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Battle of the Imports Las Vegas - Tearing Up The Strip

Battle Of The Imports, Las Vegas, NV

Scott Kanemura
Nov 1, 2008

Battle of the Imports recently caravanned across Nevada's desert to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and with it, brought a new twist to import drag racing: the Grudge Match. An enthusiast at heart, BOTI founder Frank Choi knows all about the rivalry between domestic V-8 power and sport compacts, and this time around, Frank wanted to find out which would reign supreme: the V-8 heads or the import nuts. Thus, invitations went out to championship PSCA 10.5 cars (read: super-fast American muscle) to race against some of the best Pro FWDs the import scene has to offer and to crown a champion once and for all. It was a battle of tubbed and slicked muscle cars against tube-framed front-wheel-drive imports...but more on that later! Battle is known for more than settling grudges, and the crew kept their Las Vegas event buzzing with plenty of SpoCom-only racing throughout the night. Dozens of privateers vied for entrance into the limited eight-car Sportsman classes, and the Pro Import class was comprised of a total of 14 cars-each duking it out for the Battle purse. What did this mean for the spectators? That calling what went down that evening "exciting" or "all-out" racing wouldn't even begin to tilt the scale of anarchy they witnessed!

Pro Stock class had a full eight-car field. And being that this was the first West Coast event, L.A. native Jeremy Lookofsky made his '08 BOTI series debut in his naturally aspirated DVS Honda Civic (peep the July issue of 2NR for full interview). Jeremy came out swinging when he qualified his Civic in the number one spot, and banged his way through the elimination rounds. When final round opponent Michelson was not able to start his car at the line, Jeremy took a bye run for a win we're suspecting he knew was in the bag before he even rolled into town.

The Pro Import roster was completely filled, partially by some very impressive, air-cooled rear-wheel-drive VWs that held their own against this FWD-dominated class. One of the biggest upsets of the day came when Number One qualifier, Kenny Tran, was eliminated from competition early on, when his car failed to start at the line-very disappointing, especially since he'd been running far faster than anyone else in the class. The Finals pitted Brian Jimenez in his Chevy Cobalt against Jake Montgomery in his Mitsubishi Eclipse, but in an interesting twist: Jake experienced rear differential failure earlier in the day, and was forced to convert his all-wheel-drive car to front-wheel drive to compete. Even with his two wheels disabled, Jake forged his way to the finals, but fell victim to Brian in the end.

Only two competitors comprised the Pro FWD class-Bergenholtz Racing, in their Mazdaspeed6, and Chris Rado in the World Products Scion tC. And if that wasn't bad enough, Rado experienced a steering linkage problem during one of his qualifying rounds, which eliminated him from competition, defaulting the win to the Bergenholtz team. But don't think they got off easy-this left only Ed Bergenholtz to represent the entire import scene for all three Grudge Matches scheduled throughout the day! A precarious situation to say the least, but Ed came out victorious in all three of the matches, leaving the PSCA cars to go home with their tails between their legs. Pay attention muscle-heads: The scoreboards now read Imports: 3, Domestics: 0.

And if all that fun wasn't enough, BOTI brought along a jet-powered funny car for dessert. Shooting flames longer then 20 feet, burning through 23 gallons of diesel in a single 263mph pass, and staging with a series of explosions that were heard-no, felt-by everyone in a five-mile radius. It was life changing to witness!

By Scott Kanemura
18 Articles

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