Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
April 10, 2012
Photos By: Steve Turner

As with anything, after you've done it a few times, you know what to expect. Sure, there will be a few surprises, but as a whole, you know how things are going to go down. With our annual King of the Street competition, we'd say the competition is a well-oiled machine. Announcements are in the magazine, the 5.0&SF website, and Facebook page well in advance. Cars are picked around the end of August/early September so competitors have time to make travel plans. Stickers are ordered, instructions are sent out... oh man, we were on such a roll!

This year, after pointing a few wayward competitors to Beech Bend Park, not Beech Bend Raceway, we were ready to roll. Beech Bend Park and Beech Bend Raceway are located on the same rolling landscape in Bowling Green, Kentucky. However, each has its own entrance. We start the competition bright and early the Thursday morning of the NMRA's World Finals, which this time around happened to be September 29. The day gets started at 9 a.m. with photography handled by Editor Steve Turner. Once Steve is done making each competitor famous, he passes them to Web Producer Greg Clark for a video interview, which you can check out on our website and YouTube channel.

Here's where my "work" begins. Once Greg has interviewed a competitor, it's my turn to drive each KOTS for the all-important Ride & Drive portion of the competition. That's not my only KOTS responsibility. KOTS is, as Editor Steve says, my baby. I get all the questions: "Where do I go?" "What time do I have to be there?" "What if I'm late?" "Am I allowed to tune my car on the dyno?" During the KOTS competition, I am one part associate editor and one part car herder. I make sure everyone is where they're need to be and ready for each part of the competition.

Yes, it can be hard work telling grown men where they need to be, but as part of the Ride & Drive, I have the chance to relieve some stress while driving their cars, so I take it in stride. That's right--I get to drive the cars, with the owner in the passenger seat. For most competitors, it'll be the first and only time someone else is driving their Mustangs. Yes, membership has its privileges. This is the only time anyone is jealous of me. Who can blame them, though? I get to drive several Mustangs that aren't mine, many of them making upward of 700 hp at the tire, and they're some of the nicest Mustangs in the country. Not a bad gig.

Friday morning everyone meets at 9 a.m. at Holley Performance Products (www.holley.com) in Bowling Green for the dyno segment of the competition. We used Holley's Dynojet for the inaugural KOTS 10 years ago, and we've been back the last two years. It's been the perfect pairing so far, and things have gone swimmingly while using Holley's headquarters. We throw numbers in a hat and each competitor draws one to decide the dyno order. Each competitor gets two dyno runs with 5 minutes in between the two passes if need be. No tuning is allowed while on the dyno. Each competitor must have their Mustang tuned and ready to go before getting on the dyno at Holley.

On the Holley property, Editor Turner looks over the KOTS cars with a critical eye to judge the Fit & Finish segment of the competition. Since the dyno room at Holley is inside and we're there most of the day, this gives El Presidente time to look over the cars in comfortable surroundings. Editor Turner combs over each to arrive at a judged score, and I don't think he's ever awarded a perfect 10. He can be a tough critic, but then again, he's been there, done that, and got the T-shirt when it comes to Mustangs.

Speaking of being there and doing that, we had to pull a rabbit out of our hat when it came to a judge for the Engineering category. That portion is usually judged by our tech editor, your favorite bucket-hatted 5.0&SF staffer, KJ Jones. However, he had more pressing matters on the homefront and had to sit out this one. Therefore, we had to find a replacement for our version of "The Hat."

Chris Cruz is your 2011 King of the Street. He was one of the favorites coming into the competition, and his '11 Mustang GT/California Special didn't disappoint. The Evolution Performance-built, Whipple-supercharged GT/CS scored near the top in every category but the Popular Vote, which we still can't figure out. However, even though he didn't get the Popular Vote, he did well enough in the other categories, especially the heavily weighted Horsepower and Ride & Drive categories, to get the win.

Steve and I put our heads together, and thankfully, we didn't have to look far to find an able and well-qualified KJ stand-in. We asked veteran Mustang builder and recent Holley hire Rick Anderson. That name should be familiar to every Mustang fan. Rick was the main man at Anderson Ford Motorsport for years before moving over to Holley as technical sales representative. Rick's also one of those guys that have built this, raced that, and been a part of 5.0&SF as contributor for several years now. He graciously stepped in to judge the Engineering segment in KJ's absence. He also had plenty of time to go over the KOTS cars during our time at Holley, scouring each car to arrive at a judged score in the Engineering segment. We thank Rick for sharing his time and expertise.

Our dyno portion lasted until early afternoon on Friday, after which we headed to Beech Bend Raceway to schedule the Drag Race segment of the KOTS competition. Our dragstrip passes are squeezed in as part of the NMRA's first qualifying session on Friday afternoon. Basically, we give the NMRA an estimated time for when we'll be ready to tackle the 1,320 before its event. Thankfully, this time around the planets aligned and we were able to get both passes done during the first round of NMRA qualifying. The Drag Race segment went off without a hitch, and we're thankful to the NMRA for letting us share its asphalt.

After the dragstrip passes are made, we make sure the KOTS competitors are OK before leaving to eat some dead cow at Montana Grille and discuss the event up to that point. A quick walkthrough across the street at the Hobby Lobby and we pass out back at the hotel for the night.

After Friday, the hard work's been done for the KOTS part of the weekend. We have our photography, made our notes, and scored several segments already--all that's left is to corral the KOTS in one spot at Beech Bend Raceway and let the Popular Vote commence.

The Popular Vote allows those in attendance at the race to vote for their favorite KOTS car. Even though there isn't much work on our part for this segment, the weekend's work is far from over. Once we get the KOTS cars in place for the Popular Vote segment, we still have to shift gears and cover the NMRA race.

Now that you know how things go, you probably want to know who won, don't you? I'm sure you know by now. The winner's picture is right here, son!

Horse Sense: We are considering a "redemption" theme for the next King of the Street. We might invite back some past competitors to mix it up with some new challengers. Hit us up on our Facebook page and let us know what you think.

King Of The Street

Chris Cruz
2011 Mustang GT/CS

Figuring to be one of the KOTS front runners, we saw Chris Cruz and his GT/CS in action before the competition. We knew the car would fit right into the KOTS template, and running out of the Evolution Performance camp, we knew the car's build quality would be top-notch. We're just glad it didn't feature an "Evo-matic" transmission. Thankfully, Chris' GT/CS still boasts the stock 6R80 six-speed automatic, so we were pleased.

Chris' GT/CS looks amazing. The factory Performance White with California Special graphics mixed with the car's Forgestar F14 matte-black wheels is simply stunning. Ford Racing springs enable the car to hug the 20-inch rolling stock, but the ride isn't compromised at all, a trait of the remarkable 2011 suspension.

Even more fun than just looking at it, I was able to drive it as part of the Ride & Drive segment. I know, tough gig, right?! The best thing about Chris' GT/CS is its simplistic nature. We already knew the car was 9-second capable, so that it was a simple drive-in-the-park was quite astonishing. It has a JRS Fabrication six-point, but with swingout doorbars, getting in and out is a non-issue. The car features stock seats and seatbelts for KOTS, along with ice-cold A/C.

After getting situated in the car--which is easy--the Whipple supercharged Coyote roars to life. With a stock shifter in place, just drop it in Drive and go. Can it really be this easy? With Chris' GT/CS, yes, it is. The car's not loud and it doesn't beat you up. It doesn't have skinnies up front, which means you can really drive it; you don't have to worry about folding over the front tires in the curves.

As for really driving it, Chris' GT/CS is ridiculously fast. I know the throttle can be tuned to give 100-percent response at 3/4 throttle, but even at 3/4 throttle, the Nitto Extreme Drag radials had no chance. During the Ride & Drive, I give each car the business, and in Chris' car, I left black marks for days. The only word I can think of to describe his car is ridiculous. The power it makes--ridiculous. How fast it is--ridiculous. The way it looks--ridiculous. And all in a good way.

Even with its ridiculousness, Chris' car wasn't without fault. It did have slight gear whine, and it also suffered from a low-speed surge/sluggish condition. I've heard this is common for high-horsepower '11-'12 automatic cars (Beefcake's car did the same thing), but just cruising along, the transmission is slow to upshift. It's hard to explain what the car does, but it just seems to not want to go anywhere. The engine seems sluggish and slow to upshift to a lower gear. However, Chris' car epitomizes what we look for in a KOTS car in the fact that you can throw the keys to anyone, and they could drive it. Not that Chris would throw the keys to just anyone, but you get my drift.

Chris didn't get the people's vote, but he scored near the top of every other category to win the 2011 King of the Street. Congrats, Chris!

KOTS Score
Horsepower:8 (815 hp)
Ride & Drive:9
Fit & Finish:9
Drag Race:10 (9.70 e.t.)
Popular Vote:3
Final Score:81

5.0 Tech Specs

2011 Mustang GT/CS

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock '11 Mustang GT
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Oliver billet
Pistons Diamond Racing w/Total Seal rings
Camshafts Stock
Cylinder heads Stock w/Boss 302 valve_springs, stock followers, and valve lash adjusters
Intake manifold FRPP/Whipple
Power Adder Whipple 2.9_liter supercharger with 2-3/4-in pulley, 18 pounds of boost, Afco dual_pass heat exchanger, and NOS EFI 125hp nitrous kit
Fuel system CP-E billet triple-pump return-style fuel hat, Aeroquip fuel lines, Metco fuel rails, Evolution Performance 83_lb/hr fuel injectors, and Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Exhaust American Racing Headers 1-7/8-in long-tube headers with 3-in X-shape crossover pipe, and FRPP mufflers
Transmission Stock 6R80 six-speed automatic w/Dynotech aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8 w/Torsen differential, 3.55 gears, and 31-spline axles

Engine management Copperhead w/Jon Lund tune
Ignition Stock w/NGK spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Auto Meter Cobalt series boost gauge

Don Gress
2008 Shelby GT500

Don Gress is no stranger to putting his Shelby GT500 through its paces. He's had his Shelby up to 172 mph on Daytona International Speedway's high banks. As a matter of fact, Don's pushed the envelope far enough to turn the original short-block into scrap metal. To get back into the game, Don enlisted Modular Mustang Racing to put together one of its Mod 1500 rotating assemblies. Don used a GT500 iron-block, doing the machine work himself, and putting it all back together with Champion Racing Heads-ported stock castings. With a Kenne Bell 2.8 supercharger, power is not a problem; with a built short-block, neither is durability.

Don and his wife, Melissa, obviously know your author likes Motley Crue. Don had the Crue cued up for me when we started the Ride & Drive portion of the competition, but let's back up. Don's GT500 features a Maximum Motorsports six-point rollbar with swing-out doorbars, making entry and exit a breeze. Plus, it features stock belts for daily driver capability, but also G-Force five-point harnesses for "spirited" driving. Everything on Don's GT500 is built for spirited driving.

Back to the stereo, Don's Shelby features a Shaker 1000 system but with a Kicker upgrade. The only time my Crue sounded better was when I was 20 feet from them at the St. Pete Times Forum. So with the volume up, it was time to see how Don's GT500 behaved on the street.

To stand up to the abuse of roughly 800 rwhp, his GT500 features a clutch that is a little grabby. That's to be expected. The brakes--consisting of AP Racing drilled and slotted rotors up front and Baer Eradispeed 14-inch rotors out back, Hawk Performance brake pads, and the factory Brembo calipers--weren't quite equal to the acceleration of the Kenne Bell-fed 5.4, but it was close. Since Don lives in Florida, it was no surprise to find his Shelby's A/C system serving up a heavy dose of cold air to go along with my Crue. Cold A/C, Motley Crue, and roughly 800 rwhp...how can you go wrong?!

Well, there were a couple things not so right with Don's Shelby. I don't know why, but there's a clunk when going over bumps with several aftermarket K-members. Going over a few of the bumps, Don's car produced that clunk.

Plus, his Cobra Jet tach's mounting point on top of the dash greatly hampered road vision--to the point that I couldn't help but wonder if he's ever hit something. I've hit things with a clear view of the road, so to say I was worried about hitting something while at the wheel of Don's GT500 would be an understatement. And he employs a bungee-like cord to help hold the Shelby center stack gauge pod in place.

But all in all, Don's Shelby was relatively quiet when just cruising, but Dynatech/Borla exhaust system components make themselves known under heavy throttle, and the sound is intoxicating.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:7 (793 hp)
Ride & Drive:8
Fit & Finish:7
Drag Race:6 (10.82 e.t.)
Popular Vote:9
Final Score:70.5

5.0 Tech Specs

2008 Shelby GT500

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock iron 5.4
Crankshaft Kellogg, polished and cryo-tested
Rods Manley Pro-Series billet
Pistons Manley forged w/Total Seal rings
Camshafts Ford GT
Cylinder heads Champion Racing Heads-ported Shelby GT500 w/Comp Cams Beehive valvesprings, stock followers, and valve lash adjusters
Intake manifold Kenne Bell intercooled lower
Power Adder Kenne Bell 2.8-liter supercharger
Fuel system Dual in-tank fuel pumps w/stock lines, Evolution Performance fuel rails, and Bosch 105-lb/hr fuel injectors
Exhaust Dynatech 17/8-in long-tube headers w/matching 3-in H-pipe, and Borla axle-back exhaust w/Stinger mufflers
Transmission Stock TR6060 six-speed w/SPEC P-Trim Super Twin, FRPP shifter, and Dynotech aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8, Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential, FRPP 3.73 gears, Moser Engineering 31-spline axles, FRPP rearend girdle

Engine management Stock w/Tuners Inc. tune
Ignition Stock, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges FRPP Cobra Jet tach, Super Snake three-gauge center pod

James Lottes
2004 Cobra

Coming in to the competition, we didn't have much to go on with James Lottes and his '04 Cobra. The only thing he knew about his Cobra was that it supposedly made a ton of power...like four-digit power. That got our attention right off the bat. When people claim that kind of power out of a street-driven car, our ears perk up. However, we're always curious if those numbers can be replicated at KOTS. Other than the big horsepower numbers, we knew the car had a Liberty-prepped six-speed, and being from South Florida, we knew it also had A/C. Those three qualifiers sealed the deal for us and he was in.

When James pulled his Cobra out of the trailer, it looked unassuming. However, the jig was up with a pop of the hood. Twin Garrett 67mm turbos blowing through a Sullivan intake into a Kesatie Motorsports-built, 5.1-liter Four-Valve is a recipe for big power. Just for giggles--and to help spool the turbos--the Cobra also boasts a Nitrous Pro-Flow 75hp shot of the good stuff.

For the Ride & Drive, the car features a 10-point rollcage but with removable doorbars, so getting in and out of the car was easy. However, I found the interior a bit cramped, even with the stock seats and seatbelts. The factory/Aeroforce gauge layout was well-placed but not as refined as the '05-'11 Mustangs in the competition. It was nice, but just a tad rough around the edges. You can tell James really drives the car as opposed to babying it around town.

The McLeod clutch, though easy to use, released at the top of the pedal, which took some getting used to, and the car's T56 was a bit notchy.

James' Cobra was stupid fast. During the Ride & Drive I gave it the what-for and the car showed me what it was made of. At that moment, I knew the four-digit power claims would come to fruition come dyno time. The car was crazy fast. I've driven a ton of fast cars, but James' Cobra kept pulling and pulling. If the car had wings we could've flown back to the track. Thankfully though, the car stayed on all four tires.

The next day at Holley I was really looking forward to seeing James' Cobra on the dyno--I knew it was going to put up huge power. However, like everyone else, I had to wait because James picked number 9, which meant he would be last to dyno. Oh, the horror. James bided his time while all the other KOTS competitors made 600, 700, 800, 900 horsepower, but when it was his turn....Boom--1,093 hp! He didn't even make another hit. He had made his point. He fired the cannons and knew that number was about right; that's all he needed. He had covered the next highest competitor by almost 150 hp, so why rub it in?

In the end, James' Cobra magnified the difference between New Edge and S197 Mustangs, and how good the latest Mustangs are. In the Horsepower category, his E85-guzzling Cobra had everyone covered by a mile so he earned a 10, but elsewhere his car showed its age.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:10 (1,093 hp)
Ride & Drive:7
Fit & Finish:5
Drag Race:3 (11.30 e.t.)
Popular Vote:3
Final Score:67.5

5.0 Tech Specs

2004 cobra

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Teksid aluminum
Crankshaft Modmax billet stroker
Rods Eagle forged H-beam
Pistons CP w/17cc dish
Camshafts Kesatie Motorsports custom grind
Cylinder heads Stock Four-Valve w/Livernois Motorsports valvesprings
Intake manifold Sullivan Performance w/Accufab throttle body
Power Adder Garrett twin 67mm turbochargers w/27 pounds of boost, Bell Core custom intercooler, and Nitrous Pro-Flow 75hp shot
Fuel system Magnafuel 4301 in-line fuel pump w/Lethal Performance Stalker 340-lph in-tank pump, Fragola -10 feed line, Fragola -8 return fuel lines, Fore Innovations rails, Fore Innovations regulator, and Lethal Performance 105-lb/hr fuel injectors
Exhaust Custom turbo headers w/Bassani Xhaust off-road X-shape crossover pipe, and Stainless Steel Systems after-cat exhaust
Transmission Liberty-prepped T56 six-speed w/McLeod RXT clutch, Tremec shifter and MGW handle
Rearend 8.8 solid-axle w/Eaton 31-spline differential, Moser 31-spline axles, and 3.27 gears

Engine management Stock w/Sniper tune
Ignition Stock w/ACCEL coils and NGK BR7EF spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Aeroforce

Chris Jones
2011 Mustang GT

With the KOTS, we try to have a variety of power-adder combinations to keep things entertaining for everyone. For this year's KOTS, we didn't have a single-turbo competitor, but while Editor Turner was in a conversation with Hellion Power Systems' John Urist, the Fireball said he would round up one for us. Turns out, John and Blow-By Racing's Chris Jones had already been working on a turbo system for Chris' '11 Mustang GT and it would be ready in time for the competition. In one fell swoop, we had a single-turbo KOTS car.

It wasn't without a lot of work on Chris' part, though. In the days leading up to the competition, he blew a Boss intake to smithereens in spectacular fashion on the dyno. Chris had to install a new intake, and hope that problem wouldn't come back while at KOTS. He also had to retune the combination to try and prevent it from happening in front of a much larger audience. Chris also discovered running a full exhaust on the car had a severe impact on horsepower production. Therefore, the car basically had a straight exhaust, which dumped out in front of the rear axle. That "feature" would have a severe impact on his Ride & Drive score.

Speaking of the Ride & Drive, Chris' GT features fixed doorbars, which made getting in and out a little more difficult when compared to other KOTS cars featuring removable doorbars or no rollcage at all. Once in the car, I was right at home. For a second I thought I was in my '94 Cobra back home since Chris' GT features a tan and black interior. I loved the interior. My Cobra doesn't have SYNC, but Chris' GT does, which is a cool feature to have. The car handled great, even with the Racestar big 'n' littles. It had a reassuring handling presence, but that was not a surprise since the car's suspension is largely stock, void of drag-oriented struts, shocks, and springs.

However, back to the exhaust. In my notes I wrote that the car was loud. If there was any suspension racket, I couldn't hear it because of the exhaust noise. Even at idle the car was waking the neighbors. Chris simply ran out of time to put cut-outs in the exhaust, which would have greatly helped the situation by keeping the car quiet around town, but still allow the car to make power. Chris said there was a huge difference in power with the full exhaust compared to the dumped exhaust on the car for KOTS, and at the last minute, he decided power was more important than a quiet exhaust. I can't really argue with that point.

Another aspect of the last-minute thrash that showed up on the Ride & Drive was a misfire condition when hammering through the gears. This didn't show up when Chris had the car on the dyno back home, but he was able to sort it out before the dyno and drag-race portions of the competition. For the dyno portion, Chris' GT really shined. For the drag race portion, not so much.

For the dyno portion, Chris' GT made 795 the first pull, but he flipped on the nitrous for the second pull, netting a big number even he didn't expect. You couldn't wipe the smile off his face after the car made 952 hp, which was the highest number up to that point, and Chris was one of the last to go on the dyno. I think he was relieved it stayed together and overjoyed at the power it made. You could tell he was a little nervous about getting on the dyno.

That smile was short-lived, however, because later that same day, the driveshaft couldn't handle all the power, which put Chris dead last in the Drag Race category. That also meant Chris' GT was a pusher for the remainder of the weekend...bummer.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:9 (952 hp)
Ride & Drive:7
Fit & Finish:5
Drag Race:2 (13.96 e.t.)
Popular Vote:5
Final Score:65

5.0 Tech Specs

2011 Mustang GT

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock Coyote
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Manley
Pistons Manley
Camshafts Stock
Cylinder heads Stock, Livernois Motorsports valvesprings
Intake manifold Boss 302 w/L&M 82mm throttle body
Power Adder Hellion Power Systems single turbo kit w/Precision 76mm turbo, 17 pounds of boost, Nitrous Express 125hp nitrous plate system and NX Maximizer 3 progressive nitrous controller
Fuel system Blow-By Racing Jackal system w/Aeromotive pump, fuel rails, and regulator; 80-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Hellion Power Systems, no mufflers
Transmission Factory Getrag MT-82 w/Exedy Twin Disc clutch, Barton shifter, Axle Exchange aluminum driveshaft, and a Stifflers safety loop
Rearend 8.8-in solid-axle w/Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential, Moser 31-spline axles, and 3.73 gears

Engine management Stock with Blow-By Racing/SCT SF3 tune
Ignition Stock, Brisk spark plugs
Gauges Stock

Harvey Steinbacher
2006 Mustang GT

Like Chris Cruz's GT/CS, we also had a chance to see Harvey Steinbacher's '06 GT in action before the KOTS. Tech Editor KJ Jones was the first staffer to put his eyes on the car at the 2011 NMRA Milan race. He relayed a couple pictures and a quick rundown on the car; I was able to see it in person and watch it fly down National Trail Raceway at the Columbus NMRA race.

David Bachota from Bachota Performance built the car for Harvey, who simply wanted a fast car he could drive on the street without the headaches associated with having a fast car. He didn't want to constantly work on it to keep it reliable. We'd have to say David delivered.

Starting with a Tungsten GT, the car has featured four different power-adder combinations. Its current Vortech V7 supercharger has been on the car for a couple years now, as has its current factory Saleen-built 302ci Three-Valve engine. Dave and Harvey have continuously improved the current combination over the last 3-1/2 years. Instead of an air-to-air intercooler on most conventional street supercharger systems, David custom built a 7-gallon, tig-welded aluminum reservoir/ice chest for the spare tire well. Custom -10 supply and return lines featuring dual pumps feed chilled water to cool the air charge before it enters the engine. Plus, a 400-cfm fan is mounted under the intake plenum for additional engine heat-soak relief.

The battery was relocated to the trunk, mounted upside down under the rear deck for space savings and weight control. The car's eight-point rollbar features removable doorbars and rear bar to make the car's street life easier to live. There are also remote mounting locations in the trunk for the discarded rollbars should they need to be relocated on the fly. The GT features strobe lights for when Harvey takes the car to shows and cruise, along with a radar detector to make sure he gets to and from those events without a reward for excessive speed.

When it was time to take Harvey's GT on the Ride & Drive, it was no surprise the car was easy like Sunday morning. Since it makes use of the factory 5R55S with a Circle D converter and easy-to-use TCI shifter, driving was easy as dropping it in D and going.

Even though the car features Kirkey racing seats, they feature the optional padded seat cover so it was still comfortable. Plus, David was able to retain the power seat function with the Kirkey, which was really cool, making it easy to find a comfortable seating position. The car features nice Auto Meter gauges and a Speed of Sound gauge pod, and we always like them.

The car was easy to drive, but with the Kirkey seats, it teetered on the brink of being a race car masquerading as a street car. The overdrive function was on a button, but the worst part of the car was the brakes. In my notes, I wrote that they made "a lot of racket." That's kind of an understatement--they were rather loud. However, David said the brakes on the car were the only ones available at the time. The button for the overdrive really wasn't that big of a deal on the Ride & Drive, but the brakes, well, they were another story.

Otherwise, the Vortech-supercharged Three-Valve ran really strong when put through its paces, but that was no surprise since I had watched David run deep in the 10s at the Columbus NMRA race. With all the excitement over the new Coyote, the Three-Valve has been kicked to the curb, but Harvey's car helps restore some respect.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:4 (680 hp)
Ride & Drive:7
Fit & Finish:8
Drag Race:8 (10.31 e.t.)
Popular Vote:4
Final Score:65

5.0 Tech Specs

2006 Mustang GT

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock
Crankshaft Kellogg
Rods Manley
Pistons CP
Camshafts Comp Cams 127-300
Cylinder heads Stock Three-Valve w/Comp Cams valvesprings
Intake manifold FRPP w/FRPP dual 62mm throttle body
Power Adder Vortech V7 supercharger w/3.35-in pulley, 20 pounds of boost, Steeda Autosports air-to-water intercooler, Vortech aftercooler, and custom spare-tire-well-mounted ice chest
Fuel system Fore Innovations fuel hat w/Fore Innovations fuel lines, JPC Racing fuel rails, and 60-lb/hr fuel injectors
Exhaust BBK Performance long-tube headers w/ X-shape crossover pipe, Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission 5R55S five-speed auto w/Circle D 3,500-rpm stall converter, Dynotech aluminum driveshaft, and TCI shifter
Rearend 8.8-in w/Eaton differential, 4.30 gears, and Moser 31-spline axles
Engine management Stock w/SCT Xcal 3 tune by Bachota Performance
Ignition Stock w/Brisk spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Auto Meter wideband, boost, transmission temp, and volt

Jammye McQuade
2007 Shelby GT500

We didn't know much about Jammye McQuade and his GT500 prior to KOTS. All we knew was that he was basically a SVTPerformance.com legend. He sent us a link to the famous website--several pages long--featuring the build on his car. A small army of Mustang enthusiasts were eager to hear Jammye's next move, and so were we. A built bottom end boasting a Kenne Bell 3.6-liter liquid-cooled supercharger and a stick, and Jammye actually regularly drove the car...how could we pass it up?

This was also one of several owner-built KOTS cars with little shop influence. Jammye did rely on Lee Blankenship from Blankenship Tuning and Performance to do the tuning on the car, but the mechanical aspect of the car--including putting the engine together, except for the MMR 1500 short-block--was handled by Jammye and a few friends. He relied on the advice of those in the know to get the Kenne Bell 3.6-liter supercharger under the stock hood. Through trial and error, he had a beast on his hands.

Only seeing a couple photos of Jammye's car leading up to the competition, we didn't really know what to expect when he cracked open the trailer. We shouldn't have been worried at all. Jammye's Shelby was top-notch. It looked racy from the outside with the big 'n' littles, but those fears were likewise put aside on the Ride & Drive. The car features stock seats, stock seatbelts, and overall, it was fun to drive.

Jammye's young son Jesse rode along on the Ride & Drive, and he fell asleep about halfway through the short trip. Jammye and I turned the stock Mach 500 stereo up to 11, and Jesse slept unfazed. I hammered down on the throttle through a few gears, but that didn't affect Jesse either. He slept on.

I was impressed. The power was so linear, different than the other positive displacement supercharged cars in KOTS. The car took off under the Kenne Bell's power and the grip of the Mickey Thompson ET Streets. However, it seems the car should've had trouble getting grip. The next day at Holley for the Horsepower segment, Jammye was unlucky, drawing the Number 1 spot on the dyno.

From the dyno room right behind Holley's Dynojet, I could tell the car wasn't quite right; "only" making 709 rwhp, Jammye also knew something was amiss. The car seemed to be sputtering or missing, and you could see it on the dyno. He soldiered on, and for the second dyno pull the car made 759 rwhp. Jammye was expecting around 900 so 759 couldn't be right. He didn't know what the issue could be or whether something happened to the tune. He was at a loss.

Though he didn't say anything to me at the time, Jammye thought I wasn't giving the car the 'what-for' on the street. It felt pretty fast to me, but Jammye didn't think I was all in. Unfortunately, he didn't have a chance to give the car a look-see until after the Drag Race portion of the competition. He was right; something was amiss with the car. A pre-KOTS engine cleaning with Simple Green resulted in water getting into the coils, causing a misfire.

Jammye and a friend removed all the coils, changed the oil, cleaned out all the leftover liquid, and took the car for a test drive. Of course, the car was running under its full capabilities at that point, but it was too late to apply them to any KOTS results. However, to illustrate the difference, Jammye ran a best of 11.03 for the Drag Race category, but while running in the Cobra-GT500 shootout as part of the NMRA World Finals, he cracked off a 9.97.

Jammye's final KOTS score would've been a lot different had his car been sorted out prior to the Horsepower and Drag Race portions of the competition, but it is what it is.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:5 (759 hp)
Ride & Drive:8
Fit & Finish:6
Drag Race:5 (11.03 e.t.)
Popular Vote:6
Final Score:64.5

5.0 Tech Specs

2007 Shelby GT500

Engine and Drivetrain
Block 2011 GT500 aluminum
Crankshaft Kellogg w/Innovators West 10-percent overdrive damper
Rods Manley billet
Pistons Manley
Camshafts Lunati Voodoo custom grind
Cylinder heads Stock w/Manley valvesprings and titanium retainers
Intake manifold Kenne Bell intercooled lower
Power Adder Kenne Bell 3.6-liter liquid-cooled supercharger with 3-1/2-in pulley
Fuel system Stock w/Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump, Fore Innovations fuel rails, and FRPP 80-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust SLP 1-3/4-in ceramic coated long-tube headers with JBA/Shelby Performance Parts 3-in exhaust
Transmission Tremec TR-6060 six-speed w/McLeod clutch, and MGW shifter
Rearend 8.8-in

Engine management Stock w/Blankenship Tuning and Performance tune
Gauges Stock

Brandon Yates
2007 Shelby GT500

We've known Broussard, Louisiana's Brandon Yates for a couple years now. We featured his Shelby a few years ago; his former GT500, which was totaled when Brandon was rearended, is now owned by Dan Schoneck. Disco Dan rebuilt the car and competed with it in the 2008 KOTS. When Brandon's first Shelby was totaled, he looked for another Vista blue/silver stripe GT500, but finding one without a ridiculous price tag proved futile so he picked up this Vista blue/white striped example.

Many of the same components that were on his first Shelby are on this car. He removed as many parts as he could before Dan bought it from him, and swapped them to this car. He steadily improved the car to the point where we shot it for a feature. Since then, the improvements have slowed a bit, but he's kept the car in top shape, enjoying and upgrading it along the way.

Showing Brandon does actually drive his GT500 quite often, the car drove quite well on the Ride & Drive. Brandon's GT500 was the sixth car I drove as part of this category. I noted the car felt the most stock-like up to that point. It drove like a stock GT500...just with a couple hundred more horsepower. The car featured ice-cold A/C, stock seats and seatbelts, and a nice stereo.

As we took off from Beech Bend Park, I noted the car's clutch was a little stiff but worked well. It also seemed like the steering wheel had a dead spot, which caused the car to wander a bit going down the road. It almost felt like a Fox Mustang in need of a new rag joint.

The clutch and the steering were the only two "drawbacks" I noted with Brandon's GT500. It was easy to drive once you got the hang of the clutch, and the steering wasn't a huge deal. Every GT500 should have 778 rwhp if it has the driveability of Brandon's GT500, but it should also wear M&H Racemaster drag radials, too. I noted these tires hooked really well on the street; with a 10.77 during the Drag Race portion, we trust they did well on the track as well.

Brandon says he wishes he had more testing time before the competition, but realizes it is what it is. The nitrous system on the car worked too well, causing tire spin at the track. Brandon also felt the nitrous caused the tires to spin on the dyno, but I didn't see any tire spin on Holley's Dynojet, and I was right behind the car in the dyno room. Brandon was hoping for 830 hp, but the car returned a best of 778 rwhp.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:6 (778 hp)
Ride & Drive:8
Fit & Finish:4
Drag Race:7 (10.77 e.t.)
Popular Vote:7
Final Score:62.5

5.0 Tech Specs

2007 Shelby GT500

Engine and Drivetrain
Block MMR Mod 1100
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Manley H-beam
Pistons Manley
Camshafts Stock
Cylinder heads Stock
Intake manifold Kenne Bell intercooled lower
Power Adder Kenne Bell 2.8H supercharger with 2-7/8-in pulley, 20 pounds of boost, Killer Chiller, and TNT 75hp dry nitrous kit
Fuel system Stock w/Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump, and stock injectors modified to flow 74-lb/hr
Exhaust Stainless Works 1-7/8-in long-tube headers w/custom H-pipe, Stainless Works 3-in mufflers, and Dynomax Bullet mufflers
Transmission Stock TR6060 six-speed w/SPEC P-Trim clutch, and Midcoast Performance 3-in steel driveshaft
Rearend 8.8-in w/Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential, FRPP 3.55 gears, and stock axles

Engine management Stock w/SCT Livewire tune by Jon Lund
Ignition Stock w/NGK BR7EF spark plugs
Stock, Auto Meter Cobalt series boost in Roush Vent Pod

Michael Carmouche
2011 Mustang GT

After watching his prized turbocharged '03 GT burn to the ground, Lafayette, Louisiana's Michael Carmouche's '11 Mustang GT allowed him to start over, and work on with his son Tristan. "It has been the most rewarding automotive experience I've ever had," Michael says.

The GT's big ticket item is a big reason why we chose Michael's car to begin with. That big ticket item is a ProCharger D-1SC supercharger. In his application, Michael told us the car made 732 rwhp, and we wanted to see it in action.

We almost didn't get to see or experience his car at all. He destroyed a driveshaft right before the competition, but Lethal Performance was able to get him a replacement in time.

Michael's GT was one of the easiest to get in and out of since it still wears the stock seats and seatbelts, and is devoid of a rollcage. The car features a Grant steering wheel, Speed of Sound gauge pod, and Redline Goods (www.redlinegoods.com) shifter boot and E-brake handle.

First things first--I love the sound of a ProCharger. Nothing strikes fear or causes jealousy like the sound of a centrifugal supercharger. The ProCharger D-1SC with blow-off valve and wastegate made beautiful music together on Michael's GT. Of course, since the ProCharger relies on a crank-driven belt and rpm, the car's power delivery is linear.

If I had to choose one car to take home with me, it would be Michael's GT. The tune was spot-on, the McLeod RXT clutch was perfect, the factory Getrag MT-82 six-speed shifted great, and even though the car featured a stock head unit, it was bolstered with Infinity speakers to enhance the listening enjoyment. The car was quiet--thanks to the SN-10's refined nature, it was able to keep the ProCharger from overtaking the cabin.

With Michael's car, you can have your cake and eat it, too. If you want tunes, turn up the radio. If you want the whoosh sound of the ProCharger, drop down a gear or two to bring up the revs...same with the exhaust. If you want a quiet ride, turn down the radio, drop it into Sixth gear, and cruise.

If Michael wanted to hand over the keys, I would opt to switch out the H&R Race springs for the company's Sport versions. The car's ride was a little on the bumpy side, and H&R's Sport springs are a better option for the street.

I was surprised Michael's GT didn't finish KOTS with a higher score, but his car didn't make the power needed to do well in the Horsepower category, and the car doesn't transfer weight at all so he didn't do well in the Drag Race category either. However, Michael's GT scored well in every other category.

Michael should be proud of how well his car stacked up in the KOTS.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:3 (666 hp)
Ride & Drive:8
Fit & Finish:7
Drag Race:3 (11.88 e.t.)
Popular Vote:8
Final Score:58

5.0 Tech Specs

2011 Mustang GT

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Stock
Pistons Stock
Camshafts Stock
Cylinder heads Stock
Intake manifold Boss 302
Power Adder ProCharger D-1SC supercharger w/3.75-in pulley, 12 pounds of boost, and ProCharger intercooler
Fuel system Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump w/stock lines, Amazon Tuning fuel rails, and FRPP 60-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust American Racing Headers 1-7/8-in long-tube headers w/X-shape crossover pipe, and Magnaflow Comp Series mufflers
Transmission Stock Getrag MT-82 six-speed manual w/McLeod RXT clutch, MGW shifter, and Dynotech aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8-in w/Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential, 3.73 gears, and stock axles

Engine management Stock w/SCT XCal 3 tune by Amazon Tuning
Ignition Stock
Gauges Stock w/Auto Meter

Terry Reeves
2011 Mustang GT

Leading up to every KOTS, we invariably have at least one or two competitors drop out for various reasons. However, we usually have alternates in mind when that happens. This year we had an alternate, but at the last minute, he wasn't able to make it either. Thankfully, Terry 'Beefcake' Reeves came through at the last bell.

Beefcake's '11 Mustang GT featured a Vortech supercharger. Plus, his GT is a proven car. I knew the car would rep well, so he was in. We've even worked with him on tech installs with his GT. We covered the install of the RGR/JPC Racing CNC Stage 1 cylinder heads and cams on his car in last month's issue.

The car looked really good and photographed well. Then it was my turn behind the wheel. Once in the car we found the stock seatbelts were long gone, replaced by harnesses. Not really daily driver friendly, but they're necessary for his racing.

The car's K&M Welding six-point rollcage did feature swing-out doorbars, and the A/C worked, but was as if the internal doors were non-operational because the air wouldn't come out of all the dash vents. The car's base-model seats remain, as does the stock stereo, but it does feature Ford's Sync system.

His GT features a nice gauge layout, using a Speed of Sound A-pillar pod setup for a couple of the Auto Meter Phantom gauges. The Speed of Sound A-pillar pod made up for the Celine Dion mix.

Speaking of the Ride & Drive, the exit road out of Beech Bend Park has several curves, and it's where I test the handling of the cars. Beefcake's drag-oriented suspension didn't handle that part of the Ride & Drive well.

Beefcake's GT also suffered from a low-speed surge/sluggish throttle.

With Beefcake's centrifugally supercharged GT, power delivery was linear. Plus, the car's drag suspension helped it accelerate in an efficient manner. With Strange Engineering double-adjustable struts and shocks, Cobra Jet rear springs, and a Team Z antiroll bar and upper and lower control arms, the Mickey Thompson ET Street radials got the car down the road in a ferocious manner.

Beefcake's GT was doing rather well until the Horsepower segment at Holley. During the first pass on the Dynojet, the rear brakes almost caught on fire and an intake tube came dislodged from its pipe. The tube was easy enough to fix, but the brakes...well, Beefcake told us he just had new discs installed so that seemed like the culprit. On the second dyno pull, the rear brakes caused small fires on both sides, which were easily put out.

We wish Beefcake had done better in the Horsepower category, but the computer was flipping out, with the rear wheels spinning while the fronts were at a stop. Beefcake was advised to leave the traction control on, but that would come back to haunt his Horsepower finish.

KOTS Score
Horsepower:2 (633 hp)
Ride & Drive:7
Fit & Finish:5
Drag Race:9 (10.08 e.t.)
Popular Vote:10
Final Score:58

5.0 Tech Specs

2011 Mustang GT

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock Coyote aluminum
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Manley
Diamond Racing w/Total Seal rings Camshafts
Cylinder heads RGR/JPC Racing Stage 1 CNC-ported w/Livernois Motorsports valvesprings
Intake manifold Stock
Power Adder Vortech JT-Trim supercharger w/2.95-in pulley, 16 pounds of boost, and Vortech air-to-air intercooler
Fuel system Triple Walbro fuel pumps w/Earl's Pro Lite fuel lines, Metco fuel rails, FRPP 60-lb/hr injectors, and Fore Innovations fuel pressure regulator
Exhaust Stainless Works 1-3/4-in long-tube headers w/X-shape crossover pipe, and retro axle-back
Transmission Stock 6R80 six-speed automatic w/Exedy Racing high energy auto clutch packs, and Circle D 3,200-rpm stall converter
Rearend 8.8-in w/Eaton Detroit Truetrac differential, FRPP 3.55 gears, and Strange Engineering 31-spline axles

Engine management Stock w/SCT XCal 3 tune by Jon Lund
Ignition Stock w/NGK spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Auto Meter Phantom oil, boost, fuel pressure; Dynojet wideband; and Speed of Sound A-pillar pod