Frank H. Cicerale
September 1, 2008
Photos By: Michael Galimi

Eleven GT500S. Two classes. One track. The chance to make as many runs as possible to shoot for quarter-mile glory and supremacy. The result? A couple of nine-second passes, a twin-turbo GT500, one shelled rearend, a bit of tire shake, and one hell of an exciting shootout.

Wanting to showcase what's happening out there in GT500-land, we set up a shootout pitting the baddest stock blower (Street class) and anything-goes (Outlaw class) cars in a gloves-off fisticuffs. At first, it was almost the shootout that wasn't, as our original date was rained out-three times. After having to reschedule for a sunny day, the pressure was on both the contestants and MM&FF to pull the deal off before the deadline hit.

Things started out fairly tame, as one of the shootout cars made a couple of test hits. We then had all 11 of our GT500s pulled into the staging lanes at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, for our first group run. Some slipped and slid, while others dead-hooked, but when the day was done, we were treated to one of the baddest shootouts we've ever put together. With roughly a million dollars in the pits and more horsepower than we could count, it was amazing to see what simple bolt-on parts could do for the already-amazing GT500.

As stated, we drummed up two different classes, the wildest being Outlaw-an anything goes, run-what-ya-brung deal. While there were only four cars in this class, the quad set showcased innovation and a host of different setups. One was equipped with a Whipple 3.4L blower, two with a Kenne Bell, and one with a twin-turbo combination. The result was the quickest and fastest cars in the shootout, and one that showed potential eight-second capability.

1st Place
Nelson Whitlock
Aston, PA
9.542/148.01
Nelson Whitlock and the boys from Evolution Performance brought their black '07 GT500 for the Outlaw class and certainly did not disappoint. If this car looks familiar, it's because it was featured in our March '07 issue, and it was the first Shelby in both the 10- and 9-second zones. With this new setup, it's on its way to being the first in the 8s.

The black beast sports a pair of Precision T67 turbos that helped push it to a pair of 9.54s at well into the 140-mph district. "This is the first time out with this combination, so the boost was only at 17 psi," says Evolution's Fred Cook. "We're sure that 26-27 psi is possible, and we're shooting to be the first in the 8s with a stock motor, though we do have a built bullet ready to go." The other notable thing about this ride was that it showcases a Ford 9-inch under the hind end, and was the only car in the shootout equipped with an automatic transmission.

Shelby Specs
Owner:Nelson Whitlock
Hometown:Aston, PA
Driver: Nelson Whitlock
Year: ’07
Weight w/Driver: 3,800 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Evolution Performance
Exhaust: Evolution Performance
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Evolution Performance
Forced Induction: Two Precision T67 turbochargers
Throttle Body: Accufab
Boost Amount: 17 psi (can produce 26-27 psi)
Computer System: BigStuff3
Ignition: LS1 coils
Shifter: Hurst
Transmission: GM TH400 three-speed automatic
Converter: Secret
Rear Gears: 3.70
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 9.542 /148.01
Log Book
60-ftE.T. MPH
1.5939.542148.01
1.4849.545145.78

2nd Place
Mark Franzin
Mars, PA
10.140/139.33
Mark Franzin's GT500 was one of the pair in the Outlaw class showcasing a Kenne Bell blower, and he used it, along with some help from Evolution Performance, to nab the runner-up spot in the category. Mark's car also sported a rearend conversion, as a Moser 9-inch resides out back. Having previously ripped off a best lap of 10.40 seconds at 132 mph, Mark came loaded for bear. After taking it easy on his first lap, Mark got after it on his second and third runs, recording a 10.14 and a 10.16, both with trap speeds well into the high-134-mph zone.

"I bought the car for the horsepower," Mark says. "As for time and money invested, are you kidding me? Most of my time and lots more money are what made this car go as quick as it did."

Shelby Specs
Owner:Mark Franzin
Hometown: Mars, PA
Driver: Mark Franzin
Year:’07
Weight w/Driver: 3,934 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Evolution Performance
Exhaust: Evolution Performance
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Kenne Bell
Forced Induction: Kenne Bell 2.8H supercharger
Throttle Body: 160mm monoblade
Boost Amount: 21 psi
Computer System: Stock with Evolution Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Stock
Transmission: RSG Tranzilla 6060 six-speed manual
Clutch: Ram dual-disc high horsepower
Rear Gears: 4.11
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 10.140/139.33
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.53310.140138.73
1.53810.166139.33
1.55210.464133.09

3rd Place
Justin Burcham
Glen Burnie, MD
10.451/136.83
Justin Burcham was tabbed to drive Billy White's '07 GT500 for the shootout, and while he made only one run, he made it count. This GT500 was topped with the lone Whipple of the bunch, and Burcham boiled the hides, dropped the clutch, and banged the gears on his way to a stout 10.45 at 136 mph. However, the differential in the stock 8.8-inch rear kissed the world goodbye after Justin sidestepped the clutch on the second run, resulting in a broken rear and the end of his day.

"That 10.45 was so easy, I think this car can run in the 9s," Justin says. "I didn't even powershift it or leave hard on that run." He was right, as when he did attempt to leave hard, the rear busted. As a side note, Justin and the JPC Racing crew fixed the problem, put in a Detroit Locker, and went out two days later, ripping off a 9.92 at 142 mph.

Shelby Specs
Owner: Billy White
Hometown: Glen Burnie, MD
Driver: Justin Burcham
Year: ’07
Weight w/Driver: 4,000 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: JPC Racing
Exhaust: JBA long-tube headers, x pipe system with cats, JBA mufflers
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Whipple
Forced Induction: Whipple 3.4 supercharger
Throttle Body: Whipple
Boost Amount: 21 psi
Computer System: Stock w/DiabloSport tuner
Ignition:Stock w/Brisk Racing spark plugs
Shifter: Pro-5.0
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 3.{{{90}}}
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 9.920/142.00
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.68610.451136.83

4th Place
Mike Bavaro
Colts Neck, NJ
10.811/130.83
By his own admission, Mike Bavaro is not a drag racer, as he makes his living running Body Motion, a shop that specializes in European and road-race cars. Mike decided to grab a GT500 and see what kind of sick horsepower he could make with a supercharged, American-made Mustang, albeit one with a road-race suspension.

Not having any experience in ripping down the quarter-mile, Mike enlisted the help of MM&FF's hot shoe, Revvin' Evan Smith. After taking a few easy laps at first, Evan finally opened her up, left hard, and got the Kenne Bell-equipped Shelby nearly into the 10-second zone with an 11-flat. After icing down the blower, Evan lined the GT500 up, dropped the hammer, ripped off a 1.55 short time, and rowed the gears to a stout 10.81 at 133 mph.

"I'm used to setting cars up for the road course, which means getting the front end hunkered down and kept down for front downforce," mike says. "one of the guys who was watching the car leave and travel down track saw that the front end stayed glued to the track, even upon launch. The weight wasn't shifting rearward. If i could have gotten the car to work chassis-wise, it probably would have run a tad bit better."

Shelby Specs
Owner:Mike Bavaro
Hometown: Colts Neck, NJ
Driver: Evan Smith
Year: ’08
Weight w/Driver: 4,000 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Mike Bavaro, Body Motion
Exhaust: Dr. Gas boom tubes w/Spintron mufflers and custom side-exit exhaust
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake:Kenne Bell
Forced Induction: Kenne Bell Stage 2 supercharger
Throttle Body: Dual-blade 75mm
Boost Amount: 15 psi
Computer System: Stock w/Body Motion tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: {{{Ford}}} Racing Performance Parts
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 3.70
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 10.811/130.83
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.55710.811128.30
1.75911.009130.83
1.67211.010129.84

Street
1st Place
While we loved the big speeds and killer elapsed times produced by the four Outlaw class cars, we just had to see what the stock blower contingent could do. With that in mind, we separated those with the factory Eaton huffer and put them into their own class, aptly named Street. The rules were simple: stock blower, stock transmission, no extra power adder, stock rear suspension, and an acceptable interior. We weren't disappointed.

We had seven contestants in our Street class, and the consensus was that the limit of the stock blower had been reached in terms of elapsed times. While one of our Street drivers (we originally had eight) had trouble with his ride, the remaining seven showed that 11.0-11.3 was about as quick as a stock blower GT500 would run that day. Porting undoubtedly helps, but the question at that point remains whether to spend the green on porting the stock blower or upgrading to a TVS, Whipple, or Kenne Bell.

In looking at a few of the cars that were making pass after pass in the Street class, the limit to traction was also reached and surpassed. One driver had us thinking he was driving one of John Force's nitromethane-powered NHRA Funny Cars with the amount of tire shake he was experiencing at the 1-2 gear change.

Without a doubt, the question as to how quick and fast a GT500 with the stock blower can go was answered each time the clutch was dropped and the gears were banged. All we have to say is, don't mess with one of these cars at a stoplight.

In the end, our GT500 shootout showcased the best of both worlds, in both classes. We wonder how the GT500s seen here would stack up against the other two supercharged heavyweights from Ford-the Lightning and the Terminator Cobra. Guess we'll just have to find out.

Nelson Whitlock
Aston, PA
10.965/129.62
Evolution Performance made it a clean sweep by not only running the quickest elapsed time in the Outlaw class, but the quickest one in the Street class as well. Evolution is one of the leading GT500 shops in the country, and the crew took the more conventional route with their Street class Shelby. A larger throttle body, a full-on exhaust, a custom tune, a set of 4.10 gears, and 13 pounds of boost were all that was needed to get the 4,024-pound beast into the 10-second zone with a 10.96.

"The combo in this car is one we had in our black car way back when," says Evolution's Fred Cook, referring to the car that won the Outlaw class in our shootout. "We changed a couple of things, like adding the headers and swapping out the mufflers, but the car should eventually run somewhat close to the 10.41 we ran in the black car."

While the 10.96 earned Nelson Whitlock the distinction of having the only stock-blower car to nip into the 10-second zone at the shootout, the car has been deeper into the 10s before, and Nelson and the rest of the Evolution crowd think there's more left in the combination. After his first few runs, two of which yielded low 11-second times, Nelson ripped off a pair of 10-second laps, showing not only what the car was capable of, but also that it could do it consistently.

Shelby Specs
Owner:Nelson Whitlock
Hometown: Aston, PA
Driver: Nelson Whitlock
Year: ’08
Weight w/Driver: 4,024 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Evolution Performance
Exhaust: American Racing headers, Bassani mufflers
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Stock
Throttle Body: 160 mm
Boost Amount: 13 psi
Computer System: Stock w/SCT/Evolution Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Steeda Tri-Ax w/Hurst Pistol Grip
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 4.10
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 10.{{{850}}}/132.00
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.74810.965129.62
1.{{{760}}}10.984129.07
1.73011.013128.44

2nd Place
Henry Cooper
Newton, NJ
11.006/126.35
Henry Cooper was a mere 0.006 second away from sneaking into the 10-second zone with his '07 Shelby. Running one of the numerous Evolution-tuned vehicles on the grounds, Henry was determined to unseat the Evolution shop car. A stellar 11.23 was his opening shot, and though he came close to breaking out of the 11.20-second zone the rest of the day, he gave it all he had on his last run late in the afternoon. After cooling the stock Eaton blower down as much as he could, Henry rolled into the water box, cleaned off the rear tires, and let it all hang out. Four gears later, Henry lit the boards with an 11.00 at a thundering 126-mph trap speed.

While his 11.00-second run wasn't quite as good as his 10.65-second best, Henry showed all of us just how much can be done with a stock Eaton blower and some savvy driving.

Shelby Specs
Owner: Henry Cooper
Hometown: Newton, NJ
Driver: Henry Cooper
Year:’07
Weight w/Driver: 4,188 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Evolution Performance
Exhaust: MagnaFlow mufflers, x pipe system, no cats
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Stock
Throttle Body: Stock
Boost Amount: 14 psi
Computer System: Stock w/SCT/Evolution Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Stock
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 3.70
Best E.T./MPH to Date10.650/130.00
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.66711.006126.35
1.76711.212125.87
1.86011.283125.61

3rd Place
John Mcgowan
North Tonawanda, NY
11.064/127.02
John McGowan's trip from upstate New York was a worthwhile one, as he finished in Third Place in the Street class. John, who brought an untested steed into battle, took it easy on his first run, leaving soft and recording a mid-11-second lap. He then got after it on his next pair of runs, ripping off his best of the day, an 11.06, followed by his second-best 11.16. After missing a gear on his fourth run-which coincidentally showcased his best short time of the day, a 1.616-he finished with a pair of mid-11.20-second runs.

With everyone in the Street class obligated to run the stock blower, John and his home team (P&J Speed Shop) did what they could as far as bolt-ons, but really got after the suspension to use as much of the car's available power as they could. The combination of Santhuff front struts; QA1 rear shocks; and UPR springs, control arms, and Panhard bar, allowed the weight to transfer and the car to put all of the boosted power to the ground.

Shelby Specs
Owner:Bill Stradtman
Hometown: North Tonawanda, NY
Driver: John McGowan
Year: ’07
Weight w/Driver: 3,932 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: P&J Speed Shop/Paul’s High Performance
Exhaust: Full Bassani, no cats
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Stock
Throttle Body: Stock
Boost Amount: 13 psi
Computer System: Stock w/P&J/Paul’s High Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Pro-5.0
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 4.10
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 11.064/127.02
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.{{{626}}}11.064126.20
1.68611.162126.79
1.75511.238127.02

4th Place
Jeff Schmell
Jackson, MI
11.106/125.47
To say that Jeff Schmell did all he could with his '08 GT500 would be an understatement. Every time he took a stab at the fabled Raceway Park quarter-mile, the rear tires would shake like an NHRA nitro car whenever the 1-2 gear change was made. "The Detroit Locker I have in the car's 8.8 rear kept locking and unlocking during the 1-2 shift," Jeff says. "The car would leave clean, but shake real bad when I banged Second gear." We have to give Jeff props, as he flat-out beat on the Shelby nonetheless. Even when the shake was so bad on one run that it opened the fuel door, he never lifted and never relented.

Jeff opened with an 11.23, and after a slowing 11.92 for his second run, he stayed in the high 11.20- to low 11.30-second range for the rest of the day-until his last run, that is. Determined to break out of the 11.20's, Jeff left hard, missing his best 60-foot time of the day by .001. He then slammed the gears to a stout 11.10 at 125 mph. We can only imagine how quick he could have gone had the car not rattled the tires.

Shelby Specs
Owner:Jeff Schmell
Hometown: Jackson, MI
Driver: Jeff Schmell
Year: ’08
Weight w/Driver: 3,958 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Paul’s High Performance
Exhaust: JBA 3-inch exhaust and after-cat, stock exhaust manifolds
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Stock
Throttle Body: Stock
Boost Amount: 14 psi
Computer System: Stock w/Paul’s High Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Stock
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Spec
Rear Gears: 3.70
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 11.060/127.50
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.70311.106125.47
1.71511.238124.64
1.75111.275125.06

5th Place
Henry Attenborough
Danielsville, PA
11.138/125.51
When we concluded the GT500 shootout, we almost had to call the cops and have Henry Attenborough arrested for murder, as he just about beat his Shelby to death. In a section of the Mustang community where it seems as if most owners forgo the addition of a rollbar in an effort to keep the permanent modifications to a minimum, not only did Henry slap in the required safety equipment, but he also slapped his Pony's rearend in an effort to show everyone just what his car could do.

Henry's best runs were his first two hits at the track, as he ripped through the top-end cones with an 11.13 and an 11.15. With trap speeds tickling into the 122-mph zone, he knew the car had more in it, and the speed mark shows it, as he spent the rest of the day in the mid-124-mph zone and even ripped off a 125-mph shot. Surely some of it had to do with the short times, as the latter part of the day saw him unable to duplicate the 1.67 60-foot time he ripped off on his first run. Nonetheless, his 11.13 best wasn't far off the times recorded by the top four, showing everyone just how far the stock blower can be pushed in terms of elapsed time and speed, though Henry has gone as quick as a 10.76.

Shelby Specs
Owner:Henry Attenborough
Hometown: Danielsville, PA
Driver: Henry Attenborough
Year: ’08
Weight w/Driver: 4,034 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Evolution Performance
Exhaust: Stock manifolds, off-road x pipe system, {{{Ford}}} Racing Performance Parts axle-back system
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake:Stock
Throttle Body: Stock
Boost Amount: 14 psi
Computer System: Stock w/Evolution Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Stock
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 3.31
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 10.761/129.{{{80}}}
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.67911.138121.94
1.71311.156122.79
1.79611.224124.56

6th Place
Marlon Smith
Metuchen, NJ
11.401/122.96
When Marlon Smith was looking to throw some power at his supercharged Shelby, he enlisted the help of Mustang heads-up racing legend Dwayne "Big Daddy" Gutridge and Big Daddy Performance. It was a wise choice, as Marlon ended up in Sixth Place with an 11.40-second best. "When I first bought the car, I started out with a Stage 2 kit, which was a pulley, a cold-air kit, and a tune," he says. "It just took off from there. I had the suspension components and the gears added, along with the exhaust. Once the car started creeping into the low-11-second zone, I had to add the rollbar."

With an all-time best of an 11.25 at 125, Marlon was surely looking for a bit more the day of our shootout, but the car ran admirably regardless. As was the case with Henry Attenborough, Marlon's first two hits were his best, as his 11.40 was backed up with his second-best 11.48. Weighing in at a stout 4,192 pounds, Marlon's GT500 had to move the most amount of mass out of everyone in attendance, but that didn't seem to matter as the car rolled along to trap speeds well into the 120-mph zone.

Shelby Specs
Owner: Marlon Smith
Hometown: Metuchen, NJ
Driver: Marlon Smith
Year: ’07
Weight w/Driver: 4,192 lbs
Engine: Stock
Built/Tuned By: Big Daddy Performance
Exhaust: {{{Ford}}} Racing Performance Parts
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Ford Racing Performance Parts
Intake: Stock
Throttle Body: Stock
Boost Amount: 13.5 psi
Computer System: Stock w/SCT /Big Daddy Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Stock
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 3.73
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 11.250/125.51
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.73611.401122.96
1.78711.483122.66
1.76911.491121.63

7th Place
Herman Minkin
South Amboy, NJ
11.856/122.95
When Herman Minkin rolled into Raceway Park, we swore we'd found the fountain of youth. At the young age of 73, Herman holds the keys not only to his red '07 Shelby GT500, but a pretty wild Fox-body as well. After having fallen in love with the looks and power of the new-for-'07 Shelby, Herman picked his up in Kansas and promptly dropped it off at Crazy Horse Racing, where Chris Winter spun a few wrenches on the supercharged S197.

With the add-ons being of the bolt-on nature, it came as no surprise that Herman was able to muster an 11.85-second best, though the car has made its way down into the 11.40s before. Of all the cars in the shootout, the one thing Herman's car had going for it over the others was its consistency. After opening with an 11.89, Herman rolled to an 11.92, followed by his 11.85 best. With its other two runs being an 11.94 and an 11.92, this is one fast street car that could probably double as a heck of a bracket car.

Shelby Specs
Owner:Herman Minkin
Hometown: South Amboy, NJ
Driver: Herman Minkin
Year: ’07
Weight w/Driver:4,064 lbs
Engine:Stock
Built/Tuned By: Crazy Horse Racing
Exhaust: Stock
Heads: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Intake: Stock w/JLT cold-air kit
Throttle Body: Stock
Boost Amount: 13.5 psi
Computer System: Stock w/Crazy Horse Racing tune
Ignition: Stock
Shifter: Stock
Transmission: Stock six-speed manual
Clutch: Stock
Rear Gears: 4.10
Best E.T./MPH to Date: 11.460/122.00
Log Book
60-ftE.T.MPH
1.86911.856121.46
1.99711.898121.87
2.01311.921122.95