Simple and clean are good words to describe the look and feel of Byron Kinne’s 1988 Mustang. Byron designed the car to be purpose-built for 1/8-mile racing; whether it’s mid-5-second bracket competition or heads-up index racing at popular Ford events like the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) Ford Muscle category.
Byron previously had a ’95 Mustang, which was a small tire car. It ran 6.0 e.t.’s, so when he found this ’88 Mustang, he pounced on the opportunity to go a little faster with a more specifically constructed bracket car.
“We’re pretty much a family team,” Byron says. “My wife, Mandy, my daughter, Lily, and I do it all ourselves and love being together at the races. We just want to be out there having fun and don’t want to worry about a lot of maintenance on a good performing bracket car.”
Byron purchased the Mustang as a rolling chassis but has added many of his own touches. “I bought the basic chassis from a buddy of mine who was a secondhand owner as well. This history is not completely clear, but it is a well-made car. We put in a funny car cage, did quite a bit of detail work, and reworked the front end with QA1 front suspension components.”
The 434 small-block Ford has recently been shipped back to Bennett Racing Engines for a horsepower upgrade. Byron wants to gain approximately 125 more horsepower that will push the car to the ceiling of Pro category bracket racing.
The Mark Williams Enterprises 9-inch Ford rearend has 40 -spline Williams axles and 4.56:1 ratio ring and pinion. The rear is 4-link suspended on Afco Performance Group double-adjustable coilover shocks. Byron adds, “I am always fine-tuning the rear suspension for the most repeatable launch and 60-foot time. The Afco shocks are nicely predictable with what an adjustment will do for the car.”
We are somewhere pretty much every weekend during racing season. The Mustang and junior dragster get a real workout. -Byron Kinne
We spoke to Byron during his wintertime off-season maintenance program. “The engine just left on the UPS truck to go back to Bennett Racing Engines for some needed upgrades and tweaks,” Byron says. “I wanted to increase the amount of accessible horsepower.”
“I like being the fastest dial-in within the class we compete in and chase the other competitors at the ‘stripe,” he says. “The current engine combination came off the dyno rated at 775 hp. When I get it back in the Mustang, it should make 850 hp. At least, that’s the goal we are going after.”
Byron, daughter Lily, and wife Mandy are dedicated to points competition at Gateway Motorsports Park with both the Mustang and a junior dragster. They also enjoy traveling to events throughout the Midwest when the opportunity arises.
Byron’s shift point is at 7,600 rpm with his current combination. “We have a good Powerglide built by Mike’s Transmission,” he says. “In front of that is an Abruzzi Racing 5,900 rpm stall converter and JW Performance Transmissions flexplate.”
Best performance to date is a 5.72 e.t. at 119 mph in the 1/8 mile. He gets to the 60-foot mark in 1.24 seconds.
“I’m trying to get the car into the 5.40 zone,” Byron adds. “I also just want to hit the elapsed time cutoff ceiling for Pro category of bracket racing and stay within the rules for the class. That will also set me up well for the 6.0 index classes featured at many muscle car events. That’s how I like to race.”
When competing in both bracket and index racing, the funny car caged cockpit is strictly business with a Racepak data dash and an air-shifted Cheetah shifter system.
In the interior, Byron utilizes a Holley Performance/Racepak IQ3 display dash combined with an Autometer tach and analog gauges, K&R wiring system with switch panel, and a Cheetah SCS shifter that is operated by an RPM-activated CO2 air shifter system.
Byron tells us that the local NMRA event in St. Louis last year was a good time for the family. He intends to compete in the Ford Muscle 6.00 index class at more of their events in 2019.
Body lightening efforts include Harwood Industries fiberglass hood and doors along with Optic Armor Performance polycarbonate windows throughout the Mustang. “Tinker’s Toy Shop in Canton, Illinois, painted the Mustang for me,” Byron describes. ‘It’s a simple paint scheme; just silver with black racing stripes.”
Byron and his family travel to events all over the greater Midwest. “It really depends on what is going on,” Byron explains. “We like to bracket race, but also enjoy the NMRA and other Ford-only events hosted by various dragstrips.”
“When the World Ford Challenge (WFC) events were still going on, we liked traveling to as many of those each year as we could,” Byron continues. “The NMRA races are reminding me a lot of the fun we had at those WFC races. We see ourselves hitting the road to more of those for the upcoming season with various Ford events at Memphis and in Bowling Green.”
Centrally located in the center of Illinois, the Canton, Illinois family takes advantage of the opportunity to bracket race at a wealth of tracks within driving distance. “My daughter also bracket races a junior dragster and competes in the points competition at Gateway Motorsports Park, so we are there as often as they race.”
The history of the rolling chassis is a small mystery as it passed between previous owners, but Byron added many of his own modifications to make it his own.
“When St. Louis isn’t holding an event, we all like go to Eddyville Raceway Park over in Iowa quite a bit,” Byron contends. “We do consider Gateway our home track. But when it’s not a points race, we like to get on the internet and surf around for cool events at the many tracks in our region. We’re not afraid to pick a different track and go have a good time.”
He has enjoyed a good deal of success with the Mustang. He has a long string of wins and finals at a variety of races Gateway, Central Illinois Dragway, and Eddyville. Byron attributes his hard working Ford to his opportunity to be competitive, yet enjoy a racing life with his wife and daughter no matter where they travel.