To the fans in the crowd, racing can be a cathartic adrenaline rush. Watching racers drive at top-speeds across the tracks and fighting to get to the quarter-mile first, we agree that this could be the exact release to cure road rage for a month. But for driver and our highly esteemed ambassador, Rick Erdman, it is a divine rite of passage, and a delicate gift that he takes care of before every race by praying before he touches the ignition. Another one of his rites includes tuning his noble steed, a 2015 Mustang GT, equipped with a ProCharger D1SC, stock Coyote engine, FTI Level 5 Turbo 400, which has appropriately been modified for the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) Ford Nationals event this year.
Learn more from our interview with Rick Erdman about his technique and his lucky charms below:
Welcome back. Is there a time that you would like to beat this go round?
Hey! Yep. We want to get the car in the mid 8-second range.
Is that a personal time, or a time set by regulations?
It's a personal time, and I was so close, too. So, so, so close. By a couple thousandths of a second. We took 198 pounds off of the car, so we're at two to three-tenths.
Would you say that was one of the outstanding upgrades you made in order to get so close to your goal?
Yes! You see, my car is the only stock motor car in the class. Stock motor and stock PCM. And I tune with SCT. Now my car has 960 miles on it. A 2015 with 960 miles [laughs].
That sounds like a good thing. It must mean you're putting enough work in.
Yeah. Well, I guess so [laughs].
Can you list all the new changes you've made or added to your vehicle?
-Stock motor and PCM with Oil Pump Gears and lower crank sprocket
-Original 900 mile stock motor with only Boundary oil pump gears and crank sprocket
-1320 performance boss intake
-Kooks headers w/Solo Performance race exhaust
-FTI Pro Mod Level 5 Turbo 400 transmission
-Full BMR suspension w/Vi-King coilovers
-ChassisPro cage, chute mount, window net
-Tuned by me with SCT
-DSS haft shafts and carbon fiber driveshaft
-Anderson Composite hood and deck lid
What is or was your favorite track to race on?
South Georgia Motorsport Park and Bowling Green. Those two. I think it's because of the season. It's usually at the end of the season that everyone is just there in good spirits and happy to be racing.
What is the "Rick Erdman way" of getting ready for these kinds of events? Any lucky charms or routines?
Bob and I try to be prepared as much as we can. We try to go over the car thoroughly before every event. Every time, before I run, I say a prayer to keep everybody safe. Some people would see me and say "You look like you're sleeping." [laughs] No, I'm just getting ready and hoping for a safe and successful event.
Who is Bob to you?
Bob? Bob Green, an old friend of 20 years. More like 18. He's a racer and we've been good friends since. He's my crew chief, makes sure the car is spot on, clean, checks the tires... He does everything!
What are some of your fondest or outstanding memories while driving/racing?
Spending time and competing with all our racing family. Linn is there to take care of me, making sure that I'm ready to travel and checking every run. They text us now to come to the track. They used to just announce it, but now they text us too. I have Linn's number on there, so since she's not here, she'll get the text on her phone and watch it right away.
Who is your biggest supporter in your family?
My wife Linn. She is my rock. She loves motorsports and is very supportive of my racing. She wishes she could be at my races. We are taking care of her 97-year-old mother who was diagnosed with dementia. So right now, she's at home with mom. But she loves racing, loves to race, everything about it.
Where's the next race?
Atlanta. It's about 45 minutes away from me, which is great. The Atlanta Dragway, in Commerce, Georgia.
What can we expect from Rick Erdman after the NMRA?
Being 66 years old, I just want to race... as long as I can get into a race car and safely get it down the track. I may travel and support all my racing friends once I've retired from driving.
Watch the video above to get a sneak peak of Rick Erdman's drive. If you want more, the National Mustang Racing Association has released its 2020 schedule! You can learn more about the NMRA's upcoming events on their website here: www.NMRAdigital.com.