kelley told us of his reason for buying something more race than street as a replacement.
A search for the right car ensued, with Kelley even going to South Carolina to look at one, but that didn’t pan out.
“I found this car on my birthday. I went on Turbo Bullet on my birthday morning and there it was.”
The Mustang he found was located in Kentucky and looked to be the perfect starting point. It was a rolling chassis and ready to build upon with a Matt Wirt 25.3-cert. roll cage already welded in.
Once back at the shop with the Mustang, Kelley tore it apart to begin his own modifications, which started with converting it to support a Coyote-based engine rather than the LS motor it had been running. Kelley is no stranger to the Coyote engine platform, having previously owned 2011, 2012, and 2018 Mustangs. He also knows all too well the power that can be generated when turbocharging them.
Limited on time, Kelley dropped in a stock Gen II 20,000-mile engine, changing only the oil pump gears and crank sprocket, but still running variable cam timing, stock cams, and everything else. He’s interested in seeing just what he can extract from the stock engine before moving on to an MPR-built engine down the road.
Boosting the 5.0-liter is a pair of Precision Turbo 62/66 turbochargers and a custom front-mounted, air-to-water intercooler will ensure cool charge air temperatures. A Holley Dominator was wired in to run it all, with Brent Hughes creating the tuneup, and a Powerglide transmission by Rory and Son will send the power and torque back to the rearend of the car.
Burning earth-friendly E85, Kelley’s latest creation delivered 700 rear-wheel horsepower at just 13 psi on just a base tuneup. The on-track performance goal is mid-to-low 8s with this car, and likely more with a built engine.
“I just want to have fun,” Kelley told us. “I haven’t really raced a car for myself in about two years, it’s my turn to have little bit of fun.”