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G3 sleeper: When tragedy struck, triumph prevailed for Sheldon Lewis and his S550 Mustang

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 4/11/2018 Eddie Maloney
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At times, it seems Mother Nature can show no mercy on society. This is especially true for folks that live anywhere along the Gulf of Mexico. White Castle, Louisiana is located near the capital city of Baton Rouge and boasts just one stop light. You may have not heard of this town but you may know of Sheldon Lewis that has one pretty fast Mustang. Sheldon moved to Baton Rouge several years ago, started a family, and opened up his own business called, Straight Performance. He was always kind of a Ford guy himself but would build just about anything you brought to him. Like many, he was intrigued by the S550 bodied Mustangs and what they were capable of.

He purchased a white 2015 Mustang GT and had his sights on becoming the quickest and fastest IRS equipped Mustang. "My only condition on this build was that this car had to remain street legal." This would be Sheldon's third white Mustang, dubbing the name Ghost Family or Ghost Cars. Thus the build-up of "G3" began and it wasn't long before Sheldon dipped into the 9-second zone. In April of 2016, Sheldon finally broke the 8-second barrier at No Problem Raceway. Sheldon ran it deep into the 8s in the heat of Louisiana summer; but then on August 13, 2016, the great flood of Louisiana happened and shuttered the entire gulf coast. "The floods rose over three feet, flooding out my vehicles and my home." Sheldon mentioned that after this flood he immediately installed lifts in his shop should something of this magnitude happen again. Needless to say, the Mustang was a total loss. As Sheldon and his family were rebuilding after the flood, it didn't take him long to pick up another Platinum White GT from All Star Ford in Prairieville, Louisiana. "After I purchased G3 2.0, I vowed to build this bigger and better to go after that record." Once again, this build would not be an all-out race car.

Sheldon tackled the engine assembly first obtaining a beefed up block and rotating assembly. The block was massaged and sleeved by Dehotels Machine Shop in Baton Rouge. The stock bottom-end was scrapped for a Boss crankshaft, Manley I beam rods, and Manley pistons. Next Sheldon picked up a new Holly Sniper intake and a set of MMR Stage 3 cylinder heads and immediately sent them to Brett Barber for custom porting and polishing. Next, he added the custom CPR/Wicked Chassis 88mm turbo kit. The fuel system is another key area of any performance vehicle. Sheldon tasked tuner Sai Li for a fuel system capable to handle the power G3 was about to put down; Sai Li shipped off a set of ID 2000 fuel injectors and a Sai Li custom designed fuel system.

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As the build-up began to take shape, Sheldon knew he couldn't skimp out on the drivetrain and suspension components. The S550 body style weighs in excess of 4,000 pounds. Combine that with the IRS and you have your hands full. While some Ford-centric racers like everything Ford, Sheldon went with a Turbo 400 transmission built by Powertrain Specialties. "I have seen some fast 6R80 cars, but I went with what has been proven time and time again." Along with the bulletproof transmission, he added a PTC 9.5-inch bolt together 4,000 stall speed converter. Suspension is widely considered one of the most critical pieces of any performance vehicle. Add in the IRS factor and it just may very well be the most important part of trying to harness a 1,600 plus horsepower, 4,000-pound behemoth.

A familiar name was chosen for suspension, Sheldon immediately called BMR suspension knowing their proven performance. The kit for the S550 comes complete with Viking front springs and double-adjustable front struts. Rear shocks are also Viking with Eibach rear springs. No step was over looked and plenty of more goodies were added such as the Tradition Motorsports custom front K-member to accommodate the front mount intercooler. A stout GForce 9-inch rearend was installed with Strange spool. Other ear mods include BMR rear cradle lockouts, vertical and toe links. At any given time you may see two different sets of wheels on G3, after all, it is a street car. For daily cruising around Baton Rouge Sheldon will strap on set of 22-inch Blaque Diamond wheels. When he's ready to get down to business, you'll see the big Weld Racing wheels out back and 17-inch RC Component wheels in the front. At no time will G3 not shine!

Getting to the 7-second zone was not an overnight success just like it wasn't with his previous car, but Sheldon knew he had built G3 correctly and had Sai Li tuning him on the back end. Sheldon traveled to as many as seven different tracks, including five different states shaking down the new build. He even entered in competition at the Second Annual Mod Nationals at South Georgia Motorsports Park. After all the blood sweat and tears, Sheldon achieved the goals he set forth. To date, his best lap has been a 7.94 at 179 miles per hour with a very soft short-time. Sheldon not only inspired his daughter Rhianna and wife Eboni who helped him build the car, he inspired many others but having the never give up attitude. He tells us he plans some 7.60-7.70 passes with G3, but that will be its limits. "One day I plan to go faster but I will need to build an all-out race car to do that." We think that means Sheldon isn't anywhere close to being done setting goals or his customers. Can we see a G4 in the future for Sheldon? Signs point to yes!

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