Michael Galimi
January 1, 2009

The year was 1998 when a young college kid and his buddies loaded a borrowed motor home with a 9-second Mustang LX, and headed East from New Mexico for Spring Break in sunny Florida. The only things standing in the way of attending their first Mustang drag race were 2,000 miles and near-empty wallets, but it didn't deter their desire to go racing and party for a week. While the sites and sounds of college parties captured two of the three amigos, the ringleader would become obsessed with the racing portion of the adventure. During that amazing trip to Florida, John Urist was hooked, and he has since dedicated his life to racing and the Mustang hobby. Amazingly, John was runner-up in Street Outlaw during the MM&FF/FFW Spring Break Shootout, and he ran three more FFW events in 1998. A year later he shifted to NMRA Super Street Outlaw competition, where can still be found today.

John Urist had Behind Bars Race Cars build him a '93 Mustang LX for the '08 racing season. He has already run 7.40 at 193 mph, won three NMRA events, scored a victory at World Street Challenge, and is on the verge of winning his fourth NMRA title.

Over a decade has passed, yet John's passion for racing and winning rages on. Today, that kid from New Mexico has grown to become one of the most prominent racers in street-legal drag racing, a gargantuan task, considering each time he rolls out he comes East some 2,000 miles.

Upon college graduation, he formed Urist Racing and that eventually led to Hellion Power Systems-his company that designs and sells turbocharger systems for Mustangs.

Racing is a large part of his way of life. The New Mexico runner has won three NMRA championships, and as of this writing, he is in the hunt for a fourth one. John has taken his racing to a new level with backing from a variety of major companies, such as Nitto Tires. "I couldn't do this without Nitto's support as well as many other companies," says John. He spends his off-weekends testing and consulting on a new racing slick program for the popular tire company. His weekdays consist of running Hellion and designing new products for the Mustang aftermarket.

Motivation comes from a 420ci engine with ProCharger F3R blower (35 psi), Edelbrock SC1 heads by Kuntz and Company, Arias Pistons, GRP rods, Sonny Bryant crankshaft, Weldon fuel system, and Wilson Manifolds. The blower is mounted specially beside the engine in order to run a shorter Kevlar belt. The smaller belt soaks up less horsepower, thus providing John with a power advantage over his competitors who run traditionally mounted superchargers with long belts.

Thanks to his success and hard work, John has become the guy to beat in NMRA's wild small-tire freak show. But when on top, the other racers work harder to try and knock him off. He knows that, and to keep everyone chasing, a new plan was designed for 2008. That plan was to park his championship-winning New Edge Stang for a sleeker Fox-body. Underhood, the ProCharger-blown small-block Ford is tops in class with horsepower near the 2,000 range. John recognized that his '01 Mustang GT needed upgrading, despite having most of the tricks and parts needed to run in the 7.40s. Built in the winter of 2001, the old car went through a metamorphosis of modifications to keep up with the SFI and performance requirements of Super Street Outlaw. Unfortunately, it came time to part with his faithful servant.

A phone call to Behind Bars Race Cars (BBRC)-a shop that has worked with Team Hellion on many occasions-hatched a plan to add a new Mustang to the New Mexican's stable. John learned a lot of tricks over the years and the new/old car would incorporate many changes to keep up with the maintenance, durability, and performance of the current small-tire wars in the NMRA. John provided us with insight to the construction and goals of the project. "We built this car to be easy to work on, as these machines require a lot of maintenance in between rounds and events. A new rear ladder bar system was also designed to help apply the big power we are making with the ProCharger-blown engine."

The decision to build a new Mustang, unfortunately, came in November 2007 right after the SEMA Show. John and his pal Chris "Noodles" Hemmeter of BBRC began planning, sketching, and ordering parts nearly immediately due to the NMRA season opener in March. John wanted to showcase the new ride at the first race of the year. Above all else, Behind Bars Race Cars had to secretly build the coupe in order to "surprise attack" the field in Florida. A '93 Mustang LX coupe was found from a local friend and it was perfect for this project.