Soon after calling it a season last year, NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock driver Frank Paultanis turned his focus to making his car even more competitive in 2019.
That involved replacing his Gen I Coyote engine with a Gen II Coyote engine and reworking the suspension under his Mustang.
“I had been working with the Gen I Coyote engine and it was working well, but I wanted a little more,” said Paultanis, a design engineer for Ford who lives in Newport, Michigan, with his wife, Dawn, and daughter, Danielle. “So that’s when I decided it was time to get a Gen II Coyote engine, and I bought it from Watson Racing in Michigan. The engine installation was easy, but all of the rewiring was more involved. About 60 percent of the original wiring had to be redone, and I put a lot of hours into that.”
Paultanis paired the new engine with his G-Force G101-A four-speed transmission and a new Fidanza clutch. To optimize the suspension components from UPR, Racecraft, Wolfe Race Craft and Strange under his car which is constantly in a wheelie, he looked to Ed Bennett of Bennett Performance and Tim Donathen of Donathen Racing for some finessing.
Because he had been relocated to Chicago, Illinois for eight months to help launch the 2020 Lincoln Aviator as part of his job with Ford, and wanted to spend time with his family when he returned to Michigan, he missed the first two events on this year’s NMRA tour, but headed to the Inaugural NMRA Gateway Rumble in May at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois. There, he stick-shifted his way to a 10.21 to qualify in the second spot and then a 10.27 to win the first round of eliminations, but he ran into trouble in the second round of eliminations.
“I broke a U-joint in the second round of eliminations,” said Paultanis. “The car spun the tires and shook, and when I made the gear change, there was a bad vibration, and that’s when the U-joint broke. It tore up the aluminum driveshaft and the yoke. Thankfully, the driveshaft loop contained it.”
Upon returning home, Paultanis obtained a new Precision Shaft Technologies driveshaft and U-joints, a new Strange slip yoke and a new Stifflers driveshaft safety loop. At the same time, he obtained a new Stifflers crossmember for his transmission as he wanted to upgraded.
Then, he loaded up for the 19th Annual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals in June at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania, where he qualified with a 10.23 and made it all the way to the semifinal before exiting competition with a 10.37 against Carlos Sobrino.
“The car did a big wheelie, and it was up in the air long enough for me to lose some elapsed-time,” said Paultanis.
He shook that off and set out for the next race, the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois. His weekend was made memorable early on, as he led qualifying for the first time in the very competitive category with a 10.20, and scored a personal best of 10.19 in the first round of eliminations. On a roll, he went on to runner-up with a 10.34 against Sobrino.
“That was my fist time leading qualifying,” said Paultanis, who shares valuable combination data with G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock drivers Clair Stewart, Kevin McMullin and Randy Soper, as part of a small group they refer to as Team Timmy in a nod to Donathen. “It took a lot of work, and a lot of help from people like Clair Stewart, Ed Bennett, Tim Donathen, my crew guys Matt Hargett and Andy Ransford, and my wife, Dawn, and daughter, Danielle. It had been a long time coming.”
Now, Paultanis is holding down the fifth place in G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock points heading into the final NMRA event of the year, the 21st Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals, featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, Sept. 26-29 at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
“This is the highest position I have held in points in the category, especially after only being able to make three races,” said Paultanis, who flies Lucas Oil banners on his car which rolls on Mickey Thompson slicks. “I feel good, and I’m ready for Bowling Green. I think we’ll do well.”