Robert Hindman (near lane) makes it three wins in a row after defeating Charlie McCulloch
Chip Havemann took top honors in ProCharger Street Outlaw after beating veteran-racer Bill
Matt Jones (near lane) qualified his Street Bandit in the 8.60s, but was unable to hold of
Kevin Marsh and Chuck Samuel were unstoppable in Houston. They qualified on the pole with
He picked up an extra three grand from Downs Ford Motorsport for qualifying first and winn
There was a strong Lightning contingent in Houston, with 26 trucks competing in the JDM En
Darrell Peterson of Florida was uncontested in Probe Industries Street Warrior. Peterson h
Billy Glidden rocked the house qualifying on the Outlaw pole with a 7.03 at 194 mph.
D.J. Loiacano (near lane) proved victorious in ProCharger Street Renegade beating Manny Ge
Richard Lelsz (far lane) debuted his new yellow screamer in Street Bandit and ran as quick
Havemann beat the Outlaw field at his home track. He was joined in the winner's circle by
With the growing level of competition in the world of Mustang racing, achieving dominance is not easy. Many racers have clawed their way to the top, but few have been able to maintain champion status from year to year. That's why the performances of Dwayne "Big Daddy" Gutridge and Robert Hindman were so impressive at the 14th Annual O'Reilly Texas Thunder Fun Ford Weekend held in May at Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas.
Big Daddy, who competes in BFG Drag Radial, took the Houston honors in dominating fashion, but more impressively, he extended his winning streak to 12 races (counting only points-earning events). His winning ways date back to Atlanta 2003, where he lost the Orlando 2003 make-up race due to a faulty transmission. Since then, Big has qualified number one at every FFW points meet and in Houston he set the class record at 8.20/175.84 mph.
Meanwhile, Robert Hindman, a two-time Mod Motor season champion (2001-02), and nine-time event winner, has also been flat-out dominant in 2004, winning in each of the first three FFW events. "I've had some good luck this year. The class is tough and people are really starting to kill the Tree and make their cars more consistent," stated Hindman. "My new car is the ex-Watson Engineering Mustang and we use a 14x32x15-inch tire and that helps a lot. I can have 10 passes within two thousandths," he stated. Hindman's Cobra is powered by a four-valve Modular engine that uses a C&L meter, and is backed by a Dynamic C4 and a TCT converter. Hindman also uses plenty of UPR products. He has a commanding points lead and has put himself in a strong position to win a third championship.
But Gutridge, Hindman and the rest of the racers in Houston almost didn't get the chance to race. Saturday's action was washed out by a terrific storm that lasted the day and threatened on Sunday, but thankfully the clouds rolled gracefully out of town in time for racing to begin.
Once the sky cleared, the FFW staff hustled and was able to get two days of racing crammed into one. This included Tremec/MM&FF True Street, the Roush-sponsored bracket classe, plus heads-up qualifying and eliminations.
The Texas contingent took full advantage of the one nice day and racing kicked off early with bracket time trials and heads-up qualifying, meanwhile, the show area filled up and the True Street cars rolled out for the 30-mile tour.
Despite losing Saturday, the shootout racers dialed in quickly and there were some amazing runs. And after the single shot on Sunday morning, the talk of the town was Billy Glidden who stormed to the ProCharger Street Outlaw pole with a class-best of 7.03 at 194 mph. Other top qualifiers were Chuck Samuel in Mr. Gasket Pro (6.52/216 mph), D.J. Loiacano in ProCharger Renegade (8.45/172 mph), Rod Houck in Edelbrock Street Bandit (8.68), Dwayne Gutridge in BFG Drag Radial (8.30/174 mph), Darrell Peterson in Probe Street Warrior (10.15/117 mph), (Greg Flatt in Steeda/SHM Mod Motor (10.08/133 mph), Jim D'Amore in JDM Tough Truck (11.00/120 mph), Tony Whetston in Superchips Street Stang (12.78/106 mph) and Aaron Royston in Vortech Focus Frenzy (14.03/100 mph).
As is often the case, the racing was tight and there were a few upsets. By the end of the day the FFW officials crowned 13 champions. Of them, crowd-favorite (and Texan) Chip Havemann took his second-ever ProCharger Street Outlaw victory, defeating the always tough Glidden. Havemann worked hard on his turbo-pumped GT all weekend and in the final he left first and ran a 7.56/183 mph run to hold off Glidden's 7.94 at 157.
"It was a great win," stated the elated Havemann. "We put some timing in (the engine) and worked on the suspension. In the final I got out on him, and by 60 feet I could see the nose of his car. Then it disappeared and I figured either I red-lighted or he broke." In just over 7 seconds Havemann crossed the stripe, made the turn off and Chuck Samuel, who had already won in Pro, was extending a "thumbs-up" and Havemann knew he won the race. "I was like, 'No way, I just beat Billy Glidden,' " he added.
True Street Houston
Though a nasty storm prevented the True Street competitors from taking to the road and track on Saturday, over 90 hardcore enthusiasts came back and ripped it up on Sunday Morning. Houston is one of MM&FF's favorite stops and one reason is the huge participation in True Street. The Texas Mustang owners really like to hit the highway and the track and it's not unusual to see over 100 cars whenever we go to the Lone Star state.
The FFW staff went into overdrive and got the 90-plus cars inspected and lined up for the 30-mile road cruise that must be completed before anyone can take to the track. The road tour followed a path around Baytown and all the cars completed the road portion of the event without incident.
Once back at the track, competitors were allotted the 30-minute cooldown period before being led down the return road and to the awaiting track.
Aside from making the 30-mile cruise, True Street competitors must make three back-to-back-to-back passes with little cooldown time and no tuning, other than changing tire pressure. Scoring well requires a strong car that's tuned to run with a hot engine, and no one in Houston did it better than Newland, NC's Owen Spry, who wheeled his bright orange LX to an average of 9.73 to capture the win. If you know the name Spry it's because Owen is a staple on the FFW tour, but he's usually seen driving his much-slower Focus in the Focus Frenzy class.
Spry laid down three consistent runs of 9.856, 9.721 and 9.627. He was followed closely by Doug Sweney, who averaged 9.88, and Brian Warwas who came in with a 10.40 average. We also liked the simple, yet attractive GTS of Frank Perez so we gave him the Editor's Choice award. Perez red GTS packed a naturally aspirated small-block and he finished with an average of 13.30.--E.J.S.
Aaron Royston (far lane) took home the gold in Vortech Focus Frenzy after beating True Str
When you put your nickname on the tech card that's what you get called in the magazine. Th
Christina Eldert and Jake LaMotta brought out a new BFGoodrich Drag Radial coupe and ran 8
Joe Robinson qualified third in Renegade with an 8.68, but he lost in the first round to C
One of the toughest classes in FFW competition is Edelbrock Street Bandit. Racers rely on
Dwayne "Big Daddy" Gutridge of New Jersey made it three in a row for 2004. He also set the
Christina Eldert had her Modular-powered Drag Radial LX flying in the 8.70s.
Manny Geno hoisted the skinnies on his 8-second Renegade entry. Geno ran as quick as 8.48
Big Daddy gets a holeshot.
Blaine King of League City, Texas, did a great job, lasting until the semifinals in JDM To
The washout on Saturday didn't stop the massive amount of folks who came out in full force
Dennis Ryker was awarded the Editor's Choice award in the car show for his tricked-out '02
Over 90 hot Fords competed in the Tremec True Street.
Many of the Houston-area clubs participated in the 14th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Texas T
Chris Billot of Manvel, Texas, made this with a plasma cutter.
Due to foul weather on Saturday, the entire Tremec True Street shootout was contested on S
Owen Spry got the True Street victory with a 9.73 average.
The TS Editor's Choice award went to Frank Perez.
True Street runner-up was Doug Sweeney. He averaged 9.88 seconds.
Armondo Cervantes (near lane) squares off against Chris McGough.
Josh Blevin's wildly painted GT finished in sixth with a 10.87 average.
|Fun Ford Weekend Houston Box Scores|
|Mr. Gasket Pro|
|W ||Chuck Samuel||Kingston, IL||'02 Mustang ||6.48/218|
|R/U ||Joe DaSilva||West Hill, MI||'98 GT ||6.55/216|
|ProCharger Street Outlaw|
|W ||Chip Havemann||San Antiono, TX||'02 GT ||7.56/183|
|R/U ||Billy Glidden||Whiteland, IN||'90 GT ||7.94/157|
|ProCharger Street Renegade|
|W ||D.J. Loiacano||Praireville, LA||'88 Mustang ||8.58/169|
|R/U ||Manny Geno||Boonesville, MS||'90 ||LX 12.35/72|
|Edelbrock Street Bandit|
|W ||Ken Compton||Canton, MI||'91 LX ||8.77/153|
|R/U ||Matt Jones||Austin, TX||'95 Cobra ||8.74/155|
|Probe Street Warrior|
|W ||Darrell Peterson ||'94 Mustang||18.98/62|
|BFGoodrich Drag Radial|
|W ||Dwayne Gutridge||Toms River, NJ||'89 LX ||8.64/174|
|R/U Manny Alverez||Carrolton, TX||'99 Cobra ||10.88/118|
|Steeda/SHM Mod Motor|
|W ||Robert Hindman||Knoxville, TN||'98 Cobra ||11.03/117|
|R/U ||Charlie McCulloch||Kennesaw, GA||n/a ||12.84/101|
|JDM Engineering Tough Truck|
|W ||Barnyard||Houston, TX||'01 Lightning ||12.37/106|
|R/U ||Ron Durham||Plano, TX||'03 Lightning ||12.19/98|
|Superchips Street Stang|
|W ||Tony Whetston||Tallahasse, FL||'02 GT ||13.22|
|R/U ||Larry Dzozd||Comfort, TX||'03 GT ||13.54/103|
|Vortech Focus Frenzy|
|W ||Aaron Royston||Denton, TX||'00 Focus ||13.80/97|
|R/U ||Owen Spry||Newland, NC||'01 Focus ||14.55/79|
|Roush Fast Ford|
|W ||Daryl Patton||Highlands, TX||'70 Ford ||9.89/151|
|R/U ||Randy Trice||Humble, TX||'79 Capri ||9.74/134|
|Roush Quick Ford|
|W ||Andy Warwas||Houston, TX||'94 Ranger ||13.14/99|
|R/U ||Steve Jones||Beaumont, TX||'84 Mustang ||10.96/117|
|Roush Street Ford|
|W ||Tiffany Spain||Pasadena, TX||'93 Lincoln ||14.88|
|R/U ||Stephen Cornett||Texas City, TX||'01 GT ||13.72/100|
|Houston True Street Top 25|
|1. Owen Spry||9.735|
|2. Doug Sweemeu||9.888|
|2. Brian Warwas||10.405*|
|4. Michael Caballeso||10.621|
|5. Bryan Bronly||10.725|
|6. Josh Blevins||10.879|
|7. R.W. Reppond||11.013**|
|8. Carl Smith||11.097|
|9. Raul Aranda||11.164|
|10. Mike Clark||11.214|
|11. Mike Harris||11.433|
|12. David Polverari||11.568|
|13. Fred Bingham||11.765|
|14. Garth Sanich||11.961|
|15. John Smith||12.005***|
|16. Herbert Blouin||12.051|
|17. A.J. Harlan||12.065|
|18. Lance Lavergne||12.165|
|19. David Barley||12.251|
|20. Jason Saltzman||12.360|
|21. Jack Kutzer||12.426|
|22. Jason Shaw||12.474|
|23. Jason Roberts||12.697|
|24. Jimmie Longino||12.734|
|25. Frank D'Angelo||12.793|
|Editor's Choice Frank Perez '94 GTS|
|* Top 10-second average|
|** Top 11-second average|
|*** Top 12-second average|