Michael Galimi
April 1, 2008
Photos By: Ryan Burleson
Thanks to support from TurboSmart, Mike Murillo is back in action. This time, he's hitting the tracks in Outlaw 10.5 trim and looking for the six-second zone. Special thanks go to the crew-Lisa Murillo, Rudy Saenz, Bill Buck, Ricky Salazar, and the Murillo 5 (Mike's kids).

Mike Murillo's rise to Mustang-racing stardom began behind the counter at the now-defunct Chief Auto Parts in his home-town of San Antonio, Texas. Selling parts gave him the cash needed to scrounge together bolt-on parts to build power and speed. Eventually, he took his prized '89 Mustang LX coupe to the tracks in San Antonio and nearby Houston, looking for some quarter-mile fun. There, Mike encountered MM&FF's True Street class, and he quickly became obsessed with modifying his Mustang. He jumped into the FFW Mustang racing scene with both feet. After many wins and some of the most interesting and popular late-model Stangs ever built, the charismatic Texan has become one of the legends in Mustang Shootout drag racing.

As time passed, the kid from San Antonio converted his MM&FF True Street ride into an FFW Modified 5.0 class-legal racer. The class eventually morphed into Outlaw 5.0 and, ultimately, into what we know today as Street Outlaw.

Racing Mustangs paved the path for Mike to open Texas Jam Racing, one of the first specialty Mustang shops. A personable and fun attitude allowed him to sell his knowledge and experience to fellow Mustang owners while filling his need for all things Blue Oval. The mantra for the Texas Jam shop was Eat, Race, Die-exactly Mike's philosophy on life. His desire to race brought him to destinations all over the country, competing with his black coupe. Through his outstanding performances and efforts, Mike became one of the first Vortech factory-backed racers. Proud of his native Texas, he then came out with the "Star" car, which amounted to the LX being covered with a huge Texas state flag paint job. To say this car was popular would be a gross understatement.

The buzz around Mike's new ride is the rear-mounted turbochargers. He stuffed two Precision 88mm turbos in the trunk to get weight off the front end and onto the back.

And then came the wins, as he collected five FFW titles before making the switch to the newly created NMRA circuit in 1999. It took three years for Mike to make it to the top of the podium in NMRA Super Street Outlaw, a feat he accomplished in 2002. "Winning the SSO championship was one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life," he says.

After that, Mike's attention switched to raising his family and building Murillo Motorsports. But he still needed to race, and his FFW and NMRA championships were followed with yet another championship at the '01 World Ford Challenge. As if seven national titles weren't impressive enough, he beat up on the brand-X racers in the Clash of the Titans, where he gathered three more series' titles.

While Mike took a hiatus from heads-up drag racing during 2003-2007, he stayed busy at the racetrack with an assortment of toys. He wanted to have something to show customers he was still on the cutting edge, and in fact, MM&FF featured one of his eight-second street cars during that time ("Back to the Streets," Jan. '05). He had a few other hot rides that saw weekly action at San Antonio Raceway, among other tracks in Texas. As Murillo Motorsports grew and his kids got older, the itch to race started again. "I wanted to get back to racing, but also to do it the right way," Mike says. "We took our time with this car and did everything the way it's supposed to be done."

It took three years of chopping, cutting, and rebuilding an existing Outlaw 10.5 Mustang, but the wait was worth it. Mike bought this LX as a roller in 2002, and it was raced for the duration of that season. It was then parked after a violent wheelie destroyed important pieces and components.

Mike had Bill Buck Race Cars of Austin, Texas, handle the chassis upgrades that included an SFI-certified 25.2 chassis specification, a new rearend housing, suspension components, and many other odds and ends needed to get the '93 up to snuff for an attack on the six-second zone. The front struts and rear shocks are Santhuff pieces, custom built for 10.5W-type racing. Bill Buck will handle all of the chassis tuning, including making sure the four-link rear suspension is set up properly.