The 2021 Holley NMRA and NMCA season openers are fast approaching, and the Clearwater, Florida-based Real Speed Racing crew is gearing up for a three-car attack on both events.
Real Speed’s Walter Drakeford leads the crew with his 1986 Fox-Body Mustang, which has been outfitted with quite a few upgrades since last year’s events. The parts overhaul started with a trick Frazier’s Fabrication & Performance fabricated 9-inch rearend. Moving to the opposite end of the car we find a new ProCharger F1A-94 supercharger.
“We borrowed one and tested with it at the Snowbird Nationals. After that, we sent our F1A-91 to ProCharger to be upgraded,” Drakeford informed us. With the bigger blower pressurizing the 434ci small-block Ford engine, Drakeford decided to switch over to a Haltech EFI system to control it and contacted Patrick Barnhill at PTP Racing to order it.
“I was really drawn to all the bells and whistles the Haltech offered. “I wanted the torque management, coil-on-plug control, and other technology—it does everything. I took the Racepak out, the MSD Grid, and more. This summer, we’ll rewire the car so it runs the entire car. The car runs smoother with the coil-on-plug conversion.”
Drakeford had little time to dial in the Haltech before entering the US Street Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park in February. On only the third pass on the new EFI, Drakeford’s Mustang qualified with a stout 4.63 in Ultra Street competition, and went 4.64 during a close first-round contest with Joel Greathouse. He might just get his rematch as Greathouse is likely to begin his defense of his 2020 NMRA Renegade championship at the season opener.
Joining the Real Speed Racing team this year is Drakeford’s 16-year-old step son, Josh Rowe, who now has a few races under his belt and behind the wheel of the 1989 Mustang that Drakeford and he procured last year.
“We built it for a customer of ours that was racing in the 6.50 index class and he ended up moving and stopping racing,” Drakeford said. “We ended up buying his operation.”
The Mustang features a Boss block-based 347 stroker small-block engine that wears Edelbrock Victor Jr. cylinder heads and features a pump-gas friendly 10.5:1 compression ratio and a reliable C4 automatic transmission.
“The fastest he’s been is a 7.20 on motor,” Drakeford told us. “We slowed it down to run the 7.50 index. “Josh got down to four cars in his first race around Thanksgiving, and at the US Street Nationals, he got down to three cars.” Drakeford and Rowe will be looking at a few of the NMRA and NMCA classes to see what works best for them.
The third car out of the Real Speed Racing stable belongs to Archie Marasco of Spring Hill, Florida. Marasco often competes in local Ultra Street races as well as in NMRA Renegade competition with his Fox-Body Mustang, which runs a drivetrain combination similar to Drakeford’s.
Marasco’s Mustang recoeved several upgrades to the transmission and torque converter for this season, and will continue with its 434ci small-block Ford that is boosted by an F1A-94 ProCharger. Whereas Drakeford’s ride runs on VP racing Fuels M1 methanol, Marasco’s still burns gasoline.
Post upgrades, Marasco clicked off a 4.76 at the recent US Street Nationals, and Drakeford expects 4.6s after a bit more time on the track.
Both Drakeford and Marasco will have their work cut out for them with the likes of defending Renegade champion Joel Greathouse and US Street Nationals Ultra Street winner Dave Fiscus likely racing at the Holley NMRA Spring Break Shootout and Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park, not to mention we expect to see local Ultra Street racers Bill Gregan and Kirt Sanders racing as well—all four of those racers have been in the 4.5s!