Lead Photo by Kevin DiOssi, BLA© Photos by Steve Baur, Video Courtesy of Jun Rodriquez
It has been a longtime coming—#PureEvil scored its first 8-second run at Atco Raceway with test pilot Mike Washington behind the wheel. On the second hit off the trailer, the 1990 Mustang LX coupe laid down a stout 8.97 at 148 mph, becoming the first vehicle powered by a naturally aspirated Coyote engine to tear into the 8-second zone.
The Race Pages Digital/Fastest Street Car Magazine project car made big news late last year when Washington came close to the 8s on marginal runs during the World Cup Finals at Maryland International Raceway, where he collected time slips that read 9.03 and 9.05 with speeds around 150 mph (HERE). One more test session at Atco Raceway in 2017 got us on the right path with sorting the suspension. However, #PureEvil remained parked for the winter as the cold and snow held a strong grip on the northeast. The first chance to get back on track with the quest for the 8s came during the Spring Break Shootout.
Wholesale changes to the rear suspension began to pay dividends as Washington entered the mosh pit that’s become known as Steeda Limited Street. He qualified well with a 9.21 at 146 mph, putting him fourth in the field. A semi-final finish with 9.20 runs helped our confidence, as he got the engine to bog at the launch and the car drove straight. Those were two issues we tried to resolve at the conclusion of the 2017 season. The trip to the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport at Atlanta Dragway one month later helped develop even more data for fine tuning.
Thanks to assistance from John Melon of Menscer Motorsports, the rear shocks were tightened up to help control the axle better. Another crucial move was adding a set of tubes inside the Mickey Thompson ET Drag 26×10 slicks, on the advice of fellow NMRA racer Manny Buginga. That eliminated the bunny hop that #PureEvil developed in Florida. Washington finished as the runner-up at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, losing to the category’s badass, Kelly Shotwell. However a 9.11 at 149 mph in less than stellar air and a best short time of 1.28 gave us hope that the 8-second time slip wasn’t far off.
The stage was set for a trip to Atco Raceway in what could be described as the longest running winter in the history of the Northeast. At least it felt that way, as the first track rental we planned on attending was canceled due to the cold weather despite being the middle of April. A few days later on a balmy 48-degree day, Washington backed #PureEvil off the trailer and unleashed a 9.02 at 149 mph. His only change was to tighten the rear shocks one click and lower the launch rpm due to the cold track surface. The Atco Raceway staff accommodated our request for a quick drag on the starting line before the second run. The gracious gesture allowed the launch rpm to be raised back up to 7,000 rpm. The car hooked, accelerated to the sixty-foot clocks in just 1.31 seconds and Washington nailed the gears perfectly as the car streaked through the finish line with an 8.97 at 148 mph performance! He backed that up on the third pass of the day with an even quicker 8.95 at 150 mph run.
The engine is a 5.2L powerplant that utilizes a GT350 engine block and cylinder heads. RGR Engines added a Boss crankshaft, K1 connecting rods, custom JE pistons with Total Seal rings, and other tricks—the car produces over 600 rwhp without the aid of a power adder. The Mustang LX checks in at a NMRA class legal 2,700 pounds and Washington slams the gears of a G-Force Racing Transmissions G101A with RAM clutch.
We aren’t done yet, though, as the NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway is coming up. With the monkey off our back on the 8-second run, we have a lot of new parts to test to see how much further into the 8s we can push #PureEvil.