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It has been over a year since Darryl Stephen had piloted his beautifully presented CC Royal/Atlantic Oils Mustang, but he will be making his Pro Stock presence felt when he returns this weekend at the Riverbend Nationals as part of the NDRC Australian Pro Stock Championship.

The team have had limited track time since the debut of the Pro Stock Mustang in 2020, however they have still been working hard to gain ground with the new driver and car combination every time it has the track.

“My goal is to bring the car home in one piece as I keep collecting more runs under my belt,” said Stephen.

Pro Stock will be competing at Dragway At The Bend for the first time and with plenty of track time on offer it creates a perfect opportunity for the team to race the Mustang and gain more laps and experience going into the remainder of the 2024 season.

Stephen serious about the development of his racing program has acquired the services of American Pro Stock Crew Chief Joe Schott to call the shots this weekend. Schott, owns his own chassis shop, Schott Racecraft and has worked with Pro Stock drivers in America like Larry Morgan, JR Carr, Frank Gugliotta and Team Elite.

Leading into the event Schott has been busy striping the Mustang back for full overall and check-up, to have it ready to rock this weekend.

“The Mustang is ready to roll for this weekend, we have been working overtime on the car to get it ready,” said Stephen. “I can’t thank Joe Schott and Danny Bardell enough for all their hard work over the last week, it has been a real mission, but we got there, I also need to thank Peter Mammone for helping us out with some things we needed.”

Though the Mustang has not been on track, Stephen has still been in the driver’s seat keeping the reactions sharp in his other sportsman cars across a range of classes after purchasing a Ford Telstar to sit alongside his sportsman championship winning Ford Probe.

“I chose to spend the last year getting the Telstar finished,” said Stephen. “I decided to step back from Pro Stock and go and do some sportsman racing, we recently finished building the Telstar, so we decided to take that out and get it sorted, which we did, and managed to win the last NDRC Super Gas race at Portland.”

The transition from Super Gas to Pro Stock has been a steep learning curve for Stephen, having raced automatic cars throughout his career to now having to change his routine for his manually shifted Mustang.

“I have driven a bunch of sportsman cars and all of them have had automatic gearboxes in them so the thing I am finding a little difficult in the Mustang is hitting the right shift points,” he said. “I tend to short shift from first to second. I am also a little bit shy revving it up.”

The high revving small blocks are constantly on the limit throughout the run and any mistake inside the cockpit will lose vital time on the track which will be reflected in the ET. Although Stephen is confident in the car’s ability to be competitive in the tight 12 car field this weekend.

“If the driver can cut a light and hit the shift points there is absolutely no reason why the Mustang cannot run up there with the big guys.” Stephen added.

Darryl Stephen also wishes to thank supporters; CC Royal Vending Equipment, Schott Racecraft, Motorsport Connections, Atlantic Oil, MPS, Polito’s Automotive, PMHV Truck Repairs, and of course all the fans who support the team. Also if you are at the track this weekend Darryl Stephen Racing will have some cool looking merchandise available as well.

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