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Nitto Tire - IDRC International Finals

Presented By Toyota Points Champions Revealed/Japan Shakes Down for 2002

Mar 1, 2002
0203_impp_z+mazda_rx7_blue+side_view Photo 1/1   |   Nitto Tire - IDRC International Finals

After fourteen grueling races in the IDRC program, the fifteenth would prove to be the best heads-up racing to end the 2001 season. Championship points were close in the Quick, Outlaw and All Motor Classes and this made competition extremely tight. In the Quick Class alone the fight was down to whom would make it to the finals. As the weekend approached, the weather looked bad for Sunday, which set Saturday up for all three qualifying passes. As Sunday rolled around the dark clouds looked to put an end to the races, but it turned out that the rain would just miss the track and head out towards the mountains, leaving clear skies for the rest of the afternoon.

Pro IVThis is by far one of the most expensive classes to compete in, but the level of competition makes it one of the most interesting. Japan has stepped up by shipping out some of its fastest pro cars and we expect to see more for 2002. The Escort Racing 300ZX came to the States late in the season but has since built a reputation of being undefeated in the Pro classes of NIRA, NHRA and IDRA. A newcomer to the field also made the trip out to Japan; the Blast Racing SC400 was unloaded from the docks two days prior to the race and would finally be able to stretch its legs out at LACR.

2018 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy

The Blast Racing SC400 has been in Japan for nine years racing competitively and has now finally made the trip out to the United States to compete. At this particular event it was apparent the clutch and suspension setup was not in tune to the track. After a few shakedown passes the V8 twin turbo-powered rocket set a new Pro import record of 7.38 secondds at 184 mph.

The class was comprised of six tube chassis cars and effectively became a battle of the chassis builders. Hansen Racecars was well represented with the likes of Abel's RX-7 and the R-100 driven by Efren Vaquez, as well as Adam Saruwatari's NSX. Ben Ma's Focus, piloted by chassis builder R.J. Simrock, and the two Japan-based cars, Escort's 300ZX and Blast Racing's SC400 were built in San Diego by Willie Relles senior of Willie Rells Racecars.

In the first round Simrock faced off against Saruwatari. As always, when these two faced off it became a staring contest, and while Adam tends to surpass the full stage time limit his antics have never fooled R.J. into losing. This time his game made the NSX victorious, but only due to the fact that the AEBS Focus hit the guardrail. After a 30-second staredown the lights flashed green and both vehicles launched full tilt out of the hole. The end result was Adam with a broken driveshaft at the 330, and R.J. in the wall after a 140-mph spin at the 660-ft mark. It's stupid games like this that can get people killed, and let's hope there was a lesson learned in this incident.

With a new driveshaft installed in Adam's ride, the next round had the hard charging Blast SC up against Saruwatari. The NSX was able to pull an upset over Tatatoshi Wakita due to the latter's late reaction. Adam set a personal best with a 7.95-sec. run. Tatatoshi ran a 7.79 but crossed the lights second, giving Saruwatari the win.

The finals would line up Hiroshi Shiobhara's Escort Racing 300ZX and Adam's Nitto Tire NSX. Escort dealt with traction problems as well as issues to keep the car going straight. As a last minute effort to keep the car straight a new set of slicks were mounted, shocks were adjusted, nitrous was turned off and boost was dropped. While the team took a chance by dropping power against Adam's NSX the Escort team was able to win with an 8.0 e.t. against Adam's red light.

Outlaw VIIIBefore the race started the points race had Pepe Loco pilot Carlos Montano just one first place victory away from stealing the points from Steph Papadakis. In the semis the AEM Civic was gifted with a bye run, while a light confusion game between Ray Lochhead and Montano gave the SR Motorsports RX-7 the win. It turns out that Ray went to full stage before Carlos went to pre stage. Since Carlos didn't trip the lights at this time, Ray was allowed to reverse out of the full stage position. As a result, The Pepe Loco Datsun went to full stage and red lit, giving the win to Lochhead and the SR Motorsports RX-7.

Once again, we would see Ray battle for a first place victory against Steph. These two have met up numerous times in the Outlaw finals. In this battle Steph's e.t would not have an effect on his victory against Ray since the SR Motorsport RX-7 red lit at the line.

Quick XVIIn the season points race three competitors would find out that it was going to be a battle to the end. Brent Rau's GReddy/Thermal Research & Development Mitsubishi, Mike Crawford's Forward Motion Neon and Gary Gardella's Echo-sponsored Civic were less than 50 points away from each other for the $15,000 up for grabs. Gary would qualify in the number three position, but a hurt engine would slow his drive to the season purse. A last minute scramble to get the engine ready was in effect but the mill was damaged too extensively to repair. With Gardella out of the picture, the race became a battle between Brent and Mike and who could make it the farthest down the ladder. While a transmission swap was needed on the Phatridz Neon, the GReddy Eclipse sat untouched. In the quarter finals, Rau was able to knock out Brent Leivestad while Mike Crawford was upset by losing to Andrew Tran due to a busted axle. Jojo Callos advance to the final with a 9.18 e.t. against the XTR Motorsports Civic, and Brent Rau's e.t. beat out Tri Do's XS Engineering CRX's 11.29. Just by making it to the finals Rau locked in the $15,000 in points, but a first place win would make him $1500 richer. As the tree fell a red light flashed, and unfortunately for Brent it was on his side, giving an easy win to Jojo and his JG/Edelbrock Civic.

Street VIIIAn easy win for John Shepherd in the points race was at hand. Ari was second in points following this event, but a no show gave John the points victory. As for the competition for the day, the only real challenger was Joel Tanzman in his '82 Supra. In qualifying rounds John and his Shepherd Racing Talon was a full second ahead of Tanzman, but Joel's Supra has been know to run in the 10s on street tires. In competition Joel ended up breaking, while John advanced to the finals in a match against James Peterson's GSX. In the end Peterson's 12.6 was not able to take down John's 10.50 e.t.

All Motor XVIOne of the fastest growing classes in all import racing is the All Motor Class. This time around the class has moved up to a 16 car field with the minimum cut off ending at 12.75. Of the 16 cars, 12 were running in the 11-second range. The battle between Volkwagen and Honda is always tight, but Mazda is now stepping up to the same level.

Just like in the beginning of the season, the semis had a classic VW-versus-Honda battle with Scott Kelly in a match against Mike Escamilla and Bizi Ezerioha paired up with Troy Smith. Scott Kelly ousted Mike's 12.2 with an 11.77, giving the VW the win, while Bisi edged out Troy's 11.80 with an 11.64. A familiar final round With Scott Kelly's Toyo Tires VW in a match against Bisi's RS Motorworks-sponsored CRX. Reaction times were close, 0.533 and 0.532, but in the end 2 tenths of a second gave Kelly the win over Bisi.

Toyo Tire Pro IV
Winner: Hiroshi Shiobara $1000 '91 {{{Nissan 300ZX}}} {{{Escort}}} Racing 8.02 @ 177.05
Finalist: Adam Saruwatari $500 '98 {{{Acura NSX}}} A&L Racing/Nitto Tires Red Light
APEX Integration Outlaw VIII
Winner: Stephan Papadakis $1000 '01 {{{Honda Civic}}}   8.564 @ 174.86
Finalist: Ray Lochhead $500 '95 {{{Mazda RX-7}}} SR Motorsport Red light
Nitto Tire Quick XVI
Winner: Jojo Callos $2500 '93 Honda Civic JG/Edelbrock 9.49 @ 150.60
Finalist: Brent Rau $1000 '95 Eclipse GSX Thermal R&D Red Light
APC Street XIII
Winner: John Shepherd $1500 '93 {{{Eagle Talon}}} Shepherd Racing 10.50 @ 143.55
Finalist: James Peterson $500 '92 {{{Mitsubishi Eclipse}}}   12.65 @ 114.52
Falken All Motor XVI
Winner: Scott Kelly $1000 '69 VW Fastback Toyo Tires 11.43 @ 110.19
Finalist: Bisi Ezerioha $500 '88 {{{Honda CRX}}} RS Motorworks 11.68 @ 116.04
{{{Ford}}} Racing Performance Parts Super Stock
Winner: Roger Baldoz   '95 {{{Integra}}} $500
Runner-up: Rex Urasaki   '01 {{{Ford Taurus}}} ${{{200}}}
Ford Racing Performance Parts Super Mod
Winner: Angie Chant   '00 {{{Saturn}}} $500
Runne-Up: Jesus Reyes   '94 Honda Civic $200
Ford Racing Performance Parts Super Comp
Winner: Erick Aguilar   '93 Honda Civic $500
Runner-Up: Robert Young   '89 Honda Civic $200

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