Ford F150 LightningFest - An F5 Hits Kansas City
Lightning Strikes Spawned At International Raceway.
From the April, 2008 issue of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
By Steve Baur
Winner Ray Johnson (Elgin,...
Ray Johnson (Elgin, Illinois) faced some tough competition in Pro Lightning with Ross Lentin, Frank Likert, and Paul Duckett all capable of running high-9s or better. Johnson, who had picked up half of a second over the summer thanks to a new set of TEA-ported cylinder heads, posted the fastest qualifying time at 9.59 seconds, which took him to the final. Likert crashed out in the semis, prompting the LightningFest staff to run the remaining Pro eliminations as singles. Johnson went to the final, where he squared off against Jeff Jaeger, who had a minor collision with Frank Likert in a previous round. Johnson opted to turn up the wick, but the truck started to blow out the spark, and he pedaled his '94 'bolt to a 10.70 at 134. Jaeger had problems of his own and crossed the finish with an 11.04 effort.
The Fifth Annual LightningFest visited Kansas City International Raceway last September 21-22, and Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords was on hand to catch all of the action. Five years after the first event, LightningFest, which is put on by the National Lightning Owners Club, is as strong as ever-and probably faster, too. Top contenders in the Pro Lightning category duked it out against turbochargers, superchargers, and the little bottle of laughing gas in a 9-second e.t. showdown. The racing portion of the event concluded on Saturday, and Sunday offered a show-and-shine at the local Hooters.
While the Pro Lightning guys had their setups on kill and the competition was tight, only six of them squared off in eliminations. If you wanted to go rounds and test your driving skills, then Lightning Force Performance Street Lightning, with 33 entries, and NLOC Pro Street, with 28 contenders, were the hot classes to be in.
The JLP Performance True Street class also sported more than 30 entries, and the winner had to be a masterful bracket racer. LightningFest True Street diverges from MM&FF's traditional rules in that your three runs are averaged. Then you make a fourth run, and whoever is closest to the dial-in average, wins. Here it pays to be a great bracket racer rather than having the fastest rig.
If big clouds of black smoke are your thing, then the NHTOC Diesel Truck class was your bag-and contribution to global warming. Some used their tow vehicles, while others brought the diesel-belching behemoths just for the class.
In addition to impromptu grudge matches during the evening test-and-tune sessions, a golf-cart race, and a burnout contest on Saturday, LightningFest also featured a rental-car match race featuring Johnny "Lightning" Wiker; Andre Wagenknecht, of Hannover, Germany; and your author. All of the contenders had rented V-6 Mustangs simply by accident, and while we had come to spectate, the inner competitor in us wanted to be part of the racing action.
Marengo, Illinois' Jeff Jaeger...
Marengo, Illinois' Jeff Jaeger qualified in Pro Lightning with a 10.51 at 135 mph. In eliminations, he just about T-boned Frank Likert's turbocharged rig when it came across and into his lane. Some in-pit bodywork freed up the front wheel and allowed Jaeger to make the next lane call.
Frank Likert posted several...
Frank Likert posted several 9-second runs in the Pro Lightning category and even ran True Street with his turbocharged Gen 2 Lightning, where he posted the fastest time (10.80) of the class.
Winner Joe Balls, as he's...
Joe Balls, as he's commonly called, took the Pro Street win over Kenny Smith of Oklahoma City. Perhaps it was the taunting of the nitrous purges, the sage wisdom, or the fact that the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, resident is Smith's boss, but J.B. got Smith to redlight, giving him the easy win.
After repairing the pump seal...
After repairing the pump seal on the front of the transmission Friday night, an errant coolant line hosed down the left rear wheel with antifreeze in the semifinals of Pro Lightning, causing Likert to lose control and smack the wall in the opposite lane. His opponent, Jeff Jaeger, stood hard on the brakes but couldn't avoid getting tangled up. Both drivers were fine, and Jaeger went on to the next round.
The ladder was based on qualifying times, and the first-round bye went to the JLP entry. Yours truly managed to uphold the American flag to get past our German visitor in the remaining matchup. Knowing that we were going up against Johnny "Lightning" Wiker, who has been cutting lights and winning events in the NMRA's Truck class all year, we knew we had to prep the rental for optimum elapsed time. Unfortunately, that didn't matter, as your author left a hair too early, triggering the red light in the final. The sad thing is, we had him covered by 0.2 second, thanks to our parking of the V-6 rental Stang in the woods to keep it cool, along with airing up of the front hides. All we can say is deep stage or leave off the second bulb, but don't do both.
If you're into fast and fine Ford trucks, LightningFest is the event for you. If you missed it, don't worry because we've got the scoop. Just check out the pictures and stop by www.nloc.com for more information.
Hailing from Poplar Bluff,...
Hailing from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Paul Duckett had trouble getting his nitrous-injected, Windsor-powered First-Gen Lightning straight down the track. Sporting a Nextel Cup-style Windsor powerplant with some squeeze, as well as a stick-shift transmission, the Gen 1 SVT can definitely boogey if Duckett puts the power to the ground.
The Hollywood Racing crew...
The Hollywood Racing crew was at LightningFest supporting customers Rob Parsons and Frank Likert, as well as promoting the Sniper tuning software it uses with help from Sniper's Pat Stadjel.
Winner In the National Harley...
In the National Harley Truck Owners Club Diesel Truck class, it was Earp, California's Mike Jones who prevailed in the final round against Michael Cunningham of Wister, Oklahoma. The glue from the window sticker was still fresh on Jones' '08 Harley Davidson F-350, while Cunningham's '03 F-250 sported a couple of mods. Cunningham had the edge at the Tree, but he lost at the stripe.
Lightning Fest promoter Dwight...
Lightning Fest promoter Dwight Dolliver does an awesome job of putting together this event. With help from his wife, Nan, and fellow 'Fest fanatics Shawn Fuss, Donald Whitaker, Bruce Frisbie, Brooks Marine, Jeff Sparkman, Bob Clark, Vern Jones, Brenda Jones, Bryan Clark, Romona Davenport, Jessica Clark, and Scott Cedergreen, LightningFest 5 was a success.
Randy Wilson stopped by with...
Randy Wilson stopped by with this F-650 conversion rig. Weighing in at 13,200 pounds, the truck's Cummins diesel powered it to a sleepy 20-second e.t. We have to give Wilson props for attempting a burnout. The air brakes just plain said, "No."
Winner Vern Jones of Columbia,...
Vern Jones of Columbia, Missouri, successfully defended his Street Lightning crown using his '93 Gen 1 Lightning. His truck packs a 408 with Twisted Wedge heads and a Ford Racing Performance Parts E303 camshaft. Vern almost took home the True Street win, too, but he ran under his dial-in by 0.003 second.
Will Hochfellner of Chicago,...
Will Hochfellner of Chicago, Illinois, runner-upped in Street Lightning behind the wheel of his Sonic Blue '03 SVT truck.
The JLP True Street class...
The JLP True Street class started off with a drivers' meeting, followed by a leisurely cruise through the countryside.
After the race concluded on...
After the race concluded on Saturday night, the track was still open for some grudge racing. Here, Lombard, Illinois' Ross Lentin squared off against Mesa, Arizona's Rob Parsons. The two were to run against each other in Pro Lightning eliminations but didn't get the chance because of the single-file runs that the class ended up running. Parsons thought he could make up the e.t. deficit with a good reaction time, but in the late-night grudge match, Lentin's nitrous-sniffing rig ran an all-time best of 9.82 at 134 mph to Parson's 10.43. Ultimately, it was a gap too big to cover at the stripe.
The annual LightningFest golf-cart...
The annual LightningFest golf-cart race netted two racers running in rental carts. LightningFest promoter Dwight Dolliver squared off against Shawn Fuss. Fuss, looking like a Simpson Racing model, got out to an early lead, but even his Flintstone-foot boost couldn't save him from Dolliver's top-end charge.
Here are LightningFest 5's...
Here are LightningFest 5's winners. Great job, folks.
Winner Hailing from Hanover...
Hailing from Hanover Park, Illinois, William Gehrke won the JLP True Street class by being just 0.001 second off his dial-in aboard his '99 Lightning. LightningFest True Street works a bit differently than most sanctions. Here, you make your three runs, and your average becomes your dial-in for your fourth pass. The person who comes closest to running on their dial-in wins. Gehrke showed everyone how it's done properly.
Winner In addition to paying...
In addition to paying out the top-10 spots in True Street, Johnny Lightning Performance also put up cash for the first person to nab a perfect reaction time. Greg Dix of Tempe, Arizona, was the guy this weekend to nail the 0.000 reaction time and snag the cash prize.
Winner The hands-down winner...
The hands-down winner of the burnout contest was Bobby Achor of Gretna, Louisiana. His '93 F-150 extended cab features a Lightning makeover as well as a Vortech-blown small-block with Trick Flow heads.