Michael Johnson Associate Editor
May 1, 2009
Photos By: The 5.0&SF Staff, Dan Schoneck, Alan Hurley, Scott Spandet, Matt Simonds, Jerome Shumate, Matt Knab, John King, Cory Harris, Andy Barth, Chuck Hamstra
Well, you did it, Ryan Vitiritto. No need to build another car for next year. Though his Cobra-inspired '01 Mustang coupe didn't exactly enjoy the best drivability, Ryan Vitiritto's Mustang scored near the top in every other category. Though he did have his tuner Bob Kurgan present at the event (He was racing at the NMRA event), Ryan's Cobra wasn't coddled by a shop owner all weekend. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it was nice to see an independent if you will, win the Nitto Tire King of the Street. Ryan's Mustang boosted 917 horsepower to the wheels, ran in the 10s, and scored high enough to take the KOTS crown. Congrats, Ryan!

Horse Sense: We were happy to have Nitto Tire back as primary sponsor of the King of the Street. As such, every KOTS competitor received trendy Nitto stickers, but more importantly a pair of Nitto Xtreme Drag radials in the size of their choice for the event. KOTS competitors aren't allowed to change tires during the event.

We're always in awe of the Mustangs competing in our annual Nitto Tire King of the Street competition. Each year the competitors bring with them fresh ideas, old dogs with new tricks, and build quality surpassing the previous year's competition.

Though the cars change each year, the premise remains the same. We want to see a car make a ton of horsepower, but retain the ability to drive cross-country-without a pre-flight check list and a set of noise-canceling headphones. Jeff Mingledorf's '03 Cobra took the crown last year. His Modular Powerhouse-built monster produced 932 hp thanks to a twin-turbocharged Four-Valve engine, and thankfully for him, it possessed the everyday driveability we want in a King of the Street contestant.

After every KOTS, we wonder if a new crop of Mustangs will come along to impress us as much as the previous years'. Every time the answer is a resounding yes.

Each year we are more and more impressed with the quality of cars in the Nitto Tire KOTS competition. For instance, the average horsepower of the 11 competitors for this year's crown was over 770 hp, and every one of these cars could be driven anywhere, even cross-country. Of course, some were easier and more pleasurable to drive than others, but when you think of daily drivers, you typically don't think of a 770hp Mustang-unless you're a 5.0&SF reader!

We split our time between The Horsepower House [(270) 792-2399] and Beech Bend raceway, as there wasn't an on-site dyno at the NMRA World Finals this year. Though the crew at The Horsepower House consists of primarily GM guys, they were kind enough to host our Blue Oval dyno bash, and did a masterful job moving our KOTS cars on and off the dyno quickly. We really appreciate it. Likewise the NMRA crew smoothly orchestrated our drag testing and have been kind enough to host this event every year.

So spend some time with the next several pages to see how our '08 Nitto Tire King of the Street competition wowed us once again. If you think your ride belongs on these pages, it's not to early to start putting together a submission for the '09 event.