When it’s time to get back into racing after a hiatus, it’s always a good idea to consult an expert. And, when that expert is Brandon Alsept, winner of two NMRA Pure Street championships, one NMCA Mean Street championship, and crew chief/tuner for Matt Amrine’s four NMRA Factory Stock championships, the good idea becomes a great one.
Ohio resident Tom Mueller drag raced his ProCharged ’89 Fox body Mustang quite a bit back in his younger days.
“I did some bracket racing and street racing. My dad, Tom, had a blown alcohol dragster, so that’s how I got started,” shared Mueller, who eventually called it quits and sold his car to focus on his career and his family. Mueller’s wife, Tracy, used to work with longtime NMRA racer Derek Kernodle, though, and introduced the two men.
About three years ago, Mueller and Kernodle started negotiating. It took until November of 2020 for the deal to finally be finalized, but once it was done, Mueller had taken ownership of Kernodle’s famous ’96 Ford Mustang Mystic Cobra—only one of 2,000 ever produced—which he had debuted in NMRA Coyote Stock back in ’13 with a Gen 1 Coyote engine and a Liberty TKO500 transmission.
Originally, Kernodle and Alsept had built the car together, so Alsept was already intimately acquainted with the SN95’s intricacies. Mueller met Alsept when he brought his other Cobra, a 2004 MystiChrome model, to Alsept’s BA Motorsports shop in Loveland, Ohio, for some work.
“I knew Derek’s car was well built. Everything lined up and it was nice to be able to continue what he and Brandon started,” noted Mueller. “With everyone running the Gen 3 Coyote engines now, I wanted to be as competitive as I could and Brandon believes that Factory Stock will be a good fit.”
According to Alsept, the Gen 1 Coyote engine will remain, although they will be making some adjustments so that the car is better suited for NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock competition.
“The transmission will be changed to a G-Force G-101A with a custom clutch from ACT built to my specs, with Team Z front and rear suspension and Menscer Motorsports shocks,” detailed Alsept of what’s in store for Mueller’s Mystic machine. “I have faith in him and am excited about his program this year.”
Although the guys won’t be able to test locally until at least February, weather permitting, the current plan is to have Mueller make his NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock debut at the season opener over the weekend of March 4-7, 2021, at Florida’s Bradenton Motorsports Park. “We’ll get the ball rolling and see how we do in Factory Stock, then possibly move into Coyote Stock the year after,” said Mueller, excited for his upcoming adventure. “Thanks so much to my wife and parents—without them, none of this would be possible.”