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Air Play—Mike Washington Sends Project #PureEvil to the Sky!


By Michael Galimi
Photography by MaryBeth Kiczenski

It is true, we’ve been slackers and haven’t put Project #PureEvil on track much in 2020 after it dropped career-best runs at the end of 2019. If you didn’t know, the car ran a best of 8.47 at 158 mph during Atco Raceway’s 2019 Black Friday test and tune. That was accomplished in outlaw trim with a G-Force Racing Transmissions G5R clutchless five-speed transmission, open headers with extensions, and approximately 150 pounds removed from the car’s class-legal setup for JDM Engineering Limited Street.

#PureEvil spent the ’19-‘20 winter in the garage being buffed and polished before making its only competition appearance for 2020 during the NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park. The car was back in Limited Street specs, which includes adding the weight, 3-inch exhaust, and swapping the five-speed for a G-Force Racing Transmission G101A four-speed, clutch-assisted box. The excellent track and weather conditions helped Washington run 8.56 at 156 mph, qualifying fifth. The pandemic hit shortly after the event and Washington was unable to get the back on track until late in 2020 due to work commitments as a member of the FDNY.

As the weather cooled off, Washington made his annual trek to Maryland International Raceway in the opening weekend of November. In ordinary times, he runs the car in the Import vs. Domestic World Cup competition, but this year the Miller Brothers ran the Haltech Hail Mary Derby test-and-tune session due to local COVID-19 restrictions. We had high hopes to better the car’s best of 8.47, however, your hopes and dreams don’t always work out.

After spending the first few days of the Hail Mary Derby fighting too much wheel speed off the starting line, it was a questionable situation. For more than a year, our Mustang would blister down track without any issues regardless of the starting-line conditions. We had brand-new Mickey Thompson ET Drags, and Menscer Motorsports freshly rebuilt the shocks, so those variables were eliminated. We made the decision to pull a little clutch out, just to soften the launch and see if we can simply get to the finish line under power. An oil-down in front of us pushed our third run of the day from the sunny and warm daylight hours to the cooler and dusk time of day… which tightened up the track.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that removing some hit at the launch coupled with incredibly good track conditions would cause the tires to dead hook. #PureEvil went from spinning during the day to giving Washington a great view of the full moon in the sky on the fateful run. The push bar mount created a spark show, as evident by MaryBeth Kiczenski’s incredibly awesome photo, adding more drama to the hellacious wheelstand.

The car did start to roll over to the right when it rode the mount, but thankfully returned to terra firma somewhat gracefully. The impact crushed the Moroso oil pan beyond repair and thankfully that was the worst of it. The Team Z Motorsports Outlaw K-member survived, along with the Bogart wheels, American Racing Headers primary tubes and collectors, and everything else. Washington was quick on the kill switch and the engine never lost oil pressure.

The engine went immediately to Rich Groh Racing Engines for oil pan repairs as well as a new cylinder head and camshaft package. We know the intake manifold is a severe restriction and there are some solutions we are investigating to remedy it. With some luck the car will be back on track for the NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park over the weekend of March 4-7, 2021.

In addition to #PureEvil, we had its sibling, “Peeled Banana,” on track during the Hail Mary Derby. This is Justin Burcham’s 2011 Mustang GT that has run 6.90s with a turbo Coyote and has acquired a storied career in the Coyote performance world. Currently, it runs PE1, our first #PureEvil engine that is based on a GT350 engine block. We’ve always wanted to run an automatic/radial combination in #PureEvil but couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. Our solution was to toss PE1 in Burcham’s ride with a Proformance Racing TH400 transmission and Mickey Thompson Pro 275 radials. It ran a best of 9.23 at 142 mph; a solid starting point, but there is more work to be done.

Mike Galimi
Mike Galimi
Mike Galimi is the Director of Content & Marketing at ProMedia Publishing and Events with nearly 20 years of experience in motorsport writing and photography.