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A New Hanlon Getting Into NMRA Heads-Up Racing with Richmond Gear Factory Stock | Presented by Nitto Tire


By Ainsley Jacobs Photos

Courtesy of Andrew Hanlon

The Hanlon name is one that’s been known in Ford circles, including NMRA and NMCA, for years. However, a new Hanlon name will soon be appearing in the ranks as Andrew Hanlon, son of racer and Hanlon Motorsports expert transmission builder, Bob Hanlon.

In 2008, Andrew Hanlon, now 30, purchased his ’90 Mustang LX hatchback from a friend of his, Bill McCurdy. “It was a train wreck and was actually a theft recovery car,” he said, recalling the original state of his Fox body. “I bought it for me and my wife to enjoy on the weekends and take out for cruises, basically it was just a street car.”

Hanlon, who is based out of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, stripped down his purchase and spent the next decade rebuilding it to his tastes as time and finances allowed. A stock 302ci push rod engine was bolted in, as Hanlon is a diehard pushrod enthusiast, although he may eventually build it a little further for more power in the future.

The engine wouldn’t be complete without a transmission from Hanlon Motorsports, and Hanlon opted to take a somewhat unconventional route with his selection. “We did a TREMEC TR-3650, which hasn’t really been done yet on a Fox body,” he noted of the transmission which uses larger gears and a 26-spline input. “It’s got carbon-lined rings and billet shift forks. We also have an adapter plate so we can mate it to a 302 or any bell housing.” For his LX, Hanlon opted to go with a Lakewood bellhousing, then added an Inland Empire drive shaft.

A full tubular suspension with QA1 K-member, control arms, and more, is complimented by a host of UPR Products Pro-Series components in the rear. The factory 8.8” rear end was fortified with Moser 31-spline axles, Ford Racing 4.10 rear gears, an Eaton posi differential, and Moser C-clip eliminators.

Strange Engineering 10-way adjustable struts with Strange coilovers in the front, along with H&R springs in the rear, keep the Fox body hooking well, while the 6-point roll cage from Lucky’s Race Cars and Stifflers crossmember add safety and stiffness to the chassis. Contained within the cage are Kirkey race seats and G-Force Racing Products 5-point harnesses to keep the occupants strapped in place.

As the set up is legal for NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock, Hanlon decided to give class racing a try. One of the few stick shift entries left, he is running an 11” Ram single disk clutch, matching Ram 11” aluminum flywheel, Pro 5.0 shifter, and his Hanlon transmission. “Factory Stock seemed like a bunch of pushrod guys trying to squeak out the very last bit of horsepower to make their cars faster on limited rules,” Hanlon said excited. “Growing up watching our friends Carlos Sobrino, John McGowan, and Justin Burcham, and the rest of the JPC crew battle it out, I was always intrigued and wanted to bang gears with them!”

Jay Fritz helped Hanlon finish up the car, and then it was sent to Joe Bertoti for paint and body. Although all the work was completed in 2016 and Halon took it to Cecil County Dragway for a little testing, life soon got in the way and the project was temporarily put on hold. “Thanks to my mother- and father-in-law, Daniel and Bonnie Herb, and my grandmother-in-law, Emma Turner, for letting me store it at their garages!” stated Hanlon, appreciate of the support he’s received from his family, including his parents, Bob and Linda Hanlon.

Being that the 18th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals over the weekend of May 4-6, 2018, is taking place at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, mere minutes from Hanlon’s home, he has decided that the event will be his first in competition. “To be honest, I’m going to get slaughtered,” he laughed. “I’m just going for fun and I think it will be cool to get a stock motor to scream at 7,000 rpm. I’ve done some test and tunes in the pat but this will be my first time running heads up.”

In addition to the excitement of making his NMRA debut, Hanlon’s got some other big things in the future, as his wife, Lauren, is pregnant with the couple’s first child. They even got their Fox body involved in the gender reveal as a big, smoky burn out revealed the blue hue indicating that their son, Andrew Gregory Hanlon, will soon be joining the team.

As life is about to get a whole lot busier for Hanlon, he is looking forward to having fun at the Maple Grove event, and hopefully fitting in some more track racing when possible. “I want to take the car to the track, rip on it and have fun, but also be able to cruise with my car. Eventually, I would like to make it into a full race car and do some more NMRA events,” he added.

Ainsley Jacobs
P.TEN Marketing's Ainsley Jacobs is a freelance motorsports marketing professional with extensive experience in marketing and communications, website development, social media management, photography, journalism, and more.