Don Roy
August 1, 2007
Photos By: Tracy Stocker

Cutting the grass is a pleasant memory for some people and a dreadful chore for others. Sometimes, it all depends on the size of the lawn mower versus the size of the lawn. Regardless, can you count or estimate the number of times you've cut the grass? Perhaps if you'd done it once a week for an average growing season of nine months through your teenage years, you would come up with something less than three hundred sessions with the mower. However, you would have nothing on our current Mustang owner.

To some other people, cutting grass is a means to an end and, in this case, the end was a shiny, black Steeda Stage One Mustang. For Derick Fellrath to come up with a $7,000 down payment, he started saving when he was 10 years old. Although he'd originally been fascinated with trucks, once he found out that his dad had once owned a 1969 428CJ Mustang, it was all over for the construction vehicle thing. At age 10 he wasn't sure what kind of Mustang he was going to end up with, but he knew - for a fact - that one was going to be his. Four years later, he had done the job on 1,300 lawns and it was time to harvest the fruit of his dreams. Derick's father helped out with the total purchase cost and his son continues working to pay back the balance. You've got to know that this lad doesn't suffer from allergies - either to grass or work!

Still two years away from being able to legally pilot the Mustang, Derick started walking down the bolt-on route to enhanced performance. With the help of Dale Sciranko from Custom Performance, this Pony began to grow into a Stallion. Early on, MAC long tubes headers were added along with a MAC's catted H-pipe and the stock Borla/Steeda exhaust. In another burst of upgrades, Ford Racing 4:10 gears were added as well as a C&L air intake, Accufab 75mm throttle body, C&L plenum. Plasma boost ignition and Steeda underdrive pulleys.

By the time he got his learner's permit, at age 15, the car was ready for some performance investigations. With someone in the car to keep road travels legal, Derick would drive to the local 1/8-mile track and exercise his Pony. Derick told us that his enthusiasm continued to grow with the performance of his car. "Two years ago, I was at the track every weekend," he said. Of course, it didn't take long for his 'Need for Speed' to generate a new project, with a little help from Dale at Custom Performance. That came in the form of a Vortech S-Trim with only 800 miles on it, from another customer that wanted to upgrade to something else. Dale installed the Vortech unit, along with a set of 42 lb. injectors, twin Cobra fuel pumps and an SCT 90mm air meter. After the car was tuned again, it made a robust 369 RWHP @ 8 psi.

Unfortunately, as we all know life on the slippery slope, it wasn't enough. Derick wanted more and to be a little different than everyone else he went up against. To accomplish that, the lads as Custom Performance removed the Vortech supercharger and replaced it with a Hellion single 62mm turbo kit. So equipped, the car was not putting out 439 RWHP and 500 RWTQ with a reasonably modest 10 psi of boost. Life at the race track was getting better all the time. Well, until other parts started breaking that is.

When we spoke last with Derick, he was on his third transmission - the most recent one having given up the ghost at a PINKS shooting session in Rockingham, NC. He is also on his second engine, a stock replacement that Dale found for him while Derick saves up for a 'built' motor. The replacement has inherited most of the upgrades from its predecessor and is currently putting out around 420 RWHP with 445 RWTQ. The rear axle has also been rebuilt with far more serious bits than it was originally set up with. If you think that you want to know how many lawns that list of parts adds up to, you probably don't. In fact,Derick told us that he hasn't been to thetrack for a while now. This astute competitor prefers to have the cash ready for the repair bills before they happen, rather than playing catch-up afterwards.