Constructed with an eye toward FFW Renegade and an occasional Outlaw 10.5W race, Dan has a
Horse Sense: The first great Pro 5.0 car was the '96 Cobra that Mark Wilkinson's Racecraft Inc. chassis shop built for custom firearm-maker Les Baer. Les has left the ravages of heads-up Mustang drag racing for the rewards of rare-musclecar collecting (Boss 429 Mustangs and '70 Hemi 'Cudas are his favorites right now). Mark has continued to deliver cutting-edge chassis and suspension parts to his many racing customers.
In the world of heads-up Ford drag racing in 2006, a racer has the opportunity to choose from several different classes. Which class to race comes down to interest, schedule, and budgetary constraints. Smart racers often pick classes they can afford to run in, are close to their homes, and have some national impact for their sponsors and their own egos. Balancing dreams of a national championship with the reality of paying for it often brings even the most talented car builder to a screeching halt. Problems still exist once you've made that fateful decision on which class to run because you never know when class rules will change. Imagine being six months into a project, only to find out that a major rules change by one of the sanctioning bodies makes your combination either obsolete or illegal.
At 3,020 pounds (with driver), this 360-inch small-block Mustang blasts through the quarte
Luckily for Minnesota native, Dan Schoneck, his path to righteous speed led him toward the top of heads-up Mustang classes-a place where radical rule changes can certainly have an impact on the car, but don't usually turn it into junk overnight-well, so he thought. Dan initially took the car to Racecraft (a well-known leader in the world of Mustang race-car chassis smiths) with instructions to design a 25.5 SFI-certified chassis with a stock suspension in preparation to do battle in Fun Ford Weekend's Street Renegade class.
"After a couple of people asked for ladder bars in FFW, the rules were changed and so did my plans for the car," Dan told us. "The new plans called for one of the baddest 28x10-inch-tire, ladder-bar cars in the country-not to mention a 25.2 SFI chassis good to below 7.50-second e.t.'s."
While Mark and company were pounding away on the body-in-white, Dan got to work on a small-block Ford combination that Jim Summers, now of ProCharger, originally designed when he was at ASSC Racing in Chicago. Dan parted out his '84 GT350 race car, and the only transferable parts were the FAST fuel injection, Performance Automatic transmission, and the PST carbon-fiber driveshaft.
Perhaps it was the long weekends he spent at Racecraft working on the car or the smell of high-octane racing fuel, but Dan decided it would be a good idea to go into the composite-body-panel business, so he started Schoneck Composites. Actually, Mark had a lot to do with that, but Dan's initiative is unmistakable. With his brother and good friend, John King, Dan designed molds for the hood, wheel tubs, and cowl filler pieces you see on his own car. Dan's brother designed the trick carbon-fiber inlet from the bumper to the awaiting F-2 ProCharger.
Custom "double-throw-down" suspension and chassis pieces abound. Mark incorporated his new 2-inch drop spindles, multi-position ladder-bar brackets, and chrome-moly ladder bars. He used his "Pro 5.0-spec" chrome-moly rearend to solidify power transfer. Mark also went to the trouble to pre-fit the chassis for use with larger tires, should Dan so desire. This involved notching the rear end to adjust for the correct ride height and suspension travel.
"This car is special because we have our new ladder bars on it," Mark told us. "It's got the new Racecraft adjustable front brackets. Most of your typical ladder-bar setups have only three or four holes to position the bars-ours have a multitude of holes so you can move the brackets in quarter-inch increments. Sometimes you have cars that one hole is close, and the next isn't quite right either. Our bars allow you to put the bars right in the middle where it should be."
Under the skin and in the cockpit, you'll find the fine craftsmanship that Racecraft offer
Dan purchased and upgraded a used engine that Jim Summers, now of ProCharger, originally designed. Dan updated the motor, which was originally built in 2000, with a new set of heads from Fox Lake, a camshaft from Cam Motion, and pistons by JE to come up with a winning combination. But what about that unique, reverse-rotation blower that was immediately banned from NMRA SSO use? Dan, his brother Derek, and Mark had to design their own bracket arrangement. "Since the blower clocks on its own center line, there is no belt tensioner, and all this puts the blower closer to the motor for less stress on the crank," Dan said. "I designed the water tank for the rear and had Pat Fashnacht build the initial tanks. Mark welded all the fittings on them and the intercooler lid that I had machined by Rich Langworthy."
With everything chassis-wise and engine-wise up to snuff with the rules, Dan and his team started rounding out the package with supporting equipment. Racecraft did headers in-house, while Dan sourced the fuel and ignition from Aeromotive and MSD, respectively.
Dan controls the car from his fitted Corbeau seat with information coming in from a RacePa
How determined was Dan to make the car happen? By the time he picked it up for transport to the autobody shop in December 2004, he had made 25 800-mile roundtrips to Racecraft. Then the car went to Jenkins Auto Body in Mapleton, Minnesota, which is owned by Dan's grandfather and his uncle, Tom Jenkins. Finalizing the carbon-fiber body panels, paint, and powdercoating took place there. Dan even painted his own car-it's the fourth one he's done. Who would have guessed that?
Mark gave us a bit more insight into Dan's work ethic. "Dan amazes me. You think he's broke, then he'll pull off a deal to get the money. He's resourceful-he outworks most men. He is a low-buck racer, but he had enough down stroke to make a down payment on the chassis, then he drove from Minnesota to my chassis shop every weekend-to work on the car-to keep the cost down. We don't do that with every customer. Dan and I go back to the Les Baer days. I met him while pulling an all-nighter to repair Les' car at the '99 WFC when Les blew up the intake. Dan came by, told me he was a bodyman, and he finished the bodywork for us. We've been friends ever since."
A Mark Wilkinson car certainly stands out. A Racecraft offers state-of-the-art safety for
To get a start on the season, the car first appeared at the Atlanta FFW event. Mark had promised 7-second potential right off the trailer, and on its first full pass the orange monster ran a blistering 7.83-second e.t. at 171 mph. A backup 7.81 hit in elimination also gave Dan the new Renegade world record. The car went on to run as fast as a 7.76 e.t. at 185 mph. Those numbers were run at both the WFC8 event and the Phoenix FFW show. Dan is most proud of his 4.96 e.t. at 148 mph in the eighth that came at a Huntsville race on 28x10.5-inch tires without wheelie bars.
As for the car's potential, Mark told us, "That car is an SSO NMRA car other than the reverse-rotation blower. It's a 302 with a reverse-rotation blower. The best it will run is high 7.60s. That combination will never run the current combos that SSO has. I'd like to see the NMRA allow that combination so it could run at other venues. I haven't been able to make Dan move up to SSO yet. To go NMRA racing, he'll need 400 inches, bigger heads, and a standard-location blower-then off to NMRA he goes."
Following a sanctioning-body rulebook is the only way to go for maximum competitiveness. Dan Schoneck watched the rules, studied the book, and hit the mark the first time with a car that had an immediate impact on the hobby. In addition, the car can now be moved up to other classes or sit right where it is and dominate his class. Follow the rules, and you too could be in the winner's circle just like Dan.
|5.0 Tech Specs|
|ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN||SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS|
|Cylinder Heads||Racecraft Inc.|
|Edelbrock Victor 7721||Springs|
|Super Victor ported by Fox Lake||Wheels|
|Throttle Body||Aluma Star|
|F-2, 30 PSI||Strange|
|Racecraft Inc. long-tube||Springs|
|Aeromotive belt drive||Shocks|
|Performance Automatic glide||Control Arms|
|with TCI 4,400-rpm converter||Racecraft chrome-moly ladder-|
|Rearend||bar rear suspension|
|Racecraft Inc. housing, Strange||Traction Devices|
|spool and axles, 3.89:1 gears||Multi-adjustable, double-throw-|
| ||down, custom suspension by|
|FAST with individual cylinder||Double bead lock 15x12-inch|
|MSD 7531 Digital-7, HVC coil,||M/T 28x10.5|
|wires, and NGK 10 plugs||Brakes|
|Bob at Spaghetti Menders||Chassis Stiffening|
|Gauges||25.2 SFI chrome-moly 'cage by|
|Racepak Ultra Dash||Racecraft Inc.|