The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) is the sanctioning body behind the American Iron series of road racing competition.
Consisting of two classes, American Iron is broken down into American Iron (AI) and American Iron Extreme (AIX). The AI class utilizes power-to-weight ratio, in addition to other important factors as an equalizer. These rules are designed to keep the cars on an even playing field, despite including nearly every pony car that has been produced in the United States since 1960. Big horsepower, full slicks, and a much looser rulebook differentiates AIX.
NASA has the American Iron classes divided by regions, and for the past two seasons, the Mid-Atlantic region has been dominated by the RTR Mustang on these pages. Chris Cobetto, the NASA Mid-Atlantic regional director, is the owner and driver of this championship-winning Pony. In the world of factory-built race cars, this Ready-To-Rock Stallion started life in a very normal way.
When Cobetto's Coyote-equipped Pony took its trip down the assembly line, there was nothing special about it—no special treatments or fancy parts that would enhance its cornering abilities—it was just your run-of-the-mill Mustang GT. The team at Performance Autosport, lead by owner Mark LaMaskin, handled the transformation from showroom stock to future record holder and championship winner, and all of the work was completed in only 17 days. Much of the build was handled by Crew Chief Kevin Adolf, who also handles most aspects of the racing program.
Calling Cobetto's performance dominating is certainly bold, but when you look at his record, it's nothing short of impressive.
In addition to its race duties, the car also serves as an R&D tool for Performance Autosport. The track is the best proving ground for developing or refining high-performance parts, and LaMaskin tells us the car has been used as test mule for Kenny Brown Performance's newest suspension components, and in 2013, CorteX Racing's suspension systems will get the R&D focus. Seat time and testing is crucial, and these development opportunities and the time spent on track testing helps the team dominate on race day.
Calling Cobetto's performance dominating is certainly bold, but when you look at his record, it's nothing short of impressive. In 2011, Cobetto competed in 12 races, taking the podium nine times with seven of them being race wins. In the process, the team won the NASA Mid-Atlantic American Iron Series championship. To put a feather in that cap, they also set—then lowered—the American Iron track record at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), which is the team's home track.
The momentum of this impressive season flowed right into 2012, and the team finished with even better stats. Ten wins in 12 races, nine Number 1 qualifying positions, a repeat of the division championship, and two more records at VIR (2:05.834, the current single lap record) solidified this team's dominance. Looking at what this team has done with a detuned Coyote (engine output is detuned to 368 rwhp and 354 lb-ft of torque to meet NASA power-to-weight rules) unequivocally proves that Performance Autosport is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to making Mustangs handle on the track and on the street. After all, it's what they do every day.
Cobetto's American Iron powerhouse is undergoing a few changes for the 2013 season. The RTR livery will return for this season, but the bodywork is being upgraded to '13 trim.
Will 2013 be the year they take the national championship? Only time will tell, but we're sure the road to get there will be exciting!