New Engine, New Mustang and New Teams; Ford Ready for 2010
Season of NHRA Pro Stock
NEW ENGINE, NEW MUSTANG AND NEW TEAMS; FORD READY FOR 2010 SEASON OF NHRA
PRO STOCK *
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 11, 2010 – It has been one of the most commonly asked
questions of Ford Racing over the last 15 years. When is Ford going to
return to Pro Stock?
Not since the mid-1990s heyday of the legendary Bob Glidden in the
Motorcraft Thunderbird has "The Blue Oval” approached a season of NHRA Pro
Stock competition ready to battle in the most competitive class of racing in
NHRA drag racing – Pro Stock - where the entire field is usually separated
by a fraction of a second.
Technically, the answer to the question is 2009, when Ford Racing ran a
yearlong testing and developmental program with Jim Cunningham Racing aimed
at the creation of a new Pro Stock engine and a new Pro Stock Mustang body.
While Jim Cunningham and Erica Enders ran the chassis and engine combo at
the NHRA Finals at Pomona last November, the engine was still in full
development and thus the outing was little more than a high visibility test.
In reality, the “official return” is this weekend when, after a fervid
14-month journey, the polished combination of Ford Racing’s new Ford 500 Pro
Stock engine and the 2010 Mustang Pro Stock body will take to the famed
quarter-mile at the 50th NHRA Winternationals in a pair of Larry Morgan
Racing Lucas Oil Summit Racing entries.
“I’m so excited, I almost can’t hardly stand it, just to get there,” said
Morgan a 10-time Pro Stock winner who is switching to Ford after years of
running a Dodge Stratus. “It’s incredible. We ran real well in testing,
both times we were out. We’re just so excited for Ford to get the Ford
Mustang out there and show off what Mose [Nowland] has been working on for
Morgan and his teammate John Nobile will be the only Ford Mustangs in the
field of 22 cars at Pomona this weekend. Cunningham Racing is expected to
make its 2010 Pro Stock debut at Gainesville, Fla. in mid-March.
The evolution of the new Ford 500 and the 2010 Mustang Pro Stock body has
come under the watchful eye of Mose Nowland, Ford Racing’s engine engineer
who has been involved with successful high profile Ford Racing programs
dating back to the legendary Le Mans program in the 1960s. Nowland was
charged in late 2008, by then Ford Racing director Brian Wolfe, to chart a
course for a Ford return to Pro Stock. The difference was Ford would be
returning to Pro Stock not as a factory program, but as part of a larger
NHRA strategy that embraced sportsman racing, added performance parts
offerings, and included activating Ford as Official Vehicle of NHRA.
“We’ve made considerable progress with our engine and we’re very excited
about it,” said Nowland. “We’ve had several test trips and we’ve done
extensive dynamometer testing. The development work has been on the top end
basically, the manifold and induction system and so on. We were excited
about the performance of this thing. We actually met our goal the first
time out on the dynamometer. In fact, we eclipsed our goal, our expected
goal, and that has really set the excitement high. We’re very grateful for
our two participating teams, the Morgan team and the Cunningham team,
they’ve been great contributors.
“Certainly, since we left Pro Stock racing, about the time Bob Glidden
retired, there’s been a lot of breakthroughs on alloy, compositions,
strength and methods of valve train dynamics, “ said Nowland. “It was very
delightful for me to have spent so much time on NASCAR projects that there’s
a lot of things we learned there that we applied to this engine. We just
have learned over the years what works and what doesn’t work. Our goal was
to get out there pretty quick with an engine that would stand a good chance
to qualify and keep the price down. I believe we’ve met the challenge
The Ford return to Pro Stock is coordinated with the launch of a variety of
racer friendly or grassroots initiatives. Ford Racing diversified its NHRA
program with an expansion of teams in Funny Car, with entrance as a customer
supplier into Pro Stock and with a recommitment to sportsman racing with the
re-introduction of the 2008 and 2010 Mustang Cobra Jet. As a result, there
will be an increased Ford presence at NHRA events in coming years both on
and off the track.
Now the challenge of racing in the most competitive class in NHRA now
becomes a reality for Nowland, Cunningham and Morgan and the fledgling Ford
Pro Stock program.
“My expectations are running high right now,” said Nowland. “We realize our
competition is tough and we’ve got the Mike Edwards, Jeg Coughlin and the
Johnson’s and others out there. I know they weren’t sitting on their
laurels over the winter. We’ve been working real hard and we’re certainly
going to have a qualifying car, there’s no doubt in my mind, unless some
unforeseen thing pops up. From what we see and feel right now, we’re going
to be in that ladder somewhere.”
Morgan is a proven winner throughout his career and he knows what it takes
to visit the Winner’s Circle. “You can’t get in there enough, I can tell you
that right now. It’s quite a thrill. More than anything, my next race win
is going to be in a Ford Mustang and I can’t wait. Hopefully, that will be
*About Ford North America Motorsports*
Ford North America Motorsports, based in Dearborn, Mich., is responsible for
major racing operations in North America, including NASCAR (Sprint Cup,
Nationwide Series, Camping World Trucks), Grand American sports car racing,
NHRA drag racing, USAC midget car racing and the Ford Racing Mustang
Challenge. The department also oversees the development and marketing of
Ford Racing Engines and Performance Parts, the outreach programs with all
Ford Clubs and Ford enthusiasts, and the marketing of the Ford Racing brand
through initiatives such as Team Ford Racing. For more information
regarding Ford Racing’s activities, please visit www.fordracing.com.
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