World's Quickest 2005 Mustang
The debut of Uncle Robin Lawrence's Paxton NOVI 1200 powered 2005 Mustang at the 4th Annual Nitto Tires NMRA Spring Ford Nationals nets him a runner up finish and the title of "World's Quickest 2005 Mustang!"
After strong 2003 & 2004 season showings competing in the NMRA's 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Magazine Real Street class where his '93 Fox Mustang LX coupe netted him #3 & #5 championship points finishes respectively, Uncle Robin Lawrence made the announcement at the 2004 PRI show that he would be competing with an entirely new machine for the 2005 racing season. Hot on the heels of Ford Motor Company's launch of the 2005 Mustang, (the 1st complete redesign of the Mustang since 1978 & one of the most anticipated ever) Robin headed straight to fellow Real St. racer & sales manager of Van Drunen Ford, Bruce Hemminger where he took delivery of a brand new base model '05 6 cylinder Mustang. Robin drove car home only to immediately strip it of its factory drivetrain and then headed directly up to Mark Wilkinson's Racecraft Inc. in LaSalle,IL. for some serious Real St. specific fabrication. Having worked day and night to get the new hot rod ready for the March 11th - 13th season opener in Florida, the car was unveiled to the media and other industry insiders at Primedia's Brandon, FL headquarters on Wed. March 9th during an open house event. While the paint, body, driveline, and suspension/ chassis work were 85% complete and enough to show the car for photos etc, there was still a lot of detail work that needed to be wrapped up if he wanted to achieve his goal for the upcoming race weekend. That goal was to be amongst a very small handful of racers biding to be the 1st to hit the drag strip (at a nationally sanctioned event) and hopefully sign their name to the list of firsts for this new generation of Mustangs.
1st round of qualifying for the 4th Annual Nitto Tires NMRA Spring Ford Nationals was set to take place on Friday, March 11th @ 3pm. Having plenty to finish on his car, the 3pm deadline came and went as Robin and his dedicated team (Chris Beningo & Andy Burnett) continued to thrash so they could at least make the 3rd round of qualifying which was set to take place the following day... again @ 3pm. By noon on Saturday the dust had finally settled in Robin's pit & the team was excited to take the car to the starting line for round 2 of qualifying. After doing his 1st burnout in the car and only sitting feet from the starting line, an unforeseen gremlin surfaced and wiped the smile right off Robin & crew's faces as they had to get the car back to the pits, troubleshoot, and repair the problem all by 3pm for the 3rd and final qualifying session. Missing this deadline would mean that Robin's chances of competing that weekend would be completely finished. As the 3pm deadline approached the decision was made to drive the car up and simply "take the green" (not make a competition style run but stage and drive the car down the track) so Robin would be guaranteed a secure spot on the qualifying ladder. This maneuver would place Robin in the #6 spot of a total of 7 qualified entries and give him more time to go back and sort his hot rod out for the 1st round of eliminations, set to take place @ 10am on Sunday morning.
Sunday comes and the Uncle Robin Racing team is confident that they have sorted out their problems and are indeed ready to make their 1st all out assault on the 1320. Robin's 1st round match up is with the #3 qualifier who has shown that he can run the numbers but at this stage Robin's brand new machine has not even traveled down the drag strip. All of the new & untested suspension technology and chassis geometry has the team a bit uneasy yet determined to get this 'Stang down the track safely, quickly, and with a little luck, in front of the competition. Well, when the time came to make the hit... a little luck came before even getting the car on the track as Robin's 1st round competition had sustained some engine damage, the result of a bit too much beating during the previous days qualifying. That would give Robin a guaranteed advance to the 2nd round AND the opportunity to make his 1st hit without the pressures/worries of cutting a light and having another car on the track in the unlikely event that something go awry. Burnout...good. Stage...good. On the chip!!! BAM! Green light drops and away he goes on his 1st ever ride at full effort. Everything is looking good, car is going straight, parts are staying on, looks like it's moving right along, and then it happened. The boards lit up with the results... email@example.com!!! 1st time down! THE 1ST 2005 FORD MUSTANG TO MAKE A 9 SECOND PASS!!! Instantly giving it the title of the WORLD'S QUICKEST 2005 MUSTANG!!! Anarchy ensues as the crowd goes wild and the editors of every magazine on the property are snapping shots like crazy. Goal achieved. They got the car there, got it down the track, and secured a 1st in '05 Mustang history.
Second round action would place Robin up against the #1 qualifier and 2004 season ET record holder. Now more comfortable with his new car having very securely made a pass, Robin was ready to do it again. As the tree drops, Robin catches a slight advantage at the starting line & is off and running again. Robin drives his way to an improved firstname.lastname@example.org and another win light as his competition falls victim to a trans failure. Due to the uneven number of cars in the field and Robin yielding the quickest ET of the round, he secured himself a bye run into the final round.
A FINAL ROUND APPEARANCE THE 1ST TIME OUT w/ an entirely brand new and untested machine. From the body to the suspension to the new NOVI 1200 supercharger system. A win in the finals would be no easy task as the only competitor left would be the 2004 class champion but Robin is calm while at the same time ecstatic. Both racers finished their burnouts and staged the cars. Robin knew that it wasn't very common for this specific competitor to be slow at the line and prepared himself to try to cut an extraordinarily good light...only problem was he prepared too much. The excitement of his final round appearance coupled with his eagerness to do well and bring home the win left him a tad bit too jumpy at the tree and Uncle Robin found himself staring at the big red eye in the sky. RED-LIGHT start.
In the end, we are extremely proud of Robin and his entire team for accomplishing as much as they did during the off season and at the season opener. We were happy to see that they had actually gotten the car together and to the track and would have just as well been content with that. A win would have been the icing on an already incredible weekend but just seeing that '05 in the finals was a Cinderella story all in itself and a Runner-Up finish is definitely not a bad way to start a new season. It can only get better from here! CONGRATS to Uncle Robin Lawrence, Chris Beningo, & Andy Burnett for not only an awesome weekend but also for being one of the first to take the new 2005 Mustang to the finals while grabbing yet another 1st to the 9's title!!! Uncle Robin for congress!