You have to get out here and experience it to see what products need to be developed. — Dario Orlando, Steeda
When you hear the name Steeda, you think of sharp-handling, fast Mustangs. The company made its name creating speed parts and tuner cars designed to improve performance. While those mods and cars are most often geared toward better handling the company has gear for straight-line rides as well.
Wanting to get out and see what its street and drag race customers are up to, the company hosts the yearly Pony Wars, which pits all of the big-three brands against one another for a day of 1,320 fun.
While the Pony Wars is open to vehicles from the Big Three, there were more Mustang participants than any other model. And, among the Mustangs, there were a wide variety of model years running down the track.
We see a lot more street cars. — Scott Boda, Steeda
“It’s good to mingle with the customers, see what their demands are and what they would like to see in the product,” Dario Orlando, President of Steeda Autosports, said. “You have to get out here and experience it to see what products need to be developed, what needs to be expanded on, and to see what the customers want because we are here for the customers. That’s our number-one goal, is to make our customers happy with the best possible products.”
JB Jones, Traffic Unit Sergeant with the Valdosta Police Department, was on hand to show off the city’s S550 patrol car. “Steeda volunteered to outfit both of our Mustang patrol cars as well as a number of Crown Vics to get the word out that Steeda was here,” he said. “Mostly I get people that want to take pictures of it. That’s the most common question is, ‘How fast have you had it?’ My answer is ’45,’” he said with a laugh.
Pony Wars Winners
Best in Show: Clabe Hall, 1991 Mustang LX coupe
Best Ford: Doyle Stanley, 2008 Shelby GT500
Winner: Chris Crosby Termiantor-swap 2001 Mustang
Runner Up: James Jordan, Cobra
Winner: Zane Owen, Fox Mustang
Runner Up: Bill Lee Jr., Palmetto Police Fox Mustang
Winner: Larry Albright, Fox Mustang
Runner Up: Tony Whetstone, Fox Mustang ’vert
Winner: Rusty Satterfield, 2003 Mustang Mach 1
Runner Up: Jody Scott, S10 Pickup
“We see a lot more street cars. It used to be that when you saw and 8- or 9-second car, you could tell by the sound of it, but now they look like street cars and run those numbers.” Scott Boda, Director of Manufacturing, added.
Of course, hosting the event at South Georgia Motorsports Park near the company’s manufacturing center in Valdosta, Georgia, allows the company to give back to the local area and its customers.
“We are here because it’s good to get with the community,” Glen Vitale, added. “Where else can the people in Georgia and northern Florida go and run their cars for $25.”
We stopped by SGMP on our way back from the Motor City to soak up the action, so check out the highlights we spotted on a sunny Georgia Saturday…
Ponies definitely dominated the car show war. There was a wide variety of hardware on display behind the grandstands, including Gary and Pam Pate’s 1965 Mustang coupe and Damian Martinez’s 2008 Mustang GT. The latter features wheels treated to a color-changing coating.
NMRA stalwart and Steeda-sponsored racer Chris Parisi was on hand running his 2016 Mustang six-banger at SGMP. Chris was voted the NMRA’s Driver of the Year in 2016 and he finished second in Super ’Stang this year. He daily drives his car around Jacksonville, Florida, and he puts 25,000 miles a year on the car driving it to races. Not only has Chris put together the most low-maintenance race car around, he could definitely teach most racers a thing or two about acquiring and keeping sponsors.
We love this combo. Chris Aldridge put a Hellion turbo system and a GT350 fascia on his Mustang GT. With a stock engine and a built 6R80 six-speed automatic, this car runs strong and looks great.
Speaking of running strong, Steeda-sponsored racer Donnie Gilder was on and with tuner Sai Li testing a new boost controller setup at the Pony Wars. The hope was that more precision control of its twin-turbo boost would make this 1,200-horsepower, 8-second Mustang a little easier on transmissions.
One of the most striking cars on the SGMP property split time between the car show and the drag strip. Fed up with the me-too Magnetic paint scheme on his 2017 GT350, Marcus Belew opted for a color-changing Urban Jungle vinyl wrap, which ensures this Shelby won’t be mistaken for another car. Stock other than an exhaust resonator delete, the car was running 12.4s at 116 mph at SGMP.