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NMRA 2001 National Trails Raceway - Ford Fun In The Buckeye State

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Heads-up drag racing is always exhilarating to watch, especially when racers let it all hang out with front tires dangling in the air and the occasional crowd-pleasing rear-bumper scrapes that go well past the 60-foot marker! Personally, we can't get enough of fast cars or big wheelies. So when we heard that the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) could supply us with adrenaline-pumping race footage, we took a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to check out the third stop of the NMRA 2001 season at National Trails Raceway on the weekend of May 4. If you remember, we tried to see what all the hoopla was about last year in Phoenix, Arizona, but a freak storm left us in the middle of a horrendous downpour. This outing was much better-the sky was clear, cars were abundant, and the aroma of race gas put smiles on our faces.

Now entering its third year of competition, the National Mustang Racers Association, as its name implies, is dominated by but not limited to, Mustangs. All Ford enthusiasts are welcome to compete for the $3.6 million in contingency funds up for grabs. From entry-level stock classes to the wild action of low 7-second Pro cars, there's something for drag racers at every level of the sport. If your Ford doesn't fall into any heads-up classes, the NMRA also offers bracket-style classes, including Open Comp, Modular Motor, and a Truck & Lightning class. If the NMRA swings by your area, be sure to check them out. And if you happen to find yourself in the winner's circle, we won't complain if you decide to share some of your winnings by ordering Car Craft subscriptions for all your friends.

Here's just a glimpse of a few racers that make the NMRA interesting. For more information regarding class specifications or a list of upcoming events, get on the Web and head over to

Super Street Outlaw
One of the wildest heads-up classes anywhere, these 1,700-plus horsepower brutes are limited to a true 10.5-inch tire and a single power adder. Tons of power and not enough rubber results in some of the most dramatic and breathtaking journeys down the quarter-mile. How fast? Try high 7s at over 180 mph!

Name: Mike Murillo
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Vehicle: '89 LX Coupe
Power adder: 91mm Precision Turbo
Motor: 302 stroked to a 347 ci
Induction: Weiand tunnel-ram lower with CarTech upper
Heads: TFS R heads with 2.06/1.89 intake exhaust valves
Cam: Custom
Exhaust: CarTech 131/44-inch headers; 3-inch piping
Transmission: Trans King Powerglide with 5,500-stall converter
Suspension: AJE Tubular frontend
Front wheels: 15x3.5 Bogarts with Mickey Thompson ET Runners
Rear wheels: 15x12 Bogarts with 28x10.5 Mickey Thompson ET Drags
Rearend: Moser 9-inch; 3.50:1 gears, spool, Moser 35-spline axles
Fastest e.t.: 7.95 at 183.82 mph; 60 ft: 1.28

Comments: Mike Murillo, a true veteran of the sport and owner of Murillo Motorsports, started out working from his garage. Becoming the first local street guy to hit the 10s led to a booming business and one bitchin' rolling advertisement. The five-time Outlaw champion thanks his crew chief, Rusty Grunwald, and his sponsors-Texas Race Rider, The Hot Rod Store, and Trans King.

EFI Renegade
If you think fuel-injected cars can't make big horsepower then you're in for a shock. These EFI ponies can crank out low 9-second e.t.'s and don't shudder at the thought of hitting an occasional cruise night. Class rules mandate nothing larger than 360 ci with a single power adder.

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