From the time that Don Nicholson became the first Ford campaigner to win an NHRA Pro Stock championship in 1977 to Bob Glidden’s domination of the sport from the late 1970s through the 1980s, the Blue Oval brand has been a major player in the factory hot rod ranks.
And with the introduction of its new generation of 500-cid powerplants in late 2009, Ford returned to active participation in Pro Stock during the 2010 season. A number of campaigners jumped on the Ford bandwagon, including Jim Cunningham (with Erica Enders driving for a spell), Buddy Perkinson, JR Carr, Frank Gugliotta, and Mark Wolfe, but it has been veteran Larry Morgan, who had enjoyed great success with General Motors and Mopar rides, who has emerged as the premier banner carrier for the popular make.
Morgan debuted his Mustang with a semifinal finish at the 2010 season-opening O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries, and in 2012, he became the first Ford campaigner to record a top 10 finish (10th) since the late Scott Geoffrion did so with Hurley Blakeney’s Ford Escort in 2003.
Morgan said that he is working hard this off-season to move even higher on the ladder in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. “We’re always looking for more power,” said Morgan, “but to be honest with you, power hasn’t been the real issue. The dyno shows that we have lots of power, more than I ever did with my Dodge Hemis [that he ran before switching to Ford in 2010], but we just haven’t been able to make good runs with our cars.
“The biggest challenge that we have in racing a Ford in Pro Stock is that there just isn’t enough people working on them. Back when the Pontiacs were the car for the GM teams, three-fourths of the field consisted of Pontiacs. There are just two or three Fords out there at any given race, and that’s not enough to give us the data that we need.”
Morgan also cites aerodynamics as a possible issue. “You look at a street-driven Camaro and then a Pro Stock Camaro, and there’s a big difference in the body lines. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. I think that within the parameters of the rules, some more work could be done with the Mustang bodies, especially with the front end. Right now, we have the most stock-appearing bodies of any car in Pro Stock.
“But we’re going to push forward with everything we have. We really believe that Ford gave us a good engine to work with, and it’s up to us to make it run at its maximum potential.”
Morgan said that he will also continue to build engines for Ford campaigners Perkinson and Wolfe next season.