While Charlie Cooper was impressive and imposing with his supercharged combination in NMRA and NMCA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw competition in 2016, he decided to move to a turbocharged combination in 2017.
To ensure that he would continue to be competitive, he began by delivering his small-block Ford engine and Fox body Mustang to MCRP in Pennsylvania, where his engine, which is built around a Dart compacted graphite block, received new rods and pistons, and his Edelbrock SC1 heads, which had previous port work by Race Flow Development, were enhanced.
MCRP also mounted into the car an intercooler, fabricated the plumbing, installed the freshened engine and a 98mm Garrett turbo, and mated them with an M&M Transmission-built Turbo 400 and ProTorque converter before fastening on a new carbon fiber one-piece front end and doors by Schoneck Composites.
The combination, tuned by PTP Racing’s Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill, proved to be potent right out of the gate, as in NMRA competition, Cooper uncorked a 4.36 to win at the first event of the year at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, a 4.56 to win at the event at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania and earned a second place finish in NMRA points when the six-race series wrapped up in October.
He was even more fierce in NMCA competition, as he won with a 4.40 at the first event of the year at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, finished as a runner-up with a 4.45 at the event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana, led qualifying with a 4.46 at the event at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky and — after a serious season-long battle against Manny Bugina and other drivers in the category — earned the 2017 NMCA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw championship with just 200 points more than Buginga.
“A lot of stars lined up for us last year, and everything went very well,” said Cooper. “A lot of that has to do with the fact that we have a really great combination, and honestly, we didn’t have any breakage.”
Ready to rocket into the 2018 race season, Cooper had his engine massaged by MCRP before heading to a test session in Orlando, Florida in mid-February, but he ran into some issues there, and understandably, he wants to keep the specifics under wraps.
“We were trying some new stuff, and we hurt some stuff,” said Cooper. “But on the positive side, we saw very good potential.”
Cooper and his crew, including his wife, Lizzy Cooper, Mark Edward and Jason Lee, plan to be back in action at the 24th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, March 1-4, 2018 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, followed by the 16th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem, March 8-11, 2018, also at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
“This year, we really hope to repeat what we did last year,” said Cooper. “That’s what we’re going to go for.”
SpeedVideo.com will broadcast all of the action live via presenting sponsor Edelbrock, along with Strange Engineering, Comp Cams, Royal Purple, Moser Engineering, RaceStar Industries, Flying A Motorsports, Precision Turbo, ProCharger, Champion Cooling, and BMR Suspension.
(Photos by NMCA and Mary Lendzion)