The Street Glow Extreme Rush is an opportunity for import racers to drop the hammer at traditional, domestic Powerade NHRA events. That's right, four and six-cylinder turbocharged import draggers share the limelight with Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, running in an exhibition class. The imports are from the NHRA Summit Racing Sport Compact Pro FWD and Pro RWD classes and the competitors are selected by their points standing in the series. This is the second and final Extreme Rush event for 2003 and after the success at the Route 66 event, the imports hoped to show their best Old West style at the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.
In Pro RWD Stephan Papadakis and the AEM/Driver FX Honda Civic unleashed a shock and awe campaign that would make the Pentagon stand up and take notice. On a day when the current king of Pro Stock, Greg Andersen qualified atop the ladder with a 6.826 at 203 mph, Steph blasted a 6.753 at 206 mph. George Ioannou and his Street Glow Solara pounded out a 6.823 at 203 mph. So imports would have had the top two spots in the category. In other six-second news Abel Ibarra put his K&N Filters RX-7 in the sixes with a stout 6.952 at 199.46 mph. Abel has been at the threshold a number of times and it was good to see him get it done on the Powerade stage. Next stop, the 200-mph Club?
Naysayers of imports would say, "Great, you are quick but can you last four rounds?" Steph provided the answer in one of the most impressive performances ever seen from an import. The AEM Civic dropped 6.748 (206.23), 6.733 (205.80), 6.775 (206.46) and a best-for-last 6.711 at 207.46 mph on the crowd. The fans have taken notice of these imports and you know the Pro Stock racers are aware of the situation. Greg Andersen won the event with a 6.807; so you can connect the dots from there. Not all of them like the idea of being challenged by these new comers. Warren Johnson seems to be one of the detractors. In a public address system interview he didn't think much of the imports as they made their exhibition passes. When George Ioannou clicked off a 6.814 at 206, The Professor was asked what he thought of that. He turned and stormed out of the room. In an ironic twist, Johnson's cars and the Street Glow Solaras were scheduled for a photo op at the event and Ara Arslanian has long wanted to race Warren heads-up in the first import vs. Pro Stock showdown. Ara better be careful or he may get a wrench across the forehead for his trouble.
On the Pro FWD side the cars were not on top of their game. Christian Rado did well to qualify with an 8.377 at 164 mph, Lisa Kubo ran an off-pace 8.766 at a slow 125 mph and Nelson Hoyos and Shaun Carlson suffered from mechanical demons for the entire weekend. Jarrod Silvers ran in the 8.90 range all weekend and took home the win.
Will the Extreme Rush be back in 2004? We aren't sure...these imports may be getting too quick.
Pro FWD Qualifiers
1. Nelson Hoyos: GM '03 Cavalier
2. Lisa Kubo: Saturn Motorsports '03 Saturn
3. Jarrod Silvers: '03 Honda
4. Jerrold Rhodes: '89 Honda
5. Shaun Carlson: Mopar '03 SRT-4
6. Ed Bergenholtz: Mazdaspeed/Boost Racing '04 Mazda 6
7. Chris Rado: World Racing '02 Celica
8. Charles Madrid: Bergenholtz Racing '89 Honda CRX
Pro RWD Qualifiers
1. Abel Ibarra: K&N Filters '00 Mazda RX-7
2. Matt Hartford: Summit Racing '02 Cavalier
3. George Ioannou: Street Glow/Bullish Racing Solara
4. Ara Arslanian: Street Glow/ Bullish Racing Solara
5. Stephan Papadakis: AEM Racing '03 Civic
6. Matt Scranton: Turbonetics Racing '03 Celica
7. Craig Paisley: Paisley Racing '02 Tacoma
8. Manny Cruz: '71 Mazda R100