Ford Racing Invitational: Who Smoked Whom?

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We took a run down to Milan Dragway for the Ford Racing Invitational — a Ford-sponsored event this past weekend pitting the automotive media against each other in a little bit of drag racing action. We had the chance to take some runs against the likes of Road & Track,5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords and Autoblog just to name a few. Although we had little in the way of expectations about our chances given our first-time status when it comes to straight-line racing, our chances seemed diminished even more after we got to the track and drew our set of keys from the pot of available Ford product to drag. The keys fit the ignition of a bright orange Ford Mustang GT Convertible with a tough Hurst shifter and a Whipple supercharger. Wonderful. But after a rainy Friday that saw little action, Saturday was clear and sunny: Perfect weather for racing. Also, for ass-kicking.

Things started off brisk enough with a full field run at 4:30 in the afternoon. All the guys had been warming up in the morning and were eager to put their skills to the test. The field of cars and experience varied widely, starting with a Ford Mustang Bullitt with hot cams and some other goodies and going all the way up to a full-bore Shelby GT500KR. In attendance were:

  • Christopher Ihara - The Corral - GT500KR
  • Jason Reiss - Race Pages - GT500
  • Shaun Bailey - Road & Track - Shelby GT
  • Don Roy - Mustang Enthusiasts -Mustang GT
  • Doug Glad - - GT500
  • Mark Houlahan - Mustangs & Fords - Mustang GT
  • Steve Turner - 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords - Factory Five Coupe
  • Sam Abuelsamid - - GT500
  • Evan Smith - Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords - GT500
  • Dave Freiburger - - Factory Five Roadster

The first round saw Ihara, Glad, Turner, Abuelsamid, and Smith get the boot while Shaun Baily got a bye. In the next run-off, Houlahan beat out Baily, I won against Don Roy and Freiburger got himself a bye round. That's as far as I got, though, as I didn't make it past Houlahan in the semi-finals. So, for the final round it was Mark Houlahan from Mustangs & Fords in that cammed-out Bullitt up against Dave Freiburger from, who was riding in style with a Factory Five Cobra — lucky. But no matter how much style that Cobra had, it couldn't make up for the spot-on consistency of Mark at the wheel of the Bullitt.

Just goes to show you that in bracket racing, the size of the check isn't as important as the skill in the hand that signs it. Also, that qualifying runs do not make the win. Congrats to Mark for a good show, and thanks go out to Ford for letting us hacks beat on some of their cars for the weekend.


Wait, what's that? How fast did I go? Well, considering my first run of the day was a 14.88 at 100.41 MPH and a 0.49 reaction time, I'm pretty happy to report that, by the end of the day, I managed a 13.54 at 104.87 with a 0.1799 reaction time. Not too shabby for a days work, if I do say so myself.