Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
December 15, 2009

Horse Sense:
UPR Products stepped up and inked a five-year deal to keep Ford Fest going at New England Dragway. With this introductory event behind them, it should grow in popularity each year.
See more at 50mustangandsuperfords.com

When Fun Ford Weekend shut down its operation, the resulting void left a lot of Ford drag racers without venues to race and show their Mustangs. Fun Ford is what we grew up on; it helped put Mustang drag racing on the map. However, like most good things, it came to an end, leaving certain parts of the country without a Ford event.

The NMRA does a great job of covering a broad spectrum of the country, but the two series never used the same dragstrips, so many parts of the country were left high and dry. UPR Products came to the rescue in the areas of Norwalk, Ohio, and Epping, New Hampshire, continuing the tradition of these two events by way of its sponsorship. We were able to attend the Epping UPR Products Ford Fest, held on August 15-16.

UPR gave Ford fans a chance to showcase their machines, both on the dragstrip and in the car show. The event included an Outlaw 10.5 class, a True Street-style Street Shootout class, and two '05-current Mustang classes-one for naturally aspirated Three-Valves, and another for single power-adder cars. Of course, there was an awesome car show and bracket classes as well.

It was my first time in New Hampshire, but I am happy to report Mustang fans are as rabid up there as they are in other parts of the country. Though starting small with just a few heads-up classes and a True Street-style class, this first-time venture was definitely a sign of good events to come.

Charlie Grandll was really looking forward to the UPR Ford Fest and the Pure Pony class' naturally aspirated format. Pure Pony was reserved for '05-current Mustangs GTs, and its heads-up, pro-Tree format was a welcome getaway from the usual index classes for S197s. Though there are a ton of S197s out there looking for a place to race, only three cars manned-up for the Pure Pony class. Coming into the Ford Fest event, Charlie's '05 GT automatic was off-pace. Charlie's '05 has run in the 12.20s, but it was headed in the wrong direction. The car boasts Kooks long-tube headers with high-flow catalytic converters, SLP LoudMouth mufflers, 4.10 gears, an Ultimate Converter Concepts-reworked stock converter, and a BamaChips custom tune. He tried different converters and even cams, but the increased horsepower didn't translate to the track. He put the stock cams back in the car for Ford Fest and settled for 12.60s. Charlie got past James Brown in Round 1, and then Adam Brown in the final with a 12.68 to Adam's 12.79. Charlie and his wife, Monica, also won a Best of Show with her '95 GT convertible during Saturday's car show.

Kevin Volk competes regularly with the NMRA so we recognized his Shelby GT500. However, since he races in Modular Muscle, we've lost track of the strides he's made with the car. Karl bills his GT500 as the world's fastest and quickest GT500 with a six-speed. Though the car has been as quick as 9.75 at 147 mph, the Ford Fest's heat hand-cuffed the car to high 9s. That number was still good enough to secure the top spot in Hot Pony, which was the '05-current power-adder class. Kevin was pretty much stuck in the high 9s at Epping, which is a pretty good place to be, since no one else was able to get into the single digits. In the final against Gregory Kordis, Kevin ran another high 9 with a 9.99 at 138 mph to take the victory.

Gregory Kordis was the other Shelby GT500 in Hot Pony, and it was only natural that he be lined up against Kevin Volk in the final. Gregory is no stranger to racing his GT500, as it routinely runs low 10s thanks to help from Livernois Motorsports and a Whipple supercharger. Gregory ran a 12.32 in Round 1 of Hot Pony, which lead us to believe the car was hurt, but we were way wrong. Gregory was basically even with Kevin out of the gate, and was probably right at Kevin's quarter-panel the whole way down the track, running a 10.11 to Kevin's winning 9.99 at 138 mph.

Mike Landers' Fox GT was featured in 5.0&SF before Editor Turner and I came aboard, which was a long time ago. It's good to see he still has the car after all these years and that it's even nicer than when it was featured. Mike's GT boasts a Vortech S-Trim, a Holley SysteMAX II intake, a custom interior, and Saleen wheels at all four corners.

Mike Carualho of Fall River, Massachusetts, races this '79 coupe. Yes, you read that right, a '79 coupe. Every facet of Mike's coupe screams '87-'93, including the interior. The car was pretty much flawless, save for a few details he had yet to tidy up. Mike's coupe utilizes a ProCharger F-1 supercharger for motivation, which is usually good for high-8s. Mike qualified in the number-two spot, but he didn't have a handle on the starting line in the final against Ben Dahlgreen. Mike and his boys seemingly had a great time, however. Mike should get a chance to redeem himself at this year's event.

Adam Brown brought his '10 Mustang GT to Ford Fest with hopes of knocking off Charlie Grandll on his home turf. He even drove the car up from Maryland to do it, averaging over 20 mpg in the process. However, like Charlie, Adam's '10 was off-pace. His car had run in the 12.20s back home, but he had reached a ceiling and the car wouldn't go any quicker. As a matter of fact, the car got slower with every pass. Case in point, Adam qualified ahead of Charlie with a 12.55 at 109 mph, which was Adam's best time of the weekend, but by the time the final round came, he could only muster a 12.79 at 107 mph. With Adam's car getting slower with every pass, he had to get out on Charlie in the final. He did have a better reaction time, but it wasn't enough to keep him out front.