Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords 20th Anniversary - A Grand Reunion
A Host Of Mustang Legends Helped MM&FF Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary In Grand Style At The Atco NMRA Keystone Ford Nationals.
From the December, 2008 issue of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
By Frank H. Cicerale
Photography by Team MM&FF
Steve Saleen, the Grand Marshal...
Steve Saleen, the Grand Marshal of the Atco NMRA event, led the 30-mile True Street cruise in his 25th Anniversary, 720 hp SMS Mustang. Check out an upcoming issue of MM&FF as we take a closer look at the new Pony Saleen concocted.
As the time rolled around for MM&FF to celebrate it's 20th Anniversary, Editor Smith and the NMRA's Steve Wolcott decided on holding a party for racers, fans, and MM&FF's awesome readership. The gala spectacle went down not far from MM&FF World Headquarters at Atco Raceway (Atco, New Jersey) during the popular NMRA Ford Nationals event.
The event was attended by some of the pioneers of heads-up Mustang racing, including Steve Saleen, who served as Grand Marshal of the event, as well as MM&FF staffers of past and present, and other Ford dignitaries. Nitto Tires also did an amazing job of helping us host the party, and Ford Racing Performance Parts and many other manufacturers kicked in with some extraordinary giveaway items-the granddaddy being a new racing block. Even FRPP's new head honcho, Brian Wolfe, made the trek to Jersey.
Thanks to the Saleen Owner's...
Thanks to the Saleen Owner's Club, the car show was populated not only with old iron and new Fords, but with a bevy of Saleen Mustangs of all body styles.
It was unbelievable seeing so many heads-up Mustang racing legends like Mike Ragusa, Gene Deputy, Nitrous Pete, "Big Daddy" Dwayne Gutridge, Lee Rutter, the Briante family, Joe DaSilva, Jimmy LaRocca, Craig Radovich, the Golicks, and a host of others. In a sense, you can liken it to a high school reunion for high-octane, nitrous snorting, forced induction shooting, Mustang junkies.
Surrounding the party was the main event, the most recent NMRA race on the schedule. Friday showcased some blistering laps in heads-up qualifying. Saturday was even better with our big party, more heads-up qualifying, and the MM&FF True Street competition. Over 60 cars entered the True Street field and embarked on the 30-mile cruise that was led by legendary car builder Steve Saleen, who wheeled his 25th Anniversary SMS Mustang. Not only did Saleen lead the True Street cruise, but he also spent the weekend signing autographs for legions of Mustang fans who took the ride to Atco Raceway. Amazingly, the weekend marked the 10th Anniversary for the NMRA, the 20th for MM&FF and the 25th for Steve Saleen.
When the True Street troopers returned from the South Jersey foray, 56 remained ready to do battle. Like last year's event, which showcased a number of lightning-quick Mustangs, the field once again showcased the best that the Northeast had to offer. To break into the top five, you needed to average quicker than a 10.02. When the coast was clear, the New Edge Cobra of Mike DiBiagio ended up at the top of the heap. Then again, an 8.99-second average will pretty much lock up most True Street wins. Who would have thought that runner-up Brian Zaid's 9.37-second average would only be good enough for second best? Overall, 47 cars made the required three runs.
As for the party, well that was a rip-roaring good time. There were plenty of cold beverages, and the stories were flowing throughout the night. Each and every one of the VIPs were given the spotlight and introduced to the crowd, while fans and readers alike could mingle with them and take a few shots on the practice Tree, where a perfect light won you a T-shirt. The evening closed with a VIP Practice Tree race, where all of our VIPs squared off in a no-holds barred competition. In the end, it was Barry Shepard taking the best-of-seven final round against Don Walsh Jr. Looks like Barry found the fountain of youth!
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans when it came to Sunday's program, as heavy rains and thunderstorms caused NMRA officials to halt racing in the midst of first-round action. While the rain may have caused the NMRA to cancel the event outright, the end result was one killer party coupled with a stellar True Street event. Throw in some of the MM&FF project cars that were on display all weekend (such as the Fridge, Icebox, Project Stocker, and Pro-Tree Mustang), and you couldn't ask for more.
Harry Mager and his '07 Mustang...
Harry Mager and his '07 Mustang GT hail from Bayville, New Jersey, and ended up placing 21st in True Street with a pair of 12.1-second times. The S197 showcases a Saleen blower stuffing the Three-Valve full of 9 psi of boost. Coupled with 4.10 gears and headers, the car is good for 11.40s in good air.
Nitrous Pete Misinsky was...
Nitrous Pete Misinsky was not only scheduled to attend the MM&FF 20th Anniversary party, but said that while he was there, he might as well race. Nitrous Pete entered his S197 in True Street, and finished in 18th place with an 11.85-second average. A Roush blower and Kook's headers enable the Pony to inhale and exhale with relative ease.
In addition to leading the...
In addition to leading the True Street cruise, Steve Saleen spent the weekend signing autographs. Saleen also graced our 20th Anniversary party, as well as signing each of the Saleen Mustangs in the car show area and drag race pits.
Tim Essick planned on taking...
Tim Essick planned on taking a chunk out of Conrad Scarry's points lead in Pro Outlaw 10.5, but Mother Nature didn't cooperate. Essick will have to wait until the next event in Columbus, Ohio to make up some ground.
Brain Zaid piloted his '89...
Brain Zaid piloted his '89 notchback coupe to the runner-up spot in True Street. The former MM&FF feature car ripped off three runs well into the 9.30-second zone to finish with a 9.37-second average.
|True Street Top 25|
|Michael DiBiagio||8.990 (Winner)|
|Brian Zaid||9.374 (Runner-up)|
|Kris Mustacchio||10.023 (10-Second Winner)|
|Ray Goetz||11.005 (11-Second Winner)|
|Michael Collins||12.051 (12-Second Winner)|
|Dan Leazier||13.009 (13-Second Winner)|
|Jorge Fretts||14.148 (14-Second Winner)|
|Howard Michael||15.390 (15-Second Winner)|
Fans who signed up for a subscription...
Fans who signed up for a subscription at the event were automatically entered in a drawing to win two of the metal signs emblazoned with former MM&FF covers. Here, Editor Evan Smith and Publisher Don Parrish (the tall guy) present one of the two winners, Steve Frey, with his prize. In addition, anyone who brought a cover showing his or her address and subscription received a super-neat 20th Anniversary metal license plate. Free swag is cool!
Editor Smith's wife, Diane,...
Editor Smith's wife, Diane, gave it a go behind the wheel of her '07 Mustang GT in the JDM Engineering-sponsored Super Stang class. Besides the fact she hasn't been in a race car for years, Diane did a whale of a job, but stated her husband needs to add some horsepower to the mostly stock GT.
Brent Tauscher's four-eyed...
Brent Tauscher's four-eyed Mustang missed the True Street top 10 by just a tiny bit. Tauscher, from Chicopee, Massachusetts, ripped off an 11.38-second average thanks in part to a 302 juiced up with Twisted Wedge heads, a Holley intake, and a 100 shot of nitrous oxide. Even cooler is the fact that Brent was banging gears in the car's stock T-5.
Conrad Scarry still holds...
Conrad Scarry still holds a commanding lead in the Pro Outlaw 10.5 points standings with just two events left in the season.
"Bangin" Bob Hanlon made an...
"Bangin" Bob Hanlon made an appearance in Hot Street looking to improve on his 10th place position in the points standings.
Kris Mustacchio was the 10-second...
Kris Mustacchio was the 10-second winner in his Fox-body. The Glassboro, New Jersey, native relies on a 431-cube monster that is fortified with a Mondo Vortech blower stuffing in 22 psi of boost. While Kris was solid on the 10-second zone in Atco, the car has been 9.40s before.
Robbie Blankenship was hoping...
Robbie Blankenship was hoping to use the Atco race as a springboard to catch Hot Street points leader Charlie Booze. While the rain curtailed that plan, Blankenship is well within striking distance with a couple of races left to go.
AJ Powell (pictured) and John...
AJ Powell (pictured) and John Urist are neck and neck for the Super Street Outlaw title. While rain ended the weekend, qualifying, round, record, tech, and bonus points were awarded. With that, a mere 50 points separate the pair with two races remaining in the '08 season.
Mike DiBiagio whooped up on...
Mike DiBiagio whooped up on the True Street field. His orange '01 Mustang clicked off three high 8-second passes to win the deal with an 8.99-second average. Power comes in the form of a 377-inch Windsor topped with a 2-stage Speedtech nitrous plate system that sprayed in 350 hp of giggle juice. After being crowned the True Street winner in Atco, Mike put on the obligatory crown and robe. As he took possession of his 61/2-foot winner's trophy, he remarked that he felt like the Burger King. Hey Mike, next time you compete in True Street, how about you bring us all back a couple of Whoppers!
Far HillS, New Jersey's John...
Far HillS, New Jersey's John Ashnault's super-clean Cobra wound up Fourth at the end of the True Street competition. His turbocharged 347 powered him to a 9.93-second average.
Dave Goduti Jr. took the ride...
Dave Goduti Jr. took the ride from Wallingford, Connecticut with his '92 Mustang, and ended up Ninth on the True Street results sheet. A stroked and poked 302 is enhanced with a 76mm Precision turbo and its corresponding 10 psi of boost. The car usually runs in the 10s on slicks, but Dave had to swap on the drag radials for True Street. Without a boost controller, the car ran quite well, as Dave was able to rip off a 10.98 on one of his three required runs.
Art Henninger piloted his...
Art Henninger piloted his nitrous-snorting 347-powered coupe to Third Place in True Street with a 9.75-second average.
Tom May's sweet-looking Fox-body...
Tom May's sweet-looking Fox-body finished 16th in True Street thanks to the 11.78-second average provided by his naturally-aspirated 306 powerplant. According to Tom, the car can run a bit quicker, namely 11.40s.
Mike Clifford averaged an...
Mike Clifford averaged an 11.69 in True Street, which put his flat-black notchback 14th in the True Street final standings.
Art Henninger Sr. piloted...
Art Henninger Sr. piloted his '03 Mustang GT in True Street. While his son ended up Third, Art had his own fun with the Two-Valve flyer. The mod mill makes a host of power thanks to the addition of a Kenne Bell 2.4 blower.
While more than 60 cars were...
While more than 60 cars were entered in True Street, the field was cut down to 47 who finished up the 30-mile cruise and subsequent three back-to-back runs.
The fact that this Gen 1 Lightning...
The fact that this Gen 1 Lightning was sporting a hairdryer in the engine compartment made us stop and take a second look.
In addition to signing autographs...
In addition to signing autographs and leading the True Street troopers, Steve Saleen was also one of the many VIPs to attend the MM&FF 20th Anniversary party.