Nitto Tire King Of The Street
It's the May issue, and you know what that means! It's Nitto Tire King of the Street time. Each year at the NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway, we hold the annual King of the Street competition.
For the KOTS, we round up roughly 10 to 12 of the baddest street Mustangs in America and pit them against each other to choose a winner of the coveted KOTS crown.
OK, so there's not an official crown, but we also don't announce the winner right there at the event, either. A crown is unnecessary anyway; that's not why people enter their Mustangs. It's about prestige, bragging rights, the pride of being 5.0&SF's King of the Street winner for one year. Think of Miss America-without the crown, make-up, high heels, and, thank goodness, swimsuit competition.
HORSE SENSE: A common theme...
HORSE SENSE: A common theme with KOTS cars, most of them have gone through several mechanical iterations to arrive at their current states. Competitors change blowers, blower belts, nitrous kits, turbos-the whole gamut of power adders-before finding their ideal combos.
In competitions past, the...
In competitions past, the Drag Race portion was only worth 5 percent of the final overall score, but this year I decided to up the ante a bit by making it worth 10 percent, deducting 5 percent from the Popular Vote percentage to still arrive at a total 100 percent. I had noticed the Drag Race portion was probably the most exciting and competitive category, and I thought it warranted a boost in importance. Judging by this photo, Jim D'Amore III seemed to make the best use of the Nittos off the line.
The Popular Vote segment is...
The Popular Vote segment is one I would like to see get stronger feedback. This is a way for spectators to get involved in the process, and also reward the competitors' hard work with some respect from Mustang fans. Jason Struzik's Cobra convertible finished first in the Popular Vote with 52 votes, and Jake Long's '97 finished just behind that number with 47 votes. We know Jason had his own lobbyist and posse with him, as did Jake-maybe that's the secret. (These guys eat well, don't they?)
The Nitto Tire KOTS is about the car that best bridges the gap between all-out horsepower and everyday driveability. If your Mustang makes 900 hp at the feet but drives like a Super Street Outlaw car, chances are you're not going to win. The same goes for a car that makes 600 hp with grocery-getter driveability. The latter Mustang may score a 10 in the Ride & Drive, but that horsepower level will earn you a low score in the Horsepower category, drastically affecting the car's final score. Other categories factor into the equation, so a competitor can't ace one category and win the competition.
This year the competition was robust, as we had the first Nitto Tire KOTS competitor to make over 1,000 hp at the feet, and another competitor shattered the quarter-mile record with a 9-second pass on the Nittos. How did those two competitors finish? You'll have to keep reading to find out.
He Shoots, He Scores
Brandon Rakestraw's coupe...
Brandon Rakestraw's coupe shattered the Drag Race record formerly held by Mark Magnuson. With Scotty Seals at the wheel, the wicked coupe ran a 9.88 at 151 mph on the Nittos. Unfortunately, the hood flew up as Scotty went through the lights. Although we saw this happen, we couldn't tell the extent of the damage the car suffered as a result. Scotty and his fellow Georgia boys decided to put the car in the trailer and head for home after the incident. We tried to talk them into staying since we knew the car would win the Popular Vote, but the guys weren't much in the mood for showing off the damage.
KOTS scoring revolves around the six categories listed below. Each category is weighted with a specific percentage, resembling how important each is to a competitor's final overall score. The percentages add up to a 100 percent, and each category is judged according to a 100-percent scale, just like when we were in school. The Engineering, Ride & Drive, and Fit & Finish categories are judged to 5.0&SF staffer's discretion. We don't play favorites with anyone, and we aren't easy to please. The Horsepower, Drag Race, and Popular Vote categories are based on finishing order, and scored as such.
I judge the Ride & Drive category, while Editor Turner judges Fit & Finish, and standing in for Tech Editor KJ Jones in the Engineering category is former 5.0&SF tech editor and current editor of Modified Mustang and Fords Mark Houlahan. Mark is a KOTS veteran judge and has even handled the KOTS on his own. We thank him for his willingness to help us judge the KOTS.
For those that want to win a KOTS crown, this is how the categories stack up, so plan accordingly:
|Ride & Drive:
|Fit & Finish: