Interview by Mary Lendzion
Photos by FSC Staff
When he was about ten years old, Justin Jordan began spending hour upon hour taking things apart and putting them back together at his family’s home in Florida.
He didn’t care whether they were remote controls, drills, clocks or other items, but he did care about making them stronger, stouter and sturdier.
As he approached 14, he became interested in his youth pastor’s 1984 Corvette, and he remembers thinking that the car must have had a heaping helping of horsepower the first time he went for a ride in it.
From there, his enthusiasm for cars escalated, and he went on to have several that he drove on the street and at the strip, with his fastest and most fearsome yet being the black 2014 Mustang he has now.
With help from multi-time NMRA champion John Urist of Hellion Turbo, Jordan has earned wins in the NMRA Turbo Coyote Shootout and most recently in the NMRA Hellion Turbo Battle at the 25th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. He has also earned a win in the Mod Nationals King of the 4V category.
Jordan, who’s married to Melissa, and owns Jordan Performance and Racing in Ruskin, Florida, talked with Fastest Street Car recently about arriving at 6.87 and 200 mph, all that he has accomplished and all that he hopes to accomplish.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST CAR?
I was 16, and it was a 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix, and while it doesn’t sound like much, it was a big deal to me. It had a V6 engine, and it wasn’t a performance car, but that didn’t stop me from giving it fog lights and new hub caps. My buddies and I drove up to Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida for a test and tune night when we were seniors. I remember the whole experience as being surreal waiting to be called up to the lanes and not knowing what I was doing. The car was as slow as dirt, but I still manually shifted the shifter on the column because, why not? I had the car until I graduated from high school in June of 2000 and left for the Air Force and was stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I did a tour in Iraq in 2003. I was overseas for five months, and I was in the Air Force for four years.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. WERE YOU ABLE TO PURSUE CAR-RELATED ACTIVITIES WHILE YOU WERE IN THE AIR FORCE?
There was a shop on base, so I used to go there on the weekends to work on my car and on my friends’ cars. In that time, I had gone on to have a 1986 Supra, which I had transported from my home in Florida, as well as a 1997 Dakota, 1990 Camaro Z28 and a 1994 Talon. Unfortunately, I was in a wreck in the Supra, and I wasn’t injured, but it was a bummer because it was the first car I had ever paid cash for. I got out of the military in August of 2004, and bought a 1994 Pontiac Firebird Formula. It had a V8 engine, and I put after-market headers and exhaust on it, and it was fun.
WHAT DID YOU PURSUE WHEN YOU GOT OF THE AIR FORCE?
I went to work at Solid Technology in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I went to a community college and when I graduated with a two-year business degree, I moved back to Florida and got a four-year degree in finance from the University of South Florida in 2011. I had been pretty focused on college and not as focused on cars. After I graduated, I started working at a big accounting firm, and I remember that I loved my youth pastor’s Corvette, and told myself that one day, I would buy one, and I ended up buying a 2008 Corvette with an LS3 engine. That set me on the path I’m on today.
WHAT MODIFICATIONS DID YOU MAKE TO THE CORVETTE?
I did a cam and headers, and I ported the intake. I did a throttle body, exhaust, a clutch change and a rear-gear change. I took it to the track 12 hours after I bought it, and my first pass was only 15 or 16 seconds, but I was hooked, as they say. The car had a stick shift, a real one that wasn’t on the column like my first car. After I found some spare change in the couch, I added some more parts to the car and got it to go 10.67. Then, I put nitrous on it and went 10.00, but I kept breaking the rear-end and the transmission. When my mom, who was getting over breast cancer at the time, came to the track one weekend to watch me race and I broke the rear-end, I got really aggravated.
WHAT OPTIONS DID YOU COME UP WITH AFTER BREAKING THE REAR-END THAT TIME?
When I was driving home from the track that day, my friend, who had a 2011 Mustang, called to say he had broken his rear-end, too. Fast forward a week and he had fixed his for $200 and was heading to the track and mine was going to cost $3,000 and I wasn’t heading to the track. I ended up displaying the Corvette in the PRI booth for Mantic Clutch because I was one of the first to have their twin disc clutch in 2012, but after that, I returned the car to stock and traded it for a 2013 Mustang GT.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE 2013 MUSTANG GT?
It was Grabber Blue with a Coyote V8 engine, and we put a Boss intake and nitrous on it. We also put headers on it, and ran E85 fuel, and the car was running low 10s. Then, I ran NMRA for the first time in 2014. I entered True Street at the race at Bradenton Motorsports Park, and they had the Stick Shift Shootout, and my goal was to be one of the two fastest stick shift cars and be in the Stick Shift Shootout on Sunday so that I could win a transmission from Tremec. It didn’t look like I made it, and we headed home to visit my wife’s grandfather in the hospital, but then I got a call saying I did make it, but we didn’t want to leave my wife’s grandfather to go to the track, so we didn’t. And that was my first foray into NMRA.
DID YOU STAY WITH THE NITROUS COMBINATION AT THAT TIME?
I got to the point where I wanted to try something else and I wanted more power, so I got a turbo kit from Hellion and I got to know John Urist and he had really good advice. I went back to the track and went 10.00, and then the clutch let go, and I ordered a clutch, but before I had a chance to put it in, I got in a wreck on the street and the car was totaled. I filled out a police report and insurance forms, and I had two days to put the car back in stock form before the insurance company came to pick it up. I loved the car and hated to see it end up like that.
WHAT DOOR OPENED THEN?
That’s when I bought the 2014 Mustang. It had a V8 Coyote engine and an automatic transmission, and I put my Hellion turbo kit in it, as well as the fuel system, injectors and other parts from the other Mustang. I raced it locally at Bradenton Motorsports Park, mostly grudge racing, because back then, most people didn’t know how fast Coyote engines could run. Then, in 2015, we entered the NMRA Turbo Coyote Shootout even though we were stock with a turbo kit, and we went 9.1 to set a record for a stock Coyote engine. From there, we had the idea to try to go 8s on the stock engine parts, and a few months later, we achieved it with an 8.68 to have the fastest 2011 stock Coyote stock engine. Shortly after that, I was driving the car to a car meet and was rear-ended. It destroyed the car, and I was really bummed because I had big plans for it.
YOU HAD YOUR SHARE OF BAD LUCK. IS THAT WHEN YOU PURCHASED THE BLACK 2014 MUSTANG YOU HAVE NOW?
Yes. I bought it from a dealer in 2015. It was a certified pre-owned and it only had 2,100 miles on it. It had a V8 Coyote engine and a 6R80six-speed automatic transmission, and we did everything to it. We had been 8.68 with the stock Coyote engine and the automatic transmission in the other car, and now I wanted to go 7s with this car with the factory six-speed transmission. I had it in my head that I wasn’t that far off and that it couldn’t be that hard, but it was proving to be very hard. We wound up taking the car to Tig Vision in Florida for a 10-point cage, and I had taken the Coyote engine from the white Mustang to Tim Eichhorn at MPR Engines, and he sleeved the block, installed new pistons and rods, did a cam swap and a laundry list of other things. John Urist got me bigger turbos for the Hellion twin turbo kit and we got a bigger converter. We had a heck of a time trying to get into the 7s. The car made good power. It had like 1,200 to 1,300 horsepower, but I kept breaking the transmission and the best I had gone was 8.40, 8.50. It was faster, but it was nowhere near 7s. I went on to break the transmission three times just grudge racing and testing in 2015, and Power By The Hour, which had enhanced my factory transmission, would fix it for me every time.
DID YOU HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE IN CASE THE TRANSMISSION BROKE AGAIN?
By November of 2015, I had decided I was going to buy a Powerglide in case the transmission broke again, and I had one on standby, and sure enough, the transmission broke again, so we replaced it with the Powerglide, and I went to the Wanna Go Fast Half-Mile event at a closed airport in Florida, and went 193 mph. I was happy, and put the right gearing in after that, and then went 8.1 at a track, and then 7.90s in 2016, which had been the goal from the get-go. We also won the Turbo Coyote Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park in 2016, and we had gone to 7.70s.
IT SOUNDS LIKE THE POWERGLIDE WAS A GOOD FIT FOR YOU. WHAT CHANGES CAME NEXT?
Switching to the Powerglide was a game-changer for us. We kept chipping away from there. We put an AEM standalone in the car, and we tried different converters and took weight out. Over the winter of 2017, we upgraded to a 25.3 cage at Pro Fab Performance, we rewired the car and installed Optic Armor.
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT YOU WERE SEEKING A NEW CHALLENGE IN 2018. WHAT WAS IT?
I called John Urist, and told him that my goal was to go 6s with a Coyote engine, Hellion turbo kit and Powerglide, and we spent the rest of 2018 trying. We went 7.0 at the Mod Nationals at South Georgia Motorsports Park, and then we went 6.90 and then 6.87 at 200 mph during a private test session before the Snowbird Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Two weeks later, we drove to Starbucks in the car and I ordered my favorite drink, a Peppermint Mocha, because it was, after all, right before Christmas.
DRIVING TO STARBUCKS IN YOUR 6-SECOND MUSTANG HAD TO FEEL GOOD. WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON FOR 2019?
Our next races will be the Mod Nationals in Georgia, NMRA in Kentucky and FL 2K in Florida. I have a lot of help along the way from my wife, Melissa, and my friend, Matt LaRue. There have been a lot of people who have helped me on the journey, including MBRP Performance Exhaust, Hellion Turbo, AEM Performance Electronics, MPR Racing Engines, ProTorque, Pro Fab Performance Plus, BMR Suspension, Ferraro Speed, Mustang Parts Fast and Race Part Solutions.
(Interview from the October issue of Fastest Street Car)