California racer Joe Pelayo, a member of the world famous AV Boys street racing squad, is set to join the fledgling small-block no-time ranks on the East coast in a stunning new four-eye Fox body Mustang fresh out of the NRC Motorsports shop in Aiken, South Carolina.

The Marina Del Ray, California native, citing both a loss of interest in street racing and a desire to get involved in the red-hot no-time world on the other end of the country, tabbed NRC to construct the car last year, and the project was finally completed and fired for the first time this week.

“I have some background in racing, primarily street racing. My friends and I, the AV boys, race in and around California. But I realized I couldn’t continue on doing this, being out until 5 a.m. …it’s just not going to cut it for me. I was the first one of the group to venture away from street racing and into grudge racing. But it was mainly just with street cars…like 9-second cars with nitrous or small street blowers,” Joe notes.

“I was amused with what they had back East, and I started watching videos of all the big grudge races and I really liked what I saw,” he continues. “You get the same excitement as on the street, but it’s controlled — we’re not arguing until 5 in the morning and then nothing happening and having to show up for work in the morning. So I decided that was the direction I wanted to go.”

Joe had been friends with Jay Giannelli (who operates NRC with his father, Bob) online for a number of years, and that friendship struck up talks of building him a car. In particular, Joe wanted to have the car built back East since he planned to race there.

Pelayo sent the parts and pieces to build his car to NRC last February with plans to race it on the West coast in the Extreme Drag Radial class (similar to Limited Drag Radial). The car was essentially to be a copy of a car that the Giannelli’s were already constructing as a shop car — one thing led to another and that car, still in progress, became Joe’s (he noted that NRC’s recently completed car gained the name “Downgrade” because it’s a near copy of Joe’s, but with less liberal use of carbon-fiber and titanium).

The four-eye 1986 model Fox bodies, which have long had a small cult following, has led to considerable interest among those on social media have seen the photos of Joe’s machine.

“I’ve always liked the ’86 look. Racecraft did done a couple years back for someone in Kuwait and I saw that and thought it was sexy, so I decided that’s what I wanted to build. All of the AV Boys have the later-model Foxes, the 1990 to ’93, so I was the first from the group to say ‘screw it, let’s do a four-eye.’ ”

Pelayo originally had a big-block, ProCharger F-3 combination slated for the build, but when he began building the lightweight car and considered the challenges of competing in class racing with the combination he had, he turned his attention to small-block racing. Without giving away too many specifics, the powerplant is a standard 9.5 deck small-block Ford with conventional Brodix cylinder heads massaged by Kuntz and Co. The mill is topped with a BRE carburetor feeding it fuel and nitrous from a single-stage, wet sump fogger kit from Nitrous Express. An M&M Turbo 400 and ProTorque converter back it up. Weld Racing wheels up front and Sander rears (wrapped in 275 Mickey’s) mask Menscer Motorsports shocks on all four corners.

The car retains the stock-style front and rear suspension pickup points. The interior is fully carbon-fiber, and Joe notes that every bar in the chassis not required to be chromoly per SFI specs is made from titanium.

Pelayo, who spoke to us from atop a crane located miles offshore from Long Beach in the Pacific — is jumping aboard a plane to head East this weekend to make shakedown runs on motor. From there, he’ll contest the many remaining small-block shootout events scheduled at venues around the East coast.

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