By Ainsley Jacobs
Photo by Robert Grice
Car owner Ariel Salinas is hoping to grab the EATON TVS Supercharger Throwdown by the horns when he and driver Oscar Morin arrive at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia, later this week for the 11th Annual Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport with their 2016 Ford Mustang.
The notorious ride, known as “El Toro,” has been known to tear things up both in heads-up class racing and on the no-prep circuit. Still equipped with its factory independent rear suspension, the bull sure does love to buck and regularly puts on wild wheel-standing performances.
Based out of Texas, the El Toro team has been testing locally at Edinburg Motorsports Park to prepare for the NMRA/NMCA race. When they ran at the Mod Motor Nationals in November of 2018, Salinas and Morin took the tamed El Toro and took the win in the Small Blower Class with a string of 8.6-second passes on the blower only, although there is a 200-shot Nitrous Outlet kit on board that’s waiting to see a little action.
Salinas purchased the car new from a dealership in 2016 and it had a Roush supercharger kit installed from the factory. “On my way back from the dealership, somebody pulled up next to me in a C6 Corvette and he smoked me really bad!” laughed Salinas, who headed straight to the performance shop before he ever took the car home. “Screw the warranty, I told ‘em, make the car faster!”
Since then, El Toro has come a long way, and, working with VMP Performance since mid-2018, things have progressed even quicker recently. “We’re running a sleeved, billet engine from Tim Eichhorn at MPR Racing Engines with MPR’s CNC-porting on the heads as well,” explained Morin, who is the head honcho at his Texas-based shop, Shrek Performance.
VMP also provided the Stage 3 supercharger kit, which was worked over by Jason Teixeira at 1320 Junkie Performance, and the big, bad bull sees red when the boost is turned up to 25+ psi.
The Mustang’s stock ECU and wire harness are both still intact, and Daniel and Craig Pachar of Triangle Speed Shop handle tuning. “The support we get from TSS and VMP is what keeps us ahead of the game with this setup,” Morin asserted.
Morin has been managing Salinas’s project since day one, and took over driving duties in early 2018 as Salinas, a construction business owner with a tight schedule to keep, handed over the reins when the Mustang was still in the high-9s. “Oscar [Morin] took over and he pretty much tells me what to do and I say ‘go for it.’ We’ve been winning, so obviously he knows what he’s doing,” added Salinas.
For a transmission, the guys selected JPC Racing’s Turbo 400 package with a Neal Chance converter and have had great luck with it. “The TH400 is why we get those massive wheelies, even if we tone it down,” said Salinas, who is a bit of a showman and doesn’t mind the epic photo-ops. “It really just likes to go up. We’ve adjusted the suspension so that it leaves normal, but out of nowhere it’ll ride on the bumper,” Morin confirmed.
The stock-style IRS, though, is what makes the bucking bull such a unique entry – and while the guys have been considering switching to a solid 9” eventually, there are no plans to change it in the near future. “It’s uncommon so we get a lot of attention, but it’s held up. We’ve got an aftermarket driveshaft and Driveshaft Shop 1500 axles, and we’re running a unique Wavetrac differential,” Salinas added proudly.
To compliment the setup, a host of BMR Suspension components can be found out back while Double A Performance items are up front, and Viking shocks are positioned at all four corners.
“The car has been awesome to us. Even though it gets violent at times, it’s about respecting the vehicle and I think that’s what has taken us so far with it,” said Morin, El Toro’s matador.
With the recent repaving of Georgia’s Atlanta Dragway, Salinas and Morin are expecting El Toro to be even wilder as the improved surface should help the Mustang hook better than ever as it charges through the EATON TVS Supercharger Throwdown.