In a world where it has become inherently easier to just follow the crowd, Chris Matters, Kevin Fiscus, and the team over at JPC have proven that following the crowd isn't their style. Chris continues to work with an industry leader in the modular performance game, and that's the JPC (Justin's Performance Center) team.
At a certain point, we hear about cars that are being built or that are going to come out and it seems like they become a mythical unicorn of sorts. Well with Chris' job, one thing leads to another and his beautiful Saleen took longer to debut than anyone thought it would. To Chris' credit though, he wasn't going to half ass this. He was going to bring out a car that made a statement. Well guess what, that's exactly what Chris and Kevin did.
In the world of heads up drag racing, the mod motor combos have always been looked at as the red headed step child, dating all the way back to the early 90's. Ford first introduced these engines in 1990, but didn't make it's way into a Mustang until 1996. It was then that people started trying to make these small displacement, high revving, engines perform against other proven technology. In the process, there was finally a wave of companies that were creating parts and coming up with new ideas. This was something fresh and new in the performance industry. No longer were we working with technology dating back to the 50's.
When something like this engine comes along, there are pioneers that really get the ball rolling. It didn't take long for companies to pop-up with their parts, knowledge, and ideas. I could list plenty of companies from the late 90's and early 2000's that have come and gone, but few had the staying power like JPC. Justin Burcham formed JPC in 2001 and has never looked back. He has a longtime team that includes world champions in the drag racing industry like Tommy Godfrey and Ryan Hecox are two of the mainstays at JPC.
When it came time, Chris, who is an east coast guy himself, wanted to come out with a modular powered X275 car that could put down a number. He has known the crew over at JPC for a long time and determined after some phone calls, that JPC is who he wanted working on his prized Saleen. JPC has Rich Groh Racing Engines (RGR) handling the engine builds and this one was no different.
Even the engine build was something that Chris didn't go the typical route in. It started out with a 5.4 GT dry sump block that was taken twenty over and sleeved. This was the basis for everything that was about to come. While most of these 5.4 engines use a GT head as well. Chris decided that he was going to procure a set of FR500 BAC heads for the build and have them stuffed with RGR designed, Jesel built valvetrain components. He tapped Accufab for the timing gear set up on the 5.4 along with a Windberg crank, Crower Rods, and CP Carrillo Pistons. Rich was the one to make sure that everything fit and worked just as it should.
All of this lead to where we were at this spring, when renowned driver Kevin Fiscus got behind the wheel at Lights Out 8. Kevin managed to take the car to mod motor record times in the first event out with the Saleen. Laying down solid passes and creeping up on the performance is exactly what needed to happen. It didn't stop just at Lights Out 8 either. They also took the car to Atlanta and Bowling Green, as they shoot for a Street Outlaw title in NMCA.
Recently though, an issue crept up on them under the hood of the Saleen. They pulled the engine, which was in the car for about a year and had about twenty passes on it. There were some valvetrain components that needed adjustment, along with a resurface and head gasket replacement. We spoke to Ryan Hecox over at JPC to see what had to be handled. Ryan stated that it needed a .003 resurface to make sure there were no issues. They actually had the engine out of the car on Thursday and everything was ready to go on Saturday.
Crew man/chief to the stars, Johnny Drama is going to be handling the button up of the car before it heads to the track this weekend. Pro Mod and Radial superstar Kevin Fiscus will be handling the driving duties as usual. This is all in preparation for the NMRA/NMRA Superbowl event in Joliet next month. The team is shooting for a top tier finish the rest of the season in not only the points race in NMCA, but races like the Mod Nats in November at SGMP. With Chris at the helm, Drama with the wrenches, Kevin behind the wheel, and JPC handling that tech support, they have a great chance to prove that you don't have to follow the crowd to accomplish your goals.
Chris told us that none of this is possible without the help of his great partners. There are numerous companies that Chris said makes this all go. Precision Turbo, HPL Oil, JPC (Justin's Performance Center), RGR (Rich Groh Racing), Menscer Motorsports, CP Carrillo, Racepak, Mickey Thompson Tires, Feather Carbon, Drummond Racecars, Driveshaft Shop, Double AA, and TRZ Motorsports all bring this thing together to make it go A to B.