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Family Matters—Dave and Josh Hutnick Team Up on NMCA Xtreme Street Mustang

Posted By: Evan J. Smith

Family MattersDave and Josh Hutnick Team Up on NMCA Xtreme Street Mustang


Written by Ainsley Jacobs

Photography by the FSC staff


Brothers usually either bicker or band together in solidarity. For the Hutnick boys, Dave and Josh, they found success with the latter campaigning their 1991 Ford Mustang in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street.


Growing up in Indiana with a 16-year age gap between them, Dave and Josh shared similar yet divergent upbringings yet both gravitated toward performance. Dave was inherently drawn to drag racing and spent many nights out street racing or just cruising locally. Eventually, he began racing at the track with a 1987 Ford Mustang and always preferred heads-up competition. 


Josh, meanwhile, was inspired by his father who bracket-raced in the 1970s. Having Dave around and being brought up with racing got me interested,” shared the 32-year-old man of his 48-year-old half-brother. I had a car right out of high school that I raced here and there, then life came and I sold it and bought a house.”


Both of the Hutnick men started their careers as union carpenters. While Josh took time away from the track, Dave continued racing and turned his attention to NMCAs Edelbrock Xtreme Street category. In 2011, Hutnick finished ninth overall in championship points; he improved to finish fifth in 2012, slipped to eighth in 2013, and rallied in 2014 to clinch his first season championship title.


Impressively, Dave earned his second consecutive NMCA Xtreme Street championship in 2015. Then, 2016 wasnt a stellar year,” joked the man who finished still respectably in sixth with his nitrous-assisted F-body Chevrolet Camaro. Throughout his lengthy racing career, Hutnick wheeled some wild rides in a variety of other categories and made a name for himself as one of the top small-tire radial racers in the country.


In 2019, though, Josh decided he wanted to get into cars again and started (what was supposed to be) a street-focused project. I dug through Facebook Marketplace and found a Fox body and picked it up. I took it home and gutted it so I could start with a bare chassis and go from there… and it turned into this,” he shared. Ironically, the 1991 Ford Mustang that Josh acquired wasnt his dream car. Im a big Chevy guy, but Mustangs are the best platform to start with if you want to go fast.”


Unfortunately, the pandemic soon struck, and coupled with the fact that Josh had also started his own company, Accelerated Cycle Concepts, which offers everything from full-service maintenance to complete custom builds, he was forced to put the car on hold.


Josh had an LS motor and was going to do a 10-point cage, not a cert car or anything, and I was talking to Bill [Trovato] who does my engines and we discussed the rules for Xtreme Street and Ultra Street… I started thinking that a big block would be really competitive,” added Dave. Its a great class with big car counts thats still somewhat affordable,” laughed Josh in agreement.


Feeling inspired, he talked with his brother and got the ball rolling again on the Fox Mustangs progress. The two agreed to go for it in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street, and Dave would supply the engine for Joshs roller — it was a collaborative effort that would allow the brothers to race together while easing the financial burden for each.


After having switched gears on their ultimate goal, Kevin Rys and Dennis Rys at Race Engineering pivoted and instead installed a 25.2 SFI-certified chassis for the Fox; Dave was one of the shops first customers when they opened in the early 2000s, and that longstanding relationship held strong over the years. 


As the chassis shop got closer to wrapping up the fabrication, Dave had Trovatos BTR Performance start working on the engine. Because of the supply-chain issues, it took nearly a year to get the parts and get the engine assembled,” said Josh.


By 2022, though, the brothers had their hands on both the chassis and the powerplant. Together, at Daves home-based shop, they got busy with the finishing process. Tapping Joe Oplawski and Greg Hurlbutt from Hyperaktive Performance for assistance with the wiring and tuning, the plumbing and mechanical work came together without issue.


Under the Foxs hood, is a 540-cubic-inch BTR-built big-block Chevrolet engine. Stuffed with a Winberg crankshaft slinging CP pistons atop GRP connecting rods, the Dart block is topped by Edelbrock heads. Trovato took care to install a solid-roller cam as well as T&D/Jesel valvetrain components.


Given that Dave had won his two championships with nitrous, and that it seemed the current rules were favorable for the power adder, the Hutnick men decided to stick with their tried-and-true familiarity. When Dave was done racing, turbos were the hot item, but things came full circle and nitrous is competitive again,” explained Josh.


As a result, a Nitrous Outlet plate system joined the Edelbrock intake manifold and Dale Cubic CFM carburetor. Taking advantage of the weight break they were entitled to with a smaller-displacement engine, too, certainly didnt hurt either.


Oplawski also helped out by adding various Holley electronics components to help keep the car running happily as well as a Speedwire Systems switch panel and relay board.


We used a two-speed Turbo 400 from Rodney Massengale at RPM Transmissions with an M&M Transmission shifter, a Neal Chance bolt-together billet converter from Marty Chance, and a Precision Shaft Technologies carbon-fiber driveshaft,” Josh elaborated.


Underneath, the Fox is equipped with practically every suspension component that Racecraft, Inc. manufactured from the custom rear end to the off-the-shelf control arms while Strange Engineering supplied the spool, axles, and brakes.


Additionally, four-way adjustable AFCO by Menscer Motorsports rear shocks and front struts control the suspension. Mark [Menscer] has been a great help to our program,” continued the younger Hutnick. Jalen Burbage at Menscer helped with the initial setup and its been spot on all year.”


Inching closer and closer to completion, the brothers began buttoning up the build by perfecting the exterior odds and ends. Schoneck Composites delivered a complete array of body panels, including the bumpers, hood, deck lid, doors, and more while Optic Armor tinted Lexan was installed in place of traditional windshields. Finally, the guys worked with Glenn Grozich at Billet Specialties to select the perfect set of Comp 5 wheels, wrapped in Mickey Thompsons famous 275 drag radial rubber of course, to set off the cars carefully crafted appearance.


Everything I own is white, so I wanted to go with a bright white car that when you look at it, you cant help but notice the attention to detail,” shared Josh of why he and a friend painted his Mustang the same shade as his 2023 Chevrolet Duramax. A lot of the time, simple is more.”


Finally complete in April of 2023, the Hutnick brothers’ Fox Mustang was ready for the second NMCA event of that season at North Carolinas Rockingham Dragway. Having missed the season opener in Florida and after having been out of the drivers seat for a decade, Josh climbed in to do the honors of putting the inaugural shakedown runs on the car on Thursday and to get his NHRA licensing passes under his belt. After, Dave took over for the competition side of things.


In a large NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street field combined with NMRA VP Racing Madditives Renegade, Dave qualified 12th with a 4.905 at 147.11 mph run. Not ideal, but also not bad considering it was a brand-new car. Joe [Oplawski] was assisting with tuning and the car worked flawlessly, it just was so new that we couldnt lean on it too much,” said Dave, who picked up a first-round win in eliminations with an improved 4.856 at 152.75 mph pass before going out to heavy hitter Martin Connelley in round two. We were changing converters and stators to see what it wanted and what it didnt.”


Given that the guys had agreed to swap driving duties at every race, that meant it was Joshs turn to take over for the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Muscle Car Drag Racing at World Wide Technology Raceway just outside of St. Louis, Missouri.


In a combined field once again, Josh put down an even quicker run of 4.658 seconds in the eighth mile during qualifying to settle into eighth. He showed his inherent skill when he got the win in round one, albeit by a slim margin, but Hutnicks holeshot advantage helped buffer the gap in his favor.


We gained three-tenths and I finished my licenses passes but got beat by [Keith] Ciborowski by a couple of numbers in round two,” recalled Josh. The racing was tight and the car worked really well.”


During the break between the St. Louis event and the next outing at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, the men pulled the two-speed Turbo 400 from the Fox and replaced it with a three-speed, also from RPM, instead. The result was a big improvement in overall performance and consistency for their combination.


In Michigan, Dave resumed the wheelman honors and qualified 10th out of 25 entries with a 4.668 at 151.52 mph blast. He added another first-round elimination win to the books, but wasnt able to advance past the following pairing. The track was a little hot and so was the car, so we spun and lost that round,” said the seasoned competitor.


Josh stepped back into the spotlight for the NMCA All-American Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, in late August and the mens high hopes were met with high temperatures as well. 


Testing prior to the race had yielded positive results, as they knew they would be soon changing their carbureted setup over to a full Holley EFI system, and wanted to ensure their torque converter program was spot-on before the swap. I qualified sixth with a 4.680 at 157.72 mph went three rounds!” proclaimed Josh excitedly. Everything went smooth, but we missed the tune-up due to the heat and lost.”


Immediately after wrapping up the weekend, Dave and Josh got busy changing their Mustang over to utilize a Holley Dominator EFI system. They also installed a new Weldon fuel pump and regulator and switched to a new Fast Lane Nitrous plate from Robert Lane along with a Wilson Manifolds throttle body.


For the final Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Nationals race of the year, the NMCA World Street Finals at historic Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in late September, it was Dave whose name was back on the results sheets. 


In NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street qualifying, Dave experienced some traction trouble in the first session but wasnt alone in that struggle as many in the field faced the same fate. The second session went a little better, but it was the third pass during which he clicked off a new personal best for the brothers’ Mustang: 4.635 at 153.9 mph.


Starting eliminations from the number-five spot, Dave lined up against Nick McGrath in round one. Unfortunately, the track was a little warmer than expected… his Ford smoked its tires and gave up the win.


Our converter was definitely working right, but we hadnt had a lot of testing time throughout the year or since going to the EFI,” said Dave. So, from now until the snow starts falling, were going to go testing and see what the car likes and what it doesnt.”


In addition to refining the Foxs new setup, the testing plans also include getting Josh more seat time. Come back after a decade off has been exciting. Addicting. Im chomping at the bit to go faster and be more consistent,” he affirmed. All in all, its been a very successful season with a brand-new car. A lot of guys who have been in this class for years arent even going as quick as we did right out of the box.”


Josh has had so much fun racing again, in fact, that hes also purchased a second 1991 Mustang that he plans to run in 2024 during the races in which Dave is driving. Although which specific class and engine combination hell go after is up for grabs, hes excited to have another way to stay involved.


Dave, too, has enjoyed having Josh back by his side at the track. The two brothers get along incredibly well and both are focused on the same goal of getting the car to run as quick as it can regardless of whos behind the wheel. We do get on each other a little about whos got better lights and stuff, though,” noted Dave, laughing. But Im having a great time with Josh. If he goes out and runs a better number than me, well, Im happy to see it.”


Despite their diverging paths in life, dramatic age difference, and Joshs time away, the brothers have found their way back to not only each other but also to the sport they both love. Now, with the 2024 NMCA season approaching, Dave and Josh Hutnick are grateful to have their clean, mean, 1991 Ford Mustang to campaign in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street together not just as a team, but as a family.


The Details


Owner: Josh / Dave Hutnick

Driver: Josh / Dave Hutnick

Hometown: Valparaiso, IN

Occupation: Owner of Accelerated Cycle Concepts/carpenter

Class: Extreme Street

Crew: Josh / Dave / Dad

Car Year/Make/Model: 1991 Ford Mustang


Engine: Big-block Chevy

Engine builder: Bill Trovato BTR Performance

Displacement: 540 cubic inches

Block: Dart

Bore: Big

Stroke: Short

Crank: Winberg

Rods: GRP

Pistons: CP

Heads: Edelbrock

Valvetrain: T&D / Jesel

Cam type: Solid-roller

Carburetor or EFI system: Holley EFI

Power-adder: Nitrous

Fuel brand and type: VP Racing Fuels Q16

Headers and exhaust: Custom Stainless

Transmission: RPM Turbo 400

Transmission Builder: RPM Transmission

Clutch/shifter/torque converter: Neal Chance Billet Bolt together

Rearend: rear end with Custom 9-inch housing by Racecraft, strange spool/axles, and Motive gear


Body and/or chassis builder: Race Engineering Crown Point, Indi

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