Veteran doorslammer racer and former “Street Outlaws No Prep Kings” series champion Mike Murillo was involved in a scary incident September 24 during filming for the popular cable program in Norwalk, Ohio when a dropped valve caused a backfire that ignited a large fire during his invitational matchup with Ryan Martin. Murillo’s incident, made public at the time, finally aired on the Discovery Channel Monday night, giving fans of the show the best views yet of the ordeal.
Murillo spoke about the incident in its aftermath, telling of how he became trapped in his familiar Fox body Mustang as the flames and smoke consumed the cockpit. The Texan found himself in a no-win scenario when the fire system in the car wouldn’t deploy — a problem that was only magnified when his safety harness became tangled under his legs. As was witnessed on Monday night, only the brave efforts of Corey “Big Country” Swanstrom got Murillo out of the life-threatening predicament, as the big man reached into the fire, pulled the belts away, and muscled him out of the car.
“I’m on fire, trying to get to the end of the track for help, because I know the help was down there, but at the same time I’m trying to pull my fire extinguisher pin out, and it wouldn’t come out,” Murillo detailed of the incident. “It ended up that it was twisted and wouldn’t come out. Once I stopped, I knew I had to get out. At first I couldn’t get the door open, because the window lock had swung around a certain way. The fire and smoke were coming inside and I was trying to get my fat ass out. By that point I’ve already forgotten about trying to have the fire extinguishers turn on. I was screaming that I couldn’t get out, and I just started to pass out about when I made one more attempt to get out. I didn’t think about dying, but I did think I was going to get burned pretty bad. That last attempt to get out, that I had given up on, Corey grabbed me and pulled me out. It was just a scary time.”
“My worry, even at that point, was what were we going to do,” Murillo says of the immediate seconds after being pulled out of the fire and into fresh air. “How were we going to finish the season? I knew the fire was bad enough that we probably were going to have to get another car.”
“I’ve had a couple of fires before, but as long as I’ve been racing, I’ve had nothing like this,” he adds. “And I don’t even consider this a huge one, because we can fix it, but I’ve never been in a position where I couldn’t get out of the car.”
Murillo confirms he will have the Fox body repaired in time to start season six of “No Prep Kings” in 2023, but has a new S550 Ford Mustang in the works that he will eventually transition to. He added he will be partnering with sponsor Harry Hruska on his program, which should only take him to new heights of competitiveness in the series. Those new heights include a move to a new 526 cubic-inch Hemi to replace the cast big-block Ford he has been running in recent seasons. Murillo says the mission in 2023 is to “make turbos great again.”