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1971 Mustang Fuel Coupe - The Nitro Militia

Jordan Pawlick’s ’71 Mustang Fuel Coupe

By , Photography by Jorge Nunez

If you ever thought anything was out of reach, you need to know about Jordan Pawlick. He was thrashing to get a car done, alone, in Fuel racer Jason Rupert's industrial crawlspace in Anaheim, California, with 72 hours before the first round of March Meet qualifying would sound off almost 150 miles to the north in Bakersfield. His car couldn't even be considered a roller. It was a frame on jackstands with an engine and a seat. The rest of the car was spread on a long welding bench, as if dumped from a passing helicopter. It was the second time Jordan told us he would get the car where it needed to be, and on time. We didn't doubt him for a second.

Go back with us to the Hot Rod Reunion in Bako, 2012. Jordan and Shawn Sikora were breathless after securing a chassis and body from the Worsham Racing big-show parts pile. The plan was to add lace, gold leaf, and a nitro Hemi to match race in Canada and attend both the March Meet and the Hot Rod Reunion as legit Nostalgia Funny Car racers. Two years later, on Friday, March 7, 2014, the Nitro Militia AA/FC fired for the first time and ran for 3 minutes in the sacred pits of Famoso Raceway. The car moved on the track for the first time during the third round of qualifying that same Friday with a best e.t. of 6.00 at 248 mph. There was no trust fund behind this effort, no lotto ticket, and when Jordan started this quest, everyone was under 30. It's a story of hard work. Be inspired.

So who is this guy? Jordan started this life as a mechanic's apprentice at Trans Continental Oil Field Industries doing heavy line work on salty tractor trailers from Canada's booming oil industry. Cars find their owners, so it went that Jordan slid out on his creeper to meet Kevin Therres, an alcohol racer with an ailing truck driving from Saskatoon to Edmonton for a match race. Jordan knew what he was doing, and that left an impression on Kevin who later called back and invited Jordan to crew on the race car.

For two and a half years, Jordan spent weekends working on the rotator and valvetrain on the alcohol engine. Kevin then asked if Jordan wanted to license in the car. He did three hits at Saskatoon then Medicine Hat and licensed. Once the hook was set, Kevin asked if he wanted to buy the entire operation. The short answer was yes. That was eight years ago. At 22 years old, Jordan became an Alcohol Funny Car racer.

The car was an '02 Dodge Avenger with Allen Johnson 526 Hemi and a Roots-style supercharger. Jordan spent another two years of his time running match races and national events in the IHRA. He calls the match races "Chicago Style," where four cars run, then the two fastest cars are paired, as are the two slowest. You got paid every time you fired the engine. Jordan was running 6s at 230–240 mph, but he always wanted more.

In racing, you meet people who open doors. Jeff Goodwin and Ryan Protz were running the Synoil Alcohol Funny Car in the NHRA when they called Jordan to come help with the clutch and whatever else could be done. He still had his day job and worked 15 events, flying in and out to attend races. On the side, he helped his dad on a grain farm in Edmonton.

The unstoppable wheel was spinning and Ryan wanted Jordan to test the car at the Super Chevy show at Castrol Raceway. Shortly after, they hired him to drive in Vegas and Pomona in the finals. After three races, he met Jason Rupert, who took over the driver duties to help the team sort the car.

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