Evan J. Smith
March 1, 2008
Photos By: Wes Allison

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Team Norwood
Students from Norwood, Massachusetts, built this tough-looking and quite unique '90 roadster Mustang for the competition. The Ballistic Blue Pony didn't make the most power on the dyno, but it did record the quickest e.t. and top mph during the strip shootout, mustering an 11.80 at 130 mph.
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The 347 Boss engine was fed by an Edelbrock Victor 5.0 intake, a Nitrous Express shot of juice, and was tuned with SCT software. BBK headers and Summit Racing mufflers channeled the exhaust, while an MSD ignition provided the spark for the 91-octane Shell fuel that each car ran on.
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Norwood's open-top Stang was fun to drive and the most comfortable car of the bunch. The craftsmanship was top-notch, and this scored well with the judges.
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The light tail end of the roadster Stang put Wilson to the test, but he was up to the task. He also masterfully modulated braking in the non-ABS system to stop the GT from 60 mph in 129 feet. Underpinnings included Strange dampers, Granatelli links, and Air Ride rear airbags rather than coil springs.

While corner-carving is fun, everyone was waiting for the quarter-mile mayhem to begin. Finally, it was my turn to slam some gears, and I wasted little time. Each car was allotted three runs, so I had to make each launch and gear change count. Despite the sticky Nitto tires, planting 440-600 hp was going to be a challenge. Sacramento's crew gave me a sticky track, and I was off.

Rancho's SoCal Crush SN-95 clocked a best of 12.14 at 122; then it was off to the roadster of the Norwood Dyno Crushers. This car fit me like a glove, and in it I performed the best, clocking an 11.80 at 130 mph.

The first sense of drama occurred when I hopped in Orlando's machine. Damage to the engine on the dyno finally took its toll, as WOT resulted in a huge backfire and subsequent fire in the carb. It was exciting, to say the least, but with the power greatly reduced due to a suspected blown head gasket, all I could do was nurse the car to a non-nitroused 14.85 at 102 mph. Hey, at least the car finished the competition. The drama continued with Houston's GT, which had trouble sustaining an idle. Nevertheless, I feathered the gas, heated the tires, and laid down a 12.17 at 112 without the juice. My next attempt, with the juice turned on, resulted in the intake blowing clean off the engine, bending the stock hood, and ending my day with that car.

Last up was the Sacramento Gold Rush, and with 600 proud ponies at the wheels, it had a shot at dragstrip supremacy. Three tries resulted in a quarter-mile best of 11.81 at 127 mph for this strong-running Stang. The car was tricky to drive because of the shifter-mounted nitrous activation and 4.30 gears, which meant I had to use Fifth gear. With 3.73s and a WOT switch, this car could have run well into the 11s or in the 10s for sure.

After completing a cold day at Sacramento Raceway putting five awesome Mustangs through their paces, the scores were recorded and the tally was completed. When the smoke cleared, it was the Sacramento Gold Rush team taking the championship and the trophy.

We found it very cool that each team proved victorious in at least one aspect of the competition, but overall consistency paid off for the home team. The event was a total blast for all involved, and we can't wait to see what's in store for 2008.