Michael Johnson Associate Editor
June 1, 2005

However, the car was still not in the 11s, so he wasn't happy with the times or the mph. "I told my wife and son the car would go faster with a little more TLC," Mike says. "We called Ed Curtis (From Flowtech Induction) and told him I wanted to go faster, but on pump gas," Mike adds. To which Ed responded, "OK, but you guys are driving me crazy." Ed had already helped Paul go fast with his '95 GT convertible, and now he had to deal with two Rivas calling him on the phone. "I think he likes us," Mike says (Hey, that's between you guys).

Anyway, Ed was eager to help so Mike sent his Holley SysteMAX II heads and intake to Flowtech Induction for improved breathing capabilities. "Ed also made me one of those 'special' cams of his," Mike says. Oh yeah, we've heard of those "special" Ed Curtis cams. However, Mike just didn't want all this stuff back on his stock short-block so he summoned Keith Penatzer to balance and assemble a new short-block using SRP pistons with the stock crankshaft and rods.

Since Mike was serious about getting to the 11s, he changed out the 3.73 gears for 4.30s, added a TTC-Tremec TKO transmission, a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter, and Superior 31-spline axles. At this point, it was time for a custom tune, so Mike took the GT over to Kauffman Motorsports for a custom tune-up using an Autologic performance chip. "Dave Kauffman always has a trick up his sleeve," Mike says, "and if the car has it in it, he'll get it out for you."

At this time, Mike also put the car on a low-carb diet to get some weight off. That sounds like the perfect excuse to add Bogart wheels at every corner, and Mike selected D-10s all the way around with 165R15s up front and kept the E/T Streets out back.

The work paid off, but not as much as Mike had hoped for-the next trip to the track was a 12.0 at 115 mph and a 12.1 at 112 mph. "This was great, but it wasn't 11s," Mike says. Paul recommended more weight loss, so the two removed the fog lights and the front sway bar. Ed Curtis was again summoned for advice, and he thought the car could probably use a hotter-than-stock ignition. "We installed an MSD 6AL ignition, a Screamin' Demon coil, and FRPP spark plug wires. Mike also returned to Kauffman for a tweak on the tune.

The next trip to the Cecil County Raceway left him with consecutive 12.1s at 114 mph. Frustrated, Paul said to let the car cool down, so he iced the intake and took a break. With the car cooled down Mike was ready to go. "I told my wife it was time to stop chasing this 11-second ghost and take her into the 11s," Mike says. He even asked for a little divine intervention, and when the lights came down, Mike and the Mustang were off. At Cecil County, the scoreboard tells you your incrementals as you're going down the track so Mike knew his 0.725 reaction time was really slow. However, he also saw the 1.68 60ft time, and the 90 mph eighth-mile speed. "At this point I knew it felt like a good run, but I didn't know if it was good enough for the 11s," Mike says.

As it turns out, Paul came down the track right after his dad. Mike knew something was up when Paul was flashing his lights, blowing his horn, and giving him the thumbs-up sign. "At first, I thought he was crazy," Mike says. That's been our thought all along (sorry Paul). However, then Mike noticed a lady wearing a green shirt jumping up and down, waving her arms in the air. "It was my wife, and I thought she was crazy, too," Mike says (we're not touching that one). "Then I got my timeslip and couldn't believe my eyes," Mike says. The slip read 11.95 at 115 mph, it finally happened. "The ghost I chased for two years was 'Stang busted," Mike adds.