Drag racing isn’t a sport that comes with any guarantees; you can purchase all of the best equipment, have a talented crew, and still never find your way to the winner’s circle. Ray Cox struggled mightily for almost two full seasons before his team was able to find a simple issue that was plaguing his Pontiac. Now, Cox is riding a wave of personal best performances into the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals.
The small details are what can make the difference between a stellar pass in a radial tire car, and one in which you annihilate a lot of very expensive parts. Cox and his team, headed up by his son Brad, had been battling their 1977 Trans Am in the NMCA’s Xtreme Street class to just get down the track. After seeing a video about radio interference issue in Alcohol Dragsters, Cox decided to try a change and it paid off.
“We had really been struggling with a lot of rough luck; it was so bad we went over a year and a half without even winning a round in the NMCA. The nitrous system on the car would just turn on and off up to 15 times during a run, and we couldn’t figure it out even after rewiring the car three times. After seeing the video about the interference an in-car radio could cause, we moved some stuff around inside the car at the Ohio Valley Prize Fight. Right after we made those changes the car started making full passes with the nitrous on,” Cox says.
With the electronics issues handled, Cox debuted a new car at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl in Chicago. His ’77 Trans Am was given a break and a 2002 Trans Am took its place that was built by Straightline Performance. The car features 550 cubic-inches of BES-built Pontiac power that’s backed by an RPM Transmissions TH400 and PTC torque converter. The fourth pass on the car netted Cox a 4.82 at 144 mph during its first outing at the Super Bowl.
During the NMCA All-American Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, Cox decided to really ramp up the power and that led to a pair of massive wheelstands. Those brutal air shows caused some damage that was discovered at the Yellow Bullet Nationals in the form of a broken torque arm and anti-roll bar that needed to be repaired. With the repairs complete, Cox used his newly-found momentum at the NMCA World Street Finals to run a personal best of 4.80 at 147 mph; but he wasn’t done yet in the performance improvement department.
“Once we figured out the problem we were able to turn our program around and started to see some success. At No Mercy 9 we qualified number six in Ultra Street with a 4.79 and were the quickest nitrous car in qualifying. After that, we went to FL2K18 and qualified number two and went on to win the event. Then at the last Bradenton ODJC race we made it to the final found and won on a holeshot,” Cox says.
Unfortunately, Cox hurt the Pontiac mill in his Trans Am at the World Street Nationals, but that won’t stop him from coming to the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals. Brad and the rest of the team are working on getting the spare engine in the ’77 out so they can make the event.
“We’re really looking forward to coming to the Snowbirds. The staff at Bradenton Motorsports Park has really been going above and beyond with how much they’ve improved their program and how they work with racers. It is going to make this event something special and we want to be a part of that,” Cox explains.
Ray Cox will try to extend his winning streak at the 46th Annual Snowbird Outlaw Nationals November 30-December 2. Every round of racing will be broadcast live from Bradenton Motorsports Park RIGHT HERE on SpeedVideo.com. This broadcast is brought to you by presenting sponsor Lunati along with, COMP Cams, TCI, Flying A Motorsports, Moroso, Blow-By-Racing, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Royal Purple, Moser Engineering, Firestone, ProCharger, Driven Racing Oil, FAST, Neal Chance Racing Converters, FuelTech, Aeromotive, and Baer Brakes.
Photos Courtesy Of Adriana Noonen