By Derek Putnam
Photos by FSC Magazine
The Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout has become an institution in the drag racing world as it celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2019. The event has created memories for tens of the thousands of enthusiasts over the years and one of the few who has been to all them is Tallahassee, Florida, resident Tony Whetstone.
His convertible Mustang isn’t a rare Fox-body that will garnish six figures at Barrett-Jackson, but it delivers single-digit time slips, wheels-up launches, and it has qualified for the Spring Break Shootout class nearly a dozen times since the event’s inception in 1995, and it gets quicker and quicker every season.
Whetstone has been piloting this drop-top 1988 Mustang GT for 29 years, and it is a fixture in the NMRA QA1 True Street and JLT Performance Spring Break Shootout wars, earning him best times in the 8.30s at almost 170 mph last season. As the Spring Break Shootout celebrates its 25-year milestone, so is Whetstone, as he just unleashed a career-best run of 8.16 at 172 mph in preparation for this year’s event. The pass occurred during a Top X No Time event at South Georgia Motorsports Park as Whetstone took advantage of the excellent weather and track conditions.
To top off his quickest ET ever, Whetstone in the process surpassed all others in the AOD army, as the 8.16 marks his run as the quickest performance of all-time for the forgotten and overlooked transmission combination. “It wasn’t even a hot tune-up, so I was shocked at that time slip,” said Whetstone. “We still have more left in the front half, and I know there’s potential for a 7-second run.”
The 8.2-deck based engine in his Mustang displaces 348 ci and sports a set of Trick Flow 11R cylinder heads and intake manifold. The valves are bumped open and closed by a LJMS solid roller camshaft, and a steady stream of E-85 is delivered via 210 lb/hour Bosch injectors. An S491 turbocharger provides the extra atmosphere, and it all passes through a Nationwide Transmission-built AOD transmission with a manual valvebody and PTC converter. The Mickey Thompson 275/60/15 ET Street R tires combine with UPR Products suspension to deliver the power to the tarmac.
Can the world’s quickest AOD-equipped Mustang produce a 7-second run at the upcoming 25th Annual NMRA Spring Break Shootout? “We’ll definitely be trying for it,” Whetstone said excitedly. For more information on the Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout and for Advance Tickets—spectators save 20% with online ordering—visit www.NMRAdigital.com/FL