Since the early 1990’s Ford has been producing select F-150s with performance in mind. We saw this with the first and second generation SVT Lightnings then came the 13th generation F-150. If Ford meant it or not, it created a serious contender at the drag strip with few modifications. These trucks have gained so much popularity that classes have been specifically created for them, and the Mod Nationals was no different. We saw Lightnings and late model F-150s tackling the 1/4-mile in Mod Truck and Heavy Street classes, and we’ve compiled some of the trucks that caught our attention at Mod Nationals 2021.
Brian Heinz’s Saucy 2020 F-150
When it comes to low mileage, Brian Heinz takes the title with only 1500 miles on his 2020 F-150. The truck’s mileage is low, but the amount of effort Heinz has put into the truck recently is massive. “I had a 1999 Cobra for years and sold it in April 2020 for a change. I wanted to do something different, so I bought a regular cab, short bed 2020 F-150 to shock people at the track with a 9-second truck,” said Heinz. To achieve this Heinz purchased a Whipple 2.9 supercharger with 3.25 pulley. The 3.25 pulley was paired with an ATI 20-percent under. A full 10-rib pulley swap was sourced from Z-Industries. This setup produced an astounding 946 rear wheel horsepower at 21 psi on a stock long block with the help of Lund Racing.
While Heinz is running VAS Supension with Viking Performance coilovers, he’s been having trouble dialing the setup in. “I’ve been fighting traction and suspension issues all year, but a big thanks to Bobby Webb for the suspension settings tip that allowed me to put down my best passes,” said Heinz. “These changes resulted in a personal best of 9.6-second 1/4-mile pass with a trap speed of 143 miles per hour.” Transferring the power from the motor to the rear is the stock 10r80 transmission, with the only addition being McLeod clutches.
Robert Chuhran’s Hard Luck Outing
If you’ve been around Ford drag racing events long enough, then you will easily recognize the red Johnny Lightning Performance-badged truck driven by Robert Chuhran. The truck is a crowd favorite, as it consistently pulls the front wheels 3-feet off the ground and then makes 9-second passes.
Chuhran, who worked at Ford Motor Company for years, has owned this Lightning since new. He has participated in events such as Fun Ford Weekend, NMRA and NMCA events since 2007. In 2010 the truck saw major revisions including a ladder bar suspension setup and cage. He later went on to win the NMRA world championship in 2013 in the Truck and Lightning class. The truck now has an aluminum GT block and set the 2v blower record at 9.13 at 148.61 mph.
You would think racing events come easily to Chuhran, after-all, he’s been racing the truck since 2007. Well, at this year’s Mod Nationals things didn’t go as planned — after making the 938-mile trek with the truck on a trailer the traction bar had departed ways with his chassis. This would require a welder on site at Mod Nationals to handle. After fixing the suspension fluke the truck was running poorly, which it was determined was a result of water getting into the plugs. Finally, the truck was back to race-worthy shape and things were looking good — that was, until a low hanging wire clotheslined Chuhran to the ground from his scooter. This would earn him the Hard Luck award at this year’s Mod Nationals.
Into the Abyss with Daniel Sinclair
You always want to make the next year better than the last. This was Daniel Sinclair’s modus operandi with his second trip to the Mod Nationals. Sinclair brought his Abyss Grey 2019 F-150 five hours from Charleston, South Carolina to race. While the truck is obviously lowered, under the hood is where this build shines. A Whipple Gen 5 3.0L delivers 15 psi through the 132mm throttle body. Aside from the Boundary oil pump gears, the motor remains factory sealed. A Signature Speed-built 10R80 transfers power to the Mustang limited slip differential via a Driveline1 aluminum driveshaft.
You would imagine a large blower on a 4,575 pound truck would become a burnout machine, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. VAS suspension and Viking double-adjustable shocks have assisted Sinclair in cutting a 1.39-second best 60-foot time. “I leave the truck in second gear and let the Lund Tuning and 3.31 gears work their magic,” said Sinclair. “I ended up taking home third place in the Modular Truck shootout. The truck was hooking all weekend until the traction gods came to play in the semi-finals.”
Sinclair will have his hands full next year trying to improve. His 9.6-second time-slip was a new personal best and he qualified number one for the event’s reaction time. His truck ran consistent 9-second passes with no mechanical issues all weekend. We look forward to seeing this Abyss grey F-150 tearing it up next year.
Matt Foerster’s Lightning Quick Truck
Matt Foerster purchased his 2002 Lightning in 2017 with intention of racing at the Mod Nationals. That dream began to slip away after a series of bad luck encounters on his previous engines appeared. Thankfully, Foerster has an army of friends willing to help him assemble the newest setup and make the event happen. Mark Hendrick at Horsepower By Hendrick built the new motor, while Foerster’s friends Sean Story and Thomas Allen tore down the Lightning’s engine bay. Apocalypse Performance supplied the engine parts and Kris Starnes Power spec’d the camshafts. This winning combination allowed him to make the 2021 Mod Nationals.
The motor’s internals consist of Diamond Pistons, Molar Billet Rods, and Kris Starns Power custom cams. A Whipple 2.3L blower sits atop the modular motor pushing air into the mildly ported PI heads. The 4R100 received a few upgrades including a Precision Industries‘ Stallion 2400 rpm stall converter. Foerster shaved a few pounds of weight with Aerospace rear drag brakes and Bogart three-piece wheels. This combo resulted in Foerster’s personal best time of 10.95 at 120 mph. This was not a bad time considering the truck rolled across the scales at close to 5,000 pounds!
Guy Sumerau Storms The Strip
When a truck rolls in with a Midnight Performance sticker on the back, you can safely assume it’s here for business. Guy Sumerau’s 2019 F-150 is no different. The storm trooper-esue appearance looks menacing, but the Midnight Performance-built engine under the hood is where the intimidation lies. Midnight Performance added TSS oil pump gears, a 3.25-pullied Gen 4 2.9L Whipple and SFI 20-percent lower. At one point the truck held the record of quickest Gen 4 Whipple with a 9.11 at 149 mph pass on a slightly different pulley setup.
Sumerau toned it down slightly for the event with a goal of getting a 9.3-second time slip. His VAS suspension and Viking coilovers allowed him to cut a 1.4 60-foot. However, the goal of 9.3-second pass slipped just out of hands when he ran out of fuel on a steller pass. Thankfully, the Lund Racing tune was on-point, as this could have turned out badly! While this was his first time at Mod Nationals, he has already made it clear he is a strong contender in the Mod Truck category and looks forward to next year.
Bobby Webb’s Work Truck
Bobby Webb has a developers mentality — while being the first to market and working with manufacturers can be a daunting task of testing, logs and track outings, few have made as much progress on the 13th generation F-150 as he has. “I partnered with Whipple and Lund Tuning in late 2018. This truck was the first with this kind of power level that Lund tuned, as it’s completely different from the Mustang,” said Webb. “The result of Lund ironing out the F-150 was an explosion of mid to low 9-second trucks.”
With any developing vehicle you will see many renditions. “The truck started with a 2.9L Whipple, Brett Lasala-built transmission and, a Sai Li fuel system, all of which is good for around 1,100 horsepower,” said Webb. “The suspension has progressed from many different VAS suspension setups to where we are at today with a complete VAS 4/6 drop and Viking coilovers. The truck now rocks a Whipple 3.0L with race rotors.”
At the Mod Nationals, Webb found himself fighting gremlins. This was his first track outing with the new Whipple 3.0L. “During qualifying I found a loose fuel fitting that sprayed fuel everywhere. Thankfully, a fire did not erupt! Then in qualifying round 3 a belt tensioner belt broke at some point and I had to abort the pass,” said Webb. While the new setup was being figured out, Webb still managed to run a 9.6 at 145 mph on a soft 60-foot while barely spinning the blower. Webb forecasted his future with the truck: “our goal is to line out the little issues, address the belt slip and get the truck running the eights on a stock motor while still being full weight.”
Race On Sunday, Work On Monday
You might be inclined to think that these trucks are nothing more than a race-truck with little functional ability. Some might even use the term “ruined” regarding their lack of ground clearance, however, that would be far from the truth. Bobby Webb uses his truck on the regular to haul pool equipment. His Circle-D Converter doesn’t mind pulling street and strip duty. Matt Foerster also drives his Lightning to Metal Container Corporation where he works. These trucks have all proved themself to be a viable option for those looking for work, race and more head-room, while still knocking off some fast 1/4-mile times.