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

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Team Sacramento
Sacramento's '93 LX had the Shelby GT-350H look, and it powered to a best of 11.81 at 127 mph in the quarter-mile on Nitto 555 R Extreme Drag tires. The LX also sported a Nitrous Express kit, a Zoom clutch, and Hooker 1-3/4-inch headers.
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The FRPP Boss 347 was topped with Z304 aluminum heads, an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, a Holley 80mm throttle body, a Lightning 90mm mass air, and a K&N filter. Each vehicle also had a Comp Cams camshaft and relied on the EEC IV computer with aftermarket tuning.
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The Interior was spartan, with lightweight plastic seats and aluminum door panels. This car also had a fabricated dash and a unique tach mount.
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Tom Wilson handled driving during the slalom and brake testing. The veteran journalist and road racer blistered through the cones with precision, and during the brake test, he hauled the black Stang down from 60 to 0 with great control.

Each team had just under one year to plan the build, order the parts, and complete the project. Amazingly, all five teams showed up at the UTI Sacramento campus ready to rock. Once in northern California, the action kicked off with each of the five phases of the Q Collegiate Power Challenge. They included rear-wheel horsepower; 60-0 braking; 600-foot slalom; quarter-mile drag test, and subjective judging. Scoring was based on 90 points for a win, 80 for Second Place, 70 for Third, 60 for Fourth, and 50 for Fifth. Addition-ally, there were potential points deductions for overspending and/or for breeching the rules.

Upon arriving at the UTI campus, the first thing I noticed was the cleanliness and size of the facility. Students behaved in a professional manner, and I saw brand-new equipment everywhere. I also noticed how many accredited factory programs the school offered, including Ford's FACT.

After our UTI tour, Wilson and I inspected each Mustang and saw the build quality was quite impressive. There were many variations in how each team attacked the problem; however, every group relied on nitrous for extra motivation. We found a few things needing correction, such as a sticking throttle on one Stang and a lack of a shield on one fuel sump, but overall, each car was done well. With tech out of the way, the vehicles were fired up and moved to the in-house chassis dyno.

On dyno day, UTI provided an amazing open house for students, faculty, and anyone who wanted to stop in--and hundreds attended. Famed announcer Army Armstrong called the show with a remote microphone and did interviews all day long. Each team had 30 minutes on the dyno, and the energy in the room built with every car. I was amazed to see how much ingenuity and team spirit went into each Mustang. As the final mill cracked off, the emotions were flying higher than the rpm of the screaming Boss engines. Taking top points in the dyno test was Orlando's Hurricane team with 633.91 proud ponies. But did those bold numbers come at a cost? Time would tell.

We awoke bright and early the next day and headed to Sacramento Raceway for the driving portions of the challenge. Wilson was up first, and he performed the braking tests in each vehicle. Braking and slalom were done in the shutdown area on Sacramento's quarter-mile, but the rough surface gave Wilson fits. Cold conditions and the rough road caused some lockup, but tall Tom modulated the pedal to keep the Mustangs under control. The best stopper in these conditions was Houston's GT, which went from 60-0 in 117.02 feet.

Next, Wilson tossed each Stang through the cones as quickly as he could. This time it was the Cucamonga crew that had the best setup, as a time of 6.23 seconds garnered the team top points. Interestingly, all five Mustangs scored well, with the slowest time being 6.57 seconds from Norwood's Dyno Crushers.