ROCKINGHAM — Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Shawn Fensler shook off the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” label Saturday at Rockingham Dragway and drove his “Bumper Wilson Tuning” twin-turbo LS-powered 1993 Ford Mustang to a winner-take-all payday in the Small Tire Shootout portion of Dig or Die’s “East versus the World” back-of-the-track no the prep championship.
Fensler’s black Mustang, part of the Mid-America Kustoms team, outlasted 140 of the nation’s best outlaw street cars, outracing the turbo Mustang of Statesville’s Jake Boswell in the final round of the small tire feature to claim the cash and a specially-minted gun metal “Speed for All” version of the NHRA Wally trophy presented to the winners on the NHRA Camping World tour. A third Dig or Die Series event is scheduled at The Rock Dec. 2-3.
Fensler, a chassis and suspension specialist who also is skilled engine tuner, waded through a veritable “Who’s Who” of no prep racing, beating former big tire racer John Townsend of Holly Hill, Florida, in round one, Tommy Hoskinson of Hebron, Ohio, aka “Tommy Two Guns,” and his nitrous-boosted Chevy S-10 in round two and Jarrett “Willie Dynamite” Bradshaw of Denver in the third.
YouTube personality “Turbo John” Phillips of Maynardville, Tennessee, was the next to fall followed by Nathan Jordan of Anderson, South Carolina, and his “White Trash” turbo Nissan 300Z, Vincent Biondolillo of Farmington, New York, and his fresh-off-the-jackstands Ford Maverick and, finally, Boswell, who also reached the final round in the big tire class before losing to yet another Hoosier, Austin Shepherd of Wabash, Indiana.
Shepherd made it a clean sweep for Indiana racers by beating Brandon Shannon of Greenville, South Carolina, to win the Second Chance race.