July 21, 2004

Step By Step

0409mm_01z Ford_Mustang Drivers_Side_View_At_Track
Robert Hindman (near lane) makes it three wins in a row after defeating Charlie McCulloch in the Mod Madness final. This is Hindman's ninth Mod Motor class victory.
0409mm_02z 2002_Ford_Mustang_GT Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Chip Havemann took top honors in ProCharger Street Outlaw after beating veteran-racer Billy Glidden in the money round.
0409mm_03z 1995_Ford_Cobra Front_Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Matt Jones (near lane) qualified his Street Bandit in the 8.60s, but was unable to hold off Kenny Compton and his Glidden-powered LX entry.
0409mm_04z 2002_Ford_Mustang Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Kevin Marsh and Chuck Samuel were unstoppable in Houston. They qualified on the pole with a 6.52 and finished the job by beating Joe DaSilva in the Mr. Gasket Pro final (6.48 to 6.55).
He picked up an extra three grand from Downs Ford Motorsport for qualifying first and winning the race.
0409mm_06z Ford_Lightning Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
There was a strong Lightning contingent in Houston, with 26 trucks competing in the JDM Engineering-sponsored Tough Truck category.
0409mm_07z 1994_Ford_Mustang Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Darrell Peterson of Florida was uncontested in Probe Industries Street Warrior. Peterson had his GT flying high and running in the low 10s.
0409mm_08z 1990_Ford_Mustang_GT Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Billy Glidden rocked the house qualifying on the Outlaw pole with a 7.03 at 194 mph.
0409mm_09z 1988_Ford_Mustang Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
D.J. Loiacano (near lane) proved victorious in ProCharger Street Renegade beating Manny Geno in the final.
0409mm_10z Ford_Mustang Passenger_Side_View_At_Track
Richard Lelsz (far lane) debuted his new yellow screamer in Street Bandit and ran as quick as 8.82 at 152. Unfortunately, he was matched against Kenny Compton in round one and Compton ran a strong 8.71 ending Lelsz day.
Havemann beat the Outlaw field at his home track. He was joined in the winner's circle by his parents, his wife and son, Micro Chip.

With the growing level of competition in the world of Mustang racing, achieving dominance is not easy. Many racers have clawed their way to the top, but few have been able to maintain champion status from year to year. That's why the performances of Dwayne "Big Daddy" Gutridge and Robert Hindman were so impressive at the 14th Annual O'Reilly Texas Thunder Fun Ford Weekend held in May at Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas.

Big Daddy, who competes in BFG Drag Radial, took the Houston honors in dominating fashion, but more impressively, he extended his winning streak to 12 races (counting only points-earning events). His winning ways date back to Atlanta 2003, where he lost the Orlando 2003 make-up race due to a faulty transmission. Since then, Big has qualified number one at every FFW points meet and in Houston he set the class record at 8.20/175.84 mph.

Meanwhile, Robert Hindman, a two-time Mod Motor season champion (2001-02), and nine-time event winner, has also been flat-out dominant in 2004, winning in each of the first three FFW events. "I've had some good luck this year. The class is tough and people are really starting to kill the Tree and make their cars more consistent," stated Hindman. "My new car is the ex-Watson Engineering Mustang and we use a 14x32x15-inch tire and that helps a lot. I can have 10 passes within two thousandths," he stated. Hindman's Cobra is powered by a four-valve Modular engine that uses a C&L meter, and is backed by a Dynamic C4 and a TCT converter. Hindman also uses plenty of UPR products. He has a commanding points lead and has put himself in a strong position to win a third championship.

But Gutridge, Hindman and the rest of the racers in Houston almost didn't get the chance to race. Saturday's action was washed out by a terrific storm that lasted the day and threatened on Sunday, but thankfully the clouds rolled gracefully out of town in time for racing to begin.

Once the sky cleared, the FFW staff hustled and was able to get two days of racing crammed into one. This included Tremec/MM&FF True Street, the Roush-sponsored bracket classe, plus heads-up qualifying and eliminations.

The Texas contingent took full advantage of the one nice day and racing kicked off early with bracket time trials and heads-up qualifying, meanwhile, the show area filled up and the True Street cars rolled out for the 30-mile tour.

Despite losing Saturday, the shootout racers dialed in quickly and there were some amazing runs. And after the single shot on Sunday morning, the talk of the town was Billy Glidden who stormed to the ProCharger Street Outlaw pole with a class-best of 7.03 at 194 mph. Other top qualifiers were Chuck Samuel in Mr. Gasket Pro (6.52/216 mph), D.J. Loiacano in ProCharger Renegade (8.45/172 mph), Rod Houck in Edelbrock Street Bandit (8.68), Dwayne Gutridge in BFG Drag Radial (8.30/174 mph), Darrell Peterson in Probe Street Warrior (10.15/117 mph), (Greg Flatt in Steeda/SHM Mod Motor (10.08/133 mph), Jim D'Amore in JDM Tough Truck (11.00/120 mph), Tony Whetston in Superchips Street Stang (12.78/106 mph) and Aaron Royston in Vortech Focus Frenzy (14.03/100 mph).

As is often the case, the racing was tight and there were a few upsets. By the end of the day the FFW officials crowned 13 champions. Of them, crowd-favorite (and Texan) Chip Havemann took his second-ever ProCharger Street Outlaw victory, defeating the always tough Glidden. Havemann worked hard on his turbo-pumped GT all weekend and in the final he left first and ran a 7.56/183 mph run to hold off Glidden's 7.94 at 157.

"It was a great win," stated the elated Havemann. "We put some timing in (the engine) and worked on the suspension. In the final I got out on him, and by 60 feet I could see the nose of his car. Then it disappeared and I figured either I red-lighted or he broke." In just over 7 seconds Havemann crossed the stripe, made the turn off and Chuck Samuel, who had already won in Pro, was extending a "thumbs-up" and Havemann knew he won the race. "I was like, 'No way, I just beat Billy Glidden,' " he added.


True Street Houston
Though a nasty storm prevented the True Street competitors from taking to the road and track on Saturday, over 90 hardcore enthusiasts came back and ripped it up on Sunday Morning. Houston is one of MM&FF's favorite stops and one reason is the huge participation in True Street. The Texas Mustang owners really like to hit the highway and the track and it's not unusual to see over 100 cars whenever we go to the Lone Star state.

The FFW staff went into overdrive and got the 90-plus cars inspected and lined up for the 30-mile road cruise that must be completed before anyone can take to the track. The road tour followed a path around Baytown and all the cars completed the road portion of the event without incident.

Once back at the track, competitors were allotted the 30-minute cooldown period before being led down the return road and to the awaiting track.

Aside from making the 30-mile cruise, True Street competitors must make three back-to-back-to-back passes with little cooldown time and no tuning, other than changing tire pressure. Scoring well requires a strong car that's tuned to run with a hot engine, and no one in Houston did it better than Newland, NC's Owen Spry, who wheeled his bright orange LX to an average of 9.73 to capture the win. If you know the name Spry it's because Owen is a staple on the FFW tour, but he's usually seen driving his much-slower Focus in the Focus Frenzy class.

Spry laid down three consistent runs of 9.856, 9.721 and 9.627. He was followed closely by Doug Sweney, who averaged 9.88, and Brian Warwas who came in with a 10.40 average. We also liked the simple, yet attractive GTS of Frank Perez so we gave him the Editor's Choice award. Perez red GTS packed a naturally aspirated small-block and he finished with an average of 13.30.--E.J.S.


Fun Ford Weekend Houston Box Scores
Mr. Gasket Pro
W Chuck SamuelKingston, IL'02 Mustang 6.48/218
R/U Joe DaSilvaWest Hill, MI'98 GT 6.55/216
ProCharger Street Outlaw
W Chip HavemannSan Antiono, TX'02 GT 7.56/183
R/U Billy GliddenWhiteland, IN'90 GT 7.94/157
ProCharger Street Renegade
W D.J. LoiacanoPraireville, LA'88 Mustang 8.58/169
R/U Manny GenoBoonesville, MS'90 LX 12.35/72
Edelbrock Street Bandit
W Ken ComptonCanton, MI'91 LX 8.77/153
R/U Matt JonesAustin, TX'95 Cobra 8.74/155
Probe Street Warrior
W Darrell Peterson '94 Mustang18.98/{{{62}}}
BFGoodrich Drag Radial
W Dwayne GutridgeToms River, NJ'89 LX 8.64/174
R/U Manny AlverezCarrolton, TX'99 Cobra 10.88/118
Steeda/SHM Mod Motor
W Robert HindmanKnoxville, TN'98 Cobra 11.03/117
R/U Charlie McCullochKennesaw, GAn/a 12.84/101
JDM Engineering Tough Truck
W BarnyardHouston, TX'01 Lightning 12.37/106
R/U Ron DurhamPlano, TX'03 Lightning 12.19/98
Superchips Street Stang
W Tony WhetstonTallahasse, FL'02 GT 13.22
R/U Larry DzozdComfort, TX'03 GT 13.54/103
Vortech Focus Frenzy
W Aaron RoystonDenton, TX'00 Focus 13.{{{80}}}/97
R/U Owen SpryNewland, NC'01 Focus 14.55/79
Roush Fast Ford
W Daryl PattonHighlands, TX'70 Ford 9.89/151
R/U Randy TriceHumble, TX'79 {{{Capri}}} 9.74/134
Roush Quick Ford
W Andy WarwasHouston, TX'94 {{{Ranger}}} 13.14/99
R/U Steve JonesBeaumont, TX'84 Mustang 10.96/117
Roush Street Ford
W Tiffany SpainPasadena, TX'93 {{{Lincoln}}} 14.88
R/U Stephen CornettTexas City, TX'01 GT 13.72/100
Houston True Street Top 25
NameAverage E.T.
1. Owen Spry9.735
2. Doug Sweemeu9.888
2. Brian Warwas10.{{{405}}}*
4. Michael Caballeso10.621
5. Bryan Bronly10.725
6. Josh Blevins10.879
7. R.W. Reppond11.013**
8. Carl Smith11.097
9. Raul Aranda11.{{{164}}}
10. Mike Clark11.214
11. Mike Harris11.433
12. David Polverari11.568
13. Fred Bingham11.765
14. Garth Sanich11.961
15. John Smith12.005***
16. Herbert Blouin12.051
17. A.J. Harlan12.065
18. Lance Lavergne12.165
19. David Barley12.251
20. Jason Saltzman12.360
21. Jack Kutzer12.426
22. Jason Shaw12.474
23. Jason Roberts12.697
24. Jimmie Longino12.734
25. Frank D'Angelo12.793
Editor's Choice Frank Perez '94 GTS
* Top 10-second average
** Top 11-second average
*** Top 12-second average