Michael Johnson Associate Editor
May 1, 2013
Photos By: Steve Turner

Domenic Didonato’s 2012 Shelby GT500

Horsepower: 3 (724.97)
Ride & Drive: 9
Engineering: 5
Fit & Finish: 5
Drag Race: 6 (10.85)
Popular Vote: 4
Final Score: 57.5

We owe Domenic Didonato a debt of gratitude for coming out of the bullpen, if you will, at the last second to enter the King of the Street. When only six cars showed up Thursday morning, Evolution Performance’s Fred Cook told us about Domenic’s ’12 GT500, which was at Beech Bend for the NMRA event. Even though Domenic was there to race, Fred assured us his GT500 was an ideal candidate for the King of the Street, and once we laid eyes on it, we couldn’t have agreed more.

What intrigued us the most was that Domenic’s GT500 was similar in combination to Editor Turner’s own GT500—and if you see Turner’s GT500 at the dragstrip, call the cops ’cause it’s been stolen. So Domenic’s GT500 gave us an idea of how Editor Turner’s GT500 would do in the King of the Street. First off, Domenic’s GT500 is even more menacing thanks to its black-with-white-stripes paint scheme combined with Weld RT big n’ littles. The camera loved getting up close and personal with Domenic’s GT500. If we didn’t know any better, we would’ve thought he had purposely planned to compete in the King of the Street, the car is that clean.

We ran into the first snag with Domenic’s GT500 when it was his turn for the Ride & Drive. Since his GT500 is set up for the drags, it features a fixed racing seat. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that Domenic is several inches shorter than your author. We can’t hold this little snag against Domenic in this instance since he was a last-second King of the Street addition. However, getting into Domenic’s GT500 was a lesson in origami. I literally had to fold myself into the driver seat and the seating position was less than desirable. However, once underway, Domenic’s GT500 was as close to perfect on the Ride & Drive as one could expect. Even with the big ’n’ littles, the car was tight and nimble, handling the Ride & Drive test loop with ease. Perhaps the only nit-picking drawback was the slightly stiff clutch, but besides that, Domenic’s GT500 had perfect driveability, earning a 9 in the Ride & Drive.

After the Ride & Drive success, Domenic’s GT500 didn’t have much success. Since his GT500 features the same basic combination as Editor Turner’s GT500, we suspected it would make around 700 rwhp on Holley’s Dynojet, and we were right. Domenic’s two Dynojet runs were within a few horsepower of each other, with its best number at 724.97. Unfortunately, that placed Domenic at the bottom of the scale, which scored him a 4 in the Horsepower category.

In the Engineering category, Editor Turner knew exactly what he was looking at. He was basically looking at his GT500. “There were few surprises on the engineering side of things. I know as well as anyone that the marriage of a TVS and a 5.4 is a fruitful one. As effective as it is, I look for the extra mile at KOTS, especially from GT500s. To move above the average, you have to tweak the established combinations beyond expectations. Unfortunately, my beloved TVS combo had to set the baseline this year,” Editor Turner said. He had hoped a combination like his own would perform better at the King of the Street, but he also knew the reality of the situation. Therefore, he was left to score Domenic’s GT500 with a 5 in Engineering.

Likewise, Editor Turner was equally as giving in the Fit & Finish category for Domenic’s GT500. Since it is mostly configured for the dragstrip, Turner liked that the car stuck to the basics, but he also added, “It’s the frills that score you F&F style points at KOTS. Rolling on Welds, it’s menacing, but otherwise stock-appearing under the hood. Inside, a cage and racing seats are its only mods, and under the hood it’s an all-too-familiar combination. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a track-oriented GT500.” Hence, Domenic’s GT500 also scored a 5 in Fit & Finish.

On the track is where we figured Domenic would gain some ground, and although that was true, with the other more powerful, well sorted out combinations also competing, Domenic was still toward the bottom in the Drag Race category. He was able to run a 10.85 at 121 mph, which gave him a 6 in the Drag Race category. In the Popular Vote, we can only surmise his GT500’s stock exterior nature kept Domenic from mustering many backers, scoring a measly 4 in that category.

Even if he didn’t come to Beech Bend that weekend to compete in the King of the Street, Domenic and his GT500 held his own. Hopefully he’ll want to compete again in 2013 since we hear he also has a more powerful, well-appointed GT500. We can’t wait.

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Stock ‘12 GT500

Stock ’12 GT500

Stock ’12 GT500

Stock ’12 GT500

Stock ’12 GT500

Cylinder heads
Stock ’12 GT500

Intake manifold
Ford Racing dual 65mm throttle body, JLT Performance 123mm Big Air intake

Power Adder
Ford Racing 2.3L TVS supercharger, Evolution Performance 2.6-in supercharger pulley and dual-bearing auxiliary idler, ATI 15-percent overdrive balancer

Fuel system
E85-compatible Fore Innovations Billet hat w/ dual 405 pumps, 205-lb/hr injectors, Evolution Performance fuel rails

American Racing Headers long-tube headers w/ off-road X-shape crossover, stock axle-back

Stock ’12 GT500, Spec P-Trim clutch, Barton shifter

Stock 8.8-in, Torsen differential, 4.10 gears

Engine management
Stock computer