After competing in various NMRA categories, Clair Stewart cruised to G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock at the end of 2016.
It only took one race — the last race of that year — for him to commit to chasing a championship in the very competitive category, and in no time, he was posting mid 10-second passes in his Mustang motivated by a Gen I Coyote engine and five-speed transmission.
Confident he could go even quicker with a new transmission, he replaced his five-speed transmission with a G-Force G101A four-speed transmission, tackled low 10s and took a ninth place finish in points in 2017. Then, with a greater focus on collecting data and using it to dial in, he rocketed to a third place finish in points in 2018.
“The competition in the class is very tough, and we were working toward getting the most out of the Gen I Coyote engine that we could,” said Stewart, who lives in Michigan. “We fell just a little short, and we wanted more, so by the final race of 2018, I had decided to go from my Gen I Coyote engine to a Gen II Coyote engine, and the week after the race, I called Watson Racing and ordered it. It was delivered to Tim Donathen, who installed it over winter at his shop in Indiana.”
In addition to installing the new engine, Donathen rewired the car. The engine was then paired with a new JLT cold air intake before being reunited with the G-Force G101A which Stewart had been using and which he and Paul Long of G-Force recently inspected to ensure everything had held up to the wild wheelies and serious shifting Stewart does in the car which also features a Fidanza clutch. The silver stunner rolled on a recently-freshened Indy Gear 9-inch center section, Stifflers FIT System suspension components, cross member and subframe connectors.
When the work on the car was buttoned up, Stewart delivered it to Watson Racing in Michigan to be tuned on the chassis dyno, and then, after swapping his previous wheels with a set of Race Star Pro Forged wheels wrapped with Mickey Thompson 26X10 stiff sidewall slicks, he loaded the car into his trailer and headed to the 25th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout in February at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
There, with no test passes under his belt, he rowed the gears to a 10.18 to qualify in the second spot in G-Force Racing Coyote Stock, and later, he clocked a 10.24 and collected a runner-up finish against Tim Matherly.
Now, Stewart, whose Mustang flies Watson Racing and Lucas Oil banners, is holding down second place in G-Force Racing Coyote Stock points heading into the 11th Annual Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE, April 4-7 at Atlanta Dragway.
“We’re definitely going after the championship,” said Stewart, whose crew consists of crew chief Eddie Bennett and Tim Donathen. “I think our new Gen II Coyote engine was our missing component last year, and I think we’re well-equipped this year.”
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(Photos courtesy of NMCA and Clair Stewart)