Mose Nowland, Ford Racing engine engineer, and Larry Morgan, owner/driver of the Lucas Oil Pro Stock Ford Mustang, participated in a Ford Racing NHRA Preview teleconference today. Nowland was instrumental in developing the new Pro Stock Ford engine that debuted in development form in Pomona last fall, and will be making its “official” debut this weekend in the two Larry Morgan Pro Stock Mustangs at the 50th Annual NHRA Winternationals in Pomona. Nowland and Morgan talk about the engine, testing and goals for the 2010 season.
SINCE THE FORD PRO STOCK ENGINE DEBUTED IN NOVEMBER, HOW MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE ON THE ENGINE?
MOSE NOWLAND: “We’ve made considerable progress with our engine and we’re very excited about it. We’ve had several test trips and we’ve done extensive dynamometer testing. The development work has been on the top end basically, the manifold and induction system and so on. We were excited about the performance of this thing. We actually met our goal the first time out on the dynamometer, in fact, we eclipsed our goal, our expected goal and that has really set the excitement high. We’re very grateful for our two participating teams, the Morgan team and the Cunningham team, they’ve been great contributors.”
LARRY MORGAN: “I’m so excited, I almost can’t hardly stand it, just to get there. It’s incredible. We ran real well in testing, both times we were out. We’re just so excited for Ford to get the Ford Mustang out there and show off what Mose has been working on for the last few months.”
COULD YOU COMMENT ON THE FACT THAT OVER THE YEARS CHEVY DOMINATED THE PRO STOCK ERA. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO ALL THE FORD FANS OUT THERE?
“I can tell you, it’s really exciting for us, for the fact that Ford hasn’t been out there for such a long time. We’re hoping that we can jump right up there and get in the mix of things and help Ford out with where we’re going.”
AS FAR AS THE ENGINEERING PART, THAT’S BECOME SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN MOTORSPORTS. CAN YOU COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THINK YOU GUYS [FORD] BRING THAT JUST WASN’T THERE BEFORE?
MOSE NOWLAND: “Certainly, since we left Pro Stock racing, about the time the Gliddens retired, there’s been a lot of breakthroughs on alloy, compositions, strength and methods of valve train dynamics. It was very delightful for me to have spent so much time on NASCAR projects that there’s a lot of things we learned there that we applied to this engine. We just have learned over the years what works and what doesn’t work. Our goal was to get out there pretty quick with an engine that would stand a good chance to qualify and keep the price down. I believe we’ve met the challenge pretty good.”
CAN YOU TRANSFER DATA FROM NASCAR TO NHRA?
“Let me make it clear that we didn’t have a whole gaggle of engineers on this project. It was just a couple of us here, a designer and an engineer. We’ve been involved with other engine designs and their special application. We saw opportunities to put those features into this engine, and then, of course, in dealing with the Cunninghams and the Morgans, they brought a lot of technology and concepts to this engine that really fit in nicely. I credit them for us being where we are today. I guess you can measure where you are today by the level of excitement we hear. The fans have been so good about welcoming us back. Apparently, they are excited too.”
YOU SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE. DOES THAT WINNING ROUTINE EVER GET OLD FOR YOU?
LARRY MORGAN: “No, you can’t get in there enough, I can tell you that right now. It’s quite a thrill. More than anything, my next race win is going to be in a Ford Mustang and I can’t wait. Hopefully, that will be Sunday night.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY YOU PICKED LARRY AND HOW YOU WORK WITH HIM? HAVE YOU CONSULTED BOB GLIDDEN? IS BOB PART OF THE MIX AT ALL?
MOSE NOWLAND: “Bob Glidden, his name has certainly come up, but we currently do not have any active business with Bob. The name is still drifting towards the top. We have worked for many years with Bob and we love the family dearly; they can certainly get the job done. Believe me, they know how to Pro Stock race, there’s no doubt about it. Our connection with Larry, it came about as we were looking for very capable teams to launch our program with and I believe Larry might have been doing a little shopping from his side. It’s been a wonderful combination, and I just can’t say enough about it and where we are at and our progress and the excitement that is all around us.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR OFFICIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH FORD? HOW DOES THAT WORK? DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO BE A PLAYER RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX?
LARRY MORGAN: “I am supported, in a roundabout way. But I think we’re going to do well right out of box because we’ve been preparing for the last year to do this. We’ve had a few very good tests. I think we’re going to do well; I hope we do. That’s my goal headed out there right now. I’m excited for Ford to get the Ford Mustang out there again.”
MOSE NOWLAND: “And I’m sure Larry is going to do well.”
YOU’VE GOT ALL THESE TEAMS COMING IN WITH THEIR OWN IN-HOUSE ENGINE PROGRAMS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE BIG HAMMER NOW BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT EXPERIMENTING LIKE OTHERS?
LARRY MORGAN: “I think we are all experimenting to some extent, but I’ve been preparing for this, as Mose will tell you, all year. We’ve been working on making these parts the way they should be. They’ve done a fine job and I think we’ve done a pretty good job ourselves.”
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTATIONS ON THE FORD PRO STOCK ENGINE?
MOSE NOWLAND: “My expectations are running high right now. We realize our competition is tough and we’ve got the Mike Edwards and the Johnsons and others out there. I know they weren’t sitting on their laurels over the winter. As Larry said, we’ve been working real hard and we’re certainly going to have a qualifying car, there’s no doubt in my mind, unless some unforeseen thing pops up. From what we see and feel right now, we’re going to be in that ladder somewhere.”
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO BRING THE FORD PRO STOCK ENGINE FROM CONCEPT TO AT- TRACK APPLICATION?
MOSE NOWLAND: “The first line went on the computer tube approximately December 18th of 2008. We had two Cunningham cars with the new engine in at Pomona for the finals. That resulted in a good development program of thrashing on the engines. We were very, very delightful with what we saw after that. The compatibility and durability of the components was better than we expected and we just felt real good that we had a sound engine, and now the remainder of the winter we spent on dynamometer and a couple of test trips to start tuning on the horsepower.”
YOU SOUND VERY EXCITED TO BE RUNNING THE FORD MUSTANG, BUT ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT HAVING A NEW BODY AND ENGINE COMBINATION?
LARRY MORGAN: “Not at all. I’m probably better prepared now than I have been in a long time. I think we’re going to do well. We spent some time in the wind tunnel last weekend to balance the car. We spent a lot of time on the dyno. Mose made some very, very nice parts and the foundation is all there. We’ve just got to make it work and I’m ready to do that.”
DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE LAST TIME A FORD WON A PRO STOCK RACE? WAS IT BOB GLIDDEN IN THE LATE 90s?
MOSE NOWLAND: “It would be more like the mid-90s. I’m not a very good statistician when the last time Bob won one, because he won so many and they all sort of run together in my mind. He was sitting pretty close to the top when they decided to retire.” [Bob Glidden’s final Ford Pro Stock win was Englishtown, NJ in 1995.]