Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
17th Annual Texas Thunder FFW Nationals - Go For Launch
The FFW Astronauts Cinch Their Belts For One Heck Of A Ride In Texas.
Ultra Stang saw a former champion defend his home turf as S.D. Wheeler wheeled his '07 Mustang to victory against the '05 version of Lloyd Mikeska. Wheeler, who was the rental-car king when he won the title a couple of years ago, settled into his new ride nicely, using competitive reaction times and a consistent 11.30-second car to take home the glory. Wheeler recorded his best light of eliminations in the final, an 0.030, and then used the resulting holeshot over Mikeska to come around at the stripe, running an 11.31 (11.26 dial-in) to force Mikeska under his 13.40 prediction with a 13.19. The win, coupled with his second-round finish in Orlando, moved Wheeler to the top of the heap, though Mikeska is breathing down his neck in Second Place.
After finishing in a tie with Mark Anderson in the '07 Street Stang campaign, James Meredith came out swinging in his first event of the year, scoring the class win in Baytown with a final-round triumph over the Cobra of Cliff Nelson. Meredith qualified Second on the speed chart, and drew a final-round bout with Nelson after both drivers made their way through three previous rounds of competition. The Tree was activated, and Nelson was away first by slightly over 0.1 second. At the stripe, though, Meredith was able to track down Nelson's snake for the win, as his 12.16-second effort was closer to the 11.90 class index than Nelson's 12.34. With the runner-up, however, Nelson moved into Second Place in the points standings behind Orlando winner Tom Conrad, who went out in Round 2 at Baytown.
Lupe Davila gave everyone in Mod Comp one heck of a driving lesson, as the Houston native slapped together some killer reaction times with an extremely consistent and closely dialed car to take home the accolades. After qualifying No. 1, Davila, who put together a nearly perfect run on the Round 1 bye run with an 0.003 reaction time and a 12.062 on a 12.06 dial, rolled over Trevor Land in the semifinals. Waiting for Davila on the pad in the final was Michael Sulzbach and his '02 Mustang. Davila caught Sulzbach napping on the starting line and took the easy win with an off-the-throttle 12.26. As for the points tally, after two events, Jim Fitzgerald holds down the top spot over the Pickering clan.
After taking a bit of time off from racing, Paul Gamino is making everyone in Tough Truck wishing he was still in retirement, as he scored his second win in as many races with a final-round conquest over Jim Roberts. Gamino, driving the JDM Engineering-campaigned Saleen truck, wheeled the behemoth past Jeff Bland in Round 1 and Dale Orsak in the second frame, before taking an easy bye run into the money round. Both Gamino and Roberts left the starting line on time in the final, though Gamino's 0.018 reaction time gave him a bit of an advantage over Roberts. At the 1,320 mark, Gamino's 13.47 (13.33 dial-in) was just enough to allow him to slip past Robert's 16.43 (16.29 dial-in) for the win. With his second victory of the season, it comes as no surprise that Gamino leads the Tough Truck points standings by a wide margin over Second-Place Robert Chuhran, who fouled out in Round 1.
In the True Street category, 55 cars lasted through the 30-mile cruise and subsequent trio of trips down the dragstrip. After opening with a 9.99, the only 9-second run in the class, N. Cooper (yes, that's how he filled out the tech sheet) slowed to a 10.52 before slamming a 10.06 to take home the True Street win with a 10.19-second average. William Calcote ended up in Second Place with a 10.55-second average. Calcote earned the runner-up honors with three consistent runs in the mid-10-second zone, the quickest being a 10.52 and the slowest a 10.58. Rounding out the top three was Jason Roberts, who had a bracket car for a ride. After opening with a 10.72, Roberts ripped off a 10.71, followed by a 10.70 to wind up Third with a 10.71-second average.
The FFW crew gets a couple of weeks off before the cars are loaded up, trailers are packed, and battle is waged in the bayou country of Louisiana in Belle Rose.