By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Chad Neuenschwander
By the end of last year, Chad Neuenschwander had pushed his popular Mustang to a best of 7.98 and 170 mph in NMCA Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons.
Those were incredibly quick and fast times from the Indiana-based driver’s 400 cubic-inch small-block Ford backed by a G-Force GF2000 five-speed transmission, but he wanted to go even quicker and faster.
So, Neuenschwander — who had been talking with Jim Kuntz about evolving his engine program prior to Kuntz passing away last spring — began working on a new engine with the new owner of Kuntz and Company, Aaron Salisbury, several months ago.
Built on his previous cast iron Dart block, it’s now 415 cubic-inches, has more stroke and features a new Callies crank, GRP rods and custom RaceTec pistons.
While Neuenschwander had been running Edelbrock Victor heads, he now has Edelbrock SC1 canted-valve heads massaged by Kuntz and Company and paired with a CID cast intake. PSI valve springs, T&D rockers and Trend pushrods are in place.
“I talked with Aaron Salisbury and Kuntz and Company while they were building the engine, and we covered everything from how strong the valvetrain needs to be to how I wanted to get the most horsepower from the new engine that I could,” said Neuenschwander. “I was willing to do whatever it would take.”
Another feature of the new engine is an MSD belt-driven distributor rather than a gear-driven distributor like Neuenschwander had relied on for his previous engine.
“We did that to help get more vacuum out of the engine,” said Neuenschwander. “The more we can plug off the engine and prevent leaks, the more vacuum we can get.”
While Neuenschwander will back his new engine with his trusty G-Force GF2000 five-speed transmission, he will move from a single disc clutch set-up to a Ram dual disc clutch set-up.
“I’ve never used a dual disc clutch, and wanted to try it to see how it would work,” said Neuenschwander.
The beautiful build will sip fuel from a CFM Performance carburetor on loan from fellow racer and reigning Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons champion Leonard Long, and optimized by Dale Cubic of CFM Performance Carburetors.
“Dale Cubic does great work,” said Neuenschwander, whose wife, Joy, and son, Dylan, also race. “It’s crazy how he can look at your graphs and tell you to do this or that, and the next pass, it worked.”
The new engine was recently on the dyno at Kuntz and Company, and now that Neuenschwander has it back home in Indiana, he’s puting it into the engine bay of his Mustang.
“I think it’s a pretty good piece, and Aaron Salisbury and Kuntz and Company did a great job,” said Neuenschwander. “I wish my son, Dylan, who’s a student at SAM Tech, was here to help me put the engine in, and I know he wishes he was here to help me, too, but I’m sure I’ll be speaking with him while I’m doing that, and I’ll have help from Scott Waters.”
Neuenschwander has his sights set on heading to the last NMCA event of the year, the 19th Annual Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, next weekend, Sept. 24-27 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.
“It may take some time to get everything tuned up to be just right, but either way, I know that I have a competitive combination, and I’m excited about that,” Neuenschwander.