Eddie Maloney
March 31, 2016
Photos By: Josh Coleman

The name Urist is no stranger in the world of Ford Racing. John Urist from Hellion Turbo has won just about every kind of race imaginable. From NMRAs' Super Street Outlaw to Street Car Super Nationals' Extreme Drag Radial, he is one the winningest and most respected names in the industry today. However, there is another Urist out there, and she has already made a name for herself in the Mustang world.

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John's better half, Melissa, is a fulltime mom with their daughter, Lauren, and she has hit the tracks with the Hellion-powered 2015 Mustang GT. She joins a family of racers in the NMRA, where her brother and sister [John & Sondra Leslie] also compete in Factory Stock. Unlike most cars you see at the track, Melissa's car is completely street legal and you will often find her cruising around the streets in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hellion originally purchased the car in October 2014 and displayed it at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. When Melissa took us for a ride, we couldn't begin to imagine what this car was capable of. The Mustang still retains all factory equipment, and the rearview camera comes in handy when you're trying to see over the rollbar.

In early 2015, the car went down to Hellion Turbo/The Dyno Edge for a slight makeover. The short-block went to Modular Motor Racing in California, where MMR pistons and Manley Rods were installed. From there, the Stang was given Hellions magic touch with the installment of twin 55mm Precision turbochargers and headers designed in-house by Hellion. With the fresh powerplant completed, Chris Groves and Matt Sturgeon of The Dyno Edge handled the tune and generated 1,135 hp.

Behind the fresh build is a Circle D torque converter. The transmission was beefed up with a new intermediate shaft and installed by Earl Schexnayder Racing. For safety, they added a Watson roll bar setup with a five-point harness and window net. Steeda, a longtime sponsor of the Urist family, provided the new sway bar along with the upper and lower control arms. Aside from a few sponsor stickers on the car, this S550 looks like your average street cruiser; of course, that's all true until you watch this thing make a pass at the dragstrip.

After completing her licensing passes at Albuquerque Dragway, Melissa entered her car in the Turbo Coyote Shootout during the NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she ran low 9-second passes. After her first race she was hooked, but the NMRA season was over. Shortly thereafter they headed to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the annual Street Car Super Nationals event. While Melissa wasn't able to find a “heads up style" class to run in, she entered in the Mustang Madness bracket class for additional seat time. This is also where she became the driver of the quickest street-legal 2015 Mustang, stopping the clocks with an 8.90 e.t. at over 155 mph. While she didn't win her class that weekend, the excitement around Team Hellion was gaining momentum.

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Melissa would like to give a huge thank-you to Chris Groves and Matt Sturgeon of the Dyno Edge for spending many late night hours tuning the car, along with Hellion, Precision Turbo, MMR, Steeda, Nitto, Deatsch Werks, Fore Innovations, Circle D, JMS, Turbosmart, PappaShine, and Addiction Motorsports. Melissa also thanks to the entire Hellion team and, most importantly, her friends and family for believing in her when others said she couldn't do it.

For 2016, Melissa's planning to compete at all three NMRA Turbo Coyote Shootout races. We asked her how fast she wants to go, and let's just say she's not slowing down anytime soon. We think there just may be a few trophies added to the Urist household in the near future. Watch out, John!

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