We’re not exactly sure what it is about a Ford engine in a Ford car these days, but it grabs our attention every time we see it. Maybe it’s because the Ford in a Ford combo isn’t as prevalent as it once was given all the LS swaps that have happened, but a perfect example of a great Ford combo crossed our path during Sick Week 2023.
We were at Orlando Speed World on day one of the drag-and-drive event when we passed Earl Schexnayder of Schexnayder Racing and his orange 2000 Cobra Mustang with a twin-turbo 429 cid Ford Boss engine. Earl was working on a new tune for his next pass, but was kind enough to give us some time to walk us through the car and engine details.
As it turned out, Earl is no stranger to the drag-and-drive scene, nor is his Cobra Mustang. Earl has been entering drag-and-drive events since 2009 when he won his class with his old Ford truck with a twin-turbo big block Ford.
“The first one I went on we had a blast,” Schexnayder says. “I built the Mustang in 2010 after winning in 2009 with my old truck. In 2011, we started doing drag-and-drives in the Mustang, so it’s been around the block.”
We also learned that Earl had registered for the inaugural Sick Week in 2022, but due to getting Covid just a few days prior, he had to dropout. Therefore, his presence at this year’s event was eagerly awaited. And it’s no surprise to learn that Earl is a Ford guy through and through.
“I’ve always been the underdog,” Schexnayder says. “Everything I’ve got is Ford powered. I’ve got a Coyote car. I’ve got an old truck with a twin-turbo big block Ford, and I’ve got this Cobra Mustang.”
Earl’s shop, Schexnayder Racing, located in Arnaudville, LA, does engine work on big block and small block engines and platforms such as Ford, LS, Chevy, Dodge and Chrysler. They are also experts at handling power adders such as blowers, turbos and nitrous. It comes as no surprise that Earl’s own 429 cid Ford Boss engine features a twin-turbo set up as well as a number of top-notch engine components.
Schexnayder’s 429 Boss engine features Boss Nine Kaase cylinder heads, a billet Crower crank, R&R steel connecting rods, Crower lifters, an LSM camshaft, T&D rockers, PAC springs, a Jeff Johnson billet oil pan and billet oil filter, a Danny B belt drive, an Innovators West balancer, a ProTorque torque converter, a Turbo 400 trans, a 3,500-lb. Gear Vendor overdrive, and it’s all controlled by the Haltech Nexus R5, which is their newest EFI system out.
“All these components come from awesome companies,” he says. “It’s a testament that I’ve had this engine 13 years and it’s never blown up. It’s a pretty durable piece. It runs on both pump gas and M1. The engine has twin 91mm turbos and it’s our first time out on radials, so we’ve been doing some testing and getting the hang of it.”
The twin 91mm turbos aren’t just for good looks and a cool factor. Earl says he runs 22-23-lbs. of boost to the turbos, which results in 1,850 horsepower to the wheels. That kind of power is capable of some fast ETs, and that’s certainly the case for Earl’s Mustang. However, his license only certifies him to run 7.50 and slower.
“If I run a 7.49 or faster, I’m out,” he told us. “We went 7.62, 7.70 and 7.69 earlier. It’s not a bracket car, so it’s tough. If I wasn’t restricted, we’re trying to get into the 6s with it. It’s run a 4.60 in the eighth. We’re trying to run 4.50s in the eighth and it should run 6.90s. That’s what we’re trying for and still be street legal.”
Earl competed in Sick Week 2023 in the Pro Street class, and ended the week in fourth place with runs of 7.62 at 153 mph, 7.83 at 141 mph, 7.75 at 153 mph, 8.77 at 116 mph, 9.77 at 99 mph for an average of 8.35 at 132 mph. With a goal of just making it through to the end, Earl accomplished that goal. Now the quest for the 6s begins.
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original and NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].