By Mary Lendzion
While Valerie Clements has been competing in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade, alongside her brother, Alton Clements, for many years, she didn’t hit it quite as hard as she usually does this year.
That’s because she was focused on buying and moving into a home in Hazlet, New Jersey with her fiancé and fellow racer George Farkouh, and is planning their wedding for next spring.
But after taking part in the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport at Atlanta Dragway, the Strange Engineering Outlaw Street Car Shootout at Cecil County Dragway in Maryland, where she ran as quick as 4.80 in the eighth-mile in Ultra Street, and the Haltech World Cup Finals — Import vs. Domestic at Maryland International Raceway, where she ran as quick as 7.33 in the quarter-mile — a personal best — in Street Fighter, she made plans to put down more power in 2020.
“We recently moved my Mustang from my family’s home in South Carolina to Farks Supercars in New Jersey, where we’ll work on it from now on, and we’re making some changes for 2020,” said Clements, whose 7.33 happened to be against Farkouh, who won the round.
Perhaps the biggest of those changes will be replacing her 8.2 deck 364 cubic-inch small-block Ford, which was built by her dad, Alton Clements Sr., with a 9.5 deck 427 cubic-inch small-block Ford, which will be built by her dad. It will be topped with a new set of Trick Flow heads massaged by DiSomma Racing Engines, and fronted by the ProCharger F-1A-94 she has long relied on.
“My dad decided that we should try out a new engine,” said Clements, whose crew consists of her dad, Alton Sr., mom, Janet, brother Alton, fiancé George and future father-in-law Farid Farkouh. “We haven’t dabbled in the bigger engines yet, so this will be new for us, and we really hope to see gains from it. My dad is going to build it using some of the parts from my old engine.”
In addition to swapping engines, Clements is currently pulling weight from her car which rolls on Mickey Thompson drag radials.
“I’m stripping the car right now at Farks, including the interior,” said Clements. “We hope to get 150 pounds out of it, and George (Farkouh) is looking into improving the suspension in order to make the car more consistent when leaving the starting line and improve the 60-foot while keeping the front-end of the car down.”
Clements will continue to rely on her Turbo 400 transmission, and will mount onto her car a new carbon fiber bumper and hood. She’s considering a bolt-together converter, as well as a new engine management system.
“The car is almost bare-bones right now, and when we start to put it back together, I’ll look forward to learning how to wire it, because that’s something that I haven’t touched yet in the car,” said Clements. “My dad, George and I are really excited about the upgrades we’re making. We plan on being much more competitive next year in Ultra Street races and in Renegade. My first, and last, win in this car was in 2013, and I plan on getting back to the winner’s circle next season.”
(Photos by NMRA and courtesy of Valerie Clements and Gabriella Amerth)