Gripping the shifter with authority and throwing perfect shifts brings satisfaction that automatic-transmission drivers will never know.
And TREMEC is proud to support those who shift their own gears by presenting the biannual TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout. This Shootout is held in conjunction with the Nitto Tire Spring Break Shootout presented by Steeda Autosports in Bradenton, Florida.
One of the reasons that TREMEC supports NMRA drag racing is to help people have fun with their cars in a safe, fun and family environment. You can feel the excitement of driving a manual transmission every day, but when it comes to pushing your car hard, take it to a race track. And while drag racing is ultimately about whose car is quicker, we want everyone who comes out and participates to have fun.
Therefore, to bring even more fans of manual transmissions into the fold for the 2018 TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout and 24th Nitto Tire Spring Break Shootout, we changed a few things up. Sure, we did our usual pizza party for NMRA racers. But we also paid the $100 entry fee for the first 25 racers who signed up for the QA1 True Street class with a manual transmission. At this event, all eight qualifiers received a TREMEC jacket. The TREMEC team was on hand to greet the racers, present the jackets and help serve the pizza and tasty beverages.
The TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout pitted the top eight True Street racers rowing a manual in a special Sunday Showdown. Racers competing in the Shootout first made their mark in the QA1 True Street class, where they ran the obligatory 30-mile street cruise, followed by the trio of quarter-mile passes on the strip. True Street rules require the entry be fully street legal. In addition, competitors must fuel their car before the cruise and can’t lift the hood once the event starts. This ensures the vehicles remain in “street trim” for the cruise and on-track action.
Entering the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout requires a street-type manual transmission. The rules allow for race-oriented modifications, including face-plating and an aftermarket shifter. But the transmission must be shifted by a single, hand-operated shift handle in the “H-pattern” that’s actuated by the driver (pneumatic or electric shifters are not allowed).
More than 120 racers participated in the 2018 True Street class this year in Bradenton, of which 32 were banging gears with a manual transmission. Yandro Ulloa led the Shootout, qualifying with his 1998 SVT Cobra that averaged 9.58 after the three runs. Amazingly, he ran as quick as 9.08, but his other runs of 9.91 and 9.74 raised his average. Yandro‘s combination consisted of a 4.6L DOHC fed by twin turbos and backed by a McLeod Racing RXT1200 clutch and a TREMEC Magnum built by RPM Transmissions. Ulloa also ran in the Spring Break Shootout class, where he clicked off 8.29 elapsed time at 158 mph.
TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout regular and past champion Jeff Smith qualified for second in his Competition Orange 2004 Cobra. The car was equipped with the TREMEC Magnum he won during the 2013 Shootout. He also used a McLeod Racing RXT1200 clutch and flywheel to apply the power to his IRS rear. Smith ran as quick as 10.09 and averaged 10.19 with his Terminator.
Hot on his heels was Karl Goin, who scored a three-run average of 10.31 while rowing the gears in his all-motor 347-cube small-block 1992 LX. Karl’s Fox sported a SPEC Stage 1 clutch and TREMEC TKO500 transmission.
Christian Worley in his TREMEC T56-equipped 2003 Cobra completed the top half of the ladder with a 10.78 average.
The bump was held by Ray Toledo in his 1993 Mustang that used a TREMEC TKO600.
2018 TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Qualifying
- Yandro Ulloa, 1998 Cobra, TREMEC T56 Magnum 9.58
- Jeff Smith, 2004 Cobra, TREMEC T56 Magnum 10.13
- Karl Goin, 1992 Mustang LX, TREMEC TKO500 10.31
- Christian Worley, 2003 Cobra, TREMEC T56 10.78
- William Rinehart, 2017 GT, stock transmission 10.81
- Josh Astarita, 1997 Cobra, TREMEC T56 Magnum 11.35
- Geoff Maze, 2015 GT, stock transmission 11.45
- Ray Toledo, 1993 Mustang, TREMEC TKO600 11.59
The winner of the 2018 TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout received bragging rights along with a McLeod Racing RXT Twin-Disc clutch with flywheel (approximately $1,300 value). The runner-up received a $500 McLeod Racing product certificate. To keep the racing as close as possible, TREMEC decided on a unique ladder format that paired 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, 5 vs. 6 and 7 vs. 8 in the first round.
Furthermore, the racers used a handicapped start with their True Street average serving as their index. But unlike an index race, the Shootout did not employ a breakout. Therefore, competitors ran flat-out to the finish line.
In the opening round, William Rinehart had a better reaction time and 10.75 elapsed time at 133 mph, defeating Josh Astarita, who ran 11.18. Rinehart’s 2017 GT was powered by a stock 5.0L with a Roush TVS blower tuned by Palm Beach Dyno. It also had a JLT intake and BMR suspension for improved traction.
Next up, Karl came from behind to defeat Christian Worley (9.97 to 11.08). Ray Toledo used a holeshot to take out Geoff Maze (11.65 to 11.58). And Yandro scored a win against Jeff, running the quickest lap of the round, with 9.97 at 137 mph.
Things got tighter in the semi-finals when Karl grabbed the jump at the light and blasted to a stout 9.79 to defeat top qualifier Yandro, who slowed to 14.63. Rinehart also used a holeshot and 10.63 elapsed time to best Ray, who had trouble on track and slowed during his pass. This set up the final between Yandro’s all-motor Fox body and William’s ultra-modern 2017 Grabber Blue GT.
Prior to the final, William told us, “I felt like a winner from the start because TREMEC paid the entry fee. But I really wanted to qualify and get a jacket. There were eight jackets and I really wanted to get one.”
William added, “I never won anything in competitive motorsports so just qualifying was huge. I can’t tell you how wonderful everyone was who works for TREMEC and the NMRA. They made me feel like a superstar. I felt I couldn’t compete with the top guys, but the new format gave everyone a chance.”
Based on their qualified indexes (10.81 to 10.31), William saw his tree first and, after launching, he enjoyed a .262-second reaction-time advantage. He was out of the gate and on his way, but Yandro was giving up. The silver Fox driver poured on the power and never lifted. He powershifted his Mustang and narrowed the gap with every gear change. At the stripe, it was Yandro who crossed first after running 9.93 to edge out William, who turned in 10.85. The margin of victory was just 0.159 second.
“My expectations were to do better than last year,” said Yandro, who failed to complete the three runs in 2017. “I just wanted to make the cruise and make three passes; that’s all. Getting into the Shootout was a bonus and winning was unreal.
“Going down track, I was looking straight ahead and once I hit high gear, I caught him and went by. I could finally exhale,” said Yandro. “It was awesome winning the race. I was fist-pumping and hollering in the car.”