Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
March 4, 2016

Team Mustang-360.com is always looking to enhance the “Ford” experience, and as our luck would have it, a brand-new Burger joint called “Ford’s Garage” opened in Brandon, Florida, just about 40 minutes north of Bradenton Motorsports Park, home of the 22nd Annual NMRA Spring Break Shootout.

So as you could imagine, hot Fords were not the only things on our minds. After sampling the grub in advance, we organized an impromptu gathering of media and Mustang owners, followed by a cruise to the track.

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Mustang Monthly’s Mark Houlahan forged a plan, announcing our event on Facebook and on Mustang-360.com and about 30 Mustang and Ford owners gathered for “gourmet” burgers, which are aptly named after Ford-related cars and engines. The décor is all Ford, with a handful Model Ts, Flathead engines and loads of apparel for sale.

“It’s awesome to have the guys from Mustang-360.com and all the Ford Mustang owners,” said Jeffery Grethel, general manager of Ford’s Garage. “The cars look amazing and we hope this becomes and annual event.”

Not surprising, the meet drew local Mustangers and those from as far as Texas. In fact, Liz Hensley, owner of a 2015 50th Anniversary Mustang, has racked up 18,000, many of which was covered in the last few weeks. She’s been on the road, hitting tracks and having fun in her Kona Blue Stang. Dell Sterling and Amanda Haddock didn’t travel quite as far to show off their 2015 GT that sported Steeda springs, a JLT and SCT tune. And our surprise guest was no other than long-time Mustang maniac Keith Keplinger.

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We also spotted Bill Tumas of CJ Pony Parts, who was heading to Bradenton with a “borrowed” supercharged 2013 Ford Mustang. The GT is equipped with a BMR suspension and Tumas plans to run in True Street. Ford was well represented with Joe King and Jesse Kershaw and they were loving the food and the Ford in the lot.

The lone truck belonged to locals Ramon and Marilu Martinez. Their 2002 F-150 Harley Davidson truck is one of four Fords in the family, the others include a 1993 Mustang GT, 2005 GT and a 2013 GT.

After the hearty meal, our posse mounted up and unleashed the horses for a 30-mile run down I-75 to Bradenton. It was almost a prelude to True Street, as we thundered southbound in a fun parade of pony power.

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