• Mike Murillo is a frequent name in the mouths of Street Outlaws fans since 2018.
• He had an accident at a race in September 2020, in which he was saved by fellow racer Corey "Big Country".
• Mike is a former champion of races such as Fun Ford Weekend, NMRA, and NMCA championships.
• Mike is currently repairing his car, and attending events to sell t-shirts and other trinkets.
• His son also recently had an incident where he was the victim of a car theft.
Mike Murillo has been a frequent name in the mouths of “Street Outlaws” fans for many years, but his most successful rise to fame started around March 2018, when the first episode of “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” was released. The premise of this spin-off was simple yet brutal: the drivers are to drag race on a track that hasn’t been prepped, or, in other words, made safe for everyone participating.
The ‘prep’ here involves setting up fences on the sides of the rough track, as well as strong safety nets that can catch entire speeding cars. Not only that, but the races are also to be prepared weeks ahead, so that on the day of the event no one would be in danger. These precautions are insisted upon by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), which has already had many issues with “Street Outlaws” producers.
One example of their failed compliance with safety measures is fairly recent – it’s known as the Henry Allen Generating Station Fatal Incident. Drag racing star Ryan Fellows crashed his car during the filming of season four of “Street Outlaws: Fastest In America,” after which the vehicle burst into flames and took his life. The outrage at the situation was quite severe, with even hardcore fans bashing the show on all social media, and calling for its cancelation.
Thus, the “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” spin-off drifts along the edge of many potential legal issues, which then adds controversy and presumably higher ratings to the show. Mike Murillo himself doesn’t seem to mind the danger, and actually relishes in the adrenaline that comes with the risk of racing on an open unprepared street. It’s small wonder, then, that he had an accident as well.
Mike’s close encounter with serious injury
On 24 September 2022, at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, Mike took on the reigning season champion Ryan Martin, in his trusted race car known as Lafawnduh. After performing various upgrades throughout the fifth season of the show, Mike had been going faster and faster by the minute, beating several tough opponents in a row in his bid to climb back to the top.
Having been the undisputed winner of season two in 2019, Murillo obviously took an ego hit after dropping below even the 10th spot on the rankings throughout the remainder of the series, and did his best to improve the situation. The car became increasingly more powerful as a result, but pure upgrades can only go so far.
Murillo was doing fine in sweeping through the competition until facing off against Ryan, at which point he felt the car needed to be even faster. The race started out fine, but as the foot stayed firm on the gas pedal, things began to go awry. In trying to push the vehicle beyond its limits, he ended up overheating Lafawnduh, which resulted in the air intake literally blowing up.
Mike later posted the video that shows the incident from multiple angles, including cameras inside the car itself. He had no choice but to come to a halt as flame began to devour the chassis, with everyone present rushing towards the burning race-car. There was a danger that some of the more critical parts could literally blow up, which would’ve spelled doom for the driver.
To the relief of many fans around the globe, everything turned out fine for Murillo, as he was promptly evacuated from the sizzling metal frame. The pictures of the aftermath show the front of the car completely charred, while the back is still in pristine condition. This is better news for the team than the car being completely lost to the flame, as that would’ve incurred a much more significant cost.
The fire department on the scene took no time reacting to what was transpiring, allowing for a quick de-escalation with multiple fire extinguishers. It’s important to note that the situation could’ve been a lot worse had something impacted Mike’s ability to steer the car, and seeing as the name of the game is ‘no prep,’ that could’ve been one deadly track incident.
Aside from the firefighters present at the scene, fellow racer Corey Swanstrom, also known as ‘Big Country’ rushed right over to Murillo, risking his own life to get his rival out of a burning wreck. The fact that was greatly overlooked was that the car still could’ve exploded at any time during the extraction, which made helping the driver get out a gamble no other contestant wanted to partake in.
Murillo is well aware of just how selfless the act was, having personally taken to his Facebook page to express deep gratitude towards Swanstrom. He posted the video of Big Country arriving to help, with ‘This is what a real life “Super Hero” looks like’ plastered over the screen, as well as a ‘Thank you Big Country.’
Furthermore, he wrote his thoughts on the matter in the description, stating ‘Sometimes you don’t know that ur Super Hero’s wear jeans, work boots and plain white T-shirts. Often they can be standing among us and ya just don’t know until the shit hits the fan and poof they are risking their own well being to save your own dumb ass. #BigCountry #swangang’
While there definitely was a certain dose of smoke inhalation, no other injury befell Murillo that day, which his entire family is thankful for. Still, the car definitely took a beating, and it will be a while before Lafawnduh is restored to its former glory. There’s also a considerable financial loss for the team to deal with, as almost every part at the front of the car needs replacing.
The misfortune was quite difficult to deal with at first, as could be seen from the article Mike posted following the mishap. He said ‘Well this thing kinda happened this past weekend. Our team just now got to our destination here in Ohio to where we can lie our heads and attempt to sleep this nightmare off. Unfortunately..it’s still gonna be our reality when we wake up. Until then..’
He remains hopeful, however, as can be concluded from the remainder of the post: ‘Everything and everyone in your life happens for a reason. I’m ok physically for the most part and that is truly what counts, but we shall discuss the content of these pictures and what we are going to do about it after some much needed rest.’
Murillo extended his heartfelt thanks to both the fans and Swanstrom, saying ‘Thank you for all the outreach from everyone and y’all truly make us feel loved. Thank you Justin Swanstrom to your Dad and crew who most likely saved my life’
Are y’all ready for the final race of the season for #NPK?? We are sad we are not participating in the race but we will…
Posted by Mike Murillo Racing on Thursday, October 27, 2022
There was an update on his scoreboard standings almost a month later, which showed him at the 16th spot – a definite drop from the previously held 11th position. Since he commented on the situation with ‘Slip slip slippin down that ladder. It’s ok… wait ‘til what y’all gonna see in 2023… that rhymed btw,’ it seems like he’s not as affected by the inability to race as most others would be.
Although definitely scary, Mike’s most recent accident is nothing compared to the time he crashed Lafawnduh in 2015. Miraculously, even though the car itself sustained serious damage, the steel roll cage held up well and didn’t budge under the force of the impact. Murillo ended up simply walking away from the scrunched up pile of metal with only a few minor bruises.
He suddenly lost control of the car at some point during the race, spiraling into a violent and often deadly roll across the ground, flipping over a total of three times before coming to a halt from the breakneck 200mph (320kph) that was the Lafawnduh’s limit back then. The car went over a guardrail, and finally stopped spinning just a few steps away from the lanes.
The car was then slowly taken apart in an attempt to salvage some of the parts that had been crushed by the blow, at which point Mike was asked whether he’s harmed. He simply made a peace sign with his fingers and said ‘Guess I’m okay,’ seemingly unshaken by the experience.
It would appear, then, that Mike’s greatest source of stress is the damage to the car itself, since in the situation from September 2022 the loss of parts was far greater, and he understandably had a much more emotional response.
Mike’s history: Claiming the world race by race
The winner of the second season of “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” started racing at around the age of 21, in his old and battered ‘70’s Trans Am Pontiac Firebird. He was a small-time street racer in Texas at the time, and was genuinely frustrated at how easily he would always lose to Mustangs. Naturally, since he couldn’t beat them, he joined them.
My mini me and I pic.twitter.com/KoL14oBt6z
— Mike Murillo (@murillo5ohmy) July 11, 2016
Murillo bought his first Mustang convertible in 1991. He knew that the car he got wasn’t in and of itself enough to stand up to the competition, so he dedicated a great deal of his time to learning the ropes when it comes to upgrading hot rods. As the machine got better and Mike started winning more races, word got around that he was pretty good at vehicle customization.
His friends asked him to do their upgrades as well, and soon it was a whole business venture, launched with an actual car upgrade shop. However, luck wasn’t on his side that time, and the premises had to prematurely close down, because he lacked the certification and thus permits to be legally offering such services for money.
He wasn’t deterred though, and promptly put himself oton the job of obtaining all the paperwork necessary to bring the endeavor to fruition. It eventually worked, and he opened his legitimate car upgrade shop, the proceeds from which he later used to fund his own dream of being pitted against some of the most famous names in the automotive world.
Mike was later noticed by some of the “Street Outlaws” members, who wanted only the best upgrades for their machines, which is how he got in contact with the show’s production team. He eventually started racing himself, but with limited time on his hands and a massive commute from his place of residence to the race area, there was eventually no way for him to continue.
He later teamed up with fellow racer Ken Herring, and became the star of MAVTV’s “House of Grudge.” Although only six episodes were filmed then, Discovery Channel didn’t at all appreciate the idea that he was taking the publicity he attained away from them, so his chances of staying in their show were further worsened. Last but not least, the NHRA threatened him with a license revocation, if he continued racing on tracks that they hadn’t tested and sanctioned.
All of this combined made it impossible for Murillo to continue being part of “Street Outlaws,” but he found another solution. He stepped away from the scene for a while to take care of his business, but ended up selling it in 2016. He used the money to further fund his racing dream, spending most of it on very important upgrades for Lawfonduh.
He met racer Scott Taylor during further filming of “House of Grudge,” and together they developed the idea of ‘no prep’ racing, creating their own show entitled “Dirty South No Prep.” Discovery then had a miraculous change of heart, and decided to capitalize on the idea, creating the now famous “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” spin-off
In 2018 he achieved his greatest victory yet, by winning the second season of the Discovery series that he inspired, which was his 16th drag racing champion’s title overall. Prior to that, he’d won in various other contests, including Fun Ford Weekend, several National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) and National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) championships, Clash of the Titans, and Street Car Super Nationals.
Holding on before the great comeback
Mike isn’t racing at the moment due to the recent accident, but that situation won’t last a lot longer. Lafawnduh’s extensive repairs have been well underway since late September 2022, and by December they should be far along already. Regardless of not participating in races, Mike’s spirits are still quite high, and he doesn’t miss a single chance to interact with the fans.
Even though he isn’t able to crush the pedal-to-the-metal in his trusty machine yet, Mike is still a great sport, and actually goes to all “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” events to support his colleagues. According to his Instagram post, until Lafawnduh is fixed, he attends these happenings to sell t-shirts and other trinkets. He said ‘Be sure to stop by our pits and hang out with me. I’m sure I’ll be talking crap and making fun of myself for your pleasure.’