Pony Wars 2 Episode 5: Getting Ready to Tango

The quest to build the ultimate pony car continues on the latest episode of Pony Wars. Last episode we took a look at how the teams used their $10,000 Summit Racing budget to upgrade their driveline and suspension. This time the teams up the ante by adding boost, courtesy of ProCharger. Of course, boost is nothing if you can’t control it, so we see the teams work with DiabloSport tuning tools to harness that massive power. After some preliminary dyno testing, all three cars will be ready for the track.

2019 Camaro SS

Things had been going smoothly for the experienced Vengeance Racing team, who has built similar combos in the past – opting for the ProCharger D-1X head unit and Stage II air-to-air intercooler. The D-1X moves 1,500cfm of air and is rated at 1,000 horsepower, which Vengeance planned to push as hard as their fuel system would support. The system came with a Race bypass valve and Vengeance also selected the 10-rib upgrade with ATI balancer (PN 918856) and sheet metal aluminum intake, originally designed to replace the LT4 supercharger but now optional for SS kits.

Clearly Ron Mowen and company had their sites set on winning the dyno and the drag strip, using every advantage the direct-injection 6.2L LT1 afforded them.

2019 Mustang GT Premium

While Ron and the guys celebrate with cold-ones, Chad Reynolds and the FordNXT team work on getting the valve covers and intake manifold situated to make way for a smaller pulley for their P-1X ProCharger. The P-1X is similar to the D-1X in most ways except the exducer diameter and its compressor wheel, which allows the P-1X to produce up to 1,275 cfm. However, this design also allows it to spin a little higher and overall make a better pairing with the smaller-cube Coyote. Knowing what the Camaro and Challenger are bringing to the party, the Mustang team felt they could be very competitive at the 850-900 rear wheel horsepower number.

Like the Camaro, the ProCharger kit came with the Stage II intercooler, Race bypass valve, and 8-rib drive.

Relying on a completely stock Coyote engine, save the oil pump gears, the Mustang crew could use all the help they could get and thankfully a friend stopped by to offer some help – Tom Bogner of Lucas Oil. A Mustang guy through-and-through, Tom knew exactly what kind of oil would work best for the FordNXT Mustang. Tom said, “We’ve run these Mustangs 300 pulls on the dyno with our 5w20 API oil, so these Coyote engines do really well with even an API oil.”

2019 Challenger R/T Scat Pack

Meanwhile, in Brighton, Michigan, the Arrington Performance team was hard at work putting a Procharger D-1X of their own on their Challenger. The Arrington team elected to go with the Stage II D-1x package from ProCharger. The Stage II kit comes with the larger air-to-air intercooler to match the D-1x head unit, which is capable of supporting over 1,000 horsepower. The “big-red-race-valve” – needed to keep up with all the extra air the D-1X is pushing – and ATI balancer upgrade were also part of the options list from ProCharger. The 8-rib drive balancer is designed to keep belt slip in check when using such small supercharger pulleys for big boost.

The 6.4L Hemi is the largest of the bunch, and has the potential to take the dyno and the drag strip if Arrington’s strategy pays off.


While the Mustang team didn’t choose to build their engine, the Challenger and Camaro both needed some break-in oil to seat their new Total Seal rings and fresh bearings. Tom Bogner, being the nice guy that he is, offered advice to each team. “The higher levels of zinc and the phosphorous allow everything to seat in a little easier, especially during the break-in period. It just allows the rings to seat in much easier. We’ll run Lucas’ break-in oil, let you do your tune, get the car running right, and then we’ll switch it to our full-synthetic.”

The Camaro later switched to Lucas 5W50 for its LT1 after inspecting the K&N oil filter, while the Challenger switched to 10W40 in the Hemi.


The Camaro’s initial startup was a success, and Ron was able to log all of the data on DiabloSport’s Trinity tuner to make sure all the levels looked good. In fact, they wrapped up so early, they even had time to drink some beers and offer a helping hand to the FordNXT Team – they were going to need it if they had any chance of catching up to the competition.

Meanwhile, back in Michigan, the boys with the Challenger were up to more of the same. They put in a long night wrapping up the final touches on the Scat Pack, and we see them loading their initial tune from DiabloSport’s Trinity T2 tuner. Then it was as simple as loading in all of their upgrades and firing up the R/T.

With the Challenger team putting the final touches on their tune, that left Chad and the Mustang team bringing up the rear. We catch up with them while they are installing some E3 112 Racing spark plugs. The plugs utilize E3’s patented Diamond-fire technology, which delivers a higher current by offering a unique shaped electrode and ground strap. Doing so ensures the spark won’t be blown out, and a consistent, strong spark is provided to each cylinder. All three teams used these plugs, which offer a colder heat range for boosted applications.

Dyno Time

With all three cars ProCharged, full of Lucas Oil, and gassed up with VP Racing‘s 95-octane C9 fuel, it came time to make some dyno pulls. The Challenger lead off with some very stout numbers, and as Brian Petty states: “The first pull was super fat on fuel, and super conservative on timing, and we’re ready to hurt some feelings. At 5,195 rpm we haven’t even found peak torque yet, let alone peak horsepower! That means there’s a lot of room to grow. Who knows we might make peak horsepower past 7,000 rpm.”

Meanwhile, the guys at Vengeance brought out their secret weapon – Mike Carnahan. Mike is an extremely well-known GM LT tuner, and he knew exactly what to do on the laptop with the Camaro on the rollers. “We use the Diablo tuner to make a few base tunes. We make a few hits on the dyno, logging everything with the Trinity. We’ll check those logs out and make the adjustments we need. As long as fuel pressure and boost looks good, and we’re not seeing any knock, we’re going to run it up and give it everything it’s got.”

The Mustang crew had a little something up their sleeve as well in terms of tuning – Mike Wilson of DiabloSport. “I’ve got a plethora full of PID’s that I’ll pull from the T2. They’ll already be configured on the screen – fuel, spark, temperatures, RPM, things like that. I’ll pull that into our data viewer software, review it, make changes to the software, put the tune back in, stick it in the car, make a pull, and do it all over again.”

VP’s C9 racing fuel actually comes from the circle track world (where it is “spec fuel” in some classes). It was the closest to 93-octane pump that VP offered (95 MON), and is very economical yet VP says it will outperform some competitors 110-octane leaded race gas.

Preliminary Numbers

It remains to be seen whether all those steps were worth it. The FordNXT Team decided to “play their hand close to their chest,” and not reveal any of their dyno numbers. Nevertheless, here are the preliminary dyno numbers from Team Vengeance and Team Arrington – taking into account these were done on two different brand chassis dynos and in different states.

Preliminary RWHP Numbers Challenger Camaro Mustang
Peak RWHP 804.8 867.7 ?
Peak RWTQ  687.1 727.6 ?


Remember, this isn’t for the competition. The numbers shown above were established while getting good base tunes into the cars and getting them ready for the races in Vegas. You’ll have to wait to see if there is more left in these pony cars, and, of course, how the Mustang stacks up.

Speaking of racing in Vegas, you’ll have to tune in to the next episode of Pony Wars to find out what the real numbers are, and who ultimately takes the crown.

Mounting the Toyo tires was the last step before we head to Vegas. All three cars will run either the R888R or the RR tires for the autocross course (each team got to pick between the two), while the Proxes TQ drag radials were used for the drag strip – mounted on 17-inch Weld single beadlock wheels.

The 2019 season of Pony Wars is made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry, including Summit RacingCOMP CamsTCIK&N Filters, Toyo Tires, MAHLE MotorsportsDyna-BattWeld RacingCorsa PerformanceFragolaHolleyDiabloSport, NOSE3 Spark PlugsTotal SealMickey ThompsonMoser EngineeringBMR SuspensionMiller ElectricAerospace ComponentsVictor ReinzMorosoUS GearHawk PerformanceLucas OilPRW IndustriesWeld RacingVP RacingNOSProCharger, and ARP. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild ride!

About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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