John Hedenberg
February 2, 2004
Contributers: John Hedenburg

Last month, we focused on the First-Gen, 351-powered, normally aspirated Lightnings and saw some high 10-second performances in the process. Now, in part two, we'll shift our attention towards the factory-supercharged 5.4-propelled SVT monsters.

We invited 11 trucks to our 2003 gathering, including hitters and past attendees Johnny Lightning of Johnny Lightning Performance, Jim D'Amore of JDM Engineering and Sal Mennella of Power Surge Performance. Unfortunately, Mennella broke his red '01 SVT cruiser and could not attend, but the rest of the Lightning contingent put up a fight that would make Don King jealous.

Joseph Jones of JJ's SVT Performance in Eldersburg, Maryland, was a first-time competitor, but exited the rods from his stock block and could not make more than one run. Two of his customers, Nuno Gomes and Michael Klopp, did put on an incredible display of what stock-block Lightnings can handle and Jones even ran in the 11.40s with his white '01 until the breakage set in.

Charlie Stanley, a paving contractor out of Churchville, Maryland, and a die-hard Johnny Lightning client, was on hand this year, but was experiencing problems and could run no quicker than 11.50. As luck would have it, Stanley found his gremlins immediately following our shootout and blasted to a 10.52 at 126.39 mph, making his one of the quickest Lightnings in existence.

Joseph Jones of JJ's SVT Performance in Eldersburg, Maryland, was on hand with his striking stock block '01 Lightning but had engine problems, which retired him from competition early.

Bryan and Bill Sorby of NMRA Super Street Outlaw fame came out to play with their silver '01 Lightning commuter and had an absolute ball by running in the mid 12-second zone--a far cry from their 7.9-second SSO ride, but pleasing nonetheless.

All but two of our competitors were sporting Kenne Bell twin-screw superchargers on top of their cammers, further convincing us that screw blowers are the way to go in the quest for serious horsepower. When the dust settled, we saw a ton of 10-second passes and enough lightning to make us run for immediate cover.

 

 

 

FIRST PLACE
Johnny "Lightning" Wiker
Johnny Wiker had participated in our past shootouts with terrific results. Last year, he carded a third-place finish with a 10.911 at 121.99 mph, but this time he came loaded for bear with some lightweight front end components from Anthony Jones Engineering and a rebuilt transmission, which was damaged just days before our party.

Thanks in part to an all-night thrash by Pat Barrett of Level 10 Transmissions in Hamburg, New Jersey, Wiker was able to get to our bash with barely enough sleep to propel his ride to the finish line. With a brand new tranny and converter, Wiker stole the glory from the rest of the contingent with the quickest pass of the day, a stellar 10.683 at 126.25 mph. Just days after our shootout Wiker bettered that time with an even quicker 10.44 at 129 mph.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Johnny Wiker, a.k.a. Johnny Lightning
Hometown: New Providence, Pennsylvania
Driver: Johnny Lightning
Year/Model: '01 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,300 pounds
Engine: 355ci Johnny Lightning Performance
Built by: Johnny Lightning Performance
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Stock with Johnny Lightning Performance Super Cooler and heat exchanger
Maximum boost: 22 pounds
Intake manifold: SLP
Cylinder heads: Johnny Lightning Performance Stage 5
Compression ratio: 8.9:1
Camshafts: Johnny Lightning Performance Stage 5 cams
Ignition: Stock with Kenne Bell Boost-A-Spark
Exhaust: Johnny Lightning Performance headers, Bassani X-pipe and mufflers
Transmission: Level 10 Torque Master
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.55:1 gears
Wheels (F/R): Bogart 15x4 1/2, 15x10
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30x10 slicks
Suspension front: Anthony Jones Engineering frontend with coilover springs, Aerospace brakes
Suspension rear: Johnny Lightning Performance lift bars, QA1 shocks, fiberglass leaf springs
Best e.t./mph: 10.683/127.75

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.11.048125.94
2.10.821127.75
3.11.126125.90
4.10.683126.25

SECOND PLACE
Kevin White
Wrapping up the day in the runner-up position at our shootout was the JDM Engineering-constructed black '01 Lightning of Baltimore's Kevin White. The JDM crew finished tuning the truck moments before our shootout and, due to White's lack of experience behind the wheel, JDM owner Jim D'Amore and lead tech Shaun Lacko handled the driving chores.

The first attempt from the Kenne Bell-equipped SVT saw an 11.50 at only 92 mph but after some careful planning and pit tuning a 10.791 at 125.22 mph was the end result. The following week (after our shootout was completed) White slipped behind the controls of the black beast and laid down a stellar 10.69 at 126.52 mph during the JDM Engineering Lightning Day at E-town. It was his first full pass with the power turned up and, obviously, a very good one.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Kevin White
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Driver: Shaun Lacko/Jim D'Amore of JDM Engineering
Year/Model: '01 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,686 pounds
Engine: 330ci JDM Engineering
Built by: JDM Engineering
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Stock
Maximum boost: 20 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder heads: Ported by JDM Engineering
Compression ratio: 8.4:1
Camshafts: Crower JDM Engineering grinds
Ignition: Stock
Exhaust: Custom JDM Engineering
Transmission: Stock built by Brian's Truck Shop
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Bogart
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Stock
Suspension rear: Stock with JDM Engineering traction bars
Best e.t./mph: 10.791/125.32

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.11.50092.79
2.10.791125.22
3.10.822125.32

THIRD PLACE
Bill Jaynes
Another hot runner out of the JDM stable is Bill Jaynes. The terminal operator had the Jersey shop hook up his '00 Lightning with a bulletproof 330ci short-block, which was good for two solid 10-second passes (a 10.97 and a 10.86, both over 123 mph) and an 11.00 at 123.67 mph.

Jaynes' truck was one of the heaviest (at just over 4,700 pounds), but the performance showed serious power with rocket-like launches and consistent, powerful top-end charges. Jaynes told us he loved the idea that the Lightning is the quickest production truck and he did some of the engine work himself before eventually turning it over to JDM.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Bill Jaynes
Hometown: Scarborough, Maine
Driver: Bill Jaynes
Year/Model: '00 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,720 pounds
Engine: 330ci JDM Engineering
Built by: JDM Engineering
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Stock
Maximum boost: 20 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder heads: Ported by JDM Engineering
Compression ratio: 8.4:1
Camshaft(s): JDM Engineering custom grinds
Ignition: Stock
Exhaust: JDM Engineering
Transmission: Stock built by Brian's Truck Shop
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Bogart
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Stock
Suspension rear: Stock with JDM Engineering traction bars
Best e.t./mph: 10.862/123.75

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.10.974123.75
2.10.862123.61
3.11.008123.67

FOURTH PLACE
Stephen LaPalme
Electrical Engineer Stephen LaPalme split the driving chores with JDM's Shaun Lacko and the two of them rounded out the day with a fourth-place finish and a 10.879 at 123.04-mph best. The Kenne Bell-boosted SVT made a pair of low 11-second blasts and dipped into the 10s with the 87 mentioned above and a 10.965 at 122.29-mph shot rounding out the day.

The black '02 Lightning was equipped with a host of JDM Engineering components and was sporting a JDM-constructed, 330ci bullet with custom heads and a set of JDM rifle drilled camshafts, which LaPalme said were the first ones available through JDM.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Stephen LaPalme
Hometown: Kennebunk, Maine
Driver: Shaun Lacko/ Stephen LaPalme
Year/Model: '02 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,710 pounds
Engine: 330ci by JDM Engineering
Built by: JDM Engineering
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Stock
Maximum boost: 20 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder heads: Ported by JDM Engineering
Compression ratio: 8.4:1
Camshafts: JDM Engineering rifle-drilled grinds
Ignition: Stock
Exhaust: JDM Engineering
Transmission: Stock built by Brian's Truck Shop
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Bogart
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Stock
Suspension rear: Stock with JDM Engineering traction bars
Best e.t./mph: 10.879/123.15

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.11.098122.73
2.10.965122.29
3.10.879123.04
4.11.126123.15

FIFTH PLACE
Donald Cobin
Donald Cobin, the fourth JDM Engineering participant at our shootout, tried desperately to generate his first-ever 10-second timeslip, but after three attempts, his 11.023 at 124.82 mph was the best he could muster.

Cobin had his silver '01 Lightning painted just weeks before our shootout and was hoping to blast off some of it on his way to a 10-second hit. Regardless, with three solid low 11-second showings, Cobin made the best with what he had and gave everyone an enjoyable show with hard launches and smokey burnouts. One thing that did make Cobin smile was that the 11.02 was his best time ever.

He also mentioned that his front springs were way too stiff and were hampering the smoothness of the launches and the weight transfer off the line.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Donald Cobin
Hometown: Waltham, Massachusetts
Driver: Donald Cobin
Year/Model: '01 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,675 pounds
Engine: 330ci JDM Engineering
Built by: JDM Engineering
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Fluidyne unit modified by JDM Engineering
Maximum boost/nitrous qty.: 20 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder heads: Ported by JDM Engineering
Compression ratio: 8.4:1
Camshafts: Crower JDM Engineering grinds
Ignition: Stock
Exhaust: JDM Engineering long-tube headers, Magnaflow mufflers
Transmission: Stock rebuilt by Greg Evans
Converter/clutch: 2,400-stall Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Weld front, Bogart rear
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Hotchkis springs, QA1 shocks
Suspension rear: JDM Engineering traction bars
Best e.t./mph: 11.023/124.82

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.11.023124.82
2.11.147120.84
3.11.119122.62

SIXTH PLACE
Bob Walker
Bob Walker was another mid 11-second player who eventually pushed his black '01 Lightning to an 11.392 at 116.18-mph best. The retired racer relied on a host of tuning assistance from Johnny Lightning Performance, including a set of JLP Stage 3 heads, and spun his Kenne Bell supercharger to 22 pounds of pavement-pounding boost.

Like some of the other contestants, Walker took advantage of the cooler weather found on the East Coast the following week and dipped into the 10-second range at a test and tune event at Atco Raceway in Atco, New Jersey, running a stunning 10.941 at 121.00 mph.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Bob Walker
Hometown: Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania
Driver: Bob Walker
Year/Model: '01 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,620 pounds
Engine: 330ci Johnny Lightning Performance
Built by: Johnny Lightning Performance
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Stock
Maximum boost/nitrous qty.: 22 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder heads: Stage 3 by Johnny Lightning Performance
Compression ratio: 8.3:1
Camshafts: High Performance Ford Lightning cams
Ignition: Stock with Kenne Bell Boost-A-Spark
Exhaust: Bassani cat-back
Transmission: Level 10
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Bogart
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Stock
Suspension rear: Fiberglass leaf springs, QA1 shocks, Johnny Lightning Performance lift bars
Best e.t./mph: 11.392/116.18

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.11.697116.14
2.11.818109.24
3.11.392 116.18

SEVENTH PLACE
Charlie Stanley
Paving contractor Charlie Stanley was running out of the Johnny Lightning Performance stable and was packing serious horsepower from under his hood. However, Stanley was battling his truck tooth and nail and could only muster a best time of 11.501 at a shutoff 92.79 mph.

The '99 SVT shares most of the same hardware as Johnny Lightning's personal truck and was displaying its potential in the water with massive burnouts. For whatever the reason, Stanley's truck was suffering from a chronic case of the flu and was hampered in the mid-11s on our test day.

For the record, Stanley claimed to have found his gremlins the following week during a test session and pushed his Kenne Bell-equipped Lightning to an insane 10.52 at 126.39 mph. If only he could have found them a few days earlier.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Charlie Stanley
Hometown: Churchville, Maryland
Driver: Charlie Stanley
Year/Model: '99 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,301 pounds
Engine: 334ci by Johnny Lightning Performance
Built by: Johnny Lightning Performance
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: Stock
Maximum boost: 23 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder head(s): Ported by Johnny Lightning Performance
Compression ratio: 8.3:1
Camshaft(s): Johnny Lightning Performance grinds
Ignition: Stock with Kenne Bell Boost-A-Spark
Exhaust: Johnny Lightning Performance headers, Bassani cat-back
Transmission: Stock (rebuilt by Greg Evans)
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Bogart
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Stock
Suspension rear: Fiberglass leaf springs, QA1 shocks, Johnny Lightning Performance lift bars
Best e.t./mph: 11.501/92.79

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.13.67767.38
2.11.50192.79
3.12.66368.01

EIGHTH PLACE
Nuno Gomes
Nuno Gomes and his red '99 and the ninth-place finisher, Micheal Klopp, both were representing the JJ's Performance clan and made fine showings in the process.

Gomes' SVT is virtually stock as far as engine components are concerned, but does use a Kenne Bell twin-screw supercharger, allowing it to generate mid 11-second passes with ease. With a powerful leap from the E-town starting line pad, Gomes blistered to a best time of 11.512 at 117.58 mph.

When asked about why he decided to purchase and race a Lightning, Gomes said that he always loved the way Lightnings looked and performed and loved the sports car feel in the truck skin.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Nuno Gomes
Hometown: Germantown, Maryland
Driver: Nuno Gomes
Year/Model: '99 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,620 pounds
Engine: Stock
Built by: Stock
Power adder: Kenne Bell twin-screw
Intercooler: JDM Engineering
Maximum boost: 15 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock with Cobra throttle body
Cylinder heads: Stock
Compression ratio: 8.4:1
Camshafts: Stock
Ignition: Stock
Exhaust: JDM Engineering headers, Bassani cat-back system
Transmission: Stock
Converter/clutch: Precision Industries
Rear type: Stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels: Sportrux 20-inch front, American Racing 16-inch rear
Tires F/R: Goodyear, Hoosier slicks
Suspension front: Stock with Eibach springs
Suspension rear: Stock
Best e.t./mph: 11.512/117.58

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.11.512117.58
2.11.957115.41
3.11.866114.01

NINTH PLACE Michael Klopp
Michael Klopp, an employee for the U.S. government, carded a best time of 12.019 at 110.12 mph with his white '01. The truck has just basic bolt-on components, and narrowly missed running in the 11s. Klopp, like Gomes, gets tuning assistance from JJ's Performance and uses a chip burned from Johnny Lightning.

He ran the factory Eaton supercharger at our event, but has since made the swap over to the Kenne Bell twin-screw puffer. Klopp told us that at a closed test session at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland, he found his 11 with a stunning 11.43 at 119.47 mph.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Michael Klopp
Hometown: Dayton, Maryland
Driver: Michael Klopp
Year/Model: '01 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,930 pounds
Engine: Stock
Built by: Stock
Power adder: Stock Eaton
Intercooler: stock
Maximum boost: 17 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock with Extrude Hone porting
Cylinder heads: Stock
Compression ratio: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Ignition: Plasma Booster
Exhaust: Kooks long-tube headers, Magnaflow converters
Transmission: Stock with Factory Tech valvebody
Converter/clutch: Factory Tech Billet
Rear type: stock with 3.73:1 gears
Wheels:
Tires F/R: Hoosier 30-inch
Suspension front: Ruslow front springs
Suspension rear: JJ's SVT traction bars
Best e.t./mph: 12.019/110.21

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.12.424110.21
2.12.019110.12
3.12.226109.36
4.12.075110.15

TENTH PLACE
Bill and Bryan Sorby
Rounding out the '03 Lightning shootout was an extremely familiar face from the heads up the Mustang crowd, Bryan Sorby, who was the man behind the controls of brother Bill's silver '01. Looking to have a little fun, the Sorby brothers were intrigued by the performance potential of the supercharged SVT pickups and wound up picking up one to play with when the SSO car is taking a break.

Surprisingly, the Sorby Lightning is mostly stock save for a JDM Engineering ram air kit, a 2-pound blower pulley and Nitto 555R drag radials. Still, the truck pulled off two 12.6-second laps and finished off the day with a 12.537 at 108.99 mph.

The 12.53 run was the result of a small hit of nitrous, which was installed in the pits and activated at the top of high gear only. With more nitrous and/or performance parts, the Sorbys planned to be in the 11s by the time the '03 racing season concludes.

STRIP SPECS
Owner: Bill Sorby
Hometown: Briarcliff, New York
Driver: Bryan Sorby
Year/Model: '01 Lightning
Weight w/driver: 4,702 pounds
Engine: Stock
Built by: Stock
Power adders: Stock Eaton with 2-pound pulley, nitrous oxide
Intercooler: Stock
Maximum boost: 14 pounds
Intake manifold: Stock
Cylinder heads: Stock
Compression ratio: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Ignition: Stock
Exhaust: Stock
Transmission: Stock with line modifications
Converter/clutch: Stock
Rear type: Stock with 4.10:1 gears
Wheels: Stock
Tires F/R: Stock front, Nitto 555R Drag Radials rear
Suspension front: Stock
Suspension rear: Stock
Best e.t./mph: 12.537/108.99

STRIP LOG
Run#E.T.MPH
1.12.697107.01
2.12.684106.78
3.12.537108.99

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