• Feb 13th 2009 at 2:28PM
  • 17

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Ford Racing FR500CJ Mustang

Ford's FR500 Mustang turnkey racecars are off to a great start in 2009. The FR500C took two of the three top spots in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge opener at Daytona, and this week at the NHRA Winternationals the FR500CJ Cobra Jet captured a debut win in the AA Stock Eliminator class.

The win didn't come without its challenges, though, as rain delayed the competition for several days and made for an inconsistent racetrack. The victory seemed to be fated, however, what with the original Cobra Jet also winning its debut back in 1968 at the Winternationals with legendary racer Al Joneic behind the wheel. More details in the press release after the break, and new photos in the high-res gallery below.

[Source: Ford Racing]

They say history often repeats itself, and in the case of the Mustang Cobra Jet, it has.

John Calvert, driving the 40th Anniversary 2008 Mustang FR500CJ Cobra Jet duplicated the success of the original 1968 Cobra Jet when he won the AA Stock Eliminator class at the 2009 NHRA Winternationals, which finished today after several rain delays.

In 1968, drag racing legend Al Joneic drove the Cobra Jet to victory at Pomona in the NHRA Winternationals in the CJ's competition debut.

"I couldn't be happier for Brent Hajek and John Calvert who have taken the car that we designed, and created a championship race car in just six weeks," said Brian Wolfe, Director of Ford North America Motorsports. "I am especially happy that John was able to drive the Al Joniec tribute car that won in 1968 to a victory in 2009. It is an unbelievable debut for the Cobra Jet.

"I couldn't be prouder of the team who got the car together, and a lot of credit needs to go to the group at Ford Racing who developed the Cobra Jet and once again developed a race car that, like the Mustang FR500C, won in its initial outing."

"I am really excited and I am really pleased at the result," said Calvert. "The thing I am most pleased about is that Ford Racing thought about this project and reached out to the grassroots level of racing. This wasn't an easy race weekend; in fact I would say it was difficult. The weather certainly created some consistency issues, especially with an iffy track. Still, the Cobra Jet ran very well in the elimination rounds and we were able to bring home the trophy."

Driving for Oklahoma-based Brent Hajek Motorsports, Calvert piloted the Cobra Jet through a chaotic opening weekend that stretched over six days due to rain delays. Calvert, a former world champion (1991 Stock) and a three-time NHRA Winternationals champion, normally runs a 1968 Cobra Jet. He agreed to drive the Hajek '08 entry in Stock Eliminator at the Winternationals.

"How cool is this? It was like a storybook ending that was meant to be," said Hajek, who entered four Cobra Jet Mustangs at Pomona. "It is our first time entering a national event and we won! This program was always about paying tribute and respect to the drivers from'68 who started the legend of the Cobra Jet. This was about upholding their honor and everyone involved with this project deserves a great deal of credit."

"The people at Ford Racing did an awesome job building these cars, and my guys deserve credit for getting the CJ's race-ready in an unbelievably short amount of time. And credit also goes to the drivers, especially John Calvert, who brought this all the way home. I am so proud of this group and I hope the legends from '68 -Al [Joniec], Gas [Ronda], Hubert [Platt] and Randy [Ritchey] -are proud of us."

For decades, the Mustang has been the preeminent car in many forms of motorsports, including drag racing. Adding to the rich and successful racing history of Ford's iconic pony car, the 2008 Cobra Jet Mustang is a factory-built race car that is NHRA-legal and ready for the drag strip. It is the first purpose-built race car from Ford for drag racing since the original Cobra Jet Mustang.

The original Cobra Jet Mustang was conceived by drag racing legend Bob Tasca, the competition-oriented Ford dealer in Rhode Island who at the time operated one of Ford's most successful retail operations. Tasca looked to the Ford parts shelf when he wanted to upgrade the engines on some of the Mustangs that he was selling, and came up with the KR-8 conversion package for his performance customers.

Henry Ford II announced that Ford would put together several of the Tasca 428-powered Mustangs for drag teams competing in the 1968 Winternationals, where two of the Mustangs made it into the finals and Al Joniec went on to win the Super Stock championship. After the car's success at Winternationals, Ford announced that it would be producing the 428ci Cobra Jet engine.

The 2008 Cobra Jet Mustang joins Ford Racing's stable of championship-capable customer Mustangs: the Mustang FR500S, the Mustang FR500C and the Mustang FR500GT. All are turnkey cars available via the Ford Racing Performance Parts catalog and through Ford dealers.

The FR500 series of Mustangs are race-ready cars, designed by Ford Racing engineers for performance-conscious customers, that can be rolled right off of a truck and win in competition. In winning its debut race the '08 Cobra Jet, matched the accomplishment of its sister car, the Mustang FR500C. The FR500C was unloaded for customers at the 2005 Grand-Am Rolex Series opening race in Daytona on a Wednesday, won the race on Friday and went on to secure a championship its first season. The CJ has once again delivered a victory to the FR500 series of Mustangs in its debut weekend.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      THAT is just plain cool. Love the wrinkle wall Hoosiers.

      Now where IS that NHRA Challenger? I wanna see a heads-up race!

      I want to see the new Camaro in the mix, also.

      This is what gets MY attention!
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Camaro with its IRS should make a decent road racer, but not a drag racer. Its pretty hard to hook up with IRS, due to the track width changing as the tires compress.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Rice & Holman is a Ford dealership in Philadelphia. Holman Ford is another Ford dealership in Maple Shade, NJ...right across the river from Philly.

      I live in Cherry Hill, less than a mile from Holman.

      Good on the FR500CJ. I wish my GT was that fast!
      • 6 Years Ago
      if you go to NHRA.com you can find information
      seems its running 10.01, pretty quick, dont see any 9s on the page so it had to have been the fastest car there or a hundreth of a second off of the fastest car there ( didnt read every time posted, just scrolled and looked for a '9')
      not showing any speeds on there though
      • 6 Years Ago
      Eric de Donker has won two STRAIGHT FIA European GT4 Championships driving a Mustang FR500C vis Aston Martin N24's, BMW Z4 Coupes, Nissan 350Z's and other cars -


      As Dorsey would say "It handles the straights just fine, thank you..."

      It handles just well enough to keep better handling cars at bay until the track turns straight again where the Mustang's torque easily puts a few car lengths on any competitor.

      Where its wide and fast, the Mustang does well. Its been victorious at Spa, Silverstone and here a shock Monza in FIA GT4. Its always been fast at Daytona where all that might can be put to use and keep the hammer down on the banking.

      The live axle is hurting the car further up the food chain though. In GT3 where Ford GT's dominate, the same Team Matech also runs the FR500GT3 which isn't quite as competitive as one would think.

      Nice to see the Cobra Jet do well and I wasn't shocked Ford came out with one with a "Drag Pak" either. All their missing is the "Boss" now and the return of the Mach 1...

      • 6 Years Ago
      Holy crap, those poor rear tires.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A story about a drag race, with no times or speeds mentioned.
      What a waste.
      • 6 Years Ago
      im just waiting for the live axle comments ...come on ...lets hear them ....

      40 years later mustang is still doing it ....what did you say camaro? cant hear ya lol

      anyways ..mustangs dominating on the straight ...and the turns ....with a live axle ...

      let the hating begin :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, the FR500C is a car MADE TO HANDLE. It regularly beats BMWs, Porsches, RX8s and other cars in its class. Hell, the FR500c was competing against these cars and won in its first race

        * Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4
        * Audi TT
        * BMW Z4 Coupe
        * Chevrolet Corvette C6
        * Ford Mustang FR500C
        * Ginetta G50 GT4
        * Lotus Sport Exige
        * Maserati Trofeo Light
        * Nissan 350Z
        * Opel GT
        * Porsche 997 GT4
        * Porsche Cayman
        • 6 Years Ago

        The FR500C begs to differ.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "that thang gotta CobraJet..?"
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Bow-tie Bubba's are curiously silent . The IRS Camaros will be their undoing , just like their GTO brethren and the old F-bodies with their weak-kneed 10-bolts .
      You read it here first .
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seems like that Mustang's got some hops. Wish there was some video/sound so we could hear.
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