Shred Till They’re Dead
Drivers annihilated their rear tires at our annual competition
By Steve Turner
Mustang Week is definitely known for its burnouts, but the best burnouts take place where the driver doesn’t get at ticket—at the SVTPerformance Burnout Contest. After the Fun Runs on the speedway and the cone-crunching on the autocross subside, crowds fill the infield and grandstands to judge this contest.
If you are thinking this is just another stationary smoke show, you haven’t seen this one go down. The SVTP version of a burnout contest turns into a wild combination of burnouts drifting and general mayhem. Drivers are supposed to start smoking the tires and keep them boiling as long as they can while keeping the vehicle in front of the crowd.
Once every contestant completes their burnout the drivers are lined up and judged based on the volume of the crowd’s reaction. This year’s crop of drivers provided one of the most competitive fields yet. The majority of the cars created huge clouds of smoke and their drivers exhibited impressive car control.
In the end the real contest came down to two regular contestants—Thomas Jarrell and Khion Kittle. Driver of the gray Lightning, Thomas was back to defend his 2015 title but it was Khion that wowed the crowd with his hoodless, Navigator-powered ’Stang and took home a new set of drag radials for his trouble.
It may have been pretty enough to protect with blue painter’s tape, but Kristian Johnson’s 2002 Mustang GT put on quite a display of smoke. The New Jersey resident came all the way to Mustang Week and wrecked a set of tires at the speedway and his only mod was the one that counted—the driver mod.
Arty Stayker looked like he could be a contender in his Plum Crazy Purple ’88 Notch. While the Myrtle Beach local was sporting a nitrous-injected stroker under the hood and a drag car look, that one-wheel peel just didn’t do it for the crowd of judges.
Not a bad showing for a bolt-on SN-95. Brandon Reynolds created a wall of smoke and showed great car control driving his bolt-on ’95 Mustang GT. In the end, he must not have been wild enough to excite the crowd in his Forest Green machine.
Lamar Albritton was one of many returning contestants to our annual contest. His ’65 Mustang still looks rough enough to live up to its Rustang moniker, but Lamar did put on a better show at this year’s event.
It might be Mustang Week, but we take any Ford-powered Fords in the SVTP Burnout Contest. Michael Gondek showed great control pedaling his truck down the speedway oval with a wall of smoke behind it. Unfortunately the Whipple-supercharged pickup caught fire at the end. We’re glad to say he was OK and the truck wasn’t damaged too badly.
James Conner returned to the competition and showed he can still get it done in his black ’88 coupe. He wasn’t afraid to light up the tires on his Cobra R-style rims and apparently he is part of a tire-shredding family…
…as he clearly influenced James Conner Jr. to give it a try in his SN-95. Junior still could used a few pointers from his Senior as he didn’t create near as much smoke.
Pro drifter Jonathan Nerren learned from Vaughn Gittin Jr. on the Octane Academy television show and has created quite a career for himself. Coming off a successful outing in Canada, Jonathan didn’t get the reaction he expected from the performance of his 2007 Roush, but he did sign autographs and take photos with fans after the smoke died down.
Thomas Jarrell was back to defend his SVTP Burnout Contest title in his Pro Dyno-tuned Lightning. He hasn’t lost a step as his truck destroyed its rear tires after creating a seemingly endless cloud of smoke. However, as his run came to a close something cut loose inside his engine and it lost compression. Usually taking out the tires and the engine is enough take the win, but this year it didn’t do the job.
After years of giving it his best shot, Khion Kittle piloted his Navigator 5.4-swapped SN-95 to the win in 2016. With a primered paint job and a junkyard engine underhood, Khion could really cut loose without the fear hurting the car. That reckless abandon allowed him to get the crowd behind him and that’s what it takes to win.
If you shred your tires so much they completely come off the rims you deserve to win the SVTP Burnout Contest. Khion was so excited to win he said the remains of his tire was trophy enough, but he did give this ring of rubber to a fan in the audience.
In appreciation of his victory Khion received a new set of drag radials from our own SID297.