By Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMRA and courtesy of Kevin DiOssi
Alex Corella has accomplished a lot in the eight years he has been campaigning his 1993 Mustang LX in NMRA QA1 True Street.
He has earned runners-up and wins, and he has turned heads while hauling to 8- and 9-second passes in his eye-catching car with a 308 cubic-inch small-block Ford built on a Boss block by William Lujan of Lujan Motorsports, not far from his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It packs a punch with an Eagle rotating assembly, Trick Flow 11R heads and Trick Flow intake with added encouragement from a Bullseye Power 83mm turbo.
A Powerglide by FTI and converter by PTC are there to help Corella put power down in the car rolling on stock-style UPR suspension and Afco shocks and struts.
While he had been running Mickey Thompson drag radial tires, he decided to try Nitto NT555II drag radial tires for the first time at the BMR Suspension NMRA Spring Break Shootout in early March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
“I actually bought the tires because of the Nitto Bonus Program,” said Corella, who uses Pro EFI for tuning, with input from Errol McCollum from TPS. “For my first pass, I left my settings how I had them with my other tires, and I spun. So, I made some changes to my suspension and launch rpm, and went 9.17 at 156 mph. Then, I added a little more power and went 8.84 at 158 mph.”
After those test passes, Corella took part in the QA1 True Street cruise, and enjoyed the fact that his new tires helped his car handle as well as his previous tires while he was monitoring his oil pressure, water and transmission temperatures, battery voltage and more. He was preparing to put down an even quicker and faster pass in the first of three passes required for the category, but ran into trouble.
“After doing a burnout, when I went to stage the car, my Pro EFI saw that there was an oil pressure drop and cut me off,” said Corella. “All I could think about was how I hoped I didn’t break anything. As it turned out, a little needle bearing from one of the rockers had gotten into the oil pump and locked it up. William Lujan of Lujan Motorsports installed a new oil pump, oil pump shaft and cam sync.”
Then, recently, Corella joined fellow racers to make passes at Orlando Speed World in Florida in tribute to former NMRA and 8.2 Deck Mafia racer Victor Nieblas, who had recently passed away. Fittingly, he flew to an 8.67 at 162 mph on his new Nitto tires.
“The Nitto tires are good street-strip tires, and I want to see how fast I can go on them,” said Corella, who has circled on his calendar the Whipple Superchargers NMRA All-Ford World Finals & Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky and Hot Rod Drag Week, Sept. 12-17. “I’ll have a lot of help from William Lujan, who’s my crew chief, as well as my better half, Christina High.”