Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
June 23, 2011
Photos By: Michael Johnson

It's been just over a year since the '11 Mustangs hit dealerships, and in mere months this car has become the darling of the aftermarket. In scant weeks, the cars were modified to eclipse quarter-mile milestones that their predecessors took months or even years to conquer. It goes without saying that Ford hit this one out of the park, but the return of a 5.0 engine has us feeling more than a bit nostalgic.

That nostalgia isn't based on a wish to return to the good old days of pushrods, but to revisit the days of the 5.0 Shootout, an event put together by Super Ford, the magazine we joined with in the early 2000s. Back in the days of the first 5.0 revolution, pioneers from all over the country were modifying their Mustangs for quarter-mile supremacy, but there was no place for them to see how they stacked up against the other cars. There wasn't a racing series. There was no Internet. The magazine brought these cars together at one track to see how the cars compared.

Today, obviously, things are much different. The outlets for displaying the performance of the latest Mustang are myriad. Yet, it seems enthusiasts are still ahead of the curve. The cars are just starting to sneak into racing classes, but there are no dedicated places for them to square off. Racing to get videos and timeslips online is part of the game today, but nothing beats comparing the cars on the same day at the same track.

Naturally, we considered putting together our own 5.0 Shootout in the mold of those groundbreaking Super Ford events, which paved the way for many of the events that followed. However, we wanted to wait until the market matured, many of the power-adder options arrived, and tuning gained a foothold inside the Copperhead ECU.

While we waited, all those things happened, but something else changed. There was a groundswell on the Internet for a more inclusive event, one that didn't just include shop stars but allowed regular Joes to compete as well. As this what-if scenario built momentum online, we were contacted about our interest in covering the event. It was impossible not to appreciate the grassroots nature of the happening. While much Internet posting just expresses dissatisfaction without offering a solution, these enthusiasts took a do-it-yourself approach.

With nothing more than a good feeling, we agreed to attend the event put together by Adam Browne of Revolution Automotive. We had no idea how many cars would show up or how the race would come off, but we knew it was a great idea. Boy, are we glad we said yes. Twenty-four '11-'12 Mustangs showed up at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville, Maryland. The weather was cool and the track was sticky thanks to tireless prep from MIR's head tractor drifter Jason Miller.

On that stage, the attendees put on quite a display of performance. Most staggering of all was that they did it with relatively few modifications. To find out about the state of the art in Coyote performance as of late March 2011, keep reading. If these cars are running this well after one year, imagine what the future holds...

Horse Sense: While this was a fully grassroots event put on by Adam Browne, he did get some sponsorship support from both JPC Racing (www.jpcracing.com) and UPR Products (www.uprproducts.com).