You’ve probably noticed a trend among online car forums where everybody is obsessed about what a “stock-bottom-end” car can and can’t do. It would seem that this ideology is geared toward doing more with less, and you’d be right. We all know that competition, whether it’s drag racing, mile racing or road racing, can be one of the most expensive hobbies to get into to.
It’s why racers often joke amongst themselves that a drug addiction would have cost a heck of a lot less in the long run, and they may have a point. This thinking brings us full circle with Chad Wendel and his 2007 Ford Mustang GT. Chad is subscribed to the “doing-more-with-less movement,” proving that you don’t need big bucks to have fun and go racing.
I started racing in the NMRA more than eight years ago, and have been happy with this series. — Chad Wendel
Apart from a rearend, transmission and a few necessary fuel system upgrades, Chad’s ’07 Mustang GT is virtually bone-stock with some minor weight reduction. Finishing first in the NMRA‘s Super Stang class is his foremost goal, while claiming the stock-bottom-end, Three-Valve Mustang was his secondary.
Starting From Scratch
Huge congratulations to our friend Chad Wendel for breaking the stock 3V record with a 10.53 @ 126 in his UPR-equipped and Paxton Supercharged Mustang! Way to go Chad!
Posted by UPR Products on Thursday, September 28, 2017
In the video above, Chad sets the stock-bottom-end, Three-Valve Mustang record at the 2017 NMRA World Finals event at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with a 10.53 at 126 mph in the quarter mile.
A Portland, Indiana, native, Chad purchased the car brand new in June of 2007 and chose this Torch Red example. It’s hard to justify modifying a car when you’re still paying it off every month, but that didn’t stop Chad from doing what he loved. The car came with the Shaker 500 sound system from the factory, equipped with the optional interior package which boasts faux aluminum trim in the interior, but it was the body style that drew Chad to the S197.
“I have always thought these cars looked very similar to the early ’60s versions,” he said. “When these cars came out in 2005, I had to have one. In June of 2007, I made the commitment to getting one, and I don’t regret it.”
When the mod bug first hit Chad, it hit him hard. His Mustang spent the first few months making the rounds at the local car shows in Indiana, which was just fine for his pace. However, after much consideration, the modifications began, and it was all uphill from there. Chad began by adding a handful of basic bolt-ons that every enthusiast should consider.
Starting strong, he first turned to Dave Liechty and Dave Bachota of DAVAD Motorsports for a set of 4.10 gears, a custom oil separator and a custom tune. Chad was thrilled with the results, and decided to bestow both of them with the title of installers.
“I’m pretty picky about my Mustang, and these guys did everything they could to take care of my car,” Chad told us. “They have always treated me well, but to see them in action is impressive.”
Steady As She Goes
We’ll be shooting for 10s at the NMRA World Finals, and the number one spot in the Super Stang class this year in Bowling Green. – Chad Wendel
Running a JLT Performance cold air intake, a Steeda Autosports under drive pulley system, a Pypes off-road X-pipe, a custom tune and a 3.91 gear, he was able to run even faster on Weld Racing RT-S 15-inch front and rear wheels. This combination powered him into the 12.54-second (at 112 mph) range.
“I’ve been drag racing for more than 30 years at local tracks,” Chad said. “I started racing in the NMRA more than eight years ago, and have been happy with this series. Our family always owned Mustangs, and we’ve owned more than 60 of them throughout the years.
“We have kids, nephews and nieces that are starting to run with us at these events. We’ve had great success in racing, and getting great sponsors has helped us along the way,” he added.
Keep in mind, Chad was running the factory Tremec TR-3650 five-speed manual transmission paired with a Steeda short-throw-shifter at the time. When Chad wasn’t happy with the 1.8 60-foot times at this point, he hit up BMR Suspension and UPR Products for an all-new setup.
The time frame is now May of 2011. After Chad invested in a set of lower control arm relocation brackets and a pair of lower control arms, he was able to further lower his 60-foot time, down to the 1.7 range. During this time, his S197 GT weighed in at 3,600 pounds race weight with a quarter-tank of gas. Fast forward to October of 2011, and the factory rearend finally met its maker.
Launching at 7,000 rpm on sticky drag radials didn’t hold long for the factory stuff, but Chad opted to rebuild the OEM 8.8-inch using Moser Engineering components. At that time, Chad was running a 4.56 gear and a taller set of M/T drag radials (28-inch). Before busting the rearend, he laid a personal best 60-foot of 1.68.
After rebuilding the factory 8.8-inch rearend, Chad stepped up to a set of BMR lowering springs and a pair of Lakewood 90/10 front struts and 50/50 rear drag shocks. He also opted for an anti-rollbar, K-member and A-arms as well.
The new rearend combination consisted of a pair of Moser 31-spline street axles, a Moser differential girdle, an Eaton True Trac differential and 4.56 gears. This rearend combination, in conjunction with the still-factory TR-3650, was able to push Chad and his 300 rwhp Three-Valve into the 11.90-second range at 116 mph. Finally, Chad had an inclination that the factory Three-Valve 4.6-liter engine was finally ready for a boost, so to say.
If you noticed that Steeda shifter looks a tad different in that last interior picture, that’s because this TR-3650 5-speed manual transmission is a bit different. It’s been built by RPM Transmissions and uses a 26-spline input shaft along with an Australian Ford Falcon’s tail-housing, making it a direct-shift style shifter. Continuing the trend of new components, Chad made the switch in late 2014 to a Moser M9 custom-built rearend.
The new combination consists of gun-drilled Moser 35-spline axles with 5/8-inch studs, a Moser spool with 4.30 gears, a 4-inch aluminum driveshaft and a McLeod Racing RST 1200 twin-disc clutch. But it wasn’t until he added the Paxton NOVI 2200 H.O. supercharger kit, that Chad begin to see the drastically improved e.t.’s.
Working with Brent at Brenspeed, Chad sourced the Paxton NOVI kit and installed it himself in his garage. After throwing a base tune on it, he brought the car back to Brent so that he could work his tuning magic on the ’Stang. After hitting the rollers of a Dynojet dyno, the car put down a respectable 520 rear-wheel horsepower on the stock long-block.
That included the stock camshafts, intake manifold, cylinder heads, valve-train assembly, and complete rotating assembly. Brent and Chad, quite literally, bolted a massive blower onto a stock Three-Valve Mustang.
“Every time we change the oil, it looks brand new. It’s holding up pretty well from the abuse we’ve thrown at it,” Chad said of its longevity.
“Hopefully this winter, we plan to build a short-block for the car,” Chad told us.
Like we plan to do with our own NOVI supercharged Three-Valve, he plans to build a forged bottom-end — no fancy big-bore or stroker engine to compensate, just a good old forged rotating assembly and a shit ton of boost. Before Chad set the stock-bottom-end, Three-Valve record, his ’07 Mustang GT carried a race weight of 3,500 pounds, and his best e.t. was 11.07 at 127.5 mph with a 1.5 60-foot time with the new supercharged combination.
His Mustang has piloted him to one NMRA Super Stang Championship and more than seven Top 10s since he started more than eight years ago.
“It’s an original 20,000 mile car with the original Torch Red paint on it,” Chad added.
“It’s never had a bolt out of the engine – it’s the way Ford sent it. We’ve never removed the cam covers or anything. The only reason it had not broken into the 10s before was because of the lower gear ratios in the transmission. We opted for G-Force to cut us a new set of gears, and we chose a 2.92 First gear. It killed our 60-foot a bit, and I lost a tenth from it, but we’ll get there.
“We’re putting a Flaming River manual steering rack on the car this winter. It should free up a bit of horsepower, and should drop about 30 pounds off the nose.” Chad concluded.
We like the sound of that, sir. Now that Chad has set the stock-bottom-end, Three-Valve Mustang record, we are excited to see where he goes from here.