Michael Galimi
January 21, 2006

It sure didn't take long for '05 Mustang owners to start boasting about the quickest and fastest pass at the NMRA-Columbus event held over Labor Day Weekend. Internet message boards have been booming with bragging, accom-panied by videos and pictures of '05 Mustang performances. The aftermarket parts busi-ness has been turned upside down as com-panies are trying to keep up with the great demand for '05-up parts.

With Ford's latest ponycar a smashing success, it was only a matter of time before one of the Mustang sanctioning bodies jumped into the Mustang Shootout scene.

In 2005, the officials from the California-based NMRA organization hustled together a Mustang Shootout with an open invitation for anyone to attend. Instantly Nitto Tire Company jumped on board as the title spon-sor, and MM&FF got behind the shootout as the presenting sponsor.

The NMRA folks offered a wide array of classes to fit a variety of modifications. As usual, when rules are printed, there are always differences of opinions on what should and should not be allowed. We felt the rules should cater to more street-oriented Stangs and spell out strict restrictions. Perhaps the most controversial rule was the stock-style transmission and required Three-Valve modular engine, which had some crying "foul" and claiming bias. A full interior was required to keep gutted race cars out of the mix.

Nine competitors--from a bone-stock V-6 to a twin-turbo GT--showed up to strut their stuff.

Overall WinnerBest ET/MPH: 10.50 at 132.50 MPH
Car Owner: JPC Racing
Driver: Justin Burcham

Justin Burcham has been associated with Mustang performance for quite a few years. He parked his Real Street ride this season to concentrate on developing new parts and going fast in JPC Racing's five-speed '05 GT. Just before this race, his engine kicked the rods out on the ground thanks to a little too much boost and nitrous. Its replacement is not a radical race-only piece, but rather a warmed-over short-block with a stock induction system. Think of it as a fortified bottom end for strength. The stock heads and intake get stuffed with boost via a ProCharger D1SC blower, and a little kick in the ass comes from a small shot of nitrous from Zex.

Burcham took the overall title as the quickest '05 Mustang and was the only competitor running on full-blown slicks. He told us the nitrous was not utilized during the shootout, but that when he does hit the sauce, the mph jumps from 132 to 138 and the e.t. drops to the 10.20s. He was making a run for the 9s as this story hit the printers.

Drag Radial - Power Adder WinnerBest ET/MPH: 11.01 at 128.82 mph
Car Owner: Power House Automotive LLC
Driver: Mike Bowen

What amazed us about Mike Bowen's '05 Stang was how he kept it mostly stock. His company, Power House Automotive, did add some parts, but nothing out of the ordinary, except for a single turbo kit. Even the OEM clutch remained in place. The reason for the lack of modifications is that the car is being used to prototype the new turbocharger kit from Power House Automotive--and the results are outstanding. The car was on the cusp of the 10-second zone on drag radial tires. The mph indicates that mid 10s are possible with the right amount of hook.

The turbocharger checks in at 60 mm, and it generates 11.5-psi of boost inside the manifold. Tuning was handled by SCT software and done in-house at Power House. A few weeks after the Shootout, the team ran a scorching 10.69 at 131 mph with the addition of some slicks. That's quite a testament to the durability of the stock engine and drivetrain.

Drag Radial - Power Adder Runner-UpBest ET/MPH: 11.60 at 120.44 MPH
Car Owner: Kelly and Michelle Rebman
Driver: Kelly Rebman

Some longtime readers may remember Kelly Rebman from the early years of the MM&FF Spring Break Shootout. His maroon convertible has been parked for a few years, but he's still having fun in the Mustang world. This white five-speed manual coupe was purchased for his wife, Michelle, but after some ribbing from the guys at Rebman Racing, he broke down and started modifying it. Five days and about $800 later in overnight shipping costs, the '05 was ready for the Shootout.

Rebman entered battle armed with a mostly stock Mustang with the addition of a ProCharger blower and exhaust upgrades. He turned to Johnny Lightning Performance to handle the engine tuning. A Ram 9000 series clutch was added to ensure all the super-charged power made it to the ground. Rebman ran on a set of Nitto 555R drag radials tires and mustered up an 11.60 at 120.44. The blower output was set at 12 psi, and he hopes to turn it up a bit more and make a run for the 10s.

Stock Tires - Power Adder WinnerBest ET/MPH: 11.69 at 114.76 mph
Car Owner: Alternative Auto
Driver: Lidio Iacobelli

Lidio Iacobelli is a longtime Mustang enthusiast and performance shop owner. His goal has always been to showcase what his shop could do with the "Average Joe" style combination. Iacobelli has built cars that his customers can relate to rather than go full bore into a Pro 5.0 effort--which he could have easily done. His latest endeavor is this '05 Mustang GT, complete with an automatic transmission. We watched the car go from a 13-second ride this past spring at the Bradenton season opener down to its current mid-11-second status at our Shootout.

Like most of the other competitors on hand, Iacobelli limited his part additions to mostly bolt-on components. The main power maker is a Vortech supercharger--not the high-output kit but rather the standard version. The blower setup is non-intercooled and pumps out a scant 8.5 psi of boost. One of the more impressive facts about this car is that it rolls on a set of 20-inch wheels. They are a lot heavier than the 17-inch and 18-inch wheels out there, and the tire sizing is not conducive to drag racing--making this 11.69 feat that much more impressive. Unfortunately, this was Iacobelli's only pass of the weekend as he broke the engine on the run.

Drag Radial - Naturally Aspirated WinnerBest ET/MPH: 12.78 at 104.23 mph
Car Owner: P&J Speed Shop
Driver: John McGowan

Plenty of people know about John McGowan's accomplishments in the NMRA Pure Street ranks. He brought his brand-new '05 Stang to the party and with it were 12-second times in naturally aspirated trim. Like many others, McGowan chose to use his personal ride to R&D parts to make sure he knew what worked and what didn't. Basic suspension upgrades, a C&L cold-air kit, and exhaust components from Kooks and Bassani are the major changes to this Stang. It also sported a great-looking cowl induction hood from VFN Fiberglass.

McGowan had some trouble adapting to the Nitto drag radial tires, but by the third round of qualifying, he got the car to leave smoothly and was rewarded with a 12.78 performance. His powershifts sounded clean and smooth, and he said the combination of the new Pro-5.0 shifter, McLeod clutch, and Fidanza flywheel make this car an easy driver. The front suspension features a new set of Santuff struts that were designed specifically for the '05 Mustang.

Street Tires - Naturally Aspirated WinnerBest ET/MPH: 12.84 at 108.40 mph
Car Owner: Cory Zaker
Driver: Cory Zaker

If there was one sleeper in the group, it would be Cory Zaker's sedate-looking Mustang. It rolled to the starting line rather inconspicuously and ripped off 12-second times on the stock tires. Mouths dropped as people watched Zaker make his run at Columbus. It didn't even sound like it was a 12-second ride. The list of modifications is quite interesting. Zaker resisted the urge to throw a supercharger on the car (for now anyway), and the major modification thus far has been a set of Livernois Motorsport CNC-ported Three-Valve heads. He gave acknowledgement to Alternative Auto for handling the computer tuning in this 325-rwhp machine.

From the moment Zaker bought the car in fall of 2004, Lidio Iacobelli and the boys at Alternative Auto have been tuning on it using SCT software. Once the computer was dialed in, the usual array of bolt-on parts were thrown at it, including an exhaust and a C&L cold-air kit. But Zaker wanted more from the '05. and that is when the cylinder heads were replaced, a modification that required the removal of the engine. In the end, the Mustang did not perform as well as it should have at our Shootout. Zaker attributed it to Second gear going away in the trans-mission. After 100-plus quarter-mile runs this season, the stock transmission was showing signs of weakness. Zaker's best time has been a 12.68 at 112 mph in non-NMRA competition. That was accomplished with the stock tires out back.

Stock Tires - Power Adder Runner-UpBest ET/MPH: 13.07 at 103.48 mph
Car Owner: Fang Performance
Driver: Shawn Lons

Despite our usual attention to detail, we somehow missed the fact that the Fang Performance Mustang had two turbos lurking under the hood. Visually, everything seemed cool. But after talking with driver Shawn Lons, he informed us about the two tiny turbos that sit underneath the car. It was a prototype twin-turbo kit that Fang Performance was working on along with Hahn Turbo. The stock exhaust manifolds were retained for ease of installation and a sleeper look.

Our shootout was the maiden voyage for the Fang Performance kit. Unfortunately, the crew simply did not have enough time to get the computer fully tuned up. Lons ran 13.07 but has recently gone 12.40s with a small amount of boost in testing. At the time of this printing, the Mustang was producing 400 hp to the rear tires. Fang Performance's goal is to offer twin turbo kits at comparable pricing to the supercharger systems on the market. The Stang was revamped for this year's SEMA show, and Lons said it shocked showgoers with its per-formance and looks.

Stock Tires - Naturally Aspirated Runner-UpBest ET/MPH: 14.51 at 87.20 MPH
Car Owner: John Williams
Driver: John Williams

When most people talk about getting a tuner version of the '05 Mustang, they're usually referring to a Saleen, Steeda, Roush, or Cervini's Mustang. But they aren't the only ones customizing these cars. A little, old dealership called Dale Jarrett Ford (you know, of NASCAR fame) has been modifying the new Mustangs and selling them through the dealership.

Of course, if a car is going to have the great Dale Jarrett's name attached to it, then there has to be something that sets it apart from the rest. The dealer installed a Dale Jarrett Signature body kit along with a set of 18-inch wheels and Goodyear tires. The car has also been lowered. Williams told us he has since added a cold-air induction kit and is having the computer system reflashed for better performance.

Stock Tires - Naturally Aspirated Third PlaceBest ET/MPH: 15.99 at 86.98 MPH
Car Owner: SC Performance
Driver: Cindy Nishwitz

The 300-horse GT was the Mustang to have in 2005, and buyers snapped them up faster than Ford could build them. That left a lot of people either with a long wait for a GT or the option of picking up the much improved V-6 model. But don't let the V-6 engine fool you, because it produces 210 hp at the flywheel from the factory. It sounds wimpy compared to the 300 hp in a GT, but remember that the output is comparable to our beloved 5-liter engines of yesteryear.

Cindy Nishwitz and her husband, Mark, were on the property running their other Mustang in the Street Bracket and decided to throw their automatic-equipped V-6 into our little party. The bone-stock V-6 managed to run in the 15-second zone. We're not sure if there are any plans for the Nishwitz family to upgrade their V-6 model, but the aftermarket is certainly booming right now with V-6 parts if they choose to go that route.

Sutton Impact

The World's Quickest and Fastest Three-Valve equipped, '05 Mustang

People have taken the '05 Mustang further than we had imagined in the first year of production. Leading the charge on the dragstrip is Sutton High Performance and its Vortech-supercharged '05 GT. As we mentioned earlier, the transmission rule was a bit controversial, and these guys were affected by it the most. The Sutton crew decided to run a C4 transmission based on the fact of its reliability and consistency. Without it, they would be swapping transmissions every couple of runs.

Another point of concern was that at the time Sutton built the car, no one made an SFI-certified bellhousing for the Tremec 3650 transmission. A few companies have since come out with an NHRA-legal piece, but when the car went together, it was not an option.

With the transmission rule in effect, that left the Sutton guys to strut their stuff in the Modular Muscle class in Columbus--they own the bragging rights to having the first nine-second Three-Valve run, and currently hold the title of the Quickest and Fastest '05 Mustang with a Three-Valve engine. They rely on a fortified lower end (using a Terminator engine block) with a modified set of Three-Valve heads and stock camshafts. Sutton did remove the stock electronics and now utilizes an EEC V computer system. This move eliminated the cam timing controls, and the camshafts operate like any Two-Valve or Four-Valve engine. The power output is enhanced greatly with the addition of a Vortech JT-Trim blower.

The quickest run to date has been a 9.82 at 136 mph and was accomplished at Route 66 Raceway (Joliet, Illinois). We caught up with the Sutton guys at the Columbus event, and they backed up their 9-second claims by running 9.92 at 136 mph.