Shelby Mustang GT350 is Blown, Drunk & Full of Bad Luck
Race week veterans crisscross the Great Plains for quarter-mile glory in black and beautiful 1965 Mustang.
Drag racing is a tough sport as it is. You have to make sure your reaction time off the line is perfect, you have to make sure your shifts through the band are on point, and you have to hope your car can handle it all from line to line. Now, imagine having to do this on a week-long, track-to-track competition covering hundreds of miles between each set of quarter-mile runs. Not only would you need nerves of steel, but you’d also need as many horseshoes, rabbit’s feet, and four-leaf clovers as you can stuff in the glove box.
YouTube channel 1320video takes us along for such a journey, following the exploits of Royce Payton and his magnificent 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350. But it’s no ordinary GT350, for it’s alcohol-injected, and breathes air through a screw-driven supercharger and blower setup.
Alcohol-Fueled Shelby Mustang GT350 in Action
Despite the name of the event, the week-long Rocky Mountain Race Week is centered around tracks in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, beginning with the first day of competition at SRCA Dragstrip in Great Bend, Kansas. Payton, a four-year race week vet, rolls into tech with his blown Shelby Mustang to run in the unlimited class, which Payton says is “the only thing [they] fit in anymore.” Just as well, as the black stallion makes “right around [1,500], 1,600 horse” on its race setup. For the travel between tracks, Payton says he uses a smaller blower and runs 91 grade pump gas, doing well for itself.
Unfortunately, the bad luck began after an amazing run of 7.744 at Great Bend. Later that evening in Topeka, Kansas, the Shelby Mustang had some lifters “going away” on Payton and his crew. A few parts and a few hours later, the blower was back on, and life seemed to be good.
Following another decent run at Topeka’s Heartland Motorsports Park, Payton fell into bad luck again, this time in the form of a flat tire on the trek to a checkpoint along the way to the next track. The front tires were swapped out, but Payton needed tubes for his street tires.
Things would go from bad to worse the following day and into the early evening. With around 20 minutes to spare before disqualification, Payton arrives at Ozark Raceway Park in Rogersville, Missouri hours late due to blown head gaskets and a busted lifter. Payton is forced to slap down a time on his radials down the eighth-mile, not having any time swap tires or blowers. The time he pulls on the eighth, plus the back half of his time from Topeka, is enough to put him in second place behind the new unlimited leader.
More Bad Luck
Another day, another string of bad luck. Payton arrives late to Noble, Oklahoma’s Thunder Valley Raceway Park, but with plenty of time to spare this go around. As he explains, “the ground wires broke off the injection. One side went dead, so we got it all put back together, started it, the other side was dead.” After fixing that issue, Payton needed a 7.60 time to tie with the new leader. He got an 8.01, then a water leak before his next run. Though the issue was easily fixed by turning on the water pump, the shifter broke on the way to a 9.45 run.
Alas, the journey would come to an end in heartbreak. Back at SCRA Raceway, the Shelby Mustang broke at the end of its final run, giving the overall and class wins to the new leader. Not a great end to an epic fight, but we respect Payton for giving it his all with his black stallion. May they both rise to ride again.