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

Brandon Rakestraw
I can always count on the Georgia boys to bring out something wicked, but not quite this wicked.

Scotty Seals and the boys brought the second Fox to compete in this year's KOTS: Brandon Rakestraw's '89 Fox coupe. Instead of a 331 like Sergio's Saleen, Brandon's coupe came built to the hilt with a twin-turbocharged 408 Windsor under the hood. The 'Dawgs started barking the minute they got out the truck, and Brandon's coupe did plenty of biting too.

First off, Brandon's coupe is most likely the rowdiest car I've even driven. I've never driven an NMRA Super Street Outlaw car, but I would have to guess it's pretty close to what one would be like on the street. The car simply wouldn't turn, it was loud, the A/C didn't work, and throttle was either on or off. The manual steering would make Popeye out of Miley Cyrus, and the big 'n' littles didn't help the cause. Brandon probably drives the car a lot back home, but it's nothing I would want to drive on a daily basis.

Somehow I don't think the guys were going for a 10 in the Ride & Drive category. Scotty wanted to shatter the KOTS Drag Race record of 10.31 at 133 mph held by Mark Magnuson with a single-digit pass.

I am happy to report he did exactly that with a 9.88 at 151 mph. Unfortunately, it wasn't a clean pass. The hoodpins couldn't handle the single-digit truth, and the hood flew back into the windshield and the top of the car. Thankfully, a full cage saved Scotty from being hurt, and a full-face helmet kept debris from doing any bodily damage.

Afterward, Scotty and the crew were in no mood to stick around and partake in the Popular Vote segment. We told the guys that the car would surely win that segment on sheer looks alone, and I stick by that argument, but understandably, they packed up and headed for home.

The Ride & Drive result was obvious, but the car made 862 hp, scoring a 10 in that category. The car did well in the Fit & Finish and Engineering categories since it was a wickedly clean and well-detailed coupe. Of course, the car scored a 12 in the Drag Race portion, but brought up the rear with no votes in the Popular Vote category thanks to a no-show. Brandon's coupe finished with a final score of 76.

Ride & Drive: 5
Horsepower: 10
Fit & Finish: 8
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 12
Popular Vote: 1

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Dart
Displacement: 408 ci
Rotating Assembly: Scat crank and rods
Camshaft: Custom grind
Heads: Edelbrock Victor Jr
Intake: Edelbrock Victor EFI
Power Adder: Twin turbos
Fuel System: Aeromotive
Exhaust: Custom
Transmission: 4R70W
Rearend: 8.8, Moser 31-spline axles

Engine Management
: Big Stuff 3
Ignition: MSD
Gauges: Stock, Auto Meter

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Ryan Tutor
Editor Turner brought news of Ryan Tutor's '98 Saleen after seeing the car at Mustang Week 2009. After I received the pictures of the car, I knew Ryan's Saleen was a perfect KOTS candidate.

What's not to like about it? It has a 5.4 with Ford GT heads and cams, a T56, and two big turbos. It's also nicely detailed, and oh yeah, it came with big horsepower claims as well. It was an odds-on favorite.

Ryan bought the Saleen in 2003, and it's been through a myriad of engine and power-adder combinations. Fastlane Motorsports has been an integral part of the process every step of the way. Fastlane's Melvin, Caleb, and Jim are responsible for making Ryan's mechanical dreams come true. "I am fortunate to have such a well-rounded shop so close to me," Ryan says. He's also fortunate to have his understanding wife, Kelly, and daughter Katie, as well.

So how did Fastlane Motorsports do? I would say they did a fantastic job. Sorry to sound European, but Ryan's Saleen is an excellent road car. The car features a fully operational A/C and all accessories, nice brakes, a Viper-spec T56, and 3.31 gears. All these attributes make the Saleen awesome on the highway. The tuning was spot-on, and the Pro-5.0 shifter worked like a dream. The car is devoid of a rollcage so getting in and out was a non-issue. Mach 1 seats also made for a comfortable ride. The gauges were nicely laid out, and the car ran cool all through our Ride & Drive test loop.

The only things I found "wrong" with Ryan's Saleen were that the clutch was a little chattery, and its release was tough to modulate. The only other complaint is it seemed the car's turning radius was rather inflated. In other words, doing a U-turn in the car would require a little more room than other cars, including those in the KOTS.

Drama arrived when Ryan's car hit the Modular Depot Dynojet. We had heard of 1,000-plus out of the combination, but here the dyno measured 772 hp. Speculations were made, but in the end, it is what it is-772 hp is what I had to go with. I heard from more than one person that witnessed the car make way more back at Fastlane, but unfortunately, it didn't make that power at KOTS, and that's when it counts.

As such, the Horsepower segment really hurt Ryan's final score, as did his Drag Race score, but on his second drag pass, the Saleen broke several driveline components going into Fourth gear, so he had to use his first run, which was an 11.34 at 126 mph, giving him a 3 in the Drag Race category. Ryan's Saleen scored really well in most of the categories, and with a 9 in the Popular Vote, it was obviously a crowd favorite. The Saleen finished the competition with a score of 76.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 8
Fit & Finish: 8
Engineering: 8
Drag Race: 3
Popular Vote: 9

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Iron 5.4
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 4.165 in
Displacement: 330 ci
Rotating Assembly: Forged steel crankshaft, Oliver billet connecting rods, CP pistons, Total Seal piston rings
Camshafts: Ford GT
Heads: Ford GT, Fastlane Motorsports-ported
Intake: Sullivan Performance, Kris Starnes-modified
Throttle Body: Accufab single-blade
Mass Air Meter: SCT 3000
Power Adder: Fastlane Motorsports-built HP Performance twin-turbo system w/Garrett Big Kahuna 67mm turbochargers,and 28 pounds of boost
Fuel System: Aeromotive Pro-Series fuel system, Earl's lines, Sullivan Performance fuel rails, Lucas low-impedence 120-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Fastlane Motorsports custom headers w/X-shape crossover pipe, DynoMax Ultra-Flo mufflers, and Fastlane Motorsports-custom tailpipes
Transmission: T56 six-speed, SPEC Twin-Disc clutch and P-Trim pressure plate, Pro-5.0 shifter
Rearend: 8.8 w/Detroit Locker True-Trac differential, 3.31 gears, and Moser 31-spline axles

Engine Management
: Stock computer w/Versafueler injector driver, Fastlane Motorsports/SCT custom tune
Ignition: Stock w/MSD coil packs and spark plug wires, and NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges: Stock, Auto Meter Phantom boost and fuel pressure gauges

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