Street to ‘Strip: The Raddest Rides from PRI 2019
For drag race fans, PRI is the ultimate trade show. Not only are attendees privy to the latest products and technologies coming to market, but many of the show’s 3,400 booths have a vehicle of interest strategically parked out front. From world record holders to recent champions and late-model pony cars to the rides you’ve seen (or are about to see) on Street Outlaws, virtually every car on display means serious business. For our part, we’ve narrowed this year’s raddest rides down to the top 10 we came across. We’ll bring you up to speed on the fastest NHRA Pro Mod in 2019, the debut of Chuck Parker’s new ’66 Nova and Ryan Martin’s nasty ZL1 Camaro, spotlight a 7-second Mustang with A/C and (of course) sprinkle in a couple obligatory LS swaps. Enjoy!
1,000HP Steeda Mustang on Nittos
How do you make your production-based Mustang run with the big dogs? You give the folks at Steeda a call. The company’s Q850 StreetFighter Hardcore DragPack for late-model Mustang GT’s transforms them into outright GT500 eaters.
The complete package entails a Li Tuning & Racing short-block, a 3.0L Whipple supercharger, 150mm Elliptical electronic throttle body and high-flow cold air intake system. To send as much horsepower as possible to the pavement, Steeda includes its S550 adjustable front coil over kit, front K-member and Pro-Action shocks, along with its S550 rear drag spring kit, severe duty IRS half-shaft upgrade with its Stop the Hop kit and a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft. This particular version is owned by Sun Coast Performance’s Ron Wolverton, sports one of his torque converters and relies on Nitto NT05’s for optimum traction.
2019 NHRA Pro Mod Champion: Stevie “Fast” Jackson
One of drag racing’s favorite drivers, Stevie “Fast” Jackson had his NHRA Pro Mod champion Camaro on display in the Holley Performance booth.
The Procharged, Bahrain1 Racing Team’s Camaro set an NHRA E.T. record of 5.64 at Gainesville Raceway back in March, with Jackson taking over the points lead after round 2 and never relinquishing it. With two events remaining on the 2019 calendar, Jackson had already amassed seven wins and 13 trips to the finals in just 35 total races. From one of the best drag radial racers to the top ranks of NHRA’s Pro Mod field, things have come full circle for the east Georgia native.
Cashing in on the LS-swap craze, Schwartz Performance built this wild kart, which they call the “Skart.” Weighing next to nothing, the Skart showcases Schwartz’ G-Machine chassis (a shortened GM A-body) and TIG-welded roll cage.
It’s powered by an LS1 that’s been treated to Holley’s Sniper dual throttle body intake, low-mount front drive system and Dominator ECU, and that delivers 345rwhp through a Tremec T56 from Silver Sport Transmissions. Independent rear suspension is also present, with a 9-inch housing and third member from Currie Enterprises. The Corbeau Forza seats with 5-point harnesses are must in this 83-inch wheelbase’d rocket.
Record-Setting, Championship-Winning Mustang Cobra Jet
In the sizeable Ford Performance Parts booth, a spot was reserved for Drew Skillman’s record-setting and championship-winning Mustang.
Skillman’s 50th anniversary, ’19 Mustang Cobra Jet, powered by a 327ci Ford Coyote-based engine put together by Holbrook Racing Engines (and with a Haltech EFI system), set a new NMCA record with its 7.70-second pass at 176 mph. On the NHRA side, Skillman secured the Factory Stock championship thanks to grabbing three wins in 2019’s eight-race series. Right behind him in the runner-up spot was his father, Bill, in the well-known black ‘14 Mustang Cobra Jet.
Mickey Tessneer’s Latest Nova
The ever-talented Mickey Tessneer (a.k.a. Mickey’s Chassis Works) has crafted another ’66 Chevy Nova masterpiece. The low-slung Chevy sports a dual frame rail chassis, removable front subframe and a four-link rear suspension.
Forward of the firewall you’ll find a Steve Morris Engines 481X being force-fed air from a centrifugal Vortech V-128 supercharger and controlled via an EFI system from EFI Technology. On Steve Morris’ engine dyno, the 481X cleared 3,400 hp. So who’s the lucky customer? How about Street Outlaws star and no-prep racer, Chuck Parker. That’s right, expect to see Tessneer’s work of art on TV in the near future.
7-Second, Twin-Turbo Mustang
Call it blasphemy if you want, but Jon Coleman’s ’03 Mustang benefits from LS power—and it’s way cool. First off, it runs 7’s.
Second, the car has A/C, Overdrive, can be driven daily and actually was during Hot Rod’s 800-plus mile Drag Week this year. Built at DBR High Performance, Coleman’s place of employment, the engine is based on the use of an LSR wet deck block from Concept Performance, makes use of a 3.625-inch stroke Callies crank and Ultra I-beam rods, Wiseco flat top pistons, a custom grind cam from Lil John’s Motorsports Solutions and Trick Flow heads. Twin 76mm Forced Inductions turbos provide the boost and a Proformance Racing Transmissions’ Powerglide with a Gear Vendors Pro Mod overdrive unit transfers more than 1,500 hp to the ground.
NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod Champion
It was a blockbuster year for Don Walsh Jr. Behind the wheel of his ’15 Jerry Bickel C7 Corvette, he racked up three wins and a runner-up finish in the NMCA’s Xtreme Pro Mod class on his way to earning the championship.
Along the way, Walsh set a new record with a 3.665-second pass at 214.66 mph. The power plant that got him there was a 521ci Hemi sourced from Brad Anderson Enterprises. The thumping V8, which received its tweaks and maintenance courtesy of local race shop D&D Performance, is boost-fed by twin 94mm Precision turbos and dialed in courtesy of a FuelTech FT600 engine management system.
The No Prep King’s New Ride
After winning Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings Season 3 in 2019, Ryan Martin wasted no time unveiling his new ride: an ’18 ZL1 Camaro.
Like the red “Fireball” Camaro Martin used to win this year’s championship, this version was also built by Gilsbach Racecraft, and a host of lightweight titanium and carbon fiber components made it onto this modern no-prep marvel. All told, it’s nearly 200 pounds lighter than the Fireball Camaro was. For propulsion, the familiar 481X from Pro Line Racing got the call, as did a pair of Precision’s 98mm Pro Mod turbos. A FuelTech FT600 ECU and the same MandM TH400 w/lock up converter are used as well. Only time will tell as to whether or not the proven drivetrain coupled with improved weight distribution and less curb weight will earn Martin consecutive No Prep Kings titles, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Coyote Trap Speed World Record Holder
Chuck Watson Sr.’s Mustang Cobra Jet was the first 2016 model built (#001). Over the years, he’s set and then reset various milestones for these cars and the infamous Coyote-based V8 under the hood.
At the present time, Watson’s wheels-up Cobra Jet holds the trap speed record at 180.72 mph. It sports a Watson Engineering 327ci Coyote with a 3.0L Whipple supercharger feeding it 15 psi of boost, an Aeromotive fuel system feeding fuel to DeatschWerks injectors and a Fuel Air Spark Technology engine management system. A TH400-based Joel’s On Joy automatic coupled with a 9.5-inch Neal Chance converter sends power through a one-piece Dynotech driveshsaft, and ultimately the Watson Engineering/Mark Williams 9-inch rear end.
LS-Swapped Mitsubishi Starion
You want people to stop dead in their tracks in your booth? Park an LS-swapped Mitsubishi Starion in it!
Such was the case in Safecraft Safety Equipment’s neck of the woods in Green Hall. The car’s owner, Mikie Sorrell, owns MKS Motorsport, a company that specializes in Starion parts. The basis for the build actually came from the mind of Sorrell’s friend, Tanner White, who always wanted to stuff a V8 into one of these Japanese-built sports cars. After Tanner suffered unfortunate brain damage in an accident, Sorrell decided to finish the project for him. It turned out spotless. While it’s nothing crazy, power-wise, it’s one of the cleanest and most unique LS swaps you’ll come across.
Interested in some of the wilder engines on display at PRI 2019? Look no further than our exposé on the most exotic power plants present at the show.