Some of us in the import scene have lost touch with this simple truth: Drag racing is fun. Sure, it doesn’t require a lot of side-to-side movement of the steering wheel (unless things go horribly wrong), but there’s just something primal and grin-inducing about a straight-line test of speed. It’s like the 100-meter sprint at the Olympics, except longer. And with cars. Which makes it better.
Plus, NASA AZ was kind enough to accommodate our request to have the drag race at the end of the day so the teams could turn up the boost and go for broke. I mean who doesn’t want to see Bruzewski’s Evo or Poage’s 20B FD run at 30-plus psi rather than having to hold back because there’s another event afterward?
Truth be told, the AWD teams have a pretty big advantage here, since getting a good launch with street tires is always going to be tricky for a two-wheel-drive machine. So it wasn’t a big surprise to see the top three spots filled by AWD cars, especially since they all had two-step setups to get out of the hole quickly.
Bruzewski’s mega-powerful Evo VIII posted the fastest e.t. of the event, ticking off a seriously rapid 10.41 with relative ease (1.3 seconds faster than last year’s drag event winner, for you Shootout historians). It was plain to see driver/owner David Bruzewski was an experienced drag racer by the way he launched his Evo and banged through the gears with speed and precision. This car has actually run sub-10-seconds, but to conserve the motor, he ran it on wastegate pressure, so his 10.41 on Conti summer tires is even more impressive.
Just as impressive was the performance of Ron Soliman and his 450-whp RS Motors Evo IX. The RS Evo may have been spotting Bruzewski some serious ponies, but Ron still banged out two sub-11-second runs with perfect launches on both, his best time of 10.86 securing Second Place in the event. During the last run, the RS Evo pulled a lead on Bruzewski’s Evo in a head-to-head matchup, but a failing Fourth gear cost the RS Evo the race.
Rounding out the top three was the FAT/Snail WRX, owner/driver Markos choosing to sit this one out since teammate Travis “Sauce Bauce” Barnes has way more experience crushing the pavement down the 1,320. Travis, the ECU tuner at Snail Performance, even made a special “boom map” for the drag event. As Markos told us, “I’m not gonna lie. I was kinda nervous watching all this go down, but after a few choice drinks, that feeling went away (haha). Seeing my car driven hard was a real treat, and Travis did an awesome job. He was literally on the rev limiter at 7K rpm staging in the Tree, building around 10 to 15 psi of boost before launching it.”
Bobby Poage was quickest of the two-wheel drivers, posting a very respectable 12.39 on that freshly swapped transmission. His FD was definitely struggling for traction off the line, though, so it’s easy to believe this car and driver combo have run 10.7 at 136 mph on their home track. Sean Hammad and his boosted M3 was just 2/100 behind with a best e.t. of 12.41, good for Fifth overall, and Hammad’s best-timed event of the Shootout (he was also Fifth on the dyno, with a peak output of 510 whp at 7,000 rpm). It was also remarkable that Sean’s turbocharged E36 ran like a top the whole weekend, a testament to German engineering and the workmanship of Insane Innovations, which put the Garrett T67-based turbo kit together, and Technica Motorsports, which tuned the ECU.
After Hammad came the 12.6 Club, led by Matt Sevco in the Mak Auto Silvia. As crew chief and car owner Russ Whelan told us, prior to the Shootout this car had been a nice, clean JDM S13 with a stock RB25 swap making a reliable 312 whp. But after stripping bits off Mak Auto’s Toyota Soarer, suddenly they had a 450-whp beast that Matt had to keep in a straight line down Firebird’s NHRA dragstrip. If not for a blown intercooler coupler, his 12.60 could easily have been quicker.
Close behind was Crawford Performance’s Spec C BRZ, which posted a solid 12.65 e.t. with motorsports adventurer Bill Caswell behind the wheel. This was more in line with the type of performance we’d hoped to see from CP’s turbocharged and built FA20 powerplant, and with better traction out of the hole, there’s no doubt this little ZN6 would run in the 11s, making it one of the fastest in the country (and it’s not even a drag car!). With a little more development time, we’re certain Crawford’s BRZ is going to be a force to be reckoned with at this year’s Super Lap Battle.
Rounding out the 12.6 Club was John Lazorack in his Starquest work of art. As John told us, “Aside from street racing, I had never run the car in the quarter and was very curious as to what it would do. Big burnouts and hard launches and I was finally able to get the car to hook up without missing any gears down the track. I was slapping the roof and screaming like crazy when I crossed the finish line—thanking my car and telling her how much I loved her for what I put her through that day. She loves it.”
Our most powerful FWD entry, Pablo Sancho Soria’s Mazdaspeed3, made a stout 341 whp at just 5,500 rpm on the dyno thanks to a series of last-minute upgrades from sponsor CPE, but a failing clutch made it impossible for him to put the power down. This put him last among the FWD teams, with an elapsed time of 14.26 seconds. The only car slower was Innovate’s FR-S, which continued to struggle with the ECU going into safe mode (a problem they solved shortly after the Shootout).
Perennial FWD front-runner Hasport posted the best time among the wrong-wheel-drive machines with a 13.82, no doubt aided by all that V6 torque and an ’03 Acura TL Type S six-speed transmission with factory limited-slip. Gabe Ortega’s 325-whp turbocharged B18 EG Civic should have been able to give Hasport a run for quarter-mile bragging rights, but things didn’t quite go as planned for this local privateer. A snapped axle during his last practice run left him with very little time before the clock ran out on the drag event, but the Hasport crew jumped in to help swap in a fresh axle. This allowed Gabe to get one official run in before time ran out on him, and to his credit, he put down a decent 14.248 e.t. Unofficially, Gabe made a few extra passes to see what time the Civic had in it and managed to click off a 13.74.
|1||David Bruzewski Evo VIII||10.413||75.00|
|2||RS Motors Evo IX||10.862||71.90|
|4||Bobby Poage FD||12.396||63.00|
|5||Sean Hammad M3||12.419||62.89|
|6||Mak Auto S13||12.600||61.98|
|8||John Lazorack Conquest||12.674||61.62|
|11||Gabe Ortega Civic||14.248||54.81|
|14||Full Race R14||DNF|