KJ Jones
April 5, 2013
Photos By: Wes Allison, KJ Jones
Tulsa Raceway Park (www.tulsaracewaypark.com) served as the start/finish line for Hot Rod magazine Drag Week 2012. More than 180 other gearheads and I set out from the facility on September 9, 2012. Five days, four dragstrips, and 1,400 miles later, our supercharged ’11 Mustang GT triumphantly returned to Tulsa, running strongly under its own steam. Approximately 36 other competitors were not as fortunate. That’s Drag Week for ’ya!

While a good portion of our event coverage is predictable, every once in a while we're encouraged to play nice with our sister magazines. Your author received orders in January 2012: "You're going on Drag Week this year!" This directive was handed down from on high, so my schedule for September 9-14, 2012, was cast in stone.

For those of you who aren't in the know about Hot Rod magazine's Drag Week, the five-day event is arguably the most intense hard-core endurance challenge that has ever been created for street/strip cars and their drivers! Veteran readers may recall our past involvements with Drag Week (a ride-along with Justin Burcham in 2005, the T-top coupe build in 2006, and a run with Paul Svinicki and Jeff Schmell in 2008), and by now are fully aware of the strenuous nature of the event.

Despite the brutality of Drag Week, however, the irony is that it is also more fun than should be allowed. It truly links participants who successfully endure the week in an informal fraternity of sorts.

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Street/strip performance has long been one of the major defining qualities of modern Mustangs. In the current era of commonplace 600, 700, and 800 horsepower, a big-powered 'Stang's true cred rides on its real-world performance and drive-it-anywhere capability. Drag Week is the cred check for such Ponies and other hot rods.

The event gathers mild-to-wild, legally registered, four-wheeled vehicles of any year and performance makeup for a five-day, 1,400-mile driving tour through small towns across America's midsection. It's highlighted by daily stops at different dragstrips, where competitors make balls-out attempts to run as quick and as fast as possible.

Take the long-distance drive out of the equation and you'll probably ask, "What's the big deal?" Well, the major challenge in this man-and-machine experience is that trailers and support vehicles are banned on Drag Week (unless a racer is unable to continue through the entire event), as is having an entire pit crew on standby to help keep you in the game if a catastrophic situation occurs—and it happens.

There are 15 classes in the Drag Week program, covering a range of vehicles that run anywhere from 6- to 14-second e.t.'s. We opted to try our luck in the Daily Driver category, a class that's predicated on an "anything goes, as long as you don't run quicker than 10.80" structure.

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For this effort, your tech editor ultimately landed behind the wheel of a Mustang that we were already somewhat familiar with. After a discussion with our friend Jesse Kershaw at Ford Racing (www.fordracingparts.com) about the possibility of using one of the company's 5.0-powered 'Stangs for Drag Week, we hatched a plan to develop a sinister sleeper that would prove the street mettle of one of Ford's race-bred engines. Unfortunately, the plan was thwarted by unforeseen red tape. However, a supercharged Kona Blue '11 GT—which Dale Amy detailed in our Mar. '11 issue ("Pack Attack," p. 44)—was available as a backup. With that settled, we set off on our adventure without another hitch.

Rational thinkers wouldn't understand Hot Rod Magazine's Drag Week and the reasoning behind why contestants put their minds, bodies, and machines on the line. After successfully experiencing firsthand how intense and enjoyable the event really is, we can confidently say we get it.

The pursuit of earning a Hot Rod Drag Week jacket is a prime motivator. However, the satisfaction that comes from simply completing the entire event—and making like-minded friends while doing it—is what makes this event so appealing.

As you can tell, we loved it. So much so that we're ready to return for more Drag Week torture this year.


Horse Sense: Collectively, the staff at 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords attends a lot of cool car happenings every year. From the NMRA and NMCA, to Mustang Week and all the new test drives, it's fair to say we're pretty fortunate to be able to engage in such fun activities and call it "work." Of course, bringing you along with us in the passenger seat is our most important duty.

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Competition aside, the friendships, sportsmanship, and overall camaraderie that quickly forms between all of Drag Week’s participants are the event’s strongest qualities. This became evident when our friend Herman Worthy had to suddenly return home to deal with a family emergency. At the conclusion of the event, all of the drivers, co-drivers, and Hot Rod staff who completed Drag Week signed an event banner for Herman—which we understand is now proudly displayed in his garage.

5.0 Tech Specs

Engine and Drivetrain
Block
Coyote 5.0 aluminum
Crankshaft
Forged steel, fully counterweighted, induction-hardened
Rods
Forged steel
Pistons
Hypereutectic, short-skirt, flat-top pistons w/ four equal valve reliefs; moly friction-reducing coating; and oil-jet cooling
Camshafts
DOHC, four camshafts, independently adjustable timing
Cylinder Heads
Aluminum w/ four valves per cylinder
Intake Manifold
Composite shell-welded w/ runner pack
Power Adder
M-6066-MGT624D FRPP/Whipple 2.3-liter intercooled twin-screw supercharger
Fuel System
Sequential mechanical returnless
Exhaust
Stock w/ M-5230-MGTLA Sport muffler kit
Transmission
Getrag MT-82 six-speed manual
Rearend
8.8-in

Electronics
Engine Management
Copperhead PCM w/FRPP tune
Ignition
High-output coil-on-plug
Gauges
MyColor

Chassis and Suspension
Front Suspension
Struts
FRPP Dynamic dampers
Springs
FRPP, 1-in drop
Brakes
14-in M-2300-S Brembo (GT500) front brakes
Wheels
M-1007-DC199LGB ’12 Boss 302-style, 19x9-in
Tires
Pirelli P-Zero
Rear Suspension
Shocks
FRPP Dynamic dampers
Springs
FRPP, 1-in drop
Control Arms
Stock three-link
Brakes
Single-piston 43mm, floating-iron calipers w/ 11.8-in vented discs
Wheels
M-1007-DC199LGB ’12 Boss 302-style, 19x9-in
Tires
Pirelli P-Zero

Earl Schexnayder’s ’00 Cobra arguably was the most-wicked, late-model ’Stang that attempted to complete Hot Rod magazine’s Drag Week 2012. This beast of a Pony is stuffed with a Boss 429 big-block that’s topped with John Kaase Boss 9 cylinder heads, and boosted with a pair of 88mm turbochargers. After posting a lackluster best of 8.44 in the Unlimited class at Tulsa (Earl was hoping the car would run in the 6-second zone), Earl’s Drag Week unfortunately came to an end just a few miles into the drive to Ennis, Texas, when the car developed cooling-system problems.

Drag Week 'stangs
We were pleased to see a strong number of Mustangs turn out for various classes at Drag Week. While the new Coyote-powered 'Stangs are all the rage these days (and actually perfect for the event’s Daily Driver class), the Fox was the prevalent Mustang platform, with 10 entries ranging from 1983 to 1993; most of them thankfully powered by Ford engines. Here is a sample of some of the hard-hitting late-model Ponies that came out to play.

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A rule outlawing coilover rear shocks in the Street Race; Small Block/Power Adder class forced Randy Seward to enter his infamous ’91 LX (the Calypso Green coupe has won multiple NMRA True Street overall titles) in the Super Street Power Adder category. With the class change, the 8-second notch instantly became a proverbial knife-at-a-gunfight (Randy’s 8.63 average for Drag Week would have easily won the other class), but still finished in fourth place (out of eight cars); completing the entire tour with no issues.