By Ainsley Jacobs
A man who knows how to get stuff done when he puts his mind to it, William Jackson first caught sight of NMRA’s Hot Street back in the early 2000s and became inspired to get out there himself. Now, after a few years spent building a capable contender, Jackson is quickly gaining momentum and will make his big NMRA Edelbrock Renegade debut this coming weekend.
An active duty military Air Force serviceman with more than two decades of experience, Jackson started out street racing while he was stationed in South Georgia around 1999. He drove an ’00 Mustang GT at the time, but wised up and decided to put his family and his career at the forefront of his priority list. “So, I traded my car, bought a truck, and got an ’89 Mustang and took it to the track. I was a professional test-and-tuner at that point,” laughed Jackson.
His career moved him all around the country over the years, and after a stay in California, Jackson wound up in Florida. A diehard and lifelong Ford fanatic, he stayed current with what was going on in NMRA at the time and was inspired by greats such as Charlie Booze, Jr.
In October of 2015, Jackson purchased a running, fully-equipped V6 ’15 Ford Mustang with the specific goal of class racing in NMRA, NMCA, and Ultimate Street. He spent some time noodling over a plan of attack, and around Christmastime, he made the decision to send the Mustang down to JCR Chassisworks in Weirsdale, Florida.
Prior to its departure, Jackson tore it apart to a bare roller, and the project arrived at the shop in January of 2016. “I wasn’t in a rush, but eventually got orders to move from Florida to Maryland and didn’t want to drive back down to get the car so they were able to get it finished up by November,” he casually added in his easy, laid-back manner.
While it was at JCR, the team upgraded the chassis to SFI 25.3 certification. “I know a 25.2 would have been good enough, but I’m trying to plan for the future and it made sense to go that route for just a few more bucks,” he stated of the intentional overkill.
JCR also oversaw installation of the rear control arms, and fabricated a custom 9” rear end that would later be mated to a Precision Shaft Technologies carbon fiber drive shaft.
With the work completed, Jackson made the move to Maryland in December of 2016 and discovered both the Ultra Street class, and the Strange Engineering Outlaw Street Car Shootout at nearby Cecil County Dragway.
Excited by the new opportunities, he had his old Kuntz and Company-built 438 ci small block Ford Windsor engine freshened up by Tony Bischoff and BES Racing Engines to ensure it was up to par. The bullet had first been built for naturally aspirated use, so a few changes were made to accommodate the newly-installed Fast Lane nitrous system including the addition of a Cylinder Head Innovations 4.0 intake manifold and Pro Systems Racing carburetor up top.
Jackson’s first career in the air force was as an electrician, so he’s quite comfortable around circuitry and wired the entire car – including the NLR Systems AMS 2000 progressive nitrous controller and RacePak V300 data recorder which helps him keep a finger on the pulse of what the car’s doing – by himself.
ATI Performance Products’ High Impact Pro Glide Powerglide transmission is rated to support up to 1,800 horsepower, and Jackson paired it with a ProTorque EV2 torque converter but will likely be upgrading to the Ultra Street-focused U9 converter, also from ProTorque, in the near future.
“The front struts and rear shocks have all been spec’d by the master himself, Mark Menscer aka the Shock Nerd,” said Jackson of the double-adjustable setup. Team Z Motorsports supplied the front componentry, control arms, and K-member. Strange Engineering provided the brakes at all four corners, the center section, and axles.
After moving to Maryland, Jackson met nitrous guru and X275 legend, Ron Rhodes of Rhodes Custom Auto. Rhodes worked with Jackson not only to paint components of his car – which included the Raceraft rear wing, hood, and front bumper – but to provide valuable advice, guidance, and mentorship. “He has a wealth of knowledge and has always been extremely helpful and I’m very grateful to him,” stated Jackson humbly.
Jackson completed the vast majority of the work himself as anything that didn’t need to be welded, painted, or machined, he handled at home on the floor of his two-car garage. Finally, it was time for his New Edge to make its maiden voyage with his wife, Carena, and their three-year-old son cheering him on every step of the way.
Jackson hit up Capital Raceway in June of 2018 with Ronnie Rhodes along for pit crew support. He got some good data on the car, made a few hits, and improved from 5.32 to 5-teens by the time the day was done.
After, he became a regular at the Cecil County events, raced at the YellowBullet.com Nationals, made his NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street debut at the Joliet, Illinois event, and attended Lights Out 10 at South Georgia Motorsports Park. “I’ve never not NOT qualified,” he laughed, rightfully proud of his accomplishments. “I’m also grateful that I’ve got Eric Mitchell that I can bounce tuning and technical questions off of. These people give me advice, but I turn all the wrenches myself!”
In April of this year, Jackson clicked off a new personal best of 4.851 at 143.84 mph with a 1.122-second sixty-foot time, although he’s had a 1.11-second sixty-foot and a 144 mph trap speed on other passes. Impressively, he’s currently sitting seventh in points for the Ultra Street class at Cecil County in what’s only his first full year of competition.
“The engine still has its original, ten-year-old Edelbrock Victor Sr. heads on it,” Jackson proudly added. “When the car was coming together, the heads weren’t allowed in Renegade so I stuck with Xtreme Street, but the rules have changed and now I’m legal to run.”
With fate giving him its blessing to run, Jackson will make the move up this weekend at the 19th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals at Pennsylvania’s Maple Grove Raceway. As long as his work schedule allows, he hopes to continue with NMRA Edelbrock Renegade in both Illinois and Kentucky, later this year.