Stick shift, Coyote-powered Mustang cracks the six-second zone

Joel Steele did it all with an H-pattern gearbox

Photographers: Josh Lambert


  • S197 competed at Florida’s FL2K
  • Powered by twin-turbo Coyote with T56 gearbox
  • Steele will compete in Import vs. Domestic challenge next month

US racer Joel Steele has launched his Mustang drag car to a six-second pass, making it both the quickest manual Coyote and quickest manual US domestic ever seen.

Alongside his ‘Stick Shift the World’ team, Steele achieved the feat at last weekend’s FL2K in Florida, behind the wheel of his twin-turbo S197 Mustang. After a string of low seven-second runs during tuning, he qualified first in Outlaw Stick Shift with a 6.98 at 193mph — becoming the first driver to break the six-second mark in a manual US-built car.

The first round of eliminations saw Steele red-light against Cleetus McFarland, despite his car seemingly not moving off the line. It’s unclear what caused the incident, though the Mustang’s flame-spitting exhaust may have interfered with the detection system. While Steele was out of the competition, organisers invited the car to return for an exhibition grudge race after proceedings wrapped up.

Pitted against Brett LaSala’s automatic Mustang (also powered by a twin-turbo Coyote), Steele cut his ET down to a 6.95 at 202mph.

Finished two years ago, the methanol-drinking S197 is a product of Kentucky’s Xiled Drag Cars. It’s powered by a TKM Performance-built first-generation Coyote, with ported and polished heads. An Australian-made Plazmaman intake sits up top, fed by two 7682 turbos. Electrics and EFI are from Holley.

The Mustang runs a T56 six-speed gearbox from Tick Performance, with PPG gearsets. The front plate is a billet unit, while the clutch is a twin-plate eight-inch also hewn from billet aluminum. Steele changes gears through an MGW shifter.

Next on Steele’s list is the Haltech World Cup Finals Import vs. Domestic, which will take place in Maryland next month. The Mustang could run even faster at the event, when Steele and the Stick Shift the World team up its tune.