Looking like a bat out of hell, Cory Webber's black SN-95 warhorse takes the sinister prize every time. Starting as an AI car but immediately re-classified to AIX when it made too much power in previous years, it was re-engined for 2009 with a more affordable AI small-block. The Agent 47 machine-Corey is the principle at Agent 47-still retains its sharp-handling three-link rear suspension, A-arm front end, and all the tricks in the Agent 47 catalog, so it's a potent AI ride for sure. As for Corey, he was enjoying the '09 nationals because he wasn't there to prove anything. "I'm just trying to enjoy it this year. Last year I was focused on winning the race and it was mentally tiring; I was all worked up." In fact, Corey has been enjoying the whole year, racing against his own sponsored driver, Ryan Walton, in regional SoCal AI events. Corey came in Second in the Miller championship after getting skunked badly at the start, fighting his way through the pack to arrive at a back-and-forth battle with Matt White. Corey says his tune was not what it should have been at Miller, specifically the 3.55 gears, which proved far too tall. "That was too high. It wouldn't even go into Fifth gear.... the guys were pulling me on the straights." Expect more fun racing from Corey in 2010 as he mainly concentrates on his Agent 47 business (it's become a big player in the AI chassis scene), along with his rapid-prototyping shop that caters to industrial customers.
Matt White could be NASA's American Iron grassroots poster boy. A construction manager by trade and racer for fun, Matt started with drag racing, then slaloms, and finally moved up to road racing four years ago. He bought his car, an '00 GT, new and "made the last four payments in one swoop, gutted it, and took a Sawzall to it. I saw others build 22-year-old cars, so I wanted as clean a slate as I could. Turned out it's been a reliable platform," says the Texan. Wanting a torquey engine, Matt started with a $200 Mark VIII block and put big Two-Valve heads from Fox Lake on top. Now four years old and revved to 6,800 rpm all the time, the modular is still hanging in there, backed by a T-56 six-speed from an '03 Cobra, a full Maximum Motorsports suspension, and stopped by Brembo brakes. Unsponsored and running for fun, Matt keeps his costs as low as possible, sleeping in the trailer at the track, and aiming to keep his Texas-to-Utah trip costs to $2,000. "I was wondering whether or not to come to this race, but I'm really glad I did," Matt said. We believe him. Finishing second and sixth in preliminary heats, Matt had a crazy start to the main event, falling to ninth or tenth at the start, then working his way back up to sixth, then fifth, fourth-and when leader Dean Moon crashed out, third. Not bad for a guy racing just for fun against the best in the country. "It's the best, hardest racing I've done in my life," he enthused after a great battle with Corey Webber, who finished Second.
Rusty Ferguson, currently a technician at Rehagen Racing, has had a slightly unusual career path in American Iron racing. Introduced to the sport by Robin Burnett, the Camaro Mustang Challenge was Rusty's logical starting point for the first two years, but then he moved to an AIX Mustang for 2008. Now that's a large step, but apparently it suited Rusty as he won the Great Lakes region championship. For 2009, Rusty ran his S197 in American Iron as part of the extended Rehagen Racing camp, finishing an excellent Fourth Place at Miller in the process. Rusty struggled with the car setup at Miller, arriving with the wrong chassis tune and wrong gearing, losing time getting it sorted out. This meant starting from way back on the grid, which he parlayed into that impressive fourth. Rusty's car sports a 5.0-liter Three-Valve benefitting from a Saleen stroker kit and stopped by 14-inch front brakes. Rusty says this relatively heavy and powerful combination-it weighs 3,524 pounds and shows 371 rwhp-is not the hot setup at Miller, where the corners are mainly medium or higher speed and momentum is king. The lighter Fox cars would be closer to the ideal, he figures. Still, all the Foxes in the race finished well behind Rusty. Like all cars that go through the Rehagen shop, Rusty's is a cleanly turned-out machine.