Dr Jamie Meyer
June 1, 2002

Horse Sense:
Upon hearing that Mickey Thompson is going to produce a drag radial tire to compete with BFGoodrich and Nitto, Big Daddy said, "That's the best news I've heard out of the PRI show. It means the Drag Radial class is getting more attention, and I'm doing my job." The more parts committed to this class, the more sponsorship dollars and competitors the fans can expect to see.

Has Dwayne "Big Daddy" Gutridge always been at the forefront of the 5.0 Mustang hobby? We think so. Back when Ford's 5.0 was but a young pup, Big Daddy was pounding out record-breaking numbers from all sorts of variants of supercharged street cars. When the Pro 5.0 thing got real hot, Dwayne was there. Then, caught up in the expense of racing, he reexamined his efforts. It was no surprise to his fans when he reinvented himself-and invented a class in the process-in the Drag Radial class, running and building street-oriented combinations that well represented what his shop, Outrageous Mustangs [(732) 928-8250], has been putting together since 1992.

You'll remember that Dwayne's black LX coupe set the standard in this class with a heart-stopping 9.09/ 148 run on street-legal BFGoodrich Drag Radials that ushered in the era of the low-9-second street car. Dwayne's street-racing background may have put him at an advantage. After all, there's nothing like a deceptive street-tired street freak to give you the upper hand on your opponents. And, while the black car was setting records and laying waste to the country's best drivers, Big Daddy was hatching the plan to build a new car-the green one seen here.

"I felt that in order to stay on top, I needed another car to test things without compromising the black car," Dwayne says of the construction of the green coupe. The commitment to sponsors and fans dictated that he have a car at almost every significant race of the year, which left little time to test or repair damage. The green car has supplied that chance, along with a successful testbed for such things as the cam, the exhaust, the converter, the gearing, and the all-important suspension on this under-tired machine. Specifically, Dwayne was looking at how changes in tire pressure, shock settings, and track conditions worked for-or against-the drag-radial tires.

The value of the green coupe really came to light a few races into the 2000 season. First came the violent bumper-dragging show Big Daddy put on in Englishtown, New Jersey, during testing. Then the black coupe suffered a crash at the FFW Spring Break Shootout. "Before that wheelie," he says, "the black car would get 1.32-second short times. But after that wreck, 1.50s were the norm." Something was wrong with the black car (it was later determined the chassis was bent to the point of compromised suspension positioning), so the construction of the green car hastened.

Once the new green chassis was completed, the turbocharged motor from the black car was swapped in. Then the testing began in earnest. On the subject of turbochargers, Big Daddy says, "We use 26 psi in competition, which resulted in 9.00s with the black car. When everything was right on the green car [in reference to cracked headers that caused a severe loss of boost], we saw 28 to 30 psi, which blows head gaskets." Now, after his unprecedented commitment to testing different components and working with the best minds in the business, Big Daddy has it all coming together.

Today the T-76 head unit rides in a George Scott, Turbo Technology Race Kit with the Stage II 2.5-inch crossover pipe. Dwayne has added a front-mount wastegate with the turbo mounted so that it points toward the fender (not down) to increase the flow to the front-mounted intercooler (a George Scott three-core, 3-inch unit). The exhaust is a 3.5-inch, Outrageous-fabricated downpipe flowing into a single DynoMax Ultra Flo Welded muffler with dumps. Supporting equipment for the 770-rwhp/850-lb-ft 349-incher comes from a Weldon fuel system MSD 6 AL ignition box with a Crane coil.

As crucial as the engine tune-up is, tuning the suspension on a Drag Radial car has to be one of the most difficult jobs in Mustang drag racing. The track's conditions are the most important factory for Big Daddy as he sets up his cars. Here's the key: If the track sucks, he goes with 9.5 psi of rear-tire pressure. If, however, he's on a killer, well-prepared track, he goes with 13 pounds. The Drag Radials on the green car are 325/50/15DRs stretched on 15x10 Weld Draglites.

Sadly, we have to report that shortly after these pictures were taken, the green coupe suffered a horrific wreck that Dwayne was lucky to walk away from. It occurred at the Fords at Englishtown Race during the Friday night test-and-tune session. He quickly lost control coming off the starting line, causing the car to work its way into the retaining wall. It was later diagnosed that the torque-filled turbo motor had snapped the studs off the race axles, sending the driver-side rear rim and tire down the track with a trap speed of 140 mph-for just the tire! But we expect the repaired car to resurface eventually, because Dwayne wants it to.

It doesn't take long during a conversation with Big Daddy to understand how passionate he is about this new form of Mustang racing. "This class is won or lost on the 60-foot line," he says. "It all comes down to driving." When asked to describe his driving style, Dwayne responded, "I've been street racing for so many years, it's hard to tell. I drive like it's raining out. I give it just enough throttle to get it moving. When I think it will keep moving-even if it's spinning-I go full-throttle."

With a testing program as outlined here and the resources he has available, is there any doubt Big Daddy will continue to dominate this class? Well, if you think you can do something about that, Dwayne would love to have you come out and show him why. But remember-this guy lost only one race last year! With that kind of performance, it's easy to declare him Drag Radial's "Daddy."

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
Cylinder HeadsTrick Flow Street Heat
Intake ManifoldTurbo People tunnel-ram
CamshaftTurbo People solid-roller
Power AdderInnovative Turbo T-76 turbocharger
ExhaustOutrageous Mustangs downpipe and DynoMax Race Magnum muffler
Fuel PumpWeldon
Fuel Injectors72-lb/hr injectors
TransmissionTrans Specialties Powerglide
RearendStock 8.8 with 3.73 gears and Strange 31-spline axles

Engine ManagementACCEL DFI
IgnitionMSD 6AL
GaugesAuto Meter

Suspension And Chassis
Struts/ShocksLakewood 90/10 struts/Lakewood 50/50 shocks
Rear SuspensionFRPP upper control arms, Southside Lift Bars, and Wolfe Racecraft antiroll bar
WheelsWeld Draglites