Donald Long’s Lights Out 9 at South Georgia Motorsports Park drew one of the largest groups of wicked fast and cool race cars in the country for what he bills as “The Baddest Small Tire Race In The World.” We were on hand — along with thousands of other spectators — on a beautiful South Georgia weekend in search of some of the coolest Fords on the property.
This annual February race has quickly become one of the most popular races in country and draws a huge crowd to the otherwise small town of Adel, Georgia, tucked along the railroad tracks in between Tifton and Valdosta. Among that massive crowd were some impressive Blue Oval machines. We combed the pits, staging lanes, and track to find the five hottest Fords for your enjoyment…
5. Big-Block Fox
When we first walked up on Tim Fladd’s 1990 Ford Mustang on Friday, he was warming the car for its first pass of the day. That is when we first noticed something a little different about the car. Instead of the traditional race mufflers or open headers we had been used to hearing, this car still maintained a factory-style tailpipes.
The exhaust kept the car much quieter than most of the cars on property, which was a cool change of pace. However, do not let the noise level fool you. This Fox is powered by a 528-cube big-block Ford engine. Capable of pushing the car into the mid-sixes in the eighth mile. Tim made it all the way to the third round of elimination where a red light sent him to the trailer.
Stuffed between the fenders is a 460-based big-block punched out to 528 cubic inches. Tim was running Open Comp during the event, as he admits he is still working out a few details and learning about the car. When he gets it dialed in, look for this thing to be a monster!
4. 7-second S550
Number four on our list is the sleek S550 piloted by former NMRA Renegade Champion Bart Tobener. His white 2015 Mustang GT features an MPR-built Coyote engine and was actually the first 2015+ Mustang to run a 7-second quarter-mile time back in 2016 at an NMCA race in Indy.
Performance aside, the car just has a great look with just enough modifications to let you know its a race car, but nothing too wild to detract from the great S550 factory look. Bart was running Ultra Street and qualified in the eighth position. Bart made it all the way to the finals where his 4.818 at 146 lost out to Rodney Ragen’s 1989 Mustang with a time of 4.736 at 149 miles per hour.
The vendors midway at Lights Out 9 featured anything you could want to make your Ford Mustang go faster from a wide variety of familiar brands including VMP Performance, UPR Products and Nitrous Express just to name a few!
3. TVS-Blown Coyote
This black and pink 2011 Mustang GT is driven by Rebecca Starkey of VMP Performance. The car features a VMP TVS supercharger atop its built 5.0-liter engine, which is capable of pushing the Mustang deep into the eights in the quarter mile.
In fact, Rebecca’s best time to date in the car is a 8.37 at 157 miles per hour, which is the record for a Coyote with a TVS blower. Rebecca was running Ultra Street at Lights Out 9 and qualified in the 22nd position and was unfortunately eliminated in the first round.
Under that VMP Performance TVS supercharger is an 11.5:1 5.0-liter Coyote. It is based on an L&M sleeved block, and filled with Manley forged pistons, Mahle forged rods, and Comp cams.
2. Evil Fox Coupe
If you follow drag-radial racing, especially the X275 class, you have no doubt heard the name “Little Evil,” most likely associated with “a new world record” shortly after it. David “Little Evil” Pearson has long been one of the baddest men on drag radials. The multi-time record-holder and his green Fox Mustang are always close to the top of the speed charts.
This year brought several changes to the Little Evil machine, including a new power adder. Sitting atop the small-block Ford is a new Vortech V30 128 blower. Once David gets the new combo sorted out, look out! Chances are he will be setting plenty of new records in 2018.
He was running Outlaw Drag Radial at Lights Out 9. David and his small-block Ford faced an uphill battle from the start, qualifying dead last at number 32. However, David made it all the way to the third round, but unfortunately wasn’t able to make it back to the starting line due to mechanical trouble. His best pass of the weekend was a 4.271 at 176 miles per hour in the second round of eliminations.
When we put these lists together, there are always some equally nice cars that do not make the cut. These are a few that almost made the list.
1. Big-Block Pickup
You might have caught a glimpse of this yellow 1971 Ford F100 earlier in this story. The truck belongs to Tim Fladd’s brother, Joe. Not only do cool Fords run in this family, so do big-blocks! This truck is powered by a 512-cube beast with a huge turbo hanging off the front.
Even though this truck is built for the drag strip, it would be just as comfortable on the show field — it is that clean. Joe was also running Open Comp during the weekend as his brother Tim tells us they are still working out the details in both the truck and car. Whatever the class, one thing is for sure, the Fladd brothers have to seriously nice pieces of Ford muscle.
The old saying it is hard to judge a book by its cover often applies to drag racing cars and trucks. When we first checked out this yellow F100 early Friday morning, we had no idea how it would perform on track. Well, the big-block-powered Ford truck did not let us down. It delivered a nice, wheels-up launch for our camera.
For all of the racing action from Lights Out 9, be sure and check out the complete coverage from our cohorts at Dragzine right here. For more photos of our top five, as well as some of those Fords that just missed the cut, peep the gallery below…