Mark Luton and the team at Modular Motorsports Racing (MMR) have been smashing records with Coyote-based engines for several years at all levels of drag racing. At the Street Car Super Nationals (SCSN) this weekend, Luton dropped the hammer on the 1/4-mile Coyote record when he blasted down The Strip at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway and lit the scoreboard with a 5.67-second elapsed time.
It has been two years since Luton made a full 1/4-mile pass behind the wheel of his Jerry Haas-built 2017 Mustang, but he and the MMR team have spent that time working hard on their racing program diligently. Luton’s record-setting pass is a direct result of the development time in the shop and at the track with the Coyote engine, MMR builds.
“At the end of last year, we had finally finished fixing all of the little things giving us reliablity issues with the engine. We replaced the last of the OEM Ford parts inside the engine and that increased the reliability greatly. With that, we were able to put our focus on trying to improve the performance level of the engine. We weren’t breaking the chains or cam caps anymore so it was time to start putting some power to it while not having to work on it after every single round,” Luton says.
The overall setup of the Mustang was no different than when Lutton runs the car in NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod trim.
“There’s really not much that went into this record that’s any different from what we’ve been doing other than I held the gas pedal down for two more seconds. The car was run the exact same way it has been for the last two years, we keep it in 1/4-mile trim all the time anymore. We really improved our 1/8-mile performance this year and that shows with this record,” Luton explains.
All jokes aside, Luton and his team went into the 2019 season with more confidence in their engine package than ever. The car and engine have shown an immense amount of potential since they both debuted, but it was just a matter of getting all of the bugs worked out before all of the power could be coaxed out of the engine.
“We started the season with the attitude that the engine was fixed and it was time to get after it, so we went into the first NMCA race and immediately resent the 1/8-mile record for a Coyote-based engine. That level of performance continued throughout the season. Since we weren’t having to work on the engine all the time we were able to really focus on the tuning side of things. At every race we were able to lower the ET record just by picking at the tune a little bit at a time,” Luton says.
When you start to dig into the MMR engine package Luton uses, it makes the record even more impressive. The engine does use a 351 cubic-inch billet MMR block that has a Bryant crankshaft, BME rods, and MMR pistons that are manufactured by Manley inside, but it’s what rests on top of the cylinder bores that’s interesting. The cylinder heads are a factory cast head from Ford — no fancy billet goodness, just some Ford OEM parts that work with the twin 94mm turbos from Garrett.
While the 5.67 pass was impressive, it still wasn’t a true window into the potential of the MMR Coyote engine. According to Luton, there’s a lot more left in the kitchen that can be brought to the table in the future.
“There’s a lot left in the car when it comes to 1/4-mile racing. That record pass was actually pretty messy and should have been a lot faster; on that pass the car only ran a 3.82 to the 1/8-mile. The car has been 3.72 at 218 mph to the 1/8-mile, so that tells you how much was left. The car shook so it used up a lot of real estate and was all over the track — that’s what really slowed us down. On the next run we turned it down and it looked like it was going to go faster until it darted towards the wall.”
Now that the 2019 season has come to a close for Luton, he has a few months to analyze all the record-setting data he has collected. Between the information he has now and the pending release of the billet MMR Coyote cylinder heads it’s safe to assume that all of the current Coyote engine records will be broken in 2020.