Event: GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout

GT500 vs. Terminator Featured

Twice Bitten

Shelbys and snakes battle for serpent supremacy at the NMRA World Finals

By Steve Turner
Photos by Stacy Stangz, Ford Racing Nation, and courtesy of the NMRA

Movies once portrayed the Internet as a virtual world, where we would live a life that we couldn’t have in the real world. To some extent, that prediction has come true. However, the online world has also fostered community and helped people come together to create things that might never have come about without it. Such is definitely the case for the popular GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout, which is run as a specialty class at select NMRA events.

Las Vegas is just flight away for those hitting the trade shows or looking for fun. However, it you want to race your turbo Terminator at Bowling Green, you are looking at a 3,702-mile round trip haul. Well that’s just the trip Frank Yee of Voodoo Racing Innovations made to run his 2003 Mustang Cobra, a.k.a. Black Betty in the shootout. He qualified in the second spot with an 8.30 at 171 rip, and ran his personal best e.t.—an 8.12—in the first round of eliminations. After a close call against Shane Halleman in the first round, Frank took out number-one qualifier Brian Devilbiss in the finals. He followed that up by defeating JPC’s Justin Burcham in the Turbo Coyote vs. GT500/Terminator grudge race.
Las Vegas is just flight away for those hitting the trade shows or looking for fun. However, it you want to race your turbo Terminator at Bowling Green, you are looking at a 3,702-mile round trip haul. Well that’s just the trip Frank Yee of Voodoo Racing Innovations made to run his 2003 Mustang Cobra, a.k.a. Black Betty in the shootout. He qualified in the second spot with an 8.30 at 171 rip, and ran his personal best e.t.—an 8.12—in the first round of eliminations. After a close call against Shane Halleman in the first round, Frank took out number-one qualifier Brian Devilbiss in the finals. He followed that up by defeating JPC’s Justin Burcham in the Turbo Coyote vs. GT500/Terminator grudge race.

It all began when 2003-2004 Cobra racers in the Midwest got jealous of the Terminator track rentals being held on the East Coast. After discussing it on various online outlets, including right here at SVTP, one enthusiast, Jim Irelan, was inspired to put something bigger together.

After gauging participant interest online, he brought the idea of pitting one of the most intense sibling rivalries around—Cobras vs. GT500s. When NMRA President, Steve Wolcott, agreed to host the event at an NMRA race, Jim became the Class Director of the shootout. That meant he had to make it a reality.

“So I posted up on the websites that it was a go but since I haven’t raced a lot on the track I knew I would need help with the rules. Jake Conant and Brian “Posi” Hartledge, who were running an Eaton-porting company, contacted me. They said they would love to do this, so Jake wrote up the rules and Posi Performance sponsored the first one and it was a success! Most cars were in the mid 11s to high 8s. In 2012, we had a change in sponsorship to VMP Tuning with Justin Starkey and Rick Kaknes,” Jim explained. “The cars got faster and more people started taking notice, Jake kept up with the rule changes and we offered plaques for the fastest 12-second pass, 11-second pass, 10-second pass, and 9-second pass. Something for everyone! Plus, we offered 10 special-recognition plaques for things like best engine best interior, most consistent, fastest six-speed, and so on.”

Brian Devlibiss’ 2013 GT500 fired the shot heard round the SVT world by laying down a blistering 7.69 at 176 mph pass to claim the top qualified spot in the shootout. The Devil’s Reject, as Brian has dubbed his Shelby, was clearly the car to beat in this class. With the exception of his second-round bye, Brian was running consistent 7s as he cut a hot swath through the competition. As the finals loomed, it seemed Brian had the edge over Frank Yee’s Terminator, but that’s why they run the races. Brian spun. Frank hooked. End of story.
Brian Devlibiss’ 2013 GT500 fired the shot heard round the SVT world by laying down a blistering 7.69 at 176 mph pass to claim the top qualified spot in the shootout. The Devil’s Reject, as Brian has dubbed his Shelby, was clearly the car to beat in this class. With the exception of his second-round bye, Brian was running consistent 7s as he cut a hot swath through the competition. As the finals loomed, it seemed Brian had the edge over Frank Yee’s Terminator, but that’s why they run the races. Brian spun. Frank hooked. End of story.

“I was pretty heavily involved with the Cobra guys early on, Brian at Posi, Jake Conant, and Rick Kaknes,” class sponsor, Justin Starkey of VMP Tuning, added. “We decided to get involved since several guys in the class were running our VMP TVS blowers.”

Clearly, the class has evolved to a highly successful level. If you followed our coverage of the event from Maryland International Raceway, you know the turnout and performances were great. Twenty one cars participated, and the top e.t. in qualifying was an 8.25 put down by Scott Waters’ turbocharged GT500.

One of three Terminators in the 8-second zone, Shane Halleman’s 2003 Cobra qualified in the sixth slot thanks to an 8.79/158 hit. Shane took out two fellow Cobra racers—Lawrence Thomas and Marshall Carpenter—before facing Nelson Whitlock’s GT500 in the third round. Shane got the jump and carried his advantage to the stripe to take the win. However, Shane’s run ended as he faced Frank Yee in the fourth round.
One of three Terminators in the 8-second zone, Shane Halleman’s 2003 Cobra qualified in the sixth slot thanks to an 8.79/158 hit. Shane took out two fellow Cobra racers—Lawrence Thomas and Marshall Carpenter—before facing Nelson Whitlock’s GT500 in the third round. Shane got the jump and carried his advantage to the stripe to take the win. However, Shane’s run ended as he faced Frank Yee in the fourth round.

“We added a second event each year in Maryland at MIR and it was a slow start the first event but ramped up for the second one at the 20-year anniversary of SVT. Cars were going a lot faster, especially with a certain stock-engine Terminator running a 3.4 Whipple dipping into the 8s and a VMP TVS supercharged car also in the 8s. Last year at Bowling Green we had a lot of rain and racers had to go home because of rain all day Sunday, but a few stayed for the Monday runs,” Jim said. “This year at MIR I could not make it, so Jake took over for that event. He and his fiancé Amanda worked really hard to make it a success. That event is when the GT500 guys showed up with some serious turbo cars and the class got even faster.”

The expectations for this class heading into the NMRA World Finals were big, so Jim knew he had to step things up for the participants. So he worked hard to give more to the racers, and they returned the favor in kind by showing up—26 cars qualified— in force and laying down even more impressive elapsed times.

After qualifying in the eighth spot with an 8.91 at 159, Gregory Perez went into bracket mode. He consistently put down passes in the low-8-second range. Those consistent times took him all the way to the semi-finals, and his run of wins included trailering big dog Scott Waters in the second round. When it came to his semi-final match-up against Brian Devilbiss, Gregory ran another low-8-second pass, but he left a little too soon and lit the red bulb. You could hardly blame him for trying to get the jump on the 7-second Devil’s Reject.
After qualifying in the eighth spot with an 8.91 at 159, Gregory Perez went into bracket mode. He consistently put down passes in the low-8-second range. Those consistent times took him all the way to the semi-finals, and his run of wins included trailering big dog Scott Waters in the second round. When it came to his semi-final match-up against Brian Devilbiss, Gregory ran another low-8-second pass, but he left a little too soon and lit the red bulb. You could hardly blame him for trying to get the jump on the 7-second Devil’s Reject.

“So, after MIR, I started hitting up the race shops and manufacturers for donations to be given away to the racers and—with the help of Steve Wolcott and Jake Conant—we received about $7,000 worth of parts, gift certificates, shirts, etc. We gave them away at a special dinner Saturday night after qualifying along with all the special recognition plaques. It was a great time, enjoyed by all,” Jim said. “Evolution Performance gave $500 in cash to the fastest qualifier and has really brought in some serious GT500s and Brian Devilbliss’ GT500 ran a 7.69 at about 180 mph and we had or first 7-second pass in the class! But, in racing, the fastest car doesn’t always win. After driving 27 hours and 2,000 miles Frank Yee’s beautiful and deadly 2003 Cobra proved that by winning the shootout and then beating an awesome, turbo-powered Coyote Mustang in a special grudge match race at the end of the race.”

“We had a great turnout at the finals, everything from OE style supercharged cars to custom single- and twin-turbo cars,” Justin said. “The GT500 guys have been raising the bar this year, but a Terminator guy came all the way from Las Vegas and won the event. It goes to show anything can happen on the racetrack.”

And, don’t think this rivalry has cooled off at all. In fact, it seems to be getting more intense. “It’s gone nuclear! At first it was mainly Terminators, but now it’s about even with the onslaught of a lot of bad-ass GT500s. The record now stands at 5 to 2, with the Terminators out front,” Jim enthused.

The Evolution Performance crew had the of the top-five qualified rides in the shootout, and they were all on Team GT500. In the fifth spot was King of the Street alumnus Dominic DiDonato and his 2008 Shelby. The defending champ class champ from last year’s finals, Dominic picked up right where he left off with a 8.70 at 160 mph qualifying hit. After easy wins in the first two rounds, Dom ran into the Devil’s reject in the third. There was no mercy from his Evolution stablemate, so his title defense ended.
The Evolution Performance crew had the of the top-five qualified rides in the shootout, and they were all on Team GT500. In the fifth spot was King of the Street alumnus Dominic DiDonato and his 2008 Shelby. The defending champ class champ from last year’s finals, Dominic picked up right where he left off with a 8.70 at 160 mph qualifying hit. After easy wins in the first two rounds, Dom ran into the Devil’s reject in the third. There was no mercy from his Evolution stablemate, so his title defense ended.

With that kind of rivalry brewing, it shouldn’t be a surprise that two events—Maryland and Bowling Green—aren’t enough to contain all the excitement. Now, the battle for SVT supremacy will help kick off the 2015 season.

“We are the biggest heads-up class going in the NMRA and it’s only going to get better. We have now added Bradenton, Florida, to next year’s events,” Jim concluded. “The racing this year was incredible and the final was two drivers playing ‘the game’ to get the advantage and Frank Yee played it the best. I expect Brian Devilbiss and Scott Waters to reset the records next year.”

Until then, you can re-live the excitement of the NMRA World Finals shootout with us.

This historic GT500 first reappeared on the scene at the MIR installment of the GT500 vs Terminator shootout, and it was great seeing a Shelby with so many drag-strip firsts under its blower belt at the track again. Naturally, this is Evolution Performance’s 2007 GT500 driven by Nelson Whitlock. He hasn’t lost his touch, as he qualified fourth with an 8.59 at 158 pass. Nelson was cruising through the rounds until he ran into Shane Halleman’s Terminator.
This historic GT500 first reappeared on the scene at the MIR installment of the GT500 vs Terminator shootout, and it was great seeing a Shelby with so many drag-strip firsts under its blower belt at the track again. Naturally, this is Evolution Performance’s 2007 GT500 driven by Nelson Whitlock. He hasn’t lost his touch, as he qualified fourth with an 8.59 at 158 pass. Nelson was cruising through the rounds until he ran into Shane Halleman’s Terminator.
Despite qualifying 17th with a 9.95 at 10h mph, Tony Lindahl made it deep into eliminations. He did so at the expense of fellow Terminator teammates Gerry Davis and Nicholas Shortridge. However, it was Gregory Perez’s turbocharged 2011 GT500 that was his undoing in the third round. Tony got caught sleeping at the tree and his Cobra didn’t have the oats to reel in the Shelby before the stripe.
Despite qualifying 17th with a 9.95 at 10h mph, Tony Lindahl made it deep into eliminations. He did so at the expense of fellow Terminator teammates Gerry Davis and Nicholas Shortridge. However, it was Gregory Perez’s turbocharged 2011 GT500 that was his undoing in the third round. Tony got caught sleeping at the tree and his Cobra didn’t have the oats to reel in the Shelby before the stripe.
At MIR Jake Conant was not only the class director, but also a competitor. Each of these tasks is a full-time job, so he was certainly pleased to have official class director Jim Irelan back to shoulder some of the class work. This allowed Jake to concentrate more on racing his Whipplecharged Terminator. He put his 2003 Cobra right in the mix with an 8.86 at 155 mph qualifier. Jake took out Jammye McQuade’s GT500 in round one, but found himself lined up against Frank Yee and his 94mm-turbocharged Terminator. Jake left first, but Frank ran around him for the win.
At MIR Jake Conant was not only the class director, but also a competitor. Each of these tasks is a full-time job, so he was certainly pleased to have official class director Jim Irelan back to shoulder some of the class work. This allowed Jake to concentrate more on racing his Whipplecharged Terminator. He put his 2003 Cobra right in the mix with an 8.86 at 155 mph qualifier. Jake took out Jammye McQuade’s GT500 in round one, but found himself lined up against Frank Yee and his 94mm-turbocharged Terminator. Jake left first, but Frank ran around him for the win.
TVS supercharger stalwart Mat Brunette of Billet Pro Shop had his 2007 GT500 running strong at Bowling Green. He qualified in the 10th spot with a 9.19 at 153, which put him ahead of SVTs with bigger blowers and turbos. He handily took down Lucas Clark’s Terminator in round one, but Dominic Didonato’s Shelby came calling in the second round. Mat left first, but the jump wasn’t enough to keep pace with Dom’s 8-second machine.
TVS supercharger stalwart Mat Brunette of Billet Pro Shop had his 2007 GT500 running strong at Bowling Green. He qualified in the 10th spot with a 9.19 at 153, which put him ahead of SVTs with bigger blowers and turbos. He handily took down Lucas Clark’s Terminator in round one, but Dominic Didonato’s Shelby came calling in the second round. Mat left first, but the jump wasn’t enough to keep pace with Dom’s 8-second machine.
Twelfth qualifier Marshall Carpenter earned his Terminator’s spot with a 9.33 at 141 mph. In the first round of elimination he turned up the heat, taking out Jesse Owens’ 2011 GT500 with an 8.97/151 rip. However, he couldn’t duplicated that performance in round two, where he faced Shane Halleman’s 2003 Cobra. Shane had the advantage at the tree and at the stripe, where it was he who cut the 8.97 pass for the win.
Twelfth qualifier Marshall Carpenter earned his Terminator’s spot with a 9.33 at 141 mph. In the first round of elimination he turned up the heat, taking out Jesse Owens’ 2011 GT500 with an 8.97/151 rip. However, he couldn’t duplicated that performance in round two, where he faced Shane Halleman’s 2003 Cobra. Shane had the advantage at the tree and at the stripe, where it was he who cut the 8.97 pass for the win.
As the big winner from Maryland, Scott Waters was expected to be in the finals against The Devil’s Reject at Bowling Green. However, the story doesn’t always play out the way you expect it to. Though he qualified with a solid 8.49 at 163 mph pass, Scott had some ground to gain in eliminations. He looked to be heading in the right direction after taking out Sean Bryh’s Terminator with an 8.37/168 hit. However, in the second round Scott came out on the wrong end of an epic staging duel with Gregory Perez. Scott has vowed not to let that happen again.
As the big winner from Maryland, Scott Waters was expected to be in the finals against The Devil’s Reject at Bowling Green. However, the story doesn’t always play out the way you expect it to. Though he qualified with a solid 8.49 at 163 mph pass, Scott had some ground to gain in eliminations. He looked to be heading in the right direction after taking out Sean Bryh’s Terminator with an 8.37/168 hit. However, in the second round Scott came out on the wrong end of an epic staging duel with Gregory Perez. Scott has vowed not to let that happen again.
Cliff Buerger qualified his Cobra in the ninth position thanks to a 9.04/147 pass. He had an easy win over Tim Grissom in round one, but lost to Nelson Whitlock in the second.
Cliff Buerger qualified his Cobra in the ninth position thanks to a 9.04/147 pass. He had an easy win over Tim Grissom in round one, but lost to Nelson Whitlock in the second.
KOTS alumnus Nicholas Shortridge wowed the crowd by laying down a 9.29/154 qualifier in his IRS-equipped Cobra. That was good enough for the 11 qualified spot. Nicholas took out another Nicholas (Gardner) in round one before falling to Tony Lindahl in the second.
KOTS alumnus Nicholas Shortridge wowed the crowd by laying down a 9.29/154 qualifier in his IRS-equipped Cobra. That was good enough for the 11 qualified spot. Nicholas took out another Nicholas (Gardner) in round one before falling to Tony Lindahl in the second.
Brandon Dillard checked in at the 14th spot with a 9.60/135 hit. He lost to eventual winner, Frank Yee in the first round.
Brandon Dillard checked in at the 14th spot with a 9.60/135 hit. He lost to eventual winner, Frank Yee in the first round.
Tim Oswalt made the trip up from Lake View, Alabama to qualify right in the middle of the pack at 13 with a 9.51/166 pass. Tim had big issues in round one, the biggest of which was facing Brian Devilbiss’ 7-second machine.
Tim Oswalt made the trip up from Lake View, Alabama to qualify right in the middle of the pack at 13 with a 9.51/166 pass. Tim had big issues in round one, the biggest of which was facing Brian Devilbiss’ 7-second machine.
Lawrence Thomas qualified 20th with a 10.13/148 pass. In round one of eliminations Shane Halleman sent him to the trailer.
Lawrence Thomas qualified 20th with a 10.13/148 pass. In round one of eliminations Shane Halleman sent him to the trailer.
Nick Burch took the 22nd qualified spot in his 2013 Shelby GT500 thanks to a 10.75/132 pass. Unfortunately he didn’t have the steam to contend with Gregory Perez’s 8-second Shelby in round one.
Nick Burch took the 22nd qualified spot in his 2013 Shelby GT500 thanks to a 10.75/132 pass. Unfortunately he didn’t have the steam to contend with Gregory Perez’s 8-second Shelby in round one.
Mark Duber’s Grabber Blue 2013 Shelby GT500 is one of the most beautiful Shelbys around. It’s also one of the quickest with a six-speed still filling the tunnel. Mark qualified 18th with an off-pace 9.99/157 pass. Unfortunately his issues continued in eliminations when he couldn’t make the call against Dominic Didonato.
Mark Duber’s Grabber Blue 2013 Shelby GT500 is one of the most beautiful Shelbys around. It’s also one of the quickest with a six-speed still filling the tunnel. Mark qualified 18th with an off-pace 9.99/157 pass. Unfortunately his issues continued in eliminations when he couldn’t make the call against Dominic Didonato.
Rick Kaknes made the trip up from Florida in his VMP TVS-boosted 2003 Cobra. He qualified strong in the 16th spot thanks to a 9.89/134 pass. In round one, Nelson Whitlock gave Rick a headstart on this trip home.
Rick Kaknes made the trip up from Florida in his VMP TVS-boosted 2003 Cobra. He qualified strong in the 16th spot thanks to a 9.89/134 pass. In round one, Nelson Whitlock gave Rick a headstart on this trip home.
In the 19th qualified spot was Gerry Davis’ 2003 Cobra, which posted a 10.05/137 run. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the call against Tony Lindahl in the first round of eliminations.
In the 19th qualified spot was Gerry Davis’ 2003 Cobra, which posted a 10.05/137 run. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the call against Tony Lindahl in the first round of eliminations.
The lowest qualified Terminator belonged to Lucas Clark. His 2003 Cobra ran a 11.34/121 to take the 24th spot. Lucas improved on his e.t. in the first round, but it wasn’t enough for Mat Brunette’s TVS-blown GT500.
The lowest qualified Terminator belonged to Lucas Clark. His 2003 Cobra ran a 11.34/121 to take the 24th spot. Lucas improved on his e.t. in the first round, but it wasn’t enough for Mat Brunette’s TVS-blown GT500.
Another KOTS alumnus, Jammye McQuade put his super-sanitary 2007 GT500 into the 21st qualified spot on a 10.45/142 hit. However, an off-pace 14-second run in the first round wasn’t enough for Jake Conant’s silver streak.
Another KOTS alumnus, Jammye McQuade put his super-sanitary 2007 GT500 into the 21st qualified spot on a 10.45/142 hit. However, an off-pace 14-second run in the first round wasn’t enough for Jake Conant’s silver streak.
All the way from Lubbock, Texas, Tim Grissom qualified 23rd with an 11.00/133 run. Troubles kept him from competing against Cliff Buerger in the first round of eliminations.
All the way from Lubbock, Texas, Tim Grissom qualified 23rd with an 11.00/133 run. Troubles kept him from competing against Cliff Buerger in the first round of eliminations.
One of eight 9-second Terminators, Sean Bryh took the 15th qualified spot on a 9.83/145 pass. He ran a bit quicker in the first round, but didn’t have the muscle to take down Scott Waters’ 8-second Shelby.
One of eight 9-second Terminators, Sean Bryh took the 15th qualified spot on a 9.83/145 pass. He ran a bit quicker in the first round, but didn’t have the muscle to take down Scott Waters’ 8-second Shelby.
Qualifying 25th in his 2014 Shelby GT500 was Nicholas Gardner who posted an 11.52/127 pass. Worlds collided in round one of eliminations when he clashed with Nicholas Shortridge’s 9-second Terminator. The latter Nicholas took the win.
Qualifying 25th in his 2014 Shelby GT500 was Nicholas Gardner who posted an 11.52/127 pass. Worlds collided in round one of eliminations when he clashed with Nicholas Shortridge’s 9-second Terminator. The latter Nicholas took the win.
It just wasn’t Jesse Owens’ weekend. He had problems from the start, as evidenced by his 28-second qualifying pass. He couldn’t get his troubles sorted out before round one of eliminations, so Marshall Carpenter took the easy win.
It just wasn’t Jesse Owens’ weekend. He had problems from the start, as evidenced by his 28-second qualifying pass. He couldn’t get his troubles sorted out before round one of eliminations, so Marshall Carpenter took the easy win.

GT500 vs. Terminator Gallery

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10 thoughts on “Event: GT500 vs. Terminator Shootout”

  1. The shootout organizers would like to extend a special thanks to all the sponsors that provided prizes for this event:

    1. VMP SUPERCHARGERS, CLASS SPONSOR

    2. EVOLUTION, $500 TO THE FASTEST QUALIFIER

    3. ACCUFAB, GIFT CERTIFICATE

    4. RACECRAFT, GIFT CERTIFICATE

    5. MMR, GIFT CERTIFICATE

    6. BILLET PRO SHOP

    7. FORE INNOVATION

    8. CJ PONY PARTS

    9. SINISTER MUSTANG

    10. STIFFLERS

    11. UPR

    12. SUMMIT RACING

    13. AEROSPACE COMPONENTS, $250 Product Certificate

    14. EDELBROCK, $50 Product Certificate

    15. FEDERAL MOGUL #1, $500 Product Certificate Good for a Combination of Fel-Pro Performance Gaskets, Speed Pro Engine Parts and Champion Spark Plugs

    16. FEDERAL MOGUL #2, $500 Product Certificate Good for a Combination of Fel-Pro Performance Gaskets, Speed Pro Engine Parts and Champion Spark Plugs

    17. MAXIMUM MOTORSPORTS, Extreme-Duty rear lower control arms, part number Mm5RLCA-53

    Maximum Motorsports, Rear Lower Control Arm Relocation Brackets for the S197 chassis – Part number MMRLCA-57. Retail price is $199.97/set

    18. MSD Ignition, Set of coils

    19. MSD Ignition, 2-step

    20. NMRA Power Mall, $50 Shopping Spree

    21. NOS, Nitrous Kit

    22. JOHNNY LIGHTNING PERFORMANCE, $75.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE

    23. QA1, $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE

    24. SPEC CLUTCHES

    25. EXEDY CLUTCHES

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