Last month, the crew from CJ Pony Parts took Gotta Have It Race and Gotta Have It Street to the NMRA event at Maryland International Raceway and had such a great time, that we decided we wanted to do as many NMRA events as possible. The next event scheduled was on June 14 & 15 in Milan, Michigan. Our 2013 Mustangs and the Gotta Have Builds Ford F-150 Raptor geared up and hauled the crew out for out next race weekend!
Both Gotta Have Builds Mustangs got some great work done over the time between MIR and Milan, and were ready to be put to the test, again. With some Test-n-Tune runs before qualifying on Friday night, the 11s evaded Rich & the Gotta Have It Race 2013 Mustang GT. Saturday would bring a new day, with the chance at setting a new best time and putting one of the Gotta Have Builds into the 11s...
At the last NMRA event, both Gotta Have Builds Mustangs were bone stock, except for a Barton shifter (MS41) in Gotta Have It Race. With our time off between NMRA races, we wanted to have a few of the typical mods done to both cars for Milan, to really up our chances of a great run in Michigan.
Gotta Have It Street's upgrades since our last time out include a 93 octane tune from SCT, which was loaded with an SCT XCAL3, a lowered stance from an Eibach Pro Street Plus coil-over system and a set of Maximum Motorsports Caster Camber plates with a BMR adjustable panhard bar to complete the installation for the lowered suspension. We also installed a set of Ford Racing SVT Performance Pack wheels with BF Goodrich KDW II tires to finish off the new, lowered look. We knew the suspension and wheels were not going to help us get down the track faster, but it sure made Gotta Have It Street look killer cruising out to Milan.
Gotta Have It Race received the biggest updates before Milan. We started with JLT’s Series 3 intake, painted in Gotta Have It Green, and a tune from JLT Performance for our SCT XCAL3. We also installed Flowmaster’s Hushpower catback, which really made Gotta Have It Race sound like a proper Mustang. At previous track events we had found that with the stock suspension, there was a fine line between getting a good launch and bogging the launch, or blowing off the tires. We decided to add some suspension pieces from BMR to help us get better and more consistent launches. The first suspension piece we added was a BMR front sway bar delete, which allows the front end to come up higher and smoother, while transferring weight to the rear wheels. With the rear suspension, we installed a set of BMR adjustable lower control arms with the rear lower control arm relocation brackets. The new rear suspension will help to control the rear axle during our 4500RPM launches.
The most recognizable change with Gotta Have It Race since the last time we were out, is the vinyl wrap that was designed by CJ's own Dan Nelson and installed by Stoner Graphix. With plans to leave for Milan on Thursday after work, we were very happy to get Gotta Have It Race back from Stoners, right around lunch-time!
Rich, Rick, Tommy and Steve loaded Gotta Have It Race into a CJ's car trailer and hooked it up to Rich’s 2011 6.2L F-150 Raptor. Before our crew left, we decided to throw in some Race Star Industries wheels, Barton shifters and Flowmaster exhaust to add to our display in the Manufactures Midway at Milan. We left at around 6:30 PM Thursday night with Gotta Have It Street in the lead, followed by the Raptor towing Gotta Have It Race and headed west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Gotta Have Builds convoy drove well past midnight and stopped near Toledo, OH to catch some ZZZs. The team was back on the road early the next morning and started heading to Michigan with a planned special stop before heading to Milan Dragway.
Before we got to the track, it was decided that a small detour towards Livonia, to see our good friends at Roush Performance, was needed. When Gotta Have Builds arrived at Roush HQ, they met with Joseph Mitts and Brian May, who gave us a tour of the facility. CJ's got to see the Roush production line where they build the famed Roush Mustangs. Roush had quite a few Gotta Have It Green 2013 Mustangs in the production line that day, being converted to Roush Mustangs. Rich and the team even got to checkout Roush's F-150 Raptor test mule, which had a Roush TVS blower on it! Needless to say, our guys were all very impressed with the facilities at Roush and the hospitality of Joseph & Brian. Thanks, guys!
After the Roush HQ detour, it was only a short drive to Milan Dragway and the fun that awaited our crew. Once CJs got to the track, we unloaded Gotta Have It Race from the trailer, swapped the Race Star Industries wheels onto Gotta Have It Street and setup our display in the Manufactures Midway between Roush (what are the odds?) and Ford Racing. There were still a few hours until Test-n-Tune started, so all three Gotta Have Builds vehicles enjoyed some prep time. We had to install the appropriate race numbers and class decals on Gotta Have It Street and the F-150 Raptor before we could go racing. Rick was registered to race Gotta Have It Street in the Roush Super Stang class, with Rich registered to race Gotta Have It Race in the Roush Super Stang class, as well. Tommy was racing the Raptor in the Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning class and Steve was the designated media guy for us, all weekend.
Test-n-Tune started in the middle of the hot afternoon, on Friday. Rich was anxious to get a run in Gotta Have It Race with the new BMR suspension. Gotta Have It Race went 12.21 @ 114.21 MPH, with an easy 1.88 60’ time on the first pass of the day. The track easily handled Rich's mild launch and the car went as straight as an arrow, so it was clear that CJ Pony Service had the BMR suspension setup correctly. For Rich’s next pass, he lined up against Rick, who was making his first pass of the day in Gotta Have It Street. Rich was able to improve the launch on Gotta Have It Race with a 1.81 60’ time, but he touched the rev limiter on the 2-3 shift and only ran a 12.32 @ 113.65 MPH.Gotta Have It Street only ran 12.63 @ 110.05 MPH with a 1.93 60’ time. The heat combined with the drive to Milan seemed to take out just a little bit from Gotta Have It Street.
The Milan NMRA Ford Nationals was scheduled for just Friday and Saturday, so qualification runs started Friday night and ran until almost 10pm. As the sun went down, the hope was that the temperature would come down as well and allow everyone to make some faster passes. With the conditions improving as it got later, our guys started feeling like this was the perfect time to try and get our first 11 second pass in Gotta Have It Race. At about 8pm, theRoush Super Stang class made their first qualifying passes. Gotta Have It Race went first and ran a 12.12 @ 114.23 MPH with a 1.74 60’ time. With three passes in a row for Gotta Have It Race with good launches, it was clear that the newly installed BMR suspension was providing much more consistent starts. Rick ran a 12.50 @ 112.57 with a 1.91 60’ time in Gotta Have It Street. That was just .01 of a second off of Gotta Have It Street's best time of 12.49.
For the last pass of Friday night, Rich was really feeling like he could get that 11 second time slip with a good clean pass. Gotta Have It Street and Gotta Have It Race were lined up together, once again. Rick ran a very consistent 12.51 @ 112.52 with a 1.93 60’ in Gotta Have It Street. Rich had a little bit too much wheel spin on the launch with Gotta Have It Race and ran a 12.07 @112.49 with a 1.89 60’ time, just missing an 11 second pass. If he would have been able to get a 1.80 60’ time, Gotta Have It Race would have easily been in the 11s. The 11s would have to wait until Saturday.
CJ Pony Parts got back to the track early Saturday morning and the Roush Super Stang Class was called to the staging lanes just after 9am. The temperature and humidity were still in our favor, but we knew it was going to get very hot in the afternoon, so if we were going to get that 11 second pass, it had to be now. Gotta Have It Race and Gotta Have It Street lined up side-by-side for the first pass of the day. Rich had a GREAT launch with a 1.76 60’ time and with the help of the installed Barton shifter, he was able to bang every gear perfectly and run an 11.97 @ 112.21 MPH! Finally, an 11 second pass!Gotta Have It Street ran another consistent 12.52 @ 112.72 MPH with a 1.92 60’ time. Check out the above video of Gotta Have It Race's 11 second pass!
After the adrenaline rush of hitting an 11 second run, the Gotta Have Builds crew was ready for eliminations to start! Tommy had run a best of 15.33 @ 90.36 MPH in the cool weather the night before in the F-150 Raptor, so with the automatic dial-in of 0.1 quicker than your best pass he had a dial-in of 15.23. The guys that run the Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning class are very competitive and we knew Tommy was going to have trouble getting close to a 15.23 in the heat, in the late afternooon.
Tommy's qualifying slot put him up against our good friend, Bob Cochran, who is a previous series champion. Needless to say, Tommy didn’t stand a chance against Bob, who cut a great light and won easily. Bob went on to finish in the runner-up position at Milan.
Rick and Rich were up next in the Roush Super Stang class.Gotta Have It Street was running consistently in the 12.50 to 12.54 range all weekend long, so Rick decided to dial-in at 12.51. Gotta Have It Race was not as consistent, so Rich went with a 12.19 dial-in. The first round of eliminations for Roush Super Stang is made with random pairings. Rick in Gotta Have It Street was paired against Brent White and his 2013 Gotta Have It Green Roush Stage 3 Mustang. Brent finished 8th in points last year so Rick knew he had to get a good light and make a clean pass to have a chance at winning. Rick was able to cut his best light of the weekend, a .082 reaction time, but Brent bettered him with a .058 reaction. Unfortunately, the heat must have gotten to Gotta Have It Street, as it ran a 12.65 which allowed Brent to get the win by .12 of a second. Rich in Gotta Have It Race drew an even tougher opponent in Larry Firestone, who finished 5th in points last year. Rich cut a decent .125 reaction time and a nice 60’ of 1.75, but his race was all over when he missed 3rd gear.
With all three of the CJ Pony Parts drivers losing in the first round, our event was over much sooner than we had hoped. Even with the early eliminations, all our guys had a blast at NMRA Milan. You can expect to see the boys from CJ Pony Parts with the Gotta Have Builds fleet at the next NMRA event in Joliet, Illinois July 12-15th -- The 7th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl