By Mary Lendzion
While Kevin McMullin’s 2020 race season commenced with a runner-up finish at the first NMRA event of the year, it closed with a wild ride at the last NMRA event of the year.
In the second round of G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock eliminations at the NMRA All-Ford World Finals featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival in September at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, his Mustang went into a wheelie before turning on its side, landing on the retaining wall and skidding on its underside for approximately 200 feet.
“My car had been going straight and fast all weekend, and we hadn’t changed anything on it between the first round and the second round of eliminations when we lined up next to my friend, Torrey Brown,” said McMullin. “As soon as I got off of the two-step, the nose of my car went straight up, and I shifted into second gear. The nose kept climbing and the right rear tire unloaded, and my car took a hard left, and at that point, I was just along for the ride when it flipped onto the passenger’s side and went up onto the wall. It didn’t stop until about the eighth-mile.”
McMullin exited his car to applause from relieved fans and fellow racers, and then accepted help to get his car back to his pit area and into his trailer. After watching his friend, Frank Paultanis, capture the 2020 NMRA G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock championship, McMullin headed back to his home in Michigan. Because he and his family were in the process of selling their home in Warren, Michigan, and buying and moving into a new home in Orion, Michigan, he didn’t have time to assess the damage on his car until after Thanksgiving.
“After I looked the car over, I committed to working on it for a couple of hours each day,” said McMullin. “I started combing the junk yards in the Detroit area because I needed a front and rear fascia, front fender, door, quarter panel, rocker trim and all of the roof trim. I got a vinyl front fender cover from Badass Fender Covers.”
McMullin also had to swap his damaged front and rear right Weld wheels with new Weld wheels, and he had to replace his damaged Team Z Motorsports front suspension components with new Team Z Motorsports components.
“I have had Team Z Motorsports suspension on my car for so long, and it fits so well,” said McMullin. “On top of that, Dave and Sheri Zimmerman of Team Z Motorsports are great to work with. They were both sorry to see what happened with my car, and they were anxious to see me get it going again.”
In addition to making repairs to his car, McMullin has replaced his Gen II Coyote engine with a Gen III Coyote engine which he purchased, along with a Ford Performance Controls Pack, through Watson Racing in Michigan. He relied on JLT Performance for the parts he needed to complete the swap before backing his new engine with his tried-and-true G-Force Racing Transmissions G-Force G101-A four-speed.
McMullin hopes to be firing his engine this weekend, and then he’ll take his car to Tim Donathen of Donathen Racing in Indiana for chassis set-up and alignment. He admits he’ll be cutting it close, but he’s aiming for the 2021 NMRA season opener, the NMRA Spring Break Shootout, March 4-7 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
“I feel a lot better about the car than I did after the incident last fall,” said McMullin, who also receives valuable input on his car’s set-up from Eddie Bennett of Bennett Performance. “And, I’m looking forward to racing with the new Gen III engine. We’ll get the combination on the dyno, and even though we won’t be able to test before the season starts, I’m still optimistic. Maybe we’ll get into the 9.60s by the end of the season.”