After touring the country and winning four Outlaw 10.5W class championships over two years covering both the NMRA and NMCA sanctions, then capping that performance off with a win at the recent Street Car Super Nationals in Las Vegas, Mike Murillo was planning to slow down in 2013. You couldn’t blame Murillo for wanting to take a little bit of time off from racing – the stress and strain of traveling the country trying to win races, maintain a top-level racecar, and keep a small business alive would be taxing for anyone. He put his awesome SCT Performance Mustang up for sale, and started planning his next venture – a Pro Modified effort planned for a few years down the line.

As we all know, the best-laid plans sometimes take a detour, and in this case, they took a turn that rocked Murillo’s world.

Image courtesy Steven Wilson

Todd Moyer recently approached him about driving his ’68 Camaro in the newly-formed X-DRL’s Pro Turbo class, and Murillo jumped at the opportunity. “This is the next step in my career, this is my foot in the door. It’s an opportunity that’s just too good to be true and I can’t pass it up. I just want to take this chance to learn, to hone my skills as a driver and as a tuner. You can learn something from everybody, and you just can’t buy this kind of experience,” he said.

The car he is getting into qualified at all of the races it attended last season, and Murillo hopes to be able to continue that trend. The Camaro’s performance level is a big step up from what he has been driving (4.20′s in the eighth-mile for the Mustang and 3.70′s for the Camaro) so he expects a little bit of a learning curve in the beginning.

“The last thing I want to do is hurt the car or hurt myself. These cars are a handful – there’s no time to think. These guys push these cars on the ragged edge, and it’s going to take me some time, as it’s a totally different style of racing than I’m used to,” Murillo explained. He continued, “We have a great team of guys that will be working on the car: Todd Moyer, Chase Driskell, Doug Ivey, and Ryan Grigsby. Other than that we have a bunch of people that will make a few races each. Those names are too long to list, but too important to leave out.”

Don’t think that Murillo is disappearing from the 10.5 scene, though, as the champ has taken his car off the market and has plans to defend his class title. “Since none of the X-DRL dates conflict with NMCA, we’ll still be able to get our record-setting Mustang out to the NMCA races next season,” he said.  His own Pro Mod program is still in the works – but this way, he says, “I’m like a little kid in a candy store. I get to have my cake and eat it too.”