Evan J. Smith
Mustang360 Network Content Director
February 1, 2013
Photos By: Marc Christ

Did you ever wonder what the ultimate Mustang would be? Does it have 1,000 horsepower? Can it outrun an Italian exotic on the top end, or run around a road course with maximum grip and braking? Is it capable of 8s in street trim? In this day of have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too hot rods, the ultimate Mustang must do it all.

At the end of the day, defining the ultimate Mustang comes down to individual taste and desire, since we all crave something a little different from our performance vehicles. Still, Team MM&FF wanted to create a real-world challenge for those interested in all-around performance, and so the Mustang Triathlon was born.

Held this past September at Palm Beach International Raceway (Palm Beach, Florida) during the Fun Ford Weekend event, our Mustang Triathlon encompassed three driving disciplines and it was a big hit. With only a month to promote our new event, we wrangled 29 Mustangs and other Fords to compete in a fun, but serious, challenge of autocross, acceleration/braking, and drag racing.

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With the help of Track Guys' Jeff Lacina, Frank Perdomo of Power By The Hour Performance, and the fine folks at PBIR, we locked in a trio of on-track exercises that would showcase driver and vehicle performance. To keep the playing field fair, we broke the cars into four classes (Stock, Modified, Prepared, and Exhibition-only), and we saw everything from factory V-6 Stangs, to radical Cobra replicas, and just about every type of Stang in between. There were drivers with virtually no experience and some with many track miles.

We started with a legit SCCA autocross that was set up on the PBIR road course. It was fast and furious, and drivers and fans found it exciting. Each participant was allowed to make a series of runs, and we took the quickest one for their final score.

Next, we moved to the acceleration and braking event. For many drivers this proved to be the most challenging portion of the Triathlon, as judging the course and achieving maximum braking (within the required space) was not easy.

The total course was 1,000 feet in length, and drivers then had to stop within a 40-foot box marked by cones. Most drivers erred on the side of caution and braked too early on their first runs, while a few aggressive hot-shoes late-braked in an effort to go for it. This style led to tire lock-up and a touch of drama as some blew right through the cones.

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Scott Boda of Steeda Autosports showed real guts and blasted down the course, drilled the brakes at the last possible second, and brought his yellow Stang to a halt with inches to spare. His reward was the only time in the 11-second range!

With massive clouds looming, the herd was guided to the PBIR quarter-mile and the drivers were given three runs to produce their best elapsed time. Boda, admittedly more of a drag racer, was licking his chops and didn't disappoint, producing a slew of mid-11s, his best being an 11.32, which was quickest of the day.

Best of all was experiencing the camaraderie between the competitors and feeling the excitement as each driver took to the different track. Participants enjoyed the challenge of running different racing events, even when they were outside their comfort zones.

The Mustang Triathlon was a success and the MM&FF staff hopes to bring you more events like this in the future. So stay tuned, and be sure to follow us online at Twitter and Facebook, as we announce more exciting events for 2013.

Triathlon Results
Stock
1. Jo Jardim '12 Mustang
2. John Welsh '12 Boss 302
3. Mario Kuan '12 Mustang
Modified
1. Scott Boda '05 GT
2. Mark McKay '94 GT
3. Ken Wolfe '08 GT
Prepared
1. Jeff Lindstrom '98 Mustang
2. Brian Kaprelian '00 Mustang
3. Rodney Williamson '94 Cobra
Best Overall Scores
Autocross Jeff Lindstrom 1:06.40
Speed Brake Scott Boda 11.97
Dragstrip Scott Boda 11.32

The dragstrip proved challenging for many of the drivers. Boda had the Steeda Stang locked into the 11s.

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