Each October, the most powerful street cars in the United States make their way to the “House of Hook,” in Bradenton, Florida for FL2K – a multi-day event at Bradenton Motorsports Park, held October 5-7, featuring various forms of drag racing. After I had spent a few minutes at the track, I knew I was in the right place to catch up with the scene. My passion for cars started with street and drag racing, but it has almost become foreign to me over the last 8 years.
The cars in attendance were serious, and when I say, “Serious” I mean we are talking about 1,500 horsepower, giant slicks, and a parachute “serious.” These men and women risk their lives every pass, and as a racing advocate, I highly respect what they are doing. Without them, advancements in drag racing wouldn’t be possible.
FL2K features a street car shootout, import versus domestic races, stick shift shootout, roll race invitational and classes for Ultra Street, Real Street, 10.50 Index, and 11.50 Index.
Just a few seconds into gazing at all the eye candy, the craziest sounding car made a pass down the strip. I caught a glimpse of the 186 MPH trap speed – the camo bullet that caught my attention was the IDS S14 Nissan 240sx. The car was built to be one of the fastest stick shift cars in its class and is powered by a 2JZGTE that is force-fed by a massive forward mounted Precision turbocharger.
Four, noticeable S197 Ford Mustang showed up in full force sporting twin turbo kits and giant blowers. Justin Jordan’s Mustang stuck out to me as it was covered in MBRP stickers and sported a Hellion twin turbo kit. This car was one of the fastest cars of FL2K, making a near 190 MPH in the quarter mile accompanied by a rich, exotic sound that it produced screaming down the track.
Team UPR showed up with their Nardo Grey S197 with two giant Precision Turbos snorting out the grill. The ground shook as he warmed up his slicks only to be disappointed with a mechanical failure in the finals.
Derek Clifford took home the win in the Modified Class with his 1,000+ wheel horsepower 2014 Ford Mustang. He qualified No. 1 in the Modified Class with a trap speed of 153 MPH and was able to hold off all competitors to take home the win and a $2,000 payout.
Rivalries and heads up racing also take place throughout the event. After-hours, the two biggest loudmouths, were Honda S2000 owners who spouted off that they could beat anything in the parking lot. Not only did they have big mouths, but they could back it up with every race. It didn’t matter if it was a 40- or 60-mph roll, these Precision Turbo, Sheepey forward facing turbo manifold equipped F22 Honda S2000’s were set to kill mode.
Nissan GT-R’s were almost more common than a Camry at this event. Each GT-R had its own personality and look with a minimum of 850 wheel horsepower which goes to show how well Nissan engineered the VR38DETT. A matte white, very aggressively kitted GT-R caught my attention. I found out it put down a monstrous 1,100 wheel horsepower so I grabbed this photo of the owner Joe, coming off his fire-breathing and crackling 2-step launch control.
Alexander Rodriguez and the MPI / Dallas Performance team set a new event record with a top speed of 188 mph during this year’s Outlaw roll race. The 2016 Nissan Nismo GT-R packs north of 1,600 wheel horsepower, and it was on display during the finals when Rodriguez took out local racer Jim Braun in his 2012 Ford Mustang to secure the $3,500 payout and bragging rights as the fastest in the southeast.
Jonathan Abrantes in his 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost and Zach Allport from Watch My Eco went side by side in the test and tune sessions. Zach’s Mustang Ecoboost was sitting on a pair of Mickey Thompsons ready to attack the sticky VHT sprayed track. With just a tune, downpipe and weight reduction, Zach ran his personal best time of 11.934 at 112 MPH. A very respectable time for a stock turbo EcoBoost. Unfortunately for Jon, his car was suffering from tune issues, but his Mickey Thompsons made for consistent launches.
The biggest show stopper that had me wide-eyed was Cleetus Mcfarland bodiless C5 Corvette. Completely naked and surrounded by a full roll cage. This Corvette has only one thing in mind, and that was to win, win and do nothing but win. Sitting high and proud are two reasonably large Precision Turbos that are ready to pull and push all of the air into this gnarly V8.
As I expected, Cleetus won his class in the stick shift shootout, but he lost in the Sport class to Bryant Rodgers and his 750+ horsepower 2014 Ford Mustang. Rodgers qualified in the fifth position with a trap speed of 140.25 MPH and took out Supras, and GT-R’s on his way to win the class.
The event ended with moderate rain and coolant on the track after a Subaru blew its transfer line. FL2K was an awesome event, and the staff was very organized. The cars were the real deal, and I walked away with some fantastic images.
For more information, check out FL2K.
Photography by Charles Siritho