Some reading this may find it difficult to believe, but when the NMRA started many of the heads up classes featured cars that could be and were daily driven. Racing like any contest tends to evolve whenever there’s any kind of dollar figure and accolades on the line, and so it did as well in the NMRA’s original street oriented classes, Factory Stock, Pure Street, and Real Street.
In those early days of the NMRA, your editor was just a young guy freelancing for some extra cash to fund his own project cars, and two of the people he met and spent some time with were Darin Hendricks and Steve Moberly. Back then Hendricks was racing a 1993 Cobra. “I bought the car in 1996 from Anderson Ford with 3,800 miles on it,” says Hendricks.
Elsewhere in the NMRA Chris Beningo owned a car known as the “Evil Twin”, which was formerly a Real Street racer. The car got it’s name because it was the “twin” of the Super Street Outlaw ride that Beningo was crew chief for and Billy Laskowsky wheeled. Gabe Large and Ed Curtis were responsible for the “twin” but as years progressed the twin was left without a driver, and Beningo had limited interest in being the wheel man. Moberly bought the car from Beningo as a rolling chassis, planning to get serious about his Pure Street racing efforts.
Had Steve and I been close friends at the time, I probably would have said no to the original partnership because I’d heard how that kind of thing ruined a lot of friendships. -Darin Hendricks
At the time Hendricks and Moberly knew each other, or at least of each other but were only friendly acquaintances. Hendricks had a winning engine combination, but had battled parts breakage and difficulty making races (as so many do on a large national event rotation). It was Beningo who finally put the two racers and former competitors together, giving Hendricks’ telephone number to Moberly, and urging him to call. “Had Steve and I been close friends at the time, I probably would have said no to the original partnership because I’d heard how that kind of thing ruined a lot of friendships,” says Hendricks.
With Hendricks owning the engine and Moberly the car, the decision was made to put Darin behind the wheel for his ability to bang gears down the dragstrip. The partnership was a huge success, and the combination of teamwork, a well thought out engine, and a race car that went down the track properly was good enough to win the Pure Street championship in 2003.
Their success would last only one season, and as is the case with many of us, young men often end up married, and wanting to start a family. Often finances for family life and racing budgets collide, and so Moberly and Hendricks were both out of the Pure Street scene by the end of 2005. “By the end of the 2004 season both of us had kids on the horizon,” says Moberly.
In the years since they remained good friends and both focused on family life and their careers. Moberly’s computer components business took off and Hendricks started two companies – one as a fencing contract and the other selling fencing components wholesale throughout the mid-west. Today Moberly has sold the computer business and is pursuing his passion for cars working on a startup performance shop and e-commerce retailer known as ScramSpeed.
Back In Action
Fast forward to 2012, when the NMRA’s new Coyote Stock class premiered. Taking engine building out of the equation and making the class a place for a capable driver and chassis, Coyote Stock has become a popular format for racers looking to go heads up racing, without spending more than many of us make in a calendar year on an engine program, let alone a racing effort.
Moberly had the urge to go racing again, and had even looked at a few cars. Meanwhile Hendricks, who was also a parent now, had managed to buy back the ’93 Cobra he sold just two years prior and had some aspirations about doing a little racing of his own.
With both bit by the racing bug, and still remaining good friends since their days of racing years prior, Moberly called up Hendricks and started talking about seriously racing again. “Darin and I have been watching the Coyote Stock class since it was first started by NMRA,” says Moberly. The two had talked about the class but never about teaming up again except jokingly until now. “One day I sent Steve a text and it just said ‘I’ll go Coyote Stock Racing with you’,” says Hendricks. That was all the encouragement Moberly needed, as he quickly put in an order for one of the classes sealed crate engines.
The Cobra needed work. What had once been Hendricks’ race car, had been slowly transformed back towards a street car by the owner that he sold it to and two years later bought it back from. Hendricks, with ideas of his own, had already gone as far as installing a supercharged engine with a C4 transmission.
Still wearing Bogart wheels, the factory Cobra brakes and only showing just over 21,000 miles on the odometer. Moberly then picked the car up from Hendricks. At Moberly’s house Steve along with a few friends began a thrash fest to get the car ready for it’s debut at the NMRA World Finals this past October. “We have now converted a 1993 Cobra into a drag car twice,” Moberly says laughing.
Needless to say we were doing a double take as Hendricks rolled the car to the starting line and made a test pass on Friday. “Did you see Darin’s car,” Adam Cox said to us in the staging lines, and a long conversation ensued.
Familiar Territory, New Ground
Coyote Stock has proven that while the cars can be built and run for quite a long time for relatively little cost by comparison, there is still a learning curve with respect to vehicle setup. Hendricks and Moberly came out of the gate at the World Finals running low 11 second ETs. Not bad for a car that was essentially a street ready, daily drivable vehicle coming into the race and a wheel man who’s not made a drag strip pass in eight years.
At Beech Bend the car still wore its stock hood and some older Auto Meter gauges that Hendricks had installed years back for Pure Street competition. “Someone looked at it and said, ‘You all still have the parking brake on this car’,” Hendricks said to us at the NMRA World Finals, “We have some work to do to get the weight where it needs to be in the car, and get it ready for next year.”
On The Curve
We have now converted a 1993 Cobra into a drag car twice. -Steve Moberly
Unafraid to experiment, this dynamic duo will no doubt spend the winter looking into what the car needs, and what they’d like to try out with it for next season. We’re sure there’s several hours of research and development about to go into the old teal Cobra.
“The car is going to have a lot of time and money spent on it over the winter, we’re hoping to come out swinging next season,” says Moberly.
Hendricks told us that among the changes being made they are having a new rear end built by Strange Engineering which will be narrower, allowing for an optimal wheel/tire combination. “The car is at the body shop right now getting the cowl hood painted. It’s no secret that in Coyote Stock the speed comes from a good chassis and a lightweight drivetrain so we’ll be refining that this winter,” says Hendricks. All of the suspension components come from UPR, and VP fuels has offered some support for next season. Aside from the rear end, Strange is also giving some help with new drag brakes which will replace the stockers at all four corners. “We’ll be experimenting with gear ratios and chassis adjustments this winter, hopefully we can get down south for some testing,” says Moberly.
With Hendricks behind the wheel of his own car, and Moberly supplying the engine, it’s a familiar pairing with some changed circumstances. These two will no doubt be digging deep into the R&D side this winter as they’ve always been inventive with their racing efforts, “We know we’re a little behind the curve right now, but we hope to be very competitive next year,” says Hendricks. With more veteran racers and new comers making their way to Coyote Stock this class just continues to get hotter for the next season, we can’t wait to see what these two do next year.