Robert Hindman takes to NHRA Stock Eliminator with 13 heads-up championships to back him up.
If you're a fan of heads-up Ford drag racing, then you've most likely heard of Robert Hindman.
If you can't place the name, allow us to help. He has six Fun Ford Weekend championships (Trophy Stock: '96, '97; Mod Motor: '01, '02, '04, '05), three NMRA championships (Mod Muscle: '01, '04, '06), three WFC championships (Pure Street: '99; Open Comp: '03, '06), and his latest accolade, the 2011 Super Pro title at Knoxville Dragstrip in his Super Comp dragster.
Hindman's run in FFW, NMRA, and WFC is mighty impressive, but now he is about to turn down a new road—NHRA Stock Eliminator. Robert has solidified his place in the Street-Legal Mustang racing record books with a slew of powerful Ponies, including a black Fox-body, yellow SN-95, and silver New Edge Cobra, and he's looking to keep his championship spirit alive with this scarlet Cobra Jet clone in NHRA's D/SA Stock Eliminator class.
While it isn't one of the factory supercharged CJs, his '12 Cobra Jet is powered by the 5.0L combination. It's a collaboration between Robert and Jimmy Ronzello, a prototype engine mechanic at Ford Motor Company. "Jimmy and I raced together in Fun Ford Weekend," Robert recalls. "He called me and said, ‘I have something you might be interested in.'" The '12 CJ started life as a Competition Kit—a Cobra Jet Mustang minus the drivetrain, but more on that in a minute.
"I am going to run the Cobra Jet in D/SA in Division 2 (the Southeast region of the NHRA), but I'm also going to run my dragster in Super Comp," Robert tells us. And although it sounds like a lot of fun, racing multiple cars competitively can be a huge challenge—especially when the cars are completely different.
"Pretty much all the cars I've raced for the last 20 years have been built with everything in the same locations, and they have all had a trans brake, too. That's made jumping from one car to another fairly easy. I have to program myself while I'm in the lanes so I know what to do when I get to the starting line. I tell myself over and over what car I'm in and what class I'm in. The Cobra Jet is a foot brake car (there are no transbrakes allowed in NHRA Stock), which I haven't done in almost 20 years. It's going to take some seat time to adjust," he adds.
The combination is fairly simple. With the help of fellow FoMoCo Prototype Engine mechanic, Steve Egan, Jimmy built an NHRA-legal 12:1 compression 5.0-liter Coyote. A factory crank and cylinder heads were bolted to a Coyote block, the 92.2mm bores were filled with forged Mahle pistons, and connected to the crankshaft via a set of Manley H-beam rods. Each of the 32 valves is actuated by a set of Comp camshafts, which were cut specifically for this combination. They have the stock lift as per the rules, but are very big on duration. The throttle body is an Accufab unit, which has been converted so operation is controlled manually. The timing and fuel mixture in controlled by a BigStuff3 fuel injection system, and the burnt exhaust gasses exit through 1-7/8-inch American Racing Headers long-tube headers.
The engine is mated to the Joel's On Joy-built C4 transmission by a 6,000-stall ATI converter. The Strange Engineering 9-inch packs 4.88 gears with 35-spline axles. Weld wheels sit in all four corners with Goodyear rubber keeping the car glued to the track.
Early testing has been promising for Robert, Jimmy, and this Cobra Jet. Jimmy competed in the 2011 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, and took the runner-up spot in D/SA Class competition. Not long after, the duo set the NHRA D/SA e.t. and mph record of 10.64 at 125 mph at the NHRA divisional race in Columbus, Ohio. Robert tells us the car has gone quicker, but that was the best they could lay down at that event.
In 2012, Robert will compete in NHRA Division 2 competition in the Southeast. "I would like to win the divisional championship," Roberts explains. "Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to happen without a lot of seat time. We are going to run some national events in addition to the divisional races, and I'd really like to win a national event!" Given his experience and abilities, we're sure Robert Hindman will find himself at home in his Cobra Jet very quickly, and he'll have to build a new shelf for the Wally's that are in his future.