Many of us adhere to some form of brand loyalty. While we may appreciate a broad spectrum of cars across multiple brands, sometimes even stretching into Asian and European cars, most of us still have that one brand that we truly prefer.
Anthony Peck, owner of Fast Track Performance in Louisville, KY has no such brand loyalty. You see those seeds of loyalty are often planted in us at a young age. It may be by our dad, an older sibling, grandparent, or even a car in a film. Peck, though, wasn’t necessarily a gear-head from a young age. “I kind of got a late start in the performance thing, I was into car audio,” says Peck.
My friends started bringing me their cars, so I started modifying them too
Peck, in fact, wasn’t swinging wrenches at all until later in his life (from a car guy perspective). His love of car audio had led him to a career as an installer. Putting in everything from simple head unit swaps, to complex car audio systems, he was a master of wiring and sound.
For him the performance bug bit after he bought what he thought was a cool car. An LS powered Pontiac Firebird that he purchased in 2001 as his daily driver. That car became the catalyst that changed the direction of his life forever. The horsepower bug bit, sinking it’s teeth deep, and Peck began modifying the car.
At the same time, Peck’s friends began to take notice that his skills now went beyond stereo wiring, amplifiers, sub woofers, and component speakers. “My friends started bringing me their cars, so I started modifying them too,” he said. Working on cars on the side, Peck developed a reputation as a competent wrench, with a knack for electronics and wiring. Realizing that swinging wrenches, and modding cars could potentially make him more money than simply being a car audio installer, Peck soon landed a job at a local performance shop.
On His Own
The performance industry as many of us know, though, is a tough one. For one reason or another the shop that Peck worked for folded and he found himself out of a job. “I thought they had enough clients and business to keep going, so I opened my own place,” he says, and he brought many of his old customers with him.
With that, Fast Track Performance was born eight years ago. Peck’s operation started out small and humble, but it has recently expanded into an 8,000 square foot shop. He and his crew handle everything from car diagnostics and general repairs, to full on high level, high output cars.
“What we really specialize in is high output daily drivable cars, making anywhere from 450 to over 1,000 HP,” says Peck. It would seem that he has the customers to prove it as well, with notable cars, both import and domestic running the streets of the Louisville Metro area waving the FTP banner, and terrorizing whatever challenges them in the next lane.
Every shop needs a calling card: that signature car that they can point out as an example of the possibilities for potential customers. Shop cars are not only owner toys, but serve as rolling advertisements. What better way to bring a skeptic in the door, than to beat them at the track, and then invite them over so you can make them faster.
Peck’s Firebird had taken him into eight second quarter mile territory, but the lust for speed and power are rarely satisfied; he had the desire to go faster. Satisfied with where that car was he began searching for a lighter chassis that he could mold into the low eight second ride he’d been after.
Fox body Mustangs have a reputation for running hard on a small tire with the proper chassis parts. They’re also a light platform, with plenty of parts and aftermarket support available. Peck found an ’89 Mustang locally that the owner was parting out. The car had been a small tire, stock style suspension, small block turbo car. Fortunately the body, interior, and chassis had yet to be sold. He purchased the car as a roller, and brought it back to FTP.
Peck began transforming the car into the beastly machine it is today. The car already had a light-weight K-member, tubular front suspension with Strange Engineering coil overs, and a solid bushing style rear suspension with San-Tuff shocks. Lightweight Aerospace brakes were also already on the car, further adding to little bonuses of the machine, and it had a roll cage as well. Peck built his own rear anti-roll bar from a Competition Engineering kit, and rather than replace the K-member with another, he adapted the one that was already installed in the car to fit the engine he had in mind.
“We started out with just a stock 5.3L LS engine and a small turbo,” he says. An LS engine setup in a Mustang is nothing new, but Peck’s gets more interesting from there. As projects do, the car began to evolve and change over the next few years into the angry, hateful beast that it is today.
Unleashing the Beast
Snarling from under the hood these days is a 409 cubic inch LS engine, based on a RHS block. The block is topped with a set of Trick Flow heads, and an Edelbrock intake manifold. Stuffing boost down it’s throat is a 106mm turbo from Precision. Fuel supply to the fire hose sized injectors comes from a Magma fuel pump, which supplies the engine with a steady diet of E85 from the local pump.
The air to air intercooler hangs out from the front of the car beckoning to would be challengers. Peck stuck with an air to air intercooler, noting that the car might make more power with an air to water, as many others running these power levels do. However he’s presently comfortable with this configuration and prefers it for his street car.
When running horsepower at this level, most tuners will often switch to an aftermarket system of engine management. Peck has stuck with HP Tuners software, and a stock LS engine computer. “Part of that could be because of my background in wiring and electronics, I’ve figured out how to keep everything happy at this level,” he says.
I would just as easily put in a Ford DOHC engine, or a 2JZ-GTE engine, any of them would make good power
The entire combination is good for 1200 HP at the rear tires, something Peck is happy to verify on his in house chassis dyno.
When asked about why an LS engine, Peck simply replies that it was what he had available to put in the car at the time, “I would just as easily put in a Ford DOHC engine, or a 2JZ-GTE engine, any of them would make good power,” he said. So the LS was simply a matter of conveniences, not necessarily a matter of making a statement about one brand or another.
Power is sent to the tires via a PTC powerglide transmission, and nine inch rear differential. The car weights in at 3280 lbs. Peck runs the Mickey Thompson ET Street 275x60x15 rear tires on Weld Racing Race Star rims.
Still completely streetable, it’s not uncommon to find Peck and the Mustang out for a cruise around Louisville, KY, or taking in the scene at a local hangout. Where this car really shines though is on the track.
Peck won the Holley LS-Fest True Street class this past year with his Mustang. Running low 8.20’s with tire spin on the starting line. The car shows numbers that would support a very low eight or possibly high seven second run if everything went perfectly. Still, consistent low 8’s is something few actual street going cars can say they’re capable of. Peck seems to be pretty happy with the car for now, though he’ll no doubt be trying to eclipse the seven second barrier next. We’ll be watching for more capable machines to come out of the FTP shop under the careful guidance of Anthony Peck. As we find the unique and wild ones, we’ll be sure to bring those to you.