Robin Lawrence
October 13, 2005
Photos By: Todd Ryden
Sure you think Todd is taking a picture of the back of our '05. But thereal star here is the new MSD speedometer and tachometer in MSD's ProStreet '55. The picture does little justice. There is a light thatalternates between rpm and mph.

I am a little jealous. While I am not complaining about my '05 Mustang,I get to drive it only on short trips. Other than a few squirts down thequarter-mile, I don't get a lot of seat time. Now that the cars in 5.0Mustang & Super Fords magazine are into the nine-second zone, the amountof equipment required--five-point harness, three-layer pants and jacket,helmet and neck brace, along with fireproof gloves--desensitizes thedriving experience. I remember how much fun it used to be to drive aMustang on the street. As we make performance improvements, we getfarther and farther away from the fun factor that made us fall in lovewith these cars. Every so often, I steal the keys to my son's '91hatchback. It reminds me of why I love these cars so much.

As I said in an earlier story, I always wanted to take a Mustang on theHot Rod Power Tour. Everyone loves a road trip. So many times while onthe road to or from a race, I wish we had a little extra time to enjoythe trip. We are in such a hurry to get to the race or get home, all wesee is interstate highway in the dark. I can remember when I was 8 yearsold going on a family vacation in a new '65 Mustang (Thankfully, I won'thave to ride in that back seat again). All this wanderlust gave me theidea to take my Real Street Mustang on the Hot Rod Power tour in August2004.

After talking to Editor Turner, I was convinced I needed to make thetrip. I was surprised when Steve asked me to write about what we had todo to the car and our experiences on the Power Tour. If you have neverheard about the Hot Rod Power tour, you certainly must not be readingHot Rod magazine or watching Speed Television. The Tour has been aroundsince 1995. Covering 1,200-plus miles over six days, the HRPT usuallykicks off where it ended the previous year. Because of the poorreception last year in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the '05 tour kicked offfrom Miller Field in Milwaukee. Sadly, we don't have room for the wholesordid story here, so please check out our Web site for all the dirtydetails.

Horse Sense: For more on the Power Tour,check out our big sister mag's Web site: www.hotrod.com. Thereyou'll find more on this year's tour, and you can keep checking therefor info on next year's tour because we know you are going to representthe Blue Oval next year.

Here, we are all smiles as we prepare to leave Springfield. We will runwith Todd Ryden and the MSD Pro Street '55 Chevy to Indianapolis RacewayPark. That's Ricky Best on the right, if you didn't know.

Saturday June 4th

Captains log....er well never mind. I get up at 6 a.m. I am trying tofinish up loose ends on the car. Mark Kirkman calls and offers totrailer the car to Milwaukee. I consider this for a few moments butdecline his offer. We need to drive this thing. Mark knows that I amstressing out. He drives over and starts to work on the brake lightswitch bracket. He then installs the harnesses for Ricky's seat. I havesolved the charging problem and finish wiring the Aermotive fuel pumpcontroller. About 9 a.m. Ricky wanders out with that Pacific Time zonelook in his eyes. It started raining we are working on the car in mydriveway in the rain. At this point in time I have not showered, shaved,or packed for the trip. Mark and Ricky continue to work on the car whileI pack spare parts, tools and clothes for the trip. My wife Kim knowswhen to stay out of the way, she offers to "get some cash" from the bankas I have none.

After packing the car Ricky and I climb in the car. Hmm, no tune-up, notest drive, and we need gas. This is going to be great. We backed thecar out of the driveway and headed east. We stopped at the local gasstation to top off the fuel cell. Our fueling procedure consisted ofremoving the luggage on to of the fuel cell then filling the tank. ThenI had to put the luggage back in the trunk when we were done. I got alot of funny looks along the way with this procedure.

We then headed for the interstate to meet up with fellow Real StreetRacer Craig Baldwin. We had an hour drive before hooking up with Craigand his wife Karen. Craig is a smart guy. He was driving his '03 CobraConvertible on the first half of the Power Tour. He and his wife Karenwould be our "buddies" till Nashville. The organizers encourage you tohook up with a buddy at the beginning of the tour. You exchange cellnumbers in the event that you should break down. There is a certainlevel of comfort having this type of support along the way.

After we got on the interstate I noticed a little popping in the intake,almost like a lean condition. I looked over at Ricky with that "I amgoing to cry" look. I made some tuning changes in the PMS hoping that itwas a lean condition. Since we had no time to drive the car I had noidea where the tune-up was.

"A-holes in the mirror are closer than they appear." Hmmm, it justdoesn't sound as good as when Jim Carey said it in that movie. AgainTodd Ryden gets a sinister shot of our '05 lurking behind.

We headed north on interstate 74 at what seemed to be a normal pace. Icommented to Ricky that it sure seemed odd that we were passing everyonein sight. Ricky commented that at 2,400 rpm we should be going about 75mph. Just for kick he timed us between mileposts. Well it worked out tobe 80-plus mph! Needless to say we slowed down a little bit.

We met up with Craig as planned and got the chance to walk around thecar for the first time. While at the gas station a FFW Bracket racerstopped to get gas. He had just left the race at Cordova. He wassurprised to see our Real Street car on the road. That would happen alot over the next six days.

We still had the popping in the upper intake. As qualified as both Rickyand I are we had way too much time to over analyze the situation. Wewould later find out that our first instincts were correct.Unfortunately it would be another 24 hours before we would solve theproblem.

At our first gas stop the car took about six gallons. That gave us arough indication of how far we could drive before needing to fill up.The decision was made to stop about every three hours.

Heading east on Interstate 72, we finally found enough power to passTodd. Notice the courtesy we extend as we win another Ford versus Chevybattle in America's heartland.

Did I say that I was stressed? Well if I wasn't before I was now. Afterfilling the car up it refused to start. Our PMS didn't show any enginerotation while it was cranking. We started to question if the ignitionmodule was the reason for the popping we had experienced. Craig checkedout the cap and rotor after which the car started. I was seriouslystaring to wonder what I had gotten myself into.

We continued on toward Milwaukee with intermittent popping. As we turnedtowards Milwaukee on interstate 43 it got much worse. I tried to varythe rpm with little success. It seemed to improve under accelerationleading us to believe that it was related to the mass air meter.

We finally made it to Milwaukee about 4 p.m. We parked and picked up ourregistration packet. We then walked down to where the manufacturer'smidway to meet up with some friends.

It had rained pretty hard before we made it to Miller Park. A lot ofpeople had already left or packed up their displays. After hanging outfor a while we hooked up with Dan and Jen to go to dinner. Dan bought my'88 Coupe and lives just North of Milwaukee. He told us about the localstreet racing/cruise scene. After diner with Dan and his friends weheaded north to find our hotel. On the way we passed a huge cruise spot.People were lined up along the street and there were hot carseverywhere. We were in the middle lane with nowhere to go. There was aSRT Neon at my drivers door with a three-gauge pod on the A-pillar. Theguys were cool and gave us a thumbs-up.

We found our hotel and parked the car. We would find that every hotelheld a different set of surprises. The cars were awesome. I had worriedabout parking the '05 unattended but with all the other cool cars in theparking lot I felt much better.

Sunday June 5th

Miller Park in Milwaukee had a ton of room for the Power Tour. We havearrived on our maiden run from my home in Galesburg, Illinois. That isCraig Baldwin's '03 Cobra Convertible. Craig would continually taunt usalong the way with displays of excessive horsepower. He hoped I wouldbreak under the pressure and scatter our nearly stock short-block in anattempt to save face.

I don't know if I felt better or worse. I had trashed for the pastcouple of weeks and now we were here on the start of the Power Tour. Ifwe weren't ready now then we never would be.

We headed to Miller Park arriving just before the departure time. Wewere solidly at the tail end of the group. The good part was we wereable to see all the cars drive past our position as they headed out. Wemet a couple from Ohio that we traded cell phone numbers. They weredriving a mild, mid-'60s GTO on the Power Tour. Since they were PowerTour veterans they filled us in on some details of the tour.

As we rumbled out of Miller Park our exhaust echoed off the walls of theoverpasses. Driving the car with a helmet on and the windows up dampensthe sound of the supercharged small-block. I looked over at Ricky and Ithought I saw a tear in his eye. We knew this was going to be cool.

What Green Bay screwed up from the previous year's Power Tour the peopleof Milwaukee made up for it. As we left Milwaukee the bridges and roadswere lined with people waving to the power tour participants. It wassomething that you have to experience.

As we headed toward JC Whitney for a lunch stop we found out why wedidn't want to be at the rear of the pack. It seems that there are somany cars involved that it turns into a rolling traffic jam. If there isa tollbooth, construction zone with lane closures the mass of carsexaggerates the problem. Our first experience was at the tollbooth goinginto Illinois from Wisconsin. After noticing the backup we chose to duckinto a rest area rather than sit in the traffic that was not moving. Iwas worried that the car might overheat if we sat for long. Later Iwould find out how wrong I was.

We continued toward LaSalle, Illinois, for the scheduled lunch stop atJC Whitney. Unfortunately we were still learning about why not to be atthe end of the group. Once again we sat in stop and go traffic the 3miles from the interstate to JC Whitney. Once we arrived we met up withMark Wilkinson and is family. As you may remember Mark has his Racecraftchassis shop in LaSalle.

Our popping problem was still with us much to our dismay. The guys atMSD had loaned us a distributor from their display to swap out. Wechanged the distributor while on or lunch break. We had hoped that themodule was the problem.

We got back on the road as the lot began to thin out. We were pleased tosee that the two-mile backup to the bridge over the Illinois River haddissipated. Our elation was short lived as we encountered several moreconstruction zones on our way to Springfield. As we headed downinterstate 39 the popping in the intake grew worse. We were afraid thatit would tear up the clutch or trans as it unloaded the driveline everytime that it missed.

We noticed that as we drove into a head wind the problem got worse. In atail wind situation the problem was minimal. If we could not fix themiss this was going to be hell.

The elation that we felt as we entered the State Fairgrounds inSpringfield was huge. We were hot, tired and thirsty. We were greeted bya woman who handed us two ice-cold bottles of water. As she handed themthrough the window she said "welcome to Springfield" It was anindication of the warm welcome that we felt while there.

Once at the Bassani Exhaust, Detroit Locker, Denso, Tremec, and QA 1Displays we parked the car and stretched our legs. We met up with KyleFickler from Aeromotive, as well as Ron Piesecki and Rick Anderson fromAnderson Ford Motorsport. Earlier I had found that the left rear axleseal was leaking. My friend Bob Alexander had brought tools and gear oilfor me to fix the problem. While talking with Rick Anderson we explainedthe popping problem that we had for the past two days. Rick immediatelytold us that our problem was too much air passing through the mass airmeter. He said that at low rpm the amount of air entering the mass airwas low. He said that the air passing through the grill area was"pulling" the air from the mass air meter thus leaning out the mixture.He said that he had encountered the problem many times with customer'sstreet cars. In a race environment we are pulling more air into the massair. For that reason we have never encountered that problem. Ricky foundsomeone with so red tape that matched our red paint. He taped off theopen area in front of the mass air meter.

After leaving the fairgrounds we headed down route 55 to our hotel.Ricky and I were all grins as the car ran smooth as silk. No morepopping!! I called Rick and thanked him for the heads-up.

Notice the crowd pressing up to see the '05. Really, Craig's Cobragenerated more interest than our '05.

Monday June 6th

Ricky and I felt a huge relief with the first full day of the Power Tourunder our belt. At dinner we met up with the guys from MSD. We told themabout taping up the grill area. They we pleased for us and kidded usthat we had thought it might me ignition related. We were wrong. We wereare sorry. While at dinner we decided to leave toward the head of thepack. We were to meet up with Todd Ryden who would be driving the MSD'55 Chevy. We arrived early at the fairgrounds and took our place inline. It seemed that the '05 got more attention than it had inMilwaukee. As we departed Springfield the local sheriffs and localpolice had all the intersections blocked as the cars from the Power Tourleft town. Many thanks to the people in Springfield.

Everything seemed cool as we headed for Indianapolis. The planned routewould take us through Decatur and then on into Indiana on some two-laneroads. After sitting in traffic in Decatur for a half hour we decided tomake a change in our route. It seems that the city of Decatur didn'ttake seriously the planners' notification that so many cars would betraveling through their town. That would be the norm in a lot of townsalong the intended path of the tour.

Since I knew the area I took the lead to the interstate. Once we got toroute 72 we headed east to Champaign to pick up interstate 74. Fromthere it was a straight shot to Brownsburg, Indiana, and IndianapolisRaceway Park.

Once at IRP participants had the opportunity to make passes down thequarter mile. I had previously participated at a SVT track event at IRPand knew that the conditions for an event like this would not beoptimum. Since our priority was to make the entire tour I had decidednot to take a chance in making any passes. It was one of the hardestthings to resist. So close, but cooler heads had to prevail.

This was getting easy, two days under our belts.

Tuesday June 7th

Today we would head south to Nashville Tennessee. The tour wouldconverge on the Opryland Hotel. Our trip was uneventful save for somedelays in construction traffic and an accident along the way. The routewas pretty straight forward as we would jump ion interstate 65 and headsouth. Louisville was an easy trip since there wasn't any heavy trafficor road construction to slow us down.

After we got into Nashville we found an auto parts store and picked upsome gear oil for our still leaking rear axle. I pulled into aself-service car wash and watched as Ricky started to detail the car.Now we all have our talents, and just so you know one of my redeemingqualities isn't how I detail a car. While we were there a group fromFlowmaster arrived to wash their cars also. One of the cars was DaveMcClelland. Dave was driving his copper-hued C6 Corvette.

Did some one say it's hot? Our arrival at the Opryland complex was alittle tense (remember I said that I get "short"), as they had no signswhere the Power Tour cars were to enter. After waiting in long linesthen discovering that we were in the wrong entrance w eventually foundour way to the midway. For all the real estate that they have there thearea devoted to the Power Tour was pretty small. The people in Nashvillewere as cool as hell. After huge crowds in Milwaukee and Springfield Iwas disappointed in the turnout at Indy. It was great to see the highlevel of interest in the Power Tour.

Later that night we met up with the guys from Tremec, Bassani, DetroitLocker and QA1 for dinner. After dinner, Ricky and I made the walkacross the street to the Opryland Hotel. Did I say walk, it took usabout 45 minutes to walk what at first looked like a couple of blocks.Our intention was to kidnap former Race Pages and current Hot Rodmagazine editor Rob Kinnan. We had some good leads on his whereabouts inone of the many drinking establishments located in Opryland. We foundMr. Kinnan as expected holding court with some high-powered movers andshakers in the world of hot rods. We felt honored to have known himwhile be polished his resume at the ProMedia Company.

After the bar closed Rob invited Ricky and I back to his presidentialluxury suite for a few more refreshments. I will say one thing; theseguys at Hot Rod really know how to live. James Lawrence would have hadthe entire race event staff stay in this one room had this been an NMRArace. The room had its own workout room, full bar and kitchen, aconference table that would not fit in my 30-foot enclosed trailer afireplace, four bathrooms and only one bed. Even the guys at that Jerseymagazine don't live like this.

The good news was that Hot Rod/Car Craft Editor-In-Chief DavidFreiburger wanted us to join a group to lead the cars out of Nashvilleon the way to Birmingham. We were going to have a big day tomorrow. Thepossibility of getting some exposure in Hot Rod was weighing on ourminds as we went to sleep that night.

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Wednesday June 8th

After "hanging out" with Rob Kinnan the night before we were (well Iwas) suffering just a little bit. We had been asked to be part of agroup of cars that would lead the group out of Nashville. The guys atHot Rod believed that some of the scenery would lend itself to somedecent shots of the cars along the way. The six cars that were pickedwere a cross section of the typical cars on the Power Tour.

Ricky went to work on cleaning the car and I put another quart of gearoil in the still leaking rear axle. (Thanks to my friend Bob Alexanderfrom Performance Transmissions I had the use of his transfer pump whileon the tour.)

We arrived early so we would be sure to not miss our photo opportunity.We topped of the fuel cell not wanting to have to stop while the entirecaravan continued toward Birmingham. We were told to be at the drivers'meeting at 8:30. The group was scheduled to leave at 9:00. Of course wewere there about 7 just to be sure that they didn't leave without us.

Eventually Rob and the rest of the crew from Hot Rod showed up. We metWes Allison who would be doing most of the shooting. Mr. Freiburger keptreferring to our '05 as "the race car," which just sounded cool. When itwas time to line up the cars for the departure he said he wanted "therace car" to lead the group out. As you can imagine Ricky and I couldhardly control our enthusiasm at this point. But as cool as we are weknew that screaming and hollering out of the windows would only scarethe locals.

Like when we left Milwaukee the reception from the locals along the waymade it all worth the price of admission. People were lining the side ofthe roads, businesses had scores of employees watching and waving as thegroup passed by. As we were on a smaller highway we passed a group thatwas set up with their chairs and signs. As we passed we heard someoneshout "hey Uncle Robin." It made our day. As you know we Mustang racersare small potatoes when it comes to the world of Hot Rod. It made usfeel good that someone who knew us was cheering us on as we drove by.

Several times along the way Wes and Dave were hanging out of the windowsof the Suburban shooting pictures of the procession behind them. .

Here's our impromptu shifter boot. I know, Mr. Gasket has a ton of niceshifter boots for our car. Remember, we race-car guys are more aboutfunction than form. After realizing that 50 percent of the heat in thepassenger compartment came in through the shifter hole, Ricky stuffedthis towel to cool things down. This type of attention to detail makesRicky the marketing superstar he is today. We also found that the noisewas reduced to a level at which we could discuss an extension in mysponsorship program.

As we got further into Alabama the roads became hilly and twisting. Istarted to be thankful that I changed the brakes to ones with ventedrotors. The car with its skinnies and Nitto drag radials handled like adream. It was fun rowing the gears on the Tremec five-speed as we drovethrough the countryside. After a stop for fuel we got back on the roadto Birmingham. Again more people, more signs. I liked the girl that waswaving the "do a burnout" sign. Unfortunately we had to behaveourselves.

As good as the day was it would soon get messy. It started to rain, andrain and rain. We continued on but we knew that there would not be anymore good photo ops in the rain. Our Rain X had worn off from Ricky'sconstant attention to keeping the car detailed. As long as we keptmoving the windshield stayed clear.

I must say that the combination of the rain and the heat was tough. Wesat in construction traffic moving about two miles in an hour. I wasstarting to realize how well the cooing system was working. Rickynoticed early on that I was obsessed with the gauges. Any slight upwardmovement would send me into a "tense" mode. Who me? We had learned theday before while sitting in stopped traffic that we could sit for quiteawhile before the temps would climb. Any movement even in first gearwould drop our temps by about 1o to 15 degrees. The hottest the car gotwas 196 degrees. Ricky was a cool as cucumber telling me that I had atleast 50 degrees before I should start to worry. Evans Cooling had toldme that their fluid would not boil until 325 degrees. While I found thatcomforting I didn't feel like testing it out.

The traffic going into Birmingham was unbelievable. We sat for more thanan hour in a three-mile stretch of road. There was no constructiontraffic or accidents. Again when you have 3,000 cars going through anarea you bring your own congestion. I would suggest that some of thesescommunities and cities along the way take the advice of the organizers.They spend a lot of time planning and making the locals aware of how thepower tour will affect their cities. It seemed that some (Springfield ,Milwaukee) listened and planned ahead. Others such as Birmingham andTallahassee ignored all the warnings.

We arrived at the stadium in Birmingham after they were soaked with ahuge storm. People were trying to dry off their displays and their cars.

We arrived in Springfield tired and worn out after the first day. We hada lean miss in the intake that was later diagnosed as too much airhitting the mass air meter. Rick Anderson has seen many street cars withthe same problem and told us to tape up the grille opening. (Uh oh,someone will read this and turn me in to the NMRA tech department forsure!) We were fortunate to display our car with the Bassani trailer.They carry the displays for Tremec, Denso Spark Plugs, QA1, DetroitLocker, and of course, Bassani Xhuast.

One thing to avoid is the main stage of the Power Tour. As in any venuethe Power Tour relies heavily of sponsor support (like Uncle Robin'srace program). Because we were going for "Long Haul" status we had topunch a time clock at the main stage at each venue. About 4 p.m. peoplewould gather at the main stage to see if their names or numbers weredrawn for many of the giveaways. The problem was that you had to endurea driven of inside jokes and self-promotion from the Brand C people onthe stage. We learned early on to get our cards punched before the sideshows commenced.

After heading for the hotel we encountered three young fellows in whatappeared to be turbocharged '86 Mustang. These guys saw us and made aquick U-turn on the four-lane. The driver then proceeded to drop the cardown a few gears load the turbo and go passing by. The dude in the backseat felt it was his duty to stick his arm out of the window motioningforward since the driver was occupied with his need to keep the turbospooled up. Ricky and were laughing our asses off. I would have loved tohave had my Real Street engine combination in the car and "played" alittle bit. Unfortunately we had a fragile short-block that I didn'twant to damage. Ricky was truly disappointed that I was not interestingin defending the Paxton name. Sorry Ricky.

Did I mention that I obsess over problems with the car? Poor Ricky wasreally starting to know me by this time. While driving through the hotelparking lot I was hearing what I thought was bearing noise. In my truenature I felt that I must have run the diff low enough on fluid to burna bearing. My evening was consumed with borrowing a jack and jack standsfrom the MSD guys and borrowing Jim Averill's rental car to buy somebearings and seals. The plan was to get a good night's sleep and tearinto the rear axle in the morning.

Thursday June 9th

I got up about 6 and started to tear the brakes and axles out of the carin the hotel parking lot. Upon removal of the axles I found that thebearings were in perfect shape. With only two days left I feltcomfortable that I would be able to make it to Kissimmee.

While working on the car in the parking lot I had many people stop byand offer help. This is the kind of helping spirit on the Power Tour. Icalled Jim Averill in time to get him to stop by and pick up the jackand stands that I had borrowed from the guys at MSD.

Ricky was up by this time so I took a shower and we headed towardTallahassee. Because of the change in time zones that day the group hadleft at 8 a.m. We left about 9 a.m. so really we were in pretty goodshape.

We had Darryl Bassani and Ashley Serge in front of us by about an hour.They had taken a different route and were giving us directions. I mustsay that that was probably the best segment of the tour. The scenery wasnice, the roads were smooth and until we got into Tallahassee thetraffic was minimal.

Once again the directions into the venues for Tallahassee were sketchy.I was once again in my "tense" mode and Ricky was doing his best not tosmack me upside the head. Sometimes I wonder how smart it was to take asponsor along on the Power Tour... Really we got along well consideringthe difference in our age.

One cool thing while sitting in traffic, there were a couple of guysnext to us in a '70 Hemi Cuda. How often do you see that kind of carsitting in stop-and-go traffic.

He headed back to the hotel just before another torrential downpour. Ourplan was to leave an hour ahead of the tour to get to Kissimmee beforethe crowd. With all the dignitaries from 5.0 Mustang & Super Fordsmagazine in attendance we wanted to be ready.

Friday June 10th

After filling the diff with gear oil for the last time we headed forinterstate 10. I felt bad as poor Ricky had not had any good prospectsall week. I figured that maybe I was hurting his MoJo. While fueling upjust before the interstate I noticed that our old Rickster was onceagain working his magic. When he and the young lady came out of theconvenience store she was all smiles. Nice Ricky, nice.

We decided to run a little faster into Kissimmee than we had run before.I must say a lot of other people had the same idea as we did. It wascool to pass and see all the cars on the way in. Once again we saw DaveMcClelland in his Corvette. That guy has way too much fun.

One of Ricky's duties as copilot was to keep me informed when it wastime for a gas stop. We had gone about three hours and Ricky informed methat we should stop just a little south of Ocala. "In about 10 to 15minutes," he said. So after about 10 minutes we started to look for anexit with a gas station. At that point I noticed the fuel pressure gauge(Who me, obsess about the gauges?) starting to twitch. It was dropping 5to 10 pounds. My heart stopped, heaven forbid should we have to walk andget gas. Just think about all those Chevy's that we passed. Now theywould be laughing at us. Well we saw a sign that indicated an exit in 1mile. I didn't know if we could make it another mile. The good thing isthat we wouldn't have to walk more than a mile.

As I saw the exit I reached over and cut the ignition and pushed theclutch in. We coasted on the ramp to the stop sign where I took a quicklook and turned the ignition back on. See no oncoming cars I let theclutch out and let the engine fire, I then made the 400-foot drive towhat would probably be the most expensive gas we bought all week. Iwould have paid double that's for sure.

Upon inspection of the fuel cell (it was dry) Ricky proclaimed himselfready for crew chief duty on a NASCAR team. One good fuel strategy andhe is the man.

That would be our last fuel stop before our final destination. We drovethe final leg with no problems. We did notice the Buick GS on thetrailer that always seemed to drive into each venue. While many PowerTour participants frown on this practice it's impossible to avoid. Lookat it this way, his Yukon made the Long Haul just like our Mustang orDave McClelland's new Corvette. Sure his Buick isn't up to the long haulbut it's a nice car and it didn't drive the entire tour.

This seems to be a hot topic on the hotrod.com. In the weeks after theHRPT there was still considerable debate on the cars that were trailedto each venue.

We arrived at the park just before noon. Charlie from Bassani told usthat there was a storm coming and that they had delayed setting up anyof the displays.

One of the cool things is I could tune on the car as we drove down thehighway. For our race application, I had removed the oxygen sensors.People think you can't run an EEC IV without 02 sensors. Really, theAnderson Ford Motorsport PMS and a UEGO 1000 Wideband worked just fine.Several times we made low-load fuel adjustments.

Ricky and I were high-fiving each other. We had actually driven the '05Mustang race car the entire length of the Hot Rod Power Tour.

I called Turbo Goddess Christina Eldert for a ride to pick up my truckand trailer. Christina and her fiance Jake Lamotta have been hard atwork on her turbocharged Four-Valve Drag Radial car. As I said earlier Ihad parked the rig in Jay Meager's backyard. Jay works for Jake atLamotta Performance. Jay was racing at Maple Grove and Christina waskind enough to haul me around.

Once we returned to the park the dignitaries from 5.0&SF and Hot Rod hadarrived. Steve Turner, new Tech Editor KJ Jones, and from Hot Rod RobKinnan, David Freiburger and Wes Allison. Mr. Turner had that look inhis eyes of disbelief. He gave us our congratulations and the proceededto ask me when I would have this story in his hands. Never a break isthere Steve? Really Steve gave me a realistic deadline, which in trueMichael Johnson style I missed. Oh well.

The man behind the scenes Mike Acosta invited us to a celebratory dinnerin light of our completing the Power Tour. It was a wonderful end to aseveral hectic weeks.

Saturday June 11th

Saturday after the Power Tour is when everyone gathers for the grouppicture and the grand prizes are given away. Ricky had caught a flightback to the warmth of Los Angeles. For the first time I saw Carl and hiswife. They were the couple from Ohio that we swapped cell numbers inMilwaukee. Knowing what happens on Saturday I would probably skip thisso I could get on the road. At this point the car is safe and secureinside my enclosed trailer. After the ceremonies I got a picture withRob and talked to Doug Evans from Primedia. I had met Doug whilefinishing our car before the Tampa race. I think that he was surprisedthat we took the racecar on the tour.

Back Home

The car was much easier to change back to race mode than it was tostreet mode. I had boxed and organized (not one of my talents) all theparts so it would be easy before our next NMRA race in Kansas City. Theplan was to spend several days on Don West's dyno to find some power. Ihad not been on a dyno in 8 months. With the build of the car and thePower Tour behind us I could finally concentrate on racing again.