JB’s Pro Mod “Power Play”

It would be hard to argue against this not being the most innovative and creative drag car that Canada has hosted in quite some time.   Alberta-based drag racing connoisseur Jim Bell has fans buzzing about his fantastic new turbocharged Ford Mustang… 

During the recent NHRA Amalie Oil Gatornationals in Florida, the season-opening event for NHRA’s Pro Modified class, his car was a rather unexpected entry.  Hailing from a few thousand miles away in Edmonton, Bell who is the driving force behind that area’s hugely successful JB’s Power Centres chain unveiled to NHRA fans for the first time his super slick 2012 Ford Mustang.  With skilled driver (and 2011 Indy winner) Eric Dillard at the controls, the car ran extremely well and ultimately went to the “final four” in it’s very first NHRA national event attempt – impressive by anybody’s standard.

The JB Power Centre Turbo Mustang ran extremely well during it's NHRA national event debut at Gainesville

The JB Power Centre Turbo Mustang ran extremely well during it’s NHRA national event debut at Gainesville – dipping into the 5 secs zone.

But Bell reported that the road to his first NHRA nationals was anything but a smooth one.   The Gainesville race in fact helped to mark the completion of a very major comeback for the team and the car itself.

Jim Bell

Jim Bell

“We actually picked up the car from builder Jerry Bickel back in August 2012,” Jim explained.  “We first made a few laps with it in Edmonton over Labour Day during our Pro Mod race at Castrol Raceway.  Then we took it to Mission Raceway a couple weeks later with Jim Obalek driving – but had some serious problems.  The car got out to about 1000 feet before it exploded in a fireball which took off the front end of the car.  The oil line got cut, the fuel line burst and there was lots of shrapnel.   It was all because of a wiring problem.  The damage was major – we took about a $75G hit.”

After that incident Jim shipped the car to super talented Ryan Hinrichsen’s RH Races (Kelowna BC) for repairs.   Ryan took on that difficult task and in fact turned the car around in about six weeks.  That positive ultimately afforded Jim’s team a final late season 2012 opportunity to enter the West Coast Street Car Nationals finale at Las Vegas.  With Trevor Lowe as driver – the rebuilt car showed great potential running 6.00 secs at over 252 mph.

For 2013, Bell has some interesting plans for his racing and is very optimistic about the future.

“I’m fully aligned with Pro-Line Racing for this year including Steve Petty and Eric Dillard who are the sharpest guys in this business,” Jim continued.  “All of the engine (electronic fuel-injected twin turbo) and drive train is from Pro-Line and the car is based from their facility just north of Atlanta.  I think NHRA has an excellent Pro Mod program coming together again and we are planning on running 4-5 races there.”

Jim also revealed that he is assembling another bigger motor program for the car for 2013 and will race with that at select XDRL 1/8th mile events – entered in the new Pro Turbo category.

Bell also confirmed that he has definitive plans to drive the car himself – but is taking a very calculated approach to that end.

Bell's Mustang features a electronic fuel injected twin turbo engine program from Pro-Line Racing

Bell’s Mustang features a electronic fuel injected twin turbo engine program from Pro-Line Racing

“I’ve always loved fast door cars and Pro Mod and in particular these turbo cars,” he added.  “I’ve been in the car myself about eight times or so and I’m working towards my license.  But I won’t race it until I’m fully ready.  In this class inexperienced driving can result in real trouble.  I want to determine first that I’m fully capable and if not – I will put somebody else in the car and just run the racing operation.”

Jim Bell is truly a “gearhead” who is now living out his ultimate reward following some 46+ years of building his self founded business to rather legendary status in the Edmonton area.

His JB Power Centers are the destination of choice for a majority of motorsports performance enthusiasts in Alberta.  His three retail stores, which are all highly diversified, specialize in traditional performance parts as well has high end car audio applications.   For more information visit:   www.JBsPowerCentre.com


Eric Dillard drove Bell's Mustang to a semi final round finish during the Gatornationals

Eric Dillard drove Bell’s Mustang to a semi final round finish during the Gatornationals

Posting by:  Bruce Biegler

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler & Dave DeAngelis