First, we found a local track and hit up its website for some rules. For us, this meant we had plenty of great Florida tracks to choose from, but we ultimately based our car around Desoto Super Speedway's rulebook for Mini Stock, which is not unlike many around the country. Billed as a class for "Cars only, 1971 or newer, compact or subcompact with factory steel top and body. Passenger cars or station wagons only. Front or rear wheel drive. No sports cars, vans or pickups." That certainly leaves it wide open, which is great for competition, variety, and most of all, ease of entry.

We chose to run a Mustang for several reasons, although many other cars would also be great in a class similar to this. First and foremost, the Mustang is a popular car, which means parts are plentiful and information is abundant. Getting replacement panels or engine parts will be simple and many aftermarket companies already support the chassis, which means less fabrication and less cost.

The Mustang also has a great engine, which fits perfectly in Mini Stock. Restricted to 2.3-liters (2,300 cc's) with an 0.060-inch overbore and 0.010-inch allowance for wear, the Ford powerplant comes in right on the limit of displacement, which puts it at a power advantage over smaller motors. The 2.3 is also known worldwide for its strength and reliability, which means we can hopefully race all season without needing to rebuild or replace our motor, further reducing our operating costs and increasing our chances of racking up some good points.

The Mustang chassis is also reasonably lightweight, and since the rules don't allow for any cutting of the interior metal, we need to start with as light of a chassis as possible to stay competitive.

Lastly, the Mustang is also something Epple is familiar with, which will allow us to rely on his skills and knowledge early on, hopefully getting us to the front of the pack faster than usual. If you're going to follow along at home, I advise you to pick a car with similar attributes and, just as importantly, one you are comfortable working around.

Other than car-specific issues, Mini Stock runs a fairly open rule book, with Desoto Super Speedway's rules printing out on just four pages, two of which are the introduction and the new rule changes for the current year.

The body of our car must remain stock, with no modification of any kind, except for the addition of an aftermarket, but factory appearing nose. We will have to remove the usual parts, like the glass, lights, and moldings but will not be able to add a wing or splitter.

The suspension must remain mounted in the factory locations and aftermarket shocks are allowed, but they can't be air or coilover, which reduces the cost for everyone in the class. Wheels will be 8 inches wide and Desoto Speedway requires a specific tire, which keeps everyone on an even playing field.

The drivetrain rules are as restrictive as the rest, with the only rearend modifications being a new ring-and-pinion. Our Mustang came with a non-functioning automatic transmission, but we will be removing that to install a factory correct five-speed manual. Other than that, the rules are as closed or open as you read them to be, which makes this a perfect class for a couple of beginners like us.

Anyway, enough about the rules, let's get started on the good stuff! Clearly, Epple and I have plenty of work ahead of us, and time is not on our side. By the time you read this, we should be deep into our rollcage and safety install and the Mustang will be shedding some serious pounds. If you're interested in seeing this project's progress, check out the rest of our journey in these pictures and make sure you tune in next issue for the next installment of the City Boy build. For me, I'm off to work on my Victory Lane dance and to practice turning left...hopefully our next outing to the track won't end like my last, although we make no guarantees!