Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
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

2009 Nitto Tire King of the Street Winner!
Tom Darnell/Erik Radzins

To have 1,000 hp and this kind of driveability should be illegal. Drop the shifter in drive and go. Should the feeling arise, drop the hammer and get ready to steer your arms off. The last thing you want to do with Tom Darnell's '03 Cobra is hit the gas with the wheels turned-that is not a good idea at all. When you mat willing gas pedal, you'll have to steer anyway so you might as well start out pointed straight. Drive the Cobra like Miss Daisy and you'll never know 1,000 hp lies in wait. Tom's Cobra is to the King of the Street competition like Peyton Manning is to the quarterback position-it's the perfect fit.

Tom put his head together with the guys from the House of Boost to bring the Cobra to life. Tom owns NANO-Nitrous, and the House of Boost was founded on providing customers with exactly that-boost, and lots of it. Erik Radzins and Dorian Comeau from the House of Boost are no strangers to KOTS. Erik and Dorian know what we're looking for, and they know how to bring it.

What they brought was the KOTS' first 1,000hp car to actually make 1,000 rwhp at our event. We've had car owners claiming 1,000 hp, but for one reason or another, that number never materialized before now, 2009. Specifically, Tom's twin-turbo Cobra made 1,078 hp, and thanks to its drop-it-in, drive-and-go driveability, it scored a 9 in the Ride & Drive category. Tom and Erik worked on two different Baumannator transmission tunes for the car-one for "around-town" driving and another for "outside-of-town" spirited driving. The "outside-of-town" transmission tune features switches for overdrive and lock-up, but the "around-town" tune allows you to drop the stock-style shifter in drive and go with a fully operational overdrive and lock-up.

The car is amazingly docile and mild-mannered just putting around town-until you slam 20-plus pounds of boost down the Sullivan Performance intake. That's when the E85-fed powerplant shows its muscle. It's a small detail, but even the gas pedal worked like a dream.

With murdered-out Welds, the Cobra's look equaled its sinister nature, but steering prowess was unaffected. The car was just a dream to drive; I wish I could've brought it home. Unfortunately, Erik blew a head gasket in the car during an after-KOTS quarter-mile run. Besides, I don't think Tom wants the car that far from him

The numbers speak for themselves. Tom's Cobra finished the competition with a high score of 91.5. Congrats Tom, Erik, and Dorian.

Ride & Drive: 9
Horsepower: 12
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 5
Popular Vote: 10

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 4.6 aluminum block
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 281 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock Cobra crankshaft, Manley Performance H-beam connecting rods, JE pistons, Hellfire piston rings
Camshafts: Strictly Performance custom grinds
Heads: Stock '03 Cobra, Strictly Performance-ported/flowed, Manley Performance valves, Comp Cams valvesprings
Intake: Sullivan Performance lower, HPP upper
Throttle Body: Single-blade
Power Adder: HP Performance twin 67mm turbocharger system, ball-bearing turbos, 28 pounds of boost, intercooled, NANO Nitrous by Nitrous Outlet 20-pound competition system 100hp system
Fuel System: Aeromotive Eliminator Pro Stealth fuel system, Sullivan Performance fuel rails, 160-lb/hr fuel injectors
Exhaust: HP Performance headers and H-pipe, DynoMax Bullet 3-in mufflers, Flowmaster 3-in tailpipes
Transmission: 4R70W automatic, Precision Industries Stallion 3,000-rpm stall converter with lock-up, Baumannator TCS, stock automatic shifter
Rearend: Stock IRS, The Driveshaft Shop Level 5 axles, 3.55 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Big Stuff 3, House of Boost-tuned
Ignition: Coil-on plug, Taylor spark plug wires, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges: Stock

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Jason Struzik
If you haven't figured it out by now, we'll tell you a little secret-twin-turbocharged '03-'04 Cobras do really well in the KOTS. Mike Palugi gave everyone the formula, and they keep coming back. Jason Struzik's '03 Cobra follows Mike's recipe of ditching the factory Eaton in favor of twin turbochargers, but also throws in a pinch of nitrous for a little extra kick. The Schererville, Indiana, resident brought his lovely wife, Cheryl, and the kids, along with his Midwest posse to have some fun in Bowling Green.

Jason's car was the easiest car to start. I don't know why and it seems like a small detail, but every little bit counts. Many KOTS cars take a few rotations to light, but Jason's lit right off with no hesitation. Once underway, the car's McLeod Twin-Disc clutch didn't seem as grabby as other KOTS stick-cars' clutches, but for some reason the handling wasn't as sharp as Tom Darnell's KOTS-winning Cobra, even though both cars shared a similar big 'n' little wheel and tire arrangement.

The convertible suffered from a little cowl shake, which is to be expected from a droptop. However, Jason likes his tunes, so he made sure the car was outfitted as such, including a flip-screen display. The gauge layout was perfect, and the modified stock seats did a fine job of looking good and keeping you planted. However, the shifter was a little forward, which threw off the driver position for me, which was weird because Jason and I are roughly the same height.

As for power, Jason's Cobra made 983 hp courtesy of a Turbo Horsepower twin-turbo kit, a little spray, and Bob Kurgan's tuning. On the Ride & Drive, the power was linear, giving me a chance to prepare for the onslaught of boost. The car was a pleasure to drive, but not as easy or grin-inducing as Tom's Cobra. That's why it scored an 8 in the Ride & Drive segment. It finished second in the Horsepower segment, earning the high score there, and it finished with 9s in both the Fit & Finish and Engineering categories.

As you can see, the only category Jason's car didn't do well in is the Drag Race portion. That's because he broke a belt tensioner in the burnout box. However, his good wife Cheryl and his Midwest posse lobbied for votes all weekend, and the work paid off with a high score in the Popular Vote segment. Jason finished with a final score of 87.5.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 11
Fit & Finish: 9
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 1
Popular Vote: 12

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Stock Iron
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 281 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Heads: Stock
Intake: Sullivan Performance
Throttle Body: Accufab
Mass Air Meter: SCT
Power Adder: Turbo Horsepower twin-turbocharger kit, 57mm Garrett turbochargers, intercooled, ZEX wet nitrous kit, 75hp shot until boost hits 10 pounds
Fuel System: Twin Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps, Sullivan Performance fuel rails, RC 75-lb/hr fuel injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Exhaust: Turbo Horsepower headers and custom intermediate pipe, and Bassani Xhaust after-cat
Transmission: D&D Performance-built T56, McLeod Twin-Disc ceramic clutch and pressure plate, and Hurst shifter
Rearend: Solid-Axle conversion 8.8, Strange Engineering differential, Strange 31-spline axles, and 3.27 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Stock Computer, SCT handheld, Kurgan Motorsports-tuned
Ignition: Stock, NGK BR7EFS spark plugs
Gauges: Stock, Auto Meter boost, fuel pressure, and air/fuel

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Jeff Schmell
The last car I drove was the Shelby GT500 of Jeff Schmell, whose name should be no stranger to any 5.0&SF reader. Jeff is a veteran of these pages thanks to his racing exploits with the NMRA. His GT500 was a royal blast to drive. If you ever get the chance to drive a heavily boosted GT500, do it. You'll be able to have the same fun I did at the wheel of Jeff's Shelby.

With the loud pedal down, I am sure Jeff's Shelby would have John Force checking to see if his funny car was running it's that loud. If it were my car, I wouldn't have a license. The cops would know me better than they already do. I don't think I would be able to drop to the next gear and sneak through town, but the Shelby does get a bit quieter when putzin' down Broadway.

Thanks to the instant Whipple boost, First and Second gear are useless on the street, and Third and Fourth are a hold-on-a-thon. Ever the racer, Jeff's clutch pedal travel was greatly reduced, and the car's shifter probably featured the shortest throw I've ever experienced.

A map to Third gear was not necessary. What is needed though, and Jeff's Shelby has it, is a shift light. The rpm comes up so fast, you can't watch the tach and drive at the same time. This sort of acceleration mandates a shift light.

Jeff's car reacted well to driver input, and of course, the brakes are glorious, which was reassuring with this much power on tap. This Shelby hit most of the right buttons, which is reflected in each segment's score, and the overall final score.

Jeff's ride finished with an 8 in the Ride & Drive; by making 775 hp, he finished with a 9 in that category. He had a pair of 8s in the Fit & Finish and Engineering categories; with a 10.66/134 mph pass, he finished with a 9 in the Drag Race category. In the Popular Vote, he finished mid-pack with just 23 votes for a score of 6. Jeff's final score came in at 81.5.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 9
Fit & Finish: 8
Engineering: 8
Drag Race: 9
Popular Vote: 6

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 4.6 aluminum block
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 281 ci
Camshafts: Ford stock grind
Heads: Ford ported and polished aluminum with three-angle valve job
Intake: Kinsler eight-stack
Power Adder: Twin Precision turbos
Fuel System: FRPP
Exhaust: SPO stainless steel
Transmission: G-Force six-speed
Rearend: Ford 9-inch with Strange axles

Electronics
Engine Management:
MegaSquirt II, Power by the Hour-tuned
Ignition: MSD 6AL and distributor
Gauges: Stock cluster and gauges; Auto Meter Phantom boost, oil pressure, and water temp

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Sergio Rojas
The '89 Saleen of Sergio Rojas represented well for the Fox crowd. We thought the days of a Fox-body doing well in the KOTS were long gone, but Sergio's Saleen showed us the old girls aren't going anywhere.

Built primarily at Power by the Hour in South Florida (you'll be hearing more of that name), Sergio's Saleen did well for itself, despite Sergio playing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes during the Ride & Drive. Seriously Sergio, my older brothers would've loved it, but I'm a little more up to date. Ride & Drive points took a hit there (just kidding). The stereo rocked; the song didn't.

The car's seats weren't ready for my big behind, either. I knew I was putting on a few pounds, but the driver's seat told me, "One at a time, please." Thankfully, it was wide enough for me to find a temporary home behind the wheel. The car wasn't used to someone my height, either. However, the seat moved back far enough to remedy that issue.

The car's steering was effortless, and for a Fox car, it had a nice turning radius. The Cobra brakes worked well, and it was nice to have an automatic car without a manual valve body for a change.

Under boost, the transmission shifted like a hot knife through butter, but it ate itself on the dyno during the Horsepower segment, roasting Third and Fourth gears in the 4R70W.

Still, the Saleen's driving experience lived up to the billing. A single-turbo 331 with a silky-smooth automatic is hard to beat for an everyday car. The car ran cool, had functional A/C, nice gauges, and an automatic shifter that looked like a manual. Sergio's Saleen was just missing a couple hundred horsepower, a fully operational transmission, and perhaps a few Fit & Finish upgrades to bring down the vaunted twin-turbo modulars.

As it was, Sergio's Saleen finished with an 8 in the Ride & Drive, a 7 in the Horsepower segment with 767 hp. With a bum transmission he still ran an impressive 11.21, but at just 104 mph to finish with a 6 in the Drag Race segment thanks to the hurt trans. With a 9 in the Popular Vote, Sergio's Saleen most certainly struck a chord with those in attendance.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 7
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 6
Popular Vote: 9

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Dart
Bore: 4.030 in
Stroke: 3.25 in
Displacement: 331 ci
Rotating Assembly: Eagle 4340 crankshaft and rods, Diamond Racing pistons
Camshaft: Cam Motion custom grind
Heads: TEA-ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge 205 with 2.05/1.60 valves and Crane Gold Race rockers
Intake: Edelbrock Victor EFI
Throttle Body: Accufab 75mm
Power Adder: Power by the Hour single-turbo system w/Garrett GT-42R 76mm single turbo, air-to-air intercooler, and 16 pounds of boost
Fuel System: Twin Bosch 392 fuel pumps, 1/2-inch feed, 3/8-inch return fuel lines, sumped fuel tank, Aeromotive fuel rails and regulator, and RCA 75-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Power by the Hour turbo headers and Y-pipe; Magnaflow cats, mufflers, and tailpipes
Transmission: Power by the Hour 4R70W w/Baumannator controller, and FTI 3,200-rpm stall converter
Rearend: 8.8 w/Moser Engineering 31-spline axles, '03-'04 Cobra differential, and Ford Racing 3.27 gears

Electronics
Engine Management
: DiabloSport Predator
Ignition: Ford ECU with Diablo tune
Gauges: Defi Heads-up gauge display

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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

Electronics
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

Electronics
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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Jake Long
When someone that's been in the Mustang hobby a long time and driven some really fast cars says you have to check out this guy's car, I tend to listen. Such was the case of Jake Long and his '97 Cobra.

UPR Products' Jeremy Martorella told me I needed to check out a Cobra from his area. When Jeremy began describing the car, I realized I already knew about it, but Jeremy telling me how nice the car made me feel more comfortable choosing it for the KOTS. I had already received pictures of Jake's car, and was really taken aback by its mechanical upgrades. The included YouTube videos confirmed Jake's car was perfect for KOTS.

Looking at Jake's car from the outside, you'd keep walking. However, taking a look under the hood will keep you there for a while-both turbos are located right behind the driver-side headlight. Then check out the 16 injectors for the E85 in concert with the eight 24-lb/hr injectors for 87-octane fuel. And how about that custom intake? Jake did it all under the roof of his shop Power by the Hour in Boynton Beach, Florida.

He bought the Cobra pretty much stock a couple years back, and he's finally at a point where he just wants to drive and enjoy it. I have to say Jake's Cobra was one of my favorite cars. Since my daily car is an SN-95 Mustang, I felt right at home, and Jake's was a car you could simply drop in drive and go. With the windows up and A/C blasting, I could've easily confused Jake's car for a stock 15-second automatic-but hit the throttle and both downpipes open up, the E85 fuel system takes over, and everything else on the road gets really small.

What really impressed me was the attention to detail. The cruise-control buttons work the stereo, and using Bluetooth technology, the stereo also serves as the phone. During the Ride & Drive portion, the stereo suddenly started ringing. With just the touch of a button, Jake and I were taking a pizza order from one his buddies back at the track. It was a joke, but also a demonstration of one of its cool features, which are numerous.

On the whole, I don't have room to tell you all the details of Jake's Cobra. What I can tell you is that it's one of the cars I would've loved to take home with me. It perfectly blends horsepower with everyday driveability.

Obviously, Jake's car did really well in the Ride & Drive, with a score of 9 in that category. With 642 hp at the feet, it scored a low 3 in that all-important category. More power would've definitely improved his overall score. With his sleeper exterior, Editor Turner gave him a 7 in Fit & Finish, while the car's technical merits earned it a 9 in Engineering.

After also lunching his 4R70W during the Horsepower competition, Jake only had First and Second gears. Through those gears, we could see the 9-second potential, but without Third and Fourth, he had to coast to the finish line with an 11.29 at 101 mph for a score of 4. Obviously onlookers loved Jake's Cobra, garnering 47 votes for an 11 in that category. Jake finished the competition with a 69.

Ride & Drive: 9
Horsepower: 3
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 4
Popular Vote: 11

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 4.6 aluminum block
Bore: 3.582 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 286 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock Cobra crankshaft, Manley Performance H-Beam connecting rods, Diamond Racing pistons, Total Seal piston rings
Camshafts: Ford Racing FR500
Heads: Power by the Hour-ported stock Four-Valve heads, Ford Racing FR500 valvesprings
Intake: Power by the Hour-custom
Throttle Body: Stock
Mass Air Meter: Pro-M
Power Adder: Power by the Hour custom twin-turbo system, Master Power 60mm turbochargers, intercooled
Fuel System: Magnafuel pump (E85), Stock fuel pump (87 octane), custom lines and rails for both E85 and 87 octane fuel systems, 16 60-lb/hr fuel injectors for E85, stock 24-lb/hr injectors for 87 octane, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator for E85, stock regulator for 87 octane
Exhaust: Power by the Hour exhaust system w/Magnaflow mufflers and Dr. Gas tailpipes
Transmission: Power by the Hour-built 4R70W automatic w/FTI 3,000-rpm stall converter, and a stock shifter
Rearend: 8.8 w/'03-'04 Cobra differential, 3.55 gears, and Moser 31-spline axles

Electronics
Engine Management:
MegaSquirt (E85), stock computer (87 octane)
Ignition: Coil-on plug, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges: Stock with wideband

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Fred Cook/Nelson Whitlock Jr.
The first '10 Shelby GT500 I drove was Nelson Whitlock Jr.'s for the KOTS. After driving Nelson's Shelby, a stock GT500 would probably be a bit like meeting Kobe Bryant after meeting Michael Jordan. A stock GT500 is cool (Bryant), but one with a Kenne Bell supercharger and almost 700 hp at the wheels (Jordan) trumps a stock GT500 any day. Making this much power with a mostly stock vehicle should be illegal in all 50 states, but that's where technology has brought us.

Thanks to the Kenne Bell, the GT500 is ready to go at the mere thought of hitting the gas. Once you do hit the throttle, you're gone. Like the throttle response, everything about the car was right on. In my notes, I had no complaints on the car. Everything worked like factory. Nelson's GT500 already had a cage, but it was equipped with swing-out door bars so entry and exit was easy. Since it was a '10 GT500, the brakes and handling were superb.

The car was a blast to drive, so it did well in the Ride & Drive category with a 9, but 689 hp scored it in the bottom half with a 4. Since the exterior and engine were mostly stock, the Fit & Finish and Engineering scores were on the low scale with 6s in both categories. With an 11.08/133-mph pass, Evolution Performance's Nelson Whitlock Jr. nestled it in with a 7 in the Drag Race category. It scored well with the Mustang public too-a 7 in the Popular Vote category.

Ride & Drive: 9
Horsepower: 4
Fit & Finish: 6
Engineering: 6
Drag Race: 7
Popular Vote: 7

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 5.4
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 4.165 in
Displacement: 330 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock GT500
Camshafts: Stock
Heads: Stock
Intake: Stock
Power Adder: Kenne Bell Mammoth
Throttle Body: Evolution Performance
Fuel System: Stock
Exhaust: Stock
Transmission: T6060 six-speed
Rearend: Stock 8.8

Electronics
Engine Management:
Stock computer, Evolution Motorsports-tuned
Ignition: Stock
Gauges: Stock

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Tim Bronchetti
A veteran of the KOTS, Tim Bronchetti came this year with his '07 Shelby GT500. Like the Fox GT he brought a few years back, his GT500 was black. Thankfully, the GT500 didn't have a red interior like his prior KOTS Fox car. Similar to Nelson's GT500, Tim's GT500 was pretty much stock, but with a TVS supercharger. We wanted to see how the TVS would stack up against the other power adders represented in the KOTS.

It compared well to its boosted brethren. In my notes I wrote that the car accelerated like crazy. I shouldn't have been surprised: Combine a positive-displacement blower with 3.73 gears and you're going to have crazy-like acceleration. However, the gears were a little on the noisy side, and the clutch was a little grabby coming out of First. That's to be expected, but it was also the only time you noticed the clutch's grab.

Like Jeff Schmell's GT500, Tim's Shelby sounded pissed at the world under throttle, but when just cruising around, it was a more subtle. Tim might be able to sneak through town back home in New York.

What's amazing about cars like Tim's is that other than the TVS supercharger, the exhaust, the 3.73 gears, and the tuning, the car's stock; yet it made 694 hp at the wheels on Modular Depot's Dynojet. There are not too many readily available, affordable cars capable of that.

Since the car was easy to drive, Tim's GT500 scored an 8 in the Ride & Drive; even with 694 hp at the wheels, that still put him in the bottom tier with a 5 in the Horsepower category. With its stock exterior, Tim's GT500 scored a modest 6 in Fit & Finish, but rebounded with an 8 in the Engineering category. With a 10.86 at 132 mph, Tim's GT500 finished with an 8 in the Drag Race category, but not too many were impressed with the car since it only earned 2 votes in the Popular Vote category. Tim's final score was a 63.5.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 5
Fit & Finish: 6
Engineering: 8
Drag Race: 8
Popular Vote: 2

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Stock GT500 iron
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 4.165 in
Displacement: 330 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Heads: Stock Shelby GT500
Throttle Body: Mono-blade
Mass Air Meter: Ford Racing Performance Parts
Power Adder: Ford Racing TVS supercharger
Fuel System: Stock
Exhaust: Long-tube headers and X-shape crossover pipe
Transmission: T6060 six-speed
Rearend: Stock 8.8, 3.73 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Stock Computer
Ignition: Stock
Gauges: Stock

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Diego Castro
Completing the Power by the Hour trifecta is Diego Castro. He sent the initial applications for his South Florida brethren, yet he's the one bringing up the rear of the three. It doesn't seem fair, but that's the way the ball bounces in this case.

Diego's '00 GT wears genuine Saleen ground effects, and also twin turbos over a built Four-Valve. Jake at Power by the Hour built Diego's car as well, so it follows the recipe, and what a recipe it is.

Diego's car was devoid of a cage; getting in and out was a piece of cake. Once in, the stock and Auto Meter gauges in a Speed of Sound gauge pod greet you with a smile. During the Ride & Drive, the only gauge to get our attention was the tach-the needle swung to the right as quick as a Floyd Mayweather Jr. punch. I left a few thousand miles worth of Nitto rubber on the road leading to Beech Bend Raceway "testing" the car's driveability. Acceleration easily surpassed requirements.

Like many of the other turbo cars in KOTS, Diego's car is docile out of boost, and since it's a 4R70W car, you could hand the keys to pretty much anyone and send them on their way. The transmission shifted perfect on the Ride & Drive, and Diego's car didn't suffer the same transmission damage as his fellow Power by the Hour delegates during the dyno portion of the competition. All accessories worked as they should; the only issue I had with the car was the front end made a little racket going over bumps.

Ultimately, what hurt Diego's score was his GT's lack of big power, which came in at 638 hp to give him a bottom-scraping 2 in the Horsepower segment. The car earned an 8 in the Ride & Drive, while earning a pair of 7s in the Fit & Finish and Engineering (tough crowd). With a stellar 10.07 at 141 mph, he scored an 11 in the Drag Race category, but his GT didn't seem to arouse the crowd, garnering only 11 votes to finish with a 4 in the Popular Vote. Diego finished with a 61.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 2
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 7
Drag Race: 11
Popular Vote: 4

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 4.6 Teksid aluminum block
Bore: 3.572 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 283 ci
Rotating Assembly: Cobra crankshaft, Manley Performance connecting rods, CP pistons, Total Seal piston rings
Camshafts: Stock '03 Cobra
Heads: Stock '03 Cobra
Intake: '01 Cobra
Mass Air Meter: Pro-Flow
Power Adder: Power by the Hour-built twin turbocharger system w/Twin Precision 60mm turbos, HP Performance intercooler, 20 pounds of boost
Fuel System: Twin Ford GT supercar fuel pumps, -8 fuel lines, CPR fuel rails, 60-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: HP Performance headers modified by Power by the Hour w/custom X-shape crossover pipe; Magnaflow mufflers and tailpipes
Transmission: Power by the Hour-built 4R70W automatic w/FTI 3,800-rpm stall converter and stock shifter
Rearend: 8.8 w/Eaton posi, 3.31 gears, Moser Engineering 31-spline axles

Electronics
Engine Management:
Stock computer w/DiabloSport software
Ignition: Stock w/Weapon-X coils and NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges: Stock, Auto Meter, Speed of Sound gauge pod

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Jim D'Amore III
The D'Amore name should be no stranger to Mustang fans. Jim D'Amore's family owns JDM Engineering, a New Jersey shop responsible for some wicked Mustangs.

Jim the Third brought his '06 Saleen S281 to the KOTS party, which is the same car he competes on the NMRA tour. I was skeptical about Jim's "race" car performing in the KOTS, but the car did well where I didn't think it would, which is on the street.

With an Edelbrock E-Force super-charger, the power delivery of Jim's Saleen was comparable to the other positive-displacement superchargers on other KOTS competitors' cars. Jim's Saleen boasted a stock 5R55S automatic transmission, but with the Edelbrock, power was available everywhere in the rpm range. The transmission, which featured a Precision Industries converter, hit pretty hard at times, but under acceleration, it delivered the power and came back for more at every stab of the throttle.

With a mixture of suspension goodies from Saleen Racecraft, QA1, Metco Motorsports, and a BMR Fabrication antiroll bar, Jim's Saleen handled well, even with the Holeshot big 'n' littles. Since Jim regularly races the car, it had a cage, but with swing-outs and stock seat belts, so we didn't deduct any points in that area.

An area that stuck out during the Ride & Drive was the car's Saleen S7 carbon-fiber seats. They were comfortable; once I was seated, I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I was like a baseball in a glove wrapped with a couple rubber bands. In my notes, I wrote that Jim's car was impressive on the street. It dispelled my initial thoughts of Jim's car.

I wasn't surprised Jim did well in the Drag Race category when he ran a 10.24 at 134 mph to finish with a 10 in the Drag Race category, but his Saleen made the least horsepower with "just" 590 at the wheels on Modular Depot's Dynojet. I was surprised at how well it did during the Ride & Drive portion, earning an 8 in that category. In the Fit & Finish category, you can tell Jim's car is driven, and hard. As such, it suffered a 6 in Fit & Finish, and the Engineering score wasn't much better coming in at 7. In the Popular Vote, Jim's Saleen finished with 17 votes, earning the car a 5 in that category. Jim's final KOTS score was a 57.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 1
Fit & Finish: 6
Engineering: 7
Drag Race: 10
Popular Vote: 5

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford Racing iron 5.0-liter modular
Bore: Standard
Stroke: 3.750 in
Displacement: 323 ci
Rotating Assembly: Kellogg steel forged crankshaft, Manley Performance connecting rods and pistons, Total Seal piston rings
Camshafts: Comp Cams customs
Heads: JDM Engineering-ported Three-Valve, M2 Racing CNC-ported, Manley Performance valvesprings
Intake: Edelbrock
Throttle Body: Edelbrock 85mm
Mass Air Meter: Saleen PMAS
Power Adder: Edelbrock E-Force supercharger w/ 2.6-inch supercharger pulley and 22 pounds of boost
Fuel System: Ford Racing GT500 fuel pump, stock fuel lines and rails, 60-lb/hr injectors, stock regulator
Exhaust: Kooks 13/4-inch long-tube headers with 3-inch collectors and H-pipe, Saleen/Magnaflow mufflers
Transmission: Stock 5R55S, Precision Industries 2,400-rpm stall converter, stock shifter
Rearend: 8.8 w/Detroit Locker True-Trac differential, 31-spline axles, and 4.10 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Stock computer, SCT XCal 3 with JDM Engineering tune
Ignition: Stock, Autolite spark plugs
Gauges: Stock

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Dan Schoneck/Brittian Gilbertson
Disco Dan Schoneck is a KOTS veteran, having built several cars for past competitions. We might as well reserve a spot for Dan because it's a given he'll have what we need-a supercharged powerhouse. It's no secret the KOTS has gone in a turbocharged direction, but since Dan has such a great relationship with ProCharger, we knew he'd come through with something wicked to compete against the turbocharged crowd.

This year's competition was no different. Dan brought Brittian Gilbertson's '94 Cobra featuring a ProCharged 306 under the hood. You'd think that would be a veritable knife to a gunfight scenario, but the 306 wasn't relying on a P-1SC; it was bringing an F-1C to the party. In true Dan Schoneck fashion, he was late because of tow-vehicle mechanical issues, but the wait was worth it. Brittian's Cobra was a loud, obnoxious answer to the quiet, pedestrian-sounding turbocharged entries. It was just what we needed to bring a little noise and excitement to the KOTS.

However, the Cobra must have caught something from the tow vehicle because it too ran into mechanical problems after Friday afternoon's Drag Race portion. It seems the engine's valvetrain didn't last through one of the drag passes, and Dan spent most of Saturday fixing the engine. We didn't see Dan until late in the afternoon on Saturday.

I hadn't been able to drive the car for the Ride & Drive segment, so Dan and I agreed to a drive Sunday morning, which would give him time to tune the car again, and hopefully not have a mechanical repeat. I witnessed Dan tuning the Cobra Saturday night, but while "tuning" the car on the highway, mechanical woes reared their ugly head again, this time putting the Cobra down for the count. That would definitely hurt the Cobra's finishing order for the KOTS.

Even though I was unable to drive the Cobra, I did witness it running and felt bad about the car's mechanical woes. Therefore, I gave it a pity score of 4 in the Ride & Drive. Before its woes, the Cobra made 763 hp on Modular Depot's portable Dynojet, which scored it mid-pack with a 6. The Cobra scored a 7 in both the Fit & Finish and Engineering categories. With an 11.57/134-mph pass, Dan scored a lowly 2 in the Drag Race category. And with its mostly absentee presence on the Popular Vote field, he scored an unfriendly 3 in that category to finish with a 51.

Ride & Drive: 4
Horsepower: 6
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 7
Drag Race: 2
Popular Vote: 3

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Dart
Bore: 4.030 in
Stroke: 3.000 in
Displacement: 306 ci
Rotating Assembly: Eagle 4340 crankshaft and rods, Diamond Racing pistons
Camshaft: Bullet Racing Cams solid-roller
Heads: Fox Lake-ported Trick Flow Street Heat w/T&D shaft mount rockers and Ferrea stainless steel 2.02/1.60 valves
Intake: Edelbrock Super Victor EFI
Throttle Body: Accufab 90mm
Power Adder: ProCharger F-1C supercharger, 24 pounds of boost, ProCharger air-to-air intercooler
Fuel System: Magnafuel EFI Tuner 750 series fuel pump, Edelbrock fuel rails, Ford Racing 160-lb/hr injectors, Aeromotive regulator
Exhaust: Kooks long-tube headers, Custom X-shape crossover pipe and after-cat featuring Stainless Works mufflers
Transmission: D&D Performance T56, McLeod Twin-Disc clutch and flywheel, Pro-5.0, PST carbon-fiber driveshaft
Rearend: 8.8 w/Moser Engineering 31-spline axles, Eaton posi, and 3.73 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Big Stuff 3
Ignition: MSD 6AL 2
Gauges: Stock, Auto Meter Phantom boost and fuel pressure, AEM wideband

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