NHRA-Legal Cobra Jet Resets Standing-Mile Record At 208+ MPH

The Space Shuttle might be retired, but every so often there are land-based rocket ships blasting down its expansive concrete landing strip. On such ride is a factory-prepped drag car that was tweaked for top-speed duty. This 2008 Cobra Jet recently returned to beat its own standing-mile record.

“We performed a standing one-mile top speed test with a real NHRA-legal 2008 Cobra Jet Mustang, VIN 005,” Chris Johnson, founder of JMS and SCT Performance, said. “We reset the record for the world’s fastest Cobra Jet Mustang in the standing mile at 208.806 MPH.”

Chris Johnson, James Meagher, Rick Hernandez, Eric Raymer (from left to right) teamed up for another top-speed blast in an NHRA-legal 2008 Mustang Cobra Jet. (Photo Credit: JMS Chip & Performance)

Regular readers will recall that this crew had the Cobra Jet out at the Space Shuttle’s landing strip to run a 196-MPH pass. However, they did so with a tired engine and little prep work, so a busted fuel pump really reduced the number of runs the team could make that day.

“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,” Chris explained. “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.”

With a freshened engine and more tuning, this drag car responded with a record-setting 208.806 MPH blast.

This time out they had the engine freshened, and Chris worked his magic on the chassis dyno using SCT Performance’s Advantage tuning software, Live Link datalogging software, and X4 handheld tuner. He refined the calibration and did more tweaking of the camshaft timing to squeeze more out of the combo, which is nearly legal to run at a national drag race.

“The water methanol from Snow is the only thing that is not NHRA legal,” Chris told us. “After the last mile run in 2016 the car was taken to several NHRA FSS events. The setup still retains the factory 2.3-liter TVS with stock pulley.”

The only mod that isn’t NHRA legal on this TVS-supercharged Cobra Jet 5.4-liter engine is the water-meth kit. This time out it benefitted from fresh piston rings installed by Chuck Trotter, The Engine Guy, in Jacksonville, Florida.

With Real Street Performance’s Jay Meagher back behind the wheel of the Cobra Jet owned by Rick Hernandez, all the work definitely paid off on the pavement. However, this isn’t the last top-speed run for this CJ. This team plans to upgrade the combo to NHRA Super Cobra Jet specs to take another crack at it.

“I felt much more comfortable in the car than the first time. That chassis is a large departure from my Supra so it’s not nearly as comfortable at speed. The tires we used are some sort of NASCAR tire and they don’t have a lot of traction so you have to be gentle until you’re in the middle of Third or so and than you can start feeding it torque, kinda tricky with a PD blower on a V8,” Jay explained. “The car still has a drag race (small) electric water pump so once it was in Fifth gear I just look at the center line of the runway, the wideband, and then the water temp and repeat over and over while waiting for the finish line. I knew the car was on a good run as the engine speed was still climbing. The first time we went the engine hit a “wall” at 7,000 and wouldn’t climb. This time it was still able to accelerate the whole run.”

“The 208.806-MPH hit was only the fourth standing-mile run on the car,” Chris added. “Next up will be a switch to Super Cobra Jet specs using a 4.0-liter Whipple. Can you say 230 MPH?”

This was undoubtedly an impressive run, but it merely served to tempt this team to run faster by swapping out the stock 2.3-liter supercharger in favor of Whipple’s 4.0-liter twin-screw blower to propel this S197 even faster.

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About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance 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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