Cobra Jet Sets Standing-Mile Record At Kennedy Space Center

We are all well aware of the Ford Performance Cobra Jet Mustang racer’s long list of records and wins in National Hot Rod Association competition. These amazing factory drag cars are ready to rumble right off the trailer and in the hands of an experienced race team they can really fly. It’s not often that you see one running with the pedal to the floor beyond a quarter mile, however.

It’s more common that you would see Rick Hernadez’s 2008 Cobra Jet setting records at the drag strip. With some help from the clever folks at JMS Chip & Performance, however, this car reeled in a standing-mile record too.

It’s more common that you would see Rick Hernadez’s 2008 Cobra Jet setting records at the drag strip. With some help from the clever folks at JMS Chip & Performance, however, this car reeled in a standing-mile record too.

That’s just what happened with the crew at JMS Chip & Performance teamed up with Rick Hernandez and his 2008 Cobra Jet. They set out to see just how fast this drag star could run in the standing mile. Turns out it’s pretty damn fast. In fact, it’s record setting.

It set the record for the world’s fastest Cobra Jet Mustang in the standing mile

“On 10/29/16 at Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility in the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, we top-speed tested a real 2008 Cobra Jet Mustang,” Brad Grissom of JMS explained. “It set the record for the world’s fastest Cobra Jet Mustang in the standing mile at 195.537 mph.”

To pilot the Cobra Jet at such meteoric velocities, Rick tapped experienced driver and former NMRA Real Street racer Jay Meagher (who now runs a company called Real Street Performance), who actually bought his first Mustang from Rick—an ’85 Mustang GT—back in the day.

At Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility in the Kennedy Space Center, Jay Meagher of Real Street Performance piloted the NHRA FSS/F-legal CJ to 195.537 mph. (Photo Credit: JMS)

“He asked me if I would drive it because I have taken my Supra to a couple of half-mile events,” Jay said. “I didn’t really think it through, but I said ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ I really selfishly did it because I wanted to go that piece of concrete, because it is probably the baddest piece of concrete on the planet.”

That smooth, shuttle-friendly concrete was a major factor in allowing the drag-oriented Cobra Jet to run nearly 200 mph.

2008 Cobra Jet Mods

• ANSU fuel injectors

• American Racing Headers long-tube headers

• Comp Cams camshafts

• Cloyes Camshaft Drives

• JMS PowerMAX fuel pump booster

• Metco pulleys

• Ram Clutches

• Rockett Brand Racing Fuel

• Snow Performance water-meth injection

“There was no real preparation—other than a gear change and tightening up the clutch up—from its drag strip form, so it wasn’t nearly as stable and confidence-inspiring as my Supra,” Jay explained. “In the Mustang it felt like a time machine…”

The Mustang fought its way up to speed and Jay worked to keep it on a straight path. In deference to the sustained speeds, the team opted to run NASCAR racing slicks, which struggled for traction in the lower gears but maintained integrity at top speed. Still, the soft drag suspension kept kept Jay’s focus laser sharp.

“Keep in mind that is a really nice piece of cement, so you are not getting bounced around like you would on many other surfaces,” Jay enthused. “…That piece of concrete out there at NASA is really, really flat.”

Impressively, this CJ still runs the 2.3-liter TVS supercharger it was born with and it ran the big number in NHRA-legal FSS/F Trim.

Though they were clearly stoked to set a record, this crew—(from left to right) Chris Johnson, Eric Raymer, Rick Hernandez and Jay Meagher—will certainly be back out to try and run even faster with this class-legal Cobra Jet.

Though they were clearly stoked to set a record, this crew—(from left to right) Chris Johnson, Eric Raymer, Rick Hernandez and Jay Meagher—will certainly be back out to try and run even faster with this class-legal Cobra Jet. (Photo Credit: JMS)

“The only changes to run the mile were the addition of a larger intercooler tank, the removal of the forward facing hood-scoop and the addition of water methanol to keep things cool,” Brad said. “It was not our intention to make this vehicle illegal for NHRA class racing. We just wanted to go out and have some fun and see how fast it would go in NHRA legal trim.”

We just wanted to go out and have some fun and see how fast it would go in NHRA legal trim

To dial in the combination, Chris Johnson—founder of both SCT Performance and JMS—utilized SCT’s X4 handheld tuner, Advantage tuning software and LiveLink datalogging. With these tools he was able to maximize the performance of a Cobra Jet cooled by a Snow Performance water-methanol injection.

In the end, the results speak for themselves. On its second hit the CJ ran the number and the team walked away with an official certificate for its troubles.

To ensure the safety at top speed, the Cobra Jet ran with NASCAR racing rubber. These tires couldn’t corral that CJ torque off the line, but they held up at nearly 200 mph.

To ensure the safety at top speed, the Cobra Jet ran with NASCAR racing rubber. These tires couldn’t corral that CJ torque off the line, but they held up at nearly 200 mph.

“Most folks don’t race their real Cobra Jets and most folks also can’t take their record-setting mile cars and legally set an NHRA class record,” Brad added. “So, it’s pretty cool that this car now has five records and it is still racing.”

We need to add at least another 100 horsepower to hit the 200-plus-mph mark

The next question, of course, is just how much faster can this car run?

“Can we go faster? Yes. The 195-mph hit was only the second standing-mile run on the car,” Brad said. “…We need to add at least another 100 horsepower to hit the 200-plus-mph mark. At this point we are researching how to do it and remain in NHRA legal trim.”

We suspect you might see this Cobra Jet rocketing past a space shuttle at over 200 mph in the near future, so stay tuned.

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About the author

Steve Turner

Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge in the world of Ford performance, having covered it for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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