Paul Rosner
August 1, 2008

Horse Sense: Coming from the same Hellion Racing stable as multiple and reigning Outlaw Champion John Urist, Dwayne James' reputation for big horsepower numbers and unrelenting effort makes him one of the favorites to shake up the field in the NMRA Super Street Outlaw class. His car is capable of e.t.'s in the 7.40s and maybe a visit to the 200-mph zone.

New Mexico is usually depicted as a state with dry, blistering heat, void of anything resembling greenery. That's partially true-New Mexico is dry, all right. It has the lowest water-to-land ratio in the country: A mere 0.002 percent of New Mexico's land is covered in water, mostly from dams on the Rio Grande.

Hellion test pilot Dwayne James says the crew's ability to work relentlessly through adversity in order to win is his driving force to compete. From the left: Nate Phillips (John Urist's crewchief) is always available in times of need, crewchief Brandon Reid (the workhorse), Dwayne's daughter (and future dragster pilot) Haley James, and Dwayne.

However, one of our Blue Oval racing comrades, Dwayne James, has been making life greener in the otherwise brown state. In fact, Dwayne has quite a green thumb. He's spent the better part of his life perfecting his custom blend of fertilizers, responsible for bringing color to hundreds of acres of otherwise brown desert near Albuquerque. Dwayne's mysterious methods and miracle mixtures are some of the best-kept secrets aiding French winemakers to successfully nourish their Pinot Nior and Chardonnay grape vineyards in the arid 4,300-foot-high Albuquerque turf. Additionally, his passion for planting keeps hundreds of kids in competition on the 25-plus soccer fields he has nurtured for the last 15 years or so.

Dwayne's passion to make things green has gone blue since he met Outlaw racer John Urist a few years ago. John was hungry to start a go-fast Ford business, and Dwayne kick-started the partnership now known as Hellion Power Systems. It's now one of the largest distributors of Turbonetics Turbochargers in the country. John and Dwayne dream and design the products, while the quality manufacturing capabilities of collaborative Bassani Exhaust delivers the goods.

Dwayne says his need for speed runs didn't come with the business. He got his pilot's license at an early age and ultimately succeeded in teaching his passion to others flying Cessna 172 single- and 210 twin-prop planes. Of course, his favorite to fly is the old turbocharged 210. Simultaneously, Dwayne got his first taste of 7-second quarter-mile performance while working at one of the premiere championship-winning Top Fuel cycle shops in the country. After breaking the barrier on a nitrous-oxide-injected, Vance and Hines-powered Kawasaki, he realized that no matter how much he yearned to "drive with his hair on fire," racing at those speeds cradled in a rollcage offered a much safer feel down the 1,320.

A single Weldon 2345 fuel pump easily sustains 75 psi at more than 200 gph to supply fuel to the engine. The spark comes from an MSD Programmable Digital-7 Plus ignition box, which allows individual cylinder tuning with an MSD HVCII coil and a set of NGK spark plugs. Hellion has always used the M800 engine controller from MoTeC to tune the race cars and handle all the datalogging duties.

Following several fast Outlaw builds, it was only fitting to embrace 18 years of street-racing memories by rescuing lifelong-friend Chris Bussel's Calypso Green coupe from the desert landscape to become his latest outrageous NMRA Super Street Outlaw. Dwayne says they chose to keep the original color to preserve all the memories the car personifies.

The car went to Behind Bars Race Cars, where chassis-ace Chris "Noodles" Hemmeter sculpted his own SFI-25.2-compliant chassis. Incorporated BBRC features include a chrome-moly K-member and A-arms with drop spindles suspended by top-of-the-line Santhuff double-adjustable struts, Hypercoil springs, and Aerospace two-piston, lightweight disc brakes. Behind Bars Race Cars has a trick proprietary-design rearend housing that adds nearly as much adjustability as a four-link suspension in a ladder-bar configuration.

Last season, the car ran at a couple of events, setting 7.60 e.t.'s at 192 mph. However, Dwayne and crewchief Brandon Reed made many winter upgrades, and early testing resulted in some big gains, adding credence to their notion that they may have a chance at the first NMRA Super Street Outlaw 200-mph pass, which may fall early in the '08 racing season.

Dwayne also has a Mystic '01 Cobra 10.5W car at the chassis shop, but he hasn't decided which hot rod he'll race in 2008. One thing is for sure: This go-fast junkie will be a force to contend with-whichever class he decides to enter.