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Leticia Hughes Stepping Up Race Program

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Leticia Hughes
Leticia Hughes had a very successful 2021 racing season.
In her SunCoast Performance Mustang packing a naturally aspirated Coyote engine, she wheeled to wins in NMRA All-Female True Street presented by Baer Brake Systems at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio and several naturally aspirated categories at various events, including All-Motor Grocery Getters at Mod Nationals at South Georgia Motorsports Park. She also earned an OSCA Hot Street championship.
Hughes clocked a best of 9.55 and 143 mph, but she wanted to step up for the NMRA’s new SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race category, and made some changes to her combination over winter. 
“We worked very hard to perform as good as we did, but we wanted to see what else we could accomplish,” said Hughes, a popular brand ambassador for SunCoast Performance.
Billy Webb fabricated an 8.50-certified cage for her car, and TKM Performance prepared a Coyote Shortblock Stage II for its engine bay, and it was topped with a Whipple 3.8L supercharger. Additionally, SunCoast Performance and Johnnie Brady freshened Hughes’ 10R80 transmission.
As soon as all of the work was completed, Hughes headed to the 28th Annual Spring Break Shootout in early March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, where she entered SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race and qualified in the eleventh spot with an 8.83, despite dialing in a new combination, and exited in the first round of eliminations.

“I didn’t get to dyno the new combination or test prior to the race, so my tuner, Rob Shoemaker of Palm Beach Dyno, had me make a 330 hit, followed by a 1,000-foot hit,” said Hughes. “Unfortunately, I hurt my transmission during qualifying, and we worked with SunCoast Performance all night to try to rebuild it in time for the first round of eliminations, but it wouldn’t shift properly. We weren’t able to get things to where we needed to be just yet, but I did enjoy staying to support other SunCoast Performance 8.60 racers the rest of the weekend.”
Soon after returning home to Kentucky after the race, Hughes headed to a test session at her home track, Beech Bend Raceway Park, where she debuted a new wrap applied by Robert Miller and laid down a personal best of 163 mph. Now she’s looking forward to the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport, April 21-24, Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.
“I have a great team with my husband, Rick Hughes, and son, Ashton Hughes, as well as Chuck Drew and Matt Ballard,” said Hughes. “I also have a huge amount of help from my SunCoast Performance team, and we welcomed Raybestos Powertain to the team this year. I’m looking forward to running SunCoast Performance 8.60 Street Race again. I was so pleased to see how many racers came out for its debut in Florida, and how many different cars, old and new, there were.”

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