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The Little Small-Block That Can—Marty Stinnett’s Mustang Continues To Do More With Less


In a world of 500-plus cubic-inch Hemi and Chevy-based engines stuffed in Pro Modifieds, Marty Stinnett’s Mustang is an anomaly with its stock Mustang body and small-block powerplant, yet it runs side-by-side with anything out there. As the Internet goes, Stinnett has been known for having the quickest small-block-powered door car around, and he reset his own record not once, but twice during the Duck X Sweet 16 2.0 race in Georgia in March of 2019, clocking a 3.69, and later a 3.65-second elapsed time at 205.98 mph.

“You’ve got 4-5 days with good weather and a track surface dedicated to radial cars,” noted Stinnett about the conditions during the event. “When you concentrate on it like that, you see these bigger gains in performance.”

While Stinnett’s Mustang has always been a contender wherever he pulls it into the beams, the small-block under the hood has suffered from occasional reliability issues in the past.

“We had to find the durability, and work on timing and fuel—keeping the motor happy is a big part of it,” Stinnett told us of the efforts he, his tuner Wade Hopkins of Southern Speed Racing, and his engine builder, Jeff Burns Racing Engines, had to put in to improve the powertrain.

Once the engine’s durability was increased, Stinnett and his team have been able to work on other aspects of the combination, like the power management, converter tuning, and chassis adjustment.

“It’s not done, It’ll go quicker yet,” Stinnett exclaimed. “Based off the performances of everyone else, .970s are not the quickest 60 ft. I don’t see why .940s are not possible.” Those are seemingly bold words from the guy who relies on the same 470ci engine with a cast block and heads, but the 3.65 is indicative of the power available and according to Stinnett, the new Garrett 98mm Gen II GTX turbochargers are more responsive and far from maxed out. The plan going forward is to tweak the FuelTech FT600 and work on getting to the 60-ft clock just a bit quicker.

“I want it to be the quickest Radial vs the World car, but I’ll take what I can get,” Stinnett told us. The Kuttawa, Kentucky, resident and his searing orange Mustang are headed to the Outlaw Street Car Reunion next, some of Lance Stanford’s No Time races, and the Midwest Pro Mod races that host the RVW class.

“I have to thank my wife, Jennifer, and kids Keegan and Blake for holding down the fort at home, my team at Stinnett Truck Repair and Towing for keeping things at work moving along when I’m away, my team at the track, including Wade Hopkins, and, of course, I have to give glory to Jesus for allowing me to do this and for keeping me safe.”