Snake Charmer: Holbrook Wins Factory Stock Showdown In New Cobra Jet

The list of racers who have won a Wally at the NHRA U.S. Nationals is filled with some of the greatest in drag racing history — just earning one is a huge accomplishment, and doing it multiple times puts you in rarified air in the drag racing world. But doing it in the brutally tough sportsman ranks is an even bigger achievement.

That’s precisely what Chris Holbrook has done, though, hoisting the Wally at Indy three times in the Factory Stock Showdown. And this time, he did it with a brand new car, also setting low elapsed time of the race by a wide margin along the way.

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Holbrook has always been a Ford racer at heart, his father even raced the original Cobra Jet Mustangs when they were first campaigned in the golden era of drag racing. This isn’t the first time Holbrook has debuted a new car, then parked it in the winner’s circle.

“My first national event was in 1995 at the IHRA World Nationals when it was at Norwalk. We showed up with a brand new Top Sportsman Mustang from Tim McAmis and were awarded Best Engineered Car, and ended up winning the event too,” Holbrook says.

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Eventually, Holbrook moved to IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock division, where he won the championship in 1999, then transitioned into racing Cobra Jets in the 2010 season. Success followed Holbrook to the NHRA ranks where he won the Factory Stock Showdown twice at Indy in his old Cobra Jet Mustang.

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Holbrook’s new car is a 2016 Cobra Jet that started life as a body-in-white from Ford Performance, then went to Team Z Motorsports to get transformed into a Stock Eliminator class beast.

“NHRA rules only allow certain things to be done to the car. Factory Cobra Jets are built with specific four-link systems, and John Calvert from Calvert Racing Suspensions developed a three-link and got it approved by the NHRA. I purchased that system and had Team Z add it in. They did a great job and basically built the car from the ground up around the 7.50 cert chassis,” Holbrook explains.

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Final assembly and paint of the car was handled by Mike’s Collision, while Tom Frayer of High Voltage Wiring got the car wired up. Under the hood of the Mustang is an in-house built Holbrook Racing Engines motor that uses a 5.2 liter Coyote block as its base. Holbrook then sleeved the block to make it stronger, and did what is allowed within the class rules by balancing and blueprinting the engine. The shop uses their own spec camshafts, Ford GT 350 heads, and Whipple supercharger to finish the motor off.

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This new car and combination carried Holbrook to the Factory Stock Showdown title with a consistent series of 8.30 passes, and mixed in a booming 8.23-second pass at 165 mph weighing in at 3,550 pounds to become the quickest Stock Eliminator class car ever. That consistency is no accident according to Holbrook.

“We use nothing but BigStuff3 products, and the proof is in the performance that we were able to get the car dialed in so quick and able to run so consistent to win the event with a brand new car.”

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Putting a top-level car like this together is no easy task, so help from sponsors is a key for the team.

“Varsity Ford is a big sponsor and a huge help getting parts along with putting the car together,” Holbrook says.  Look for Holbrook and his Cobra Jet to continue battling it out in Stock Eliminator competition at various NHRA events through 2016 and beyond.

Check out this video from ClassRacer that shows just how smooth this snake really is!

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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