March 16, 2017 3:16 p.m.

In horse racing, any horse or rider who hasn’t yet won a race is referred to as a maiden. To take that first career victory is to break maiden status. Just as in auto racing, such an accomplishment is a game changer. Suddenly, the odds shift and everyone else is gunning for you.

At the conclusion of the 2008 NASA Championships, Paul Faessler found himself with a big ol’ bull’s-eye on his back. Paul had just taken his first championship in the American Iron Extreme series, fending off previous champions Ernesto Roco and Chris Griswold for the coveted title.

The oddsmakers must have had a difficult time coming up with the figures prior to the race, too, as Paul’s steed is fairly unconventional—even by AIX standards. Where most competitors in the class campaign late-model pony cars, Paul has gone old-school and runs a 1965 Mustang. Even the powerplant is a little unusual, as its 410-cubic-inch engine is fed by a turbocharger found where the back seat used to reside.

NASA’s American Iron Extreme series gives domestic pony cars a place to run free. There are few restrictions in the class, so fat tires, insane power levels and very low curb weights are the rule. At the 2008 NASA Championships, the top three AIX cars turned fast laps about a second and a half off of the times turned by a full-whomp Daytona Prototype.

It’s easy to attribute the low lap times of an AIX car to these power and mass factors, but don’t forget the human element: It takes a brave and talented driver to wing such a high-performance contraption around a track at its very extreme limits of adhesion. As the lead designer and fabricator on this classic Mustang, Paul has demonstrated that he’s savvy in the conceptual, wrenching and driving departments.

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Campbelljj
Campbelljj New Reader
March 22, 2017 4:40 a.m.

Bad ass

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