Sheldon Lewis’ Hellion-turbocharged S550 is on the edge of eights
By Steve Turner
Photos by courtesy of Harland Breaux Photography
Many people dream of building up a Mustang. Some love the process of building the car to suit their needs, while others love the thrill of the chase. Once they achieve that goal, they are ready to move on. You wouldn’t think owning an 8-second Mustang would ever get boring, but apparently Sheldon Lewis of Straight Performance Racing loves a challenge.
This process actually started with a white SN-95, which ran a best of 10.80 at 138 mph. This car sent Sheldon down the path of reaching a goal and moving on to a new platform. It also locked in his choice of automotive finishes.
“That started with my ’95 GT. My friend Whitney Hayes and I were at a gas station and he was like ‘I’m calling that thing the Ghost because it’s white, fast, and has dark windows so you can’t see anyone driving it as if it’s driving itself!’” Sheldon said. “So from that day on, all my vehicles have been white and my Mustangs held and will always hold the name Ghost, i.e. Ghost I, Ghost II, and Ghost III.”
As the first Ghost started to fade, Sheldon stepped up to a Coyote. With the more robust platform the performance of the second-generation Ghost easily eclipsed the best its predecessor could scare up. In fact, he was able to run quicker than most people ever will. For most running an 8.99 at 144 mph would make the car a keeper, but not so for Sheldon.
“After meeting my goal of a 8.99 with my 2014 car I got bored with it,” he explained. “It didn’t help that the 2015 car was out at that time too which really helped me make my mind up to get rid of my 8-second S197 and try the new S550 platform.”
The allure of the 2015 and newer Mustangs is undeniable, but Sheldon didn’t just want a new platform, he wanted a whole new combination. That meant switching up power adders, and after a little research, making that choice became pretty easy.
“My S197 car was supercharged, so I wanted to do something entirely different for the new car,” Sheldon said. “Having lots of experience with turbo cars from my Outlaw 275 days made me think this should be a cakewalk. That led me to the Hellion twin kit, as the fit and finish is near stock, which fits my meticulous taste perfectly.”
“He called us for details and basically spec’d out a base kit,” John Urist of Hellion Power Systems explained. “People call us and thank us all the time because it works so well… I just love it. That’s the reason I do this.”
Sheldon was definitely thankful. This time, his goals were modest by his standards, but it turns out that the combination of the new-school Coyote and a Hellion Eliminator system works so well that Sheldon couldn’t resist revving up his pursuit for another 8-second machine.
“…Like all builds it got out of hand real quick. I started off wanting just a regular 9-second car just to drive around but, after getting together with my tuner Sai Li, the car did that with very little effort the first time out,” Sheldon said. “Not wanting to get bored with the car that early on (two months exactly) we decided to go for the fastest and first 8.99 S550 with all ’15 parts, ECU etc.”
Apparently that stock TriCor processor is a big deal to rabid enthusiasts of the latest Mustang, and so far Sheldon is well on his way to breaking into the eights with his all-’15 2015. So far he has run a 9.07 at 152.06 mph leaving on the footbrake, which makes far from a “regular” 9-second car, especially given the bolt-on nature of this combo. In fact, it is the quickest stock-motor 2015 Mustang to date…
His car moves out for a relatively stock 2015 Mustang with nothing more than upgrade Ford Performance halfshafts and BMR cradle lockouts. Sheldon attributes its efficiency to his tuner’s work behind the keyboard.
“That part is all Sai Li!” Sheldon exclaimed. “Keep in mind we’re doing all this via remote tuning, which means he has never laid eyes or hands on the car. So I guess you can say it’s a team effort. I have to be sure to log and give him the proper feedback to make the correct changes. It hasn’t been a cake walk by any means as we have fought many gremlins in the process, but our dedication to meeting this goal has been paying off to say the least!”
After the hard work pays off, Sheldon is promising to stick with this car for a little while. It’s still a new car after all. After upgrading the fuel system and trying to break into the 8-second zone, the car’s stock rods finally checked out. Sheldon promises to come back stronger with a built short-block so he can run consistent 8-second e.t.’s.
“Once we get that 8.99 time slip—twice just to back it up—I’m going to be done with it for a while,” he said. “Being there’s no new Mustang to upgrade to I’m going to keep it for a while and just enjoy taking family cruises in it.”
If you see Sheldon cruising around in his 2015 Mustang, you might not want to mention the new Shelby GT350 or we might see a Ghost 4…
The Mod List
Crankshaft: Stock w/ MMR crank sprocket and TSS oil pump gears
Cylinder Heads: Stock
Power Adder: Hellion Eliminator twin-turbo system w/ 55mm turbos and Boost Leash boost controller
Fuel System: Sai Li custom fuel system w/ Injector Dynamics ID1300s
Exhaust: Corsa Sport 3-inch
Transmission: Built 6R80 automatic w/ Circle D 3C torque converter and Shaftmasters one-piece driveshaft
Rearend: Stock Super 8.8 w/ Wavetrac differential, 3.15 gears, Ford Performance Racing Parts halfshafts and BMR Suspension cradle lockouts
Engine Management: Stock Tricor PCM w/ custom tune by Sai Li
Ignition: Stock w/ MSD two-step
Springs: BMR Suspension
Wheels: Weld Racing S76 wheels, 17×5-inch
Tires: Phoenix front-runners
Springs: BMR Suspension
Control Arms: Stock
Wheels: Weld Racing S76, 17×10-inch
Tires: Mickey Thompson 305/45-17 ET Street R