Frank H. Cicerale
July 1, 2008
Photos By: Steve Baur
Jim D'amore III made the haul from Freehold, New Jersey, to give it a go in Street Stang. With the class index lowered to 11.90 seconds for the '08 season, D'Amore threw a set of camshafts and a new converter into his naturally aspirated Saleen. He made it all the way to the semifinals, where he lost a close race to eventual runner-up Daniel Nestor.

Street Bandit saw the Fox-body hatchback of Kenny Gallman take down the turbocharged S197 Mustang of Joe Marini. Gallman, who was yanking gears in his small-block Stang, used a better reaction time and a 10.90 on the Street Bandit 10.60-second index to gun down former MM&FF shootout competitor Marini by a couple of car lengths at the stripe.

Ultra Stang showcased a winner that truly epitomizes the run-what-ya-brung nature of drag racing. Ron Martin drove his '06 Mustang 1,150 miles from Warren, Pennsylvania, changed the rear tires, and, utilizing an Explorer Express blower kit to increase the power of his six-pot, used a killer 0.009 reaction time to down Joe Cram in the money round.

A familiar face graced the Street Stang Winner's Circle as perennial late-round finisher Tom Conrad handled the challenge of Daniel Nestor in the money round. For Conrad, the result was similar to much of last year, when Nestor fouled out, handing him the win.

Mod Comp showcased Shane Williams and Matt Schleiv duking it out for the class win, with Williams using a sizeable holeshot to earn the victory.

Former MM&FFshootout competitor Joe Marini competed in Street Bandit with his turbocharged Legend Lime S197 Mustang. He made it all the way to the final round before losing to Kenny Gallman.

In Tough Truck, Paul Gamino, who took over driving duties in the category for James D'Amore, piloted the JDM Engineering-prepped '07 Saleen hauler to victory over a red-lighting Robert Chuhran.

As is the case every year with FFW's event at Orlando, the MM&FF-sponsored Spring Break Shootout class was contested. With a rules change made between last year's running and the '08 contest, the cars were required to run full tailpipes, among other things, making the category more of a street-legal, True Street-style class. In the end, eight guys tried their hands at taking home the class title, and when the smoke cleared, it was John Rollins piloting the '05 Saleen Mustang owned by Alex Rodriguez (not that A-Rod!) to victory. The win didn't come without its share of trials and tribulations, however. "Right before the event, the car actually tagged the wall in testing," Rollins said. "We had to get the car repaired and then realized that the transmission was busted. Thanks to Lentech and Mustang Specialties, we were able to get the trans in the Tuesday before the race, put it in the car, and make the event. The car was still blowing through the converter, but we were able to do what we needed to do to take home the win."

While Rollins had an easy go of it in the final when opponent Chris DeRojas didn't make the call, his toughest run of the event came in the semifinals against the Lightning of Don Justus. Justus, who ripped off a couple of low-10.30-second passes and recorded top speed of the event, gave it all he had, but Rollins' 10.27-second effort was enough to take the win against Justus' 10.47-second run.

With the first event in the books and the rust shaken off, it's off to Atlanta Dragway for Round 2.