Michael Johnson Associate Editor
March 16, 2010
Photos By: Steve Turner

Nitto Tire King Of The Street It's the May issue, and you know what that means! It's Nitto Tire King of the Street time. Each year at the NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway, we hold the annual King of the Street competition.

For the KOTS, we round up roughly 10 to 12 of the baddest street Mustangs in America and pit them against each other to choose a winner of the coveted KOTS crown.

OK, so there's not an official crown, but we also don't announce the winner right there at the event, either. A crown is unnecessary anyway; that's not why people enter their Mustangs. It's about prestige, bragging rights, the pride of being 5.0&SF's King of the Street winner for one year. Think of Miss America-without the crown, make-up, high heels, and, thank goodness, swimsuit competition.

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The Nitto Tire KOTS is about the car that best bridges the gap between all-out horsepower and everyday driveability. If your Mustang makes 900 hp at the feet but drives like a Super Street Outlaw car, chances are you're not going to win. The same goes for a car that makes 600 hp with grocery-getter driveability. The latter Mustang may score a 10 in the Ride & Drive, but that horsepower level will earn you a low score in the Horsepower category, drastically affecting the car's final score. Other categories factor into the equation, so a competitor can't ace one category and win the competition.

This year the competition was robust, as we had the first Nitto Tire KOTS competitor to make over 1,000 hp at the feet, and another competitor shattered the quarter-mile record with a 9-second pass on the Nittos. How did those two competitors finish? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

He Shoots, He Scores
KOTS scoring revolves around the six categories listed below. Each category is weighted with a specific percentage, resembling how important each is to a competitor's final overall score. The percentages add up to a 100 percent, and each category is judged according to a 100-percent scale, just like when we were in school. The Engineering, Ride & Drive, and Fit & Finish categories are judged to 5.0&SF staffer's discretion. We don't play favorites with anyone, and we aren't easy to please. The Horsepower, Drag Race, and Popular Vote categories are based on finishing order, and scored as such.

I judge the Ride & Drive category, while Editor Turner judges Fit & Finish, and standing in for Tech Editor KJ Jones in the Engineering category is former 5.0&SF tech editor and current editor of Modified Mustang and Fords Mark Houlahan. Mark is a KOTS veteran judge and has even handled the KOTS on his own. We thank him for his willingness to help us judge the KOTS.

For those that want to win a KOTS crown, this is how the categories stack up, so plan accordingly:

Engineering: 15 percent
Horsepower: 25 percent
Ride & Drive: 25 percent
Drag Race: 10 percent
Fit & Finish: 15 percent
Popular Vote: 10 percent