Michael Galimi
August 6, 2010

From the minute the gates opened, there was a special energy at the NMRA-Keystone Ford Nationals at Atco Raceway (Atco, New Jersey).

While the stars of the show--Mike Murillo, John Urist, and Conrad Scarry, amongst many others--were on hand, there were three brand-new '11 5.0L Mustangs that garnered massive attention. In fact, the energy was like the days of old at New Jersey's Atco Raceway or nearby Englishtown, where virtually every Friday night was packed with the baddest Fox-body 5.0L Mustangs. And with not much more than bragging rights at stake, the pioneers battled to see who was quickest.

Everyone wanted to see what the latest 5.0L modular powerplant could do on track. The new Stangs were shipped to dealers just days prior, and it was the first-time most of the Mustang community got a firsthand glimpse.

The quickest and fastest 5.0L belonged to Nelson Whitlock of Evolution Performance (Aston, Pennsylvania). The shop grabbed one of the first cars to hit local dealers and he began modifying right away. Whitlock swapped the slicks and skinnies from his Shelby GT500 and fabricated a custom 3-inch x-style pipe with Borla exhaust. The Evo crew also added new shocks and struts to help traction. John Lund of Lund Racing assisted in modifying the computer calibration using soon-to-be-released software, and he was quick to credit Ford Motor Company and Ford Racing for their assistance. The best e.t. in naturally aspirated trim was 11.65 at 117 mph, and Whitlock is credited with driving the first '11 5.0L Mustang into the 11s.

The other two cars were pretty much stock, but the owners still ripped it up. Mike Bowen of PowerHouse Automotive (Girard, Pennsylvania) picked up his car just 36 hours before the event, but that didn't stop him from entering Tremec True Street. Bowen purchased a car with the six-speed manual transmission, and it ran a best of 12.70 at 112 mph. He officially completed the True Street battle with a 12.81 average.

The other '11 belonged to Ryan Shaller, and he competed in the JDM Engineering Super Stang category--a dial-in class for S197 vehicles. Shaller's car came from Winner Ford (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) and he added a set of M/T drag radials. The car featured the new six-speed automatic, and his best time was a 12.81 at 110 mph. Shaller went all the way to the semifinals before bowing out of competition.

Moving past the new-car hype, some amazing heads-up madness ensued on track, along with a great turnout in the index and bracket categories. Many of the top Mustang shops and manufacturers setup displays with special show-only discounts and a chance to talk one-on-one with company reps.

The car show featured over 100 Mustangs and other Fords, while True Street attracted 52 entries. We're always amazed by the powerful Mustangs and other Fords in True Street, and this year's title went to Edison, New Jersey Police Officer Dave Salardino, who took time away from his day job (and golf game) to wheel his Nov. '09 MM&FF cover car to the Atco victory. With the help of Jim Chahalis and Brian Friedentag, Salardino scored his first True Street win, clocking a stout 9.18 average.

There are five more dates on the NMRA schedule, so be sure to check nmradigital.com to see when the traveling speed show comes to your home track. We plan to be there, and so should you!

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