DEARBORN - Lifelong Ford fan Lonnie Wagner grew up in a Blue Oval family whose Florida shop built custom Mustangs. His love has long been working on engines, so that’s likely why he loves his job running the Performance Division at Gary Yeomans Ford in Daytona Beach. It’s also likely why he loves competing in late model dirt racing at nearby Volusia Speedway. To hear how Lonnie traces his track success to two Ford Performance engines, check out his email to us below:
“Hello Ford Performance! My Name is Lonnie Wagner. I am 33 years old and I run the Performance Division here at Gary Yeomans Ford. We have been very successful in Ford Performance parts sales in the eight years since I have been working here. I grew up in my family’s shop in Daytona Beach, Florida, where we restored and built custom Mustangs. So to say I grew up in a Ford family would be an understatement. We had over 30 Mustangs from 1965-1972 at one time!
“Most people my age are not so into these pushrod engines, but growing up working on 429’s, Cleveland’s, and FE engines I know and appreciate them. I enjoy using today’s technology and applying it to pushrod engines. The last small-block I built for my UMP Open-Wheel Modified made 860 horsepower from only a 358 cubic-inch engine! This motor used the Ford Performance D3 heads, D35 intake and R452CG block. My first car was a 1983 Ranger powered by a 302 that we swapped out of one of our circle-track race cars. I’ve owned nothing but Fords my entire life. I just don’t see how anyone could be more qualified to be in the Ford Fan Spotlight than me.
“The photos I am submitting to you are of my Ford-powered 2014 MasterSbilt Dirt Late Model Chassis Mustang I ran last season at Volusia Speedway. In this car we run two different ford engines depending on the track and track conditions. The First engine is the M-6007-D347SR Ford Performance Crate Engine. I have been working with Mike Delahanty and Tom Dettloff of Ford Performance for years with the SR and JR engines.
“I got to see firsthand how successful these engines are right out the crate with my customers at Yeomans Ford, and now get to wheel one for myself on the dirt. This engine is head-and-shoulders above what the competition offers, providing durability and performance that you can’t get anywhere else. On this crate engine we use Hedman Husler Race Hedders that Chris Vandergriff designed specifically for these Ford Performance crate engines. The pulley setup comes from KRC Power Steering and the carb and one-inch carb spacer is from the good people at VDL Fuel Systems. I know from countless hours on the dyno this is the package that will get the most out of your Ford 347 crate engine.
“The second engine I use is a built engine which uses the Ford Performance M-6010-BOSS302 block, M-9424-N302 intake, and M-6049-N351 heads. This engine makes over 650 horsepower at 8,200 rpm. I use a set of Hedman Hustler Race Hedders, plus Jones Racing pulleys, and a BLP Products billet 950-cfm carb. Robbie White at RW Race Engines in Seymour, Tennessee, di d all the machine work. If you want to know what else is in this one, you will have to show up to Volusia Speedway on a Saturday night with your $800 to tear it down.
“I grew up bleeding Ford Blue and have now been working for Ford for years doing what I love. From the Ford people I have met over the years to the Ford products I am using and selling, Ford continues to excel. To the rest I say, avoid disappointment – Go Further with Ford.”
Editor’s Note: One of the most popular features on FordPerformance.com and in our Fast News e-newsletter continues to be "Ford Fan Spotlight," where readers can send in their own reasons why they're fans of Ford Motor Company. You know who they are: Ford "superfans;" grassroots Ford racers; unique Ford vehicle owners; loyal Ford enthusiasts; notable Ford club people; special Ford families; and/or any avid supporter of Ford, Ford vehicles, Ford motorsports or Ford Performance who deserves a little bit of special recognition.
All you need to do to get you, your car or candidate considered is to send in a brief description (200-500 words or less) and a few photos (in .jpeg format, preferably 300 dpi) of a person (full name and hometown, please) and vehicle that you think Ford Performance should feature (and why) in the "Ford Fan Spotlight" for an upcoming installment of Fast News and posting on FordPerformance.com. Then email it to: AskTFR@Ford.com. Should you wish to send a video, you simply need to post it on www.YouTube.com (preferably 1-2 minutes long) and send in the link, along with a brief description, to that same AskTFR@Ford.com email address. We'll choose one submission each week.