Turning Up The Heat In AtcoImport drag racers turned up the summer heat at Atco, N.J. August 24, as spectators were treated to fast racing action. This event was a turning point for some competitors pining for the IDRC year-end points championship. Close competition, smoky burnouts, and cheering fans-it doesn't get much better than this.
Import Drag.com All-Motor class presented by Import Tuner Magazine
The Honda Civics came to play in the All-Motor Class, hoping to take home a win. However, with IDRC points leader Erick Aguilar missing in action, the door was open for other competitors flying the Honda colors to step up. But it would be a struggle for anyone owning a Honda as Number One qualifier and VW Bug driver, Daniel Rodriguez, was making quick work of the Honda field. Even in the semis, Rodriguez was able to come back from a poor start against the '92 Civic of Charles Lore and cross the finish line first.
Volkswagen Corrado driver, Nate Romero, was also putting Honda drivers to shame, beating the '92 Civic of Terry Chung in the quarter finals and taking home an easy win in the semis when Jeremy Allen, driving the Inline Pro Civic, red lighted. This pitted the "old school" Bug of Daniel Rodriguez against the "new school" Corrado of Nate Romero in the All-Motor money race. This was a historic showdown; the first all VW All Motor final on the East Coast for the IDRC.
When the tree lit green, both competitors left, with a slight lead going to Romero. It was anybody's guess who would cross the finish first, but fortunately for Romero, Daniel Rodriguez was running slightly off his qualifying pace, letting Romero win by a fender. Watercooled, 1; aircooled, 0.
BFG tires Street Class presented by Sport Compact Car Magazine.It's looking like the once RX-7 and Diamond Star dominated Street Class is getting shaken up this year with high-horsepower Supra teams like that of Paul Efantis. And while his Number One qualifying run of 9.142 at 157mph should have been enough to take him to the winners circle, Paul was eliminated in the first round when a faulty nitrous system caused the car to bog. It was also anti-climactic in the first round as rivals Ari Yallon and John Shepherd found themselves matched against each other, but what has been close racing in the past was not to be, as Shepherd had engine problems.
It was clear RX-7s would rule the day as the Peter Farrell-sponsored '93 RX-7 of Ray Wilson was the guy to beat. Running mid to high 9s in the first two rounds, Wilson was able to beat N.J. local, Jeff Hill, in the quarterfinals and crush the Supra of James Farrer in the semis.
Ari Yallon advanced into the finals, making it a FD vs. FD run for the cash. It could have been anybody's race with both RX-7s clocking similar e.t.s throughout the comeptition passes. However, Wilson couldn't keep his RX-7 running at full steam in the final round against Yallon. Not only did this give Yallon the IDRC event win, Yallon earned enough points to move into first place in the national points race by 55 points.
ImportDrag.com Turbo High Tech & Performance Magazine Quick ClassIt is looking like the dominating force of Sav Leone and his IMPOPerformance Civic is getting a challenge from the Inline Pro team and new driver Matthew Keller. Leone has been leading the IDRC points race all the way but Keller was fast enough in qualifying to take the Number One spot and make people take notice.
Ex-inline Pro driver Jennifer Williams was trying out a new Acura Integra that was literally thrown together in only two weeks. Rightly deemed "Project Midnight," Jennifer managed to capture the third spot in qualifying, despite running with a stock B16A. She made it into the semis against Sav Leone. However, horsepower is usually king and Leone made it into the finals, beating Williams by more than half a second.
While this could have been Mathew Keller's day, as he easily beat Zachary Visconti in the first round, Keller found that racing has its woes while matched against the Honda CRX of Jason Hunt. When the light turned green, Keller's engine died and Hunt was charging to the finish. In fact, by the time Keller got the engine running again, Hunt was just crossing the finish line, thus proving a small glitch can take you out in a heartbeat.
However, Hunt would not be lucky twice in a row when matched against Leone in the finals. Hunt did manage to run a low 10-second pass, but Leone was on his game and blasted a 9.416 at 155 mph, beating Hunt by almost a second. This gave Leone the IDRC national points boost he needed to nearly lock up the 2002 IDRC national championship.
APEX Integration Outlaw Class presented by Import Racer magazineThe Outlaw Class was jam packed, sporting a full 16-car field headed by local favorite Carlos Montano and his Pepe Loco '71 Datsun featuring rotary power. One other name we haven't heard of much this year is Brent Rau. Why should we be hearing that name in the Outlaw Class? It seems Rau has been working feverishly on a new project. Brent brought out his new back-halved Eclipse that was so new, the paint was still soft and there were no stickers to be seen. In fact, word has it the only real testing this car has seen was on the street in front of his shop in Minnesota. New car or not, Rau's competitive spirit kept his foot to the floor in the first two rounds, moving him into the semis against Carlos Montano.
Montano made it easily into the semis as in his first two rounds, both competitors broke. In fact, that seemed to be common as the people who actually made it into the semis were the ones that could keep their cars together. But Montano knew he would have his hands full against Brent Rau. Rau caught a superb .468 reaction, getting a great start on Montano, but Montano was fast on his heels and gaining. It wasn't until the very end when Montano's lane lit up with an 8.449 to Rau's 8.636 that you knew who would move into the finals.
Jose Mendez was moving through the rounds as well with his 1980 Toyota Corolla. His consistent reaction times, as well as fairly low 9-second e.t.s, were enough to move him into the finals. Looking at all of the eliminations, it was consistency that brought Carlos Montano and Jose Mendez together in the finals. But a consistent mid 8 beats a consistent low 9. And with both competitors leaving the line at the same time, it was a matter of Montano having more horsepower and crossing the finish first, clinching the IDRC Tri-State win.
Drag Sport Magazine Pro ClassWith only two competitors in the field, there wasn't much racing going on, but that's not to say what little racing there was wasn't exciting. David Buschur, driving his tube frame Eagle Talon, was laying down the rubber in qualifying, posting his best time to date with a 7.894 at 171 mph-not bad for a four-banger!
Carlos Torres and his 1990 Nissan Sentra wanted to show Buschur he was up to the task. And with Buschur sleeping at the light, Torres just might have taken home the dough, but Buschur knew what his car could do. By half-track, Buschur's Talon was passing Torres, giving the IDRC Pro class win to David Buschur.
Rumor has it Buschur may be changing to a stand-alone computer system and running methanol. There is no doubt he has a good shot at winning the 2002 IDRC points championship.
The IDRC is entering the home stretch of its 2002 season and there are a number of classes still undecided. Also, the IDRC is offering regional championships to keep racer costs down. For more on the season championship races, check out importdrag.com.