Photography by Eddie Maloney and NMRA
How are legends created such as John Urist? A love for the Mustang is where it began. A car of beauty, power, and most importantly speed. That urge to get behind that wheel as a young boy and experience the rush only delivered by the power of the Stang is where his journey began. His time came in the summer of 95 when after saving his money he purchased his first Mustang a bone stock white ’88 GT.
With the car he wanted it in hand young Urist set out to make it his own. Starting off with normal bolt-ons, gears, and exhaust by the time he was done it had a fully built motor. The completion of the first John “The Fireball” Urist rebuild and modification was realized. As time passed he like many began to want to take the Mustang experience to new levels and take it to the track. This need lead to the purchase of a 1990 coupe. Urist took the engine from the 88 GT and dropped it into the 90 launching his racing career.
Urist Raced locally in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico until, 1997 when he attended his first national race, “Gateway Rumble”. Making it two rounds before he was knocked out. Some might have called it quits right then.
Not letting the disappointment from that event’s outcome rule him, at this moment Urist realized his obsession for this sport which inspired him to come back stronger. He decided to go big and race Street Outlaw in the Fun Ford Weekend Series.
Taking his program to the next level, Urist purchased a stronger engine capable of running in the 9s and a nitrous kit. With the car ready, he went to the Fun Ford weekend spring break shoutout where he made it to the finals. His runner-up finish cemented Urist’s desire to race heads up after such a successful weekend so early in his career. This weekend feeding his obsession like a starving hunger. And as we all know, with speed and horsepower that appetite only grows larger.
Fast forward to NMRA Phoenix 1999. That year Urist would be given the right of passage and receive his nickname of “The Fireball”. A name widely known and respected in his field from that moment to the present. A nitrous backfire caught on camera making the cover of Race Pages Magazine. Dr. Jamie Meyer who was the announcer at that time bestowed John Urist with the nickname “THE FIREBALL” (Dr Meyer’s MC abilities could make anyone’s name a household term by the end of a race).
This nitrous incident was monumental and led Urist to the decision to make the switch to a turbo setup. Building a homemade turbo system the following year, Urist went on to set new records. Winning his first championship with a turbo in 2003. Rules changing led him to decide a supercharger would be more competitive than the turbo setup for the 2004 season. Driving business partner Dwayne James’ 1994 Mustang in the 2004 season, John ran well but not enough to bring home another championship. After a year of learning the blower, in 2006 Urist won a championship and this would be the beginning of seven straight championships in a row
The self built turbo kit from 2003 sparked a love for building kits. This was the beginning of Hellion Power Systems. His love for fabrication led him to joining Dwayne James to start the business. The automotive aftermarket was in need of a company that would not only sell a turbo system, but also deliver a high-end system. By teaming up with Bassini manufacturing they solved both these problems.
Today Hellion Power Systems provides turbo systems for the 1979-2014 Mustangs, as well as the 2010-2014 Camaros, and the 2005-2010 Chrysler Hemis. Their latest project is the twin turbo for the highly popular Ford Raptor. The Raptor system is based on the highly successful Hellion twin turbo system for the 2011-2014 Mustang. These systems can add a minimum of 200 RWHP to a stock Mustang or Raptor.
With the recent conversion from supercharger back to turbo on the race car and NMRA’s new Street Outlaw class with new rules, Urist and his team feel confident in their attempt to bring home a championship in the 2014 season. His Nitto Tire sponsored Mustang will be at all NMRA races including the Street Car Super Nationals during 2014. Success as a team, is what John Urist prides himself in understanding, and knowing this to be the golden rule of success. Be it his wife Melissa, his Crew Chief Mike King aka resident Adonis as he is known in the inner circle, to crew member Scotty Regalia. These team members and many more through the years have played a significant role in John “THE FIREBALL” Urist becoming a legend and a World Record holder in NMRA Drag Racing. Expect the 2014 season to be a Fireball year.