Texas Twosome—Miles and Krystie Wagoner share a love of racing fast Mustangs

Written by Steve Turner

Photography by Kevin DiOssi

Rolling into the burnout box, ROUSH Performance Super Stang racer Miles Wagoner flicks the paddle shifter into first and smokes the tires. Mindful of his surroundings, he slithers to the starting line in his boosted S550. He clicks on the datalogger, checks his dial-in, stages and then it is “boiler-up and hammer down” until the bulb glows. The car usually tracks straight and clean, but the competition is always tight.

“Crossing the finish line looking at both cars and who’s chin splitter is in front, I then switch my focus to the bulb on the wall…did it come on or is it just burnt out? Lit bulb usually gets a fist pump, or a deep breath, and a no-light gets a long sigh, but either result give you a chance to learn,” he confessed. “Turn off the track, hit the windows for some air, remove the helmet, stop the datalogger and drive to get the time slip. Win or lose, I always stop to wave and discuss the pass with the competition. Usually follow it up with a pit visit, and depending on what that little bulb did will govern what cold beverage will be at that visit.”

Finding common ground is key to any relationship, so when Krystie and Miles Wagoner met at the 17thAnnual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, back in 2015 it was love at first race. They have been together ever since.

However the run goes, Miles has a unique crew member to discuss the racing results with—his wife, Krystie. Many racers have significant others and family that support their efforts, but Mrs. Wagoner has kindred perspective on the events that unfold on the track because she, too, races a Mustang. Her class of choice is Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle.

The pair met at the 17thAnnual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals back in 2015 and have been racing together ever since. Krystie pilots a naturally aspirated S197 Mustang and Miles drives a boosted S550.

Krystie’s Race Red S197 shed a few pounds courtesy of an Anderson Composites hood and trunklid.

Ginger Bred

“Miles and I met at the 2015 Bowling Green race. From that day on, he has been my best friend, my crew chief, the love of my life, and as of last year, my husband,” Krystie said. “We rarely get to see each other race because our classes usually run right after the other, but knowing we can be there for each other for both the wins and the losses makes it even more special and memorable.”

After beginning her drag racing journey behind the wheel of an SVT Lightning, Krystie switched to a 2013 Mustang GT modded with a Brenspeed CJ519 package that is based around the Ford Performance Cobra Jet intake manifold.

Long before she met her partner in elapsed times, Krystie developed an appreciation for internal combustion working as a delivery driver for her father’s parts warehouse in Denton, Texas. Often she would make those in his project cars of the moment. As you would imagine, being around fast cars would eventually rub off.

Krystie’s NA Coyote plants its 11-second power with Race Star wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber.

“I can remember Friday and Saturday nights in high school watching friends drag race at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, but I never imagined 20 years later I would be drag racing,” Krystie explained. “My father, Don Jones Jr., and his wife Sandra Jones had a 2000 Ford Lightning as a project truck with some limited mods, but it was pristine. They let me borrow it when my car was being worked on—I did not want to give it back. On my 40th birthday, I opened a birthday gift with a signed title. I tried it out that first time at the same track I watched friends drag race in the ’90s—the Texas Motorplex.”

Talk about a sleeper. Krystie’s interior looks showroom stock, so it’s no wonder the uninitiated are surprised by its elapsed times.

Once the lure of the drag strip took hold, it was only a matter of time before Krystie would end up racing in the NMRA Ford Drag Racing series. Again, it was her dad that led her to the staging lanes of national event racing.

A peek into the back of the passenger department reveals that she did ditch the rear seat to save a little weight. And, if there were any question what state she calls home, the rear seat delete panel resembles the Texas flag.

“I was introduced by my father, who races in Mod Muscle, and then my husband, Miles Wagoner, who races in Super Stang, but I was also impressed with all of the successful women in NMRA racing across all the classes,” Krystie said. “Drag racing is truly a diverse sport that provides opportunity for any racer, man or woman, to drive their first street car or tenth race car and win on any given day.”

While the racing bug definitely bit, it turned out that Ford SVT’s potent pickup wasn’t the truck for the job. Her birthday gift was just too pristine to modify for improved performance.

“Once I realized I could not get that Lightning down the track without making modifications that would take away from it, my father offered a trade for the last of his project cars. I went from a supercharged Lightning to naturally aspirated 2013 Mustang GT, known as Ginger,” Krystie said. “I took her down the track for the first time in 2017 at the Superbowl in Joliet. I was so nervous and I wasn’t sure if I would make it past my burnout. But, TJ Bailey was at the line and knew I was a rookie. After my burnout, he let me take my time, made sure I was ready to go and sent me on my way. I went three rounds at that race and haven’t missed an NMRA race since that time. The next year, Ginger and I took home second place in Ford Muscle.”

That Mustang runs with a Cobra Jet intake, American Racing Headers exhaust, a Circle D torque converter, BMR Suspension bits and more. The resulting combination runs mid 11s at over 120 mph, which is enough to surprise some of the local observers when she runs back home in Texas. Running that well without a power adder is definitely impressive, but doing it consistently at a national level is a real challenge, an Krystie is rightfully proud to have finished in the Top 10 in her first two seasons running the series.

“The biggest challenge for me is time on the track to determine what consistent is,” Krystie explained. “My job is very time consuming, so I don’t always get the opportunity to get to our local track before a race. I am steadily building logs to help out but about the time I get all the data, I will probably want to change the car.”

That said, she hopes to campaign through the 2019 season with few changes, but the one constant is surely her husband racing by her side.

The Details

Owner/Driver: Krystie Wagoner

Hometown: Frisco, Texas

Occupation: Vice President, Global Financial Solutions

Class: Race Star Wheels Ford Muscle

Crew: Miles Wagoner

Car Make/Model/Year: 2013 Ford Mustang GT

Engine: Stock Coyote

Engine Builder: Ford

Displacement: 5.0-liter

Block: Coyote aluminum

Bore: Stock

Stroke: Stock

Crank: Stock

Rods: Stock

Pistons: Stock

Heads: Stock

Valvetrain: Stock

Cam Type: Stock

EFI System: Ford tuned by Daniel Pachar of Triangle Speed Shop

Power Adder: None

Fuel Brand and Type: Pump 93

Headers and Exhaust: American Racing Headers Cobra Jet long-tube headers with ARH midpipe and Shelby GT500 mufflers

Transmission: Ford 6R80 six-speed automatic with Dynatech one-piece aluminum driveshaft

Transmission Builder: Ford

Clutch/Shifter/Torque Converter: Circle D Specialties

Rearend: Stock 8.8-inch with 4.10 gears

Body and/or Chassis Builder: Ford

Suspension (Front): BMR Suspension K-member, BMR Suspension A-arms, and Ford Performance springs

Suspension (Rear): Tokico adjustable shocks, Ford Performance springs, and BMR Suspension control arms

Brakes (Front): Stock

Brakes (Rear): Stock

Wheels (Front): Race Star

Wheels (Rear): Race Star

Tires (Front): Mickey Thompson

Tires (Rear): Mickey Thompson

Vehicle Weight: 3,800 pounds

Quickest ET: 11.59 seconds

Best 60-Foot:

Fastest MPH: 121

Sponsors: Brenspeed and Triangle Speed Shop

“With the limited amount of runs we get it’s hard to get enough data just at the event so you must keep a log and go back to similar conditions,” Miles Wagoner told us. “There are so many variables that go into it, just have to do the same routine each time and hope some luck is on your side that pass.”

Miles’ Booster

Miles came into his love for racing by way of the influence of someone many NMRA racers know quite well. Someone that taught him the joys of running fast on the back roads and eventually, about nine years ago, brought that need for speed to the quarter-mile in our national racing series.

“I would have to say my cousin Brent White (owner of Brenspeed) got me started not only on the country roads of Indiana at a young age, but on the track, in 2010 during the NMRA Spring Break shootout!” Wagoner said.  “He taught me how to race and all of the variables that go with it. To this day we still beat up on each other in the ROUSH Performance Super Stang class. Winning and losing by .0001 sometimes, but we get over it by the time we get to the cooler.”

A fan of TVS-supercharged Coyotes, Miles combo included an Edelbrock supercharger system at the time of our photo shoot. He has plans for a new setup in deference to his current job with ROUSH Performance.

It was the love of racing that Miles learned early on which led him to pick up a new 2016 Mustang GT and prep it for the drag strip.

“It was my first car I had purchased with full intent of getting into the sport,” Miles said. “A car that had sat on the lot with no attention because it was a new color for the mustang, and a color that one would have to take a chance on, Sunset Gold. I quickly named it Goldmember.”

He began racing a stick car because he had aspirations to also run on the road course, but once his slicks dug into the drag strip, he never looked back. However, residing in Texas meant Miles couldn’t rely on the help of his influential cousin.

Miles receives robust support from a number of sponsors, including Race Star Wheels. As such, he runs the company’s wheels fitted with Mickey Thompson tires.

“Logistics back to the mothership of Brenspeed were the largest complication. I worked with many companies to join me in my campaign to put this car in the winner’s circle,” Miles said. “Eventually we teamed up with a local Texas shop, Triangle Speed Shop, that would tune the car on E85 and support me through the 2018 season.”

That E85-burning combo consisted of an Edelbrock TVS-boosted Gen2 Coyote 5.0-liter engine augmented by Kooks and Borla exhaust upgrades and fueled by a stock fuel system bolster by a JMS FuelMax fuel pump voltage booster and DeatschWerks 95 lb/hr injectors. In all, the combo belts out 757 horsepower and 625 lb-ft at the rear wheels.

With that much power onboard, there was a learning curve to being consistent while class racing.

Miles’ 2016 Mustang started out life as a manual-trans car, but he eventually swapped it to a factory six-speed automatic for better consistency at the track.

“First season I purchased it new with a manual, running naturally aspirated. In the second season I went with boost on the stock manual trans. Last year went with a stock 6R80 swap for obvious reasons. So I’d say I’ve had to learn this car about every other race due to the numerous changes,” Wagoner said. “We still had success throughout all these changes, but never felt 100-percent confident with what I was starting the weekend with. We tried to keep it the same as much as we could and eventually, after Ohio, we didn’t change it. We made a great second half run in 2018 coming up just short of the championship. The bottom line is ‘set it and forget it.’ Due to my career changes, I’ve changed power adders and my goal in the offseason was to get it changed as quickly as possible and test, test, test, before the first race. For the first time in my career I will be going into Bradenton fully confident in the car.”

Having joined the team at ROUSH, Miles will continue to run a TVS supercharger, but one wearing the logo that matches the one on his business card.

“Since the photo shoot there have already been changes,” Wagoner said. “The only thing we did was switch over to the 2.3-liter ROUSH supercharger and a little cosmetic Goldmember2.0 tribute. As far as future plans with this car, this car will be for sale after the season. If I keep racing, I’ll probably shift over to a 100-percent track car.”

The Details

Owner/Driver: Miles Wagoner

Hometown: Frisco, Texas

Occupation: Regional Manager at ROUSH Performance

Class: ROUSH Performance Super Stang

Crew: Krystie Wagoner

Car Make/Model/Year: 2016 Ford Mustang GT

Engine: Stock Gen 2 Coyote 5.0-liter w/ Triangle Speed Shop oil pump and sprocket gears

Engine Builder: Ford

Displacement: 5.0 liters

Block: Stock Gen 2 Coyote aluminum

Bore: Stock

Stroke: Stock

Crank: Stock

Rods: Stock

Pistons: Stock

Heads: Stock Gen 2 Coyote

Valvetrain: Stock TiVCT

Cam Type: Stock

EFI System: Stock PCM tuned by Triangle Speed Shop

Power Adder: Edelbrock 2650 E-Force supercharger

Fuel Brand and Type: Pump E85

Headers and Exhaust: Kooks 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers, Kooks H-pipe w/ Green Cats, and Borla axle-back

Transmission: Ford 6R80 six-speed automatic

Transmission Builder: Ford

Axles: The Driveshaft Shop 1,400-horsepower halfshafts

Clutch/Shifter/Torque Converter: Circle D 4C

Rearend: Stock Super 8.8-inch w/ 3.73 gears

Body and/or Chassis Builder: Ford

Suspension (Front): Stock w/ BMR Suspension springs

Suspension (Rear): Stock w/ Viking Performance Crusader shocks and BMR Suspension springs and bushings

Brakes (Front): Stock

Brakes (Rear): Stock

Wheels (Front): Race Star, 18×5-inch

Wheels (Rear): Race Star, 17×9.5-inch

Tires (Front): Mickey Thompson

Tires (Rear): Mickey Thompson ET Street R

Vehicle Weight: 4,350 pounds w driver

Quickest ET: 9.83 seconds

Best 60-Foot: 1.43 seconds

Fastest MPH: 139

Sponsors: Anderson Composites, Brenspeed, Circle D Converters, Edelbrock, Kooks Custom Headers, Mickey Thompson Tires, RaceQuip Safety Gear, Race Star Wheels, The Driveshaft Shop, Triangle Speed shop and Watson Racing

Miles and Krystie continue to race together in the NMRA because they love competing with family and friends.

No matter what cars Miles and Krystie are racing, it is the NMRA community that keeps them racing a long way from home.

“Family and friends are what keep me coming back every year. It was the home of my first time down the 1,320 and will probably be my last. It is a much larger dedication to race from Texas versus Indiana. While I had thought multiple times it was going to be my last year, with the success of my best friend who happens to be my wife, here we are again!” Wagoner explained. “It brings much joy that this is something we get to enjoy and compete together as a team. Some couples outside of our sport might just consider the cars really expensive golf clubs. The NMRA gives us a consistent atmosphere both on and off the track. It also gave me my wife in Bowling Green 2015!”

There really is something special about the friends and family that come together at the racetrack, and this Texas twosome embodies those positive vibes.