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2018 NMRA Edelbrock Renegade Champion Frank Varela Moving to VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw

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By Mary Lendzion

Photos by NMRA and courtesy of Frank Varela 

There’s no denying that Frank Varela has the dedication, determination and drive to win.

He earned the NMRA ProCharger Coyote Modified championship in 2014, and the NMRA Edelbrock Renegade championship in 2015 and 2018, and was applauded for the latter at the NMRA presented by Keystone Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components in December at the Indiana Convention Center.

Now, the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based driver who clocked a best of 7.34 and 189 mph in his famous blue Fox body Mustang in 2018 is focusing on a new car and a new category for 2019, as he’s building another Fox body Mustang for NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw and X275 with help from the rest of the talented Hellion Racing B Team.

“Midway through (last) year, I faced the fact that I wanted to move up in class and the old car would not care for over 2,000 horsepower,” said Varela. “The (new) car is being built in-house primarily by my nephew, Ivan Varela.”

The car will come to life with a 310 cubic-inch Modular engine which is being assembled by Varela and Dwayne James. It will be fronted by a Precision Pro Mod 88mm turbo, and James will tackle the tuning with the engine management system they end up choosing.

The car will roll on UPR, Santhuff’s and Racecraft suspension components and Mickey Thompson tires, and it will stand out with a paint job by Southwest Collision Craftmen.

Varela hopes to spool up in time for the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, July 25-28 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.

“I’m very excited about the new car,” said Varela. “It’s a lot of work and time to get a new car built.”

When asked what he hoped the new car will be capable of, he said simply: “I’m just looking to be competitive.”

Meanwhile, Varela’s nephew, Ivan, is preparing to pilot the blue Mustang Varela had ben piloting.

“My brother, Ivan, bought the old car as a roller from Phillip Clemons back in the day,” said Varela. “My brother passed away from cancer and never was able to race it. My nephew Ivan will be rocking the Flying Beer Can soon.”


Mary Lendzion
Formerly a writer at the Detroit Free Press, Mary Lendzion has written for NMCA and NMRA for more than ten years. She's also the director of media and public relations for Summit Motorsports Park, and spends as much time as possible racing her 8-second Mustang.
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