At last year’s Street Car Shootout, we somewhat controversially ran the time attack on Firebird’s West Circuit, a small and technical course we half-jokingly nicknamed America’s Tsukuba Circuit. But due to the complexities of NASA AZ’s biggest race weekend of the year, of which we’re just a small part (and are eternally grateful for NASA AZ’s continued role as Shootout host), we were back on the main circuit for this year’s time attack.
The drama began before we even started to officially time teams: As he blasted down the 5⁄8-mile front straight, Bobby Poage snapped the transmission input shaft on his turbocharged 20B RX-7 during a practice session. I guess it’s no secret that 650-plus whp is hard on 20-year-old gearboxes, but Bobby and his brother Tim were smart enough to bring a spare. And as a testament to how close-knit the rotary community is, local FD owner Masin Decker showed up at the dyno event and offered Bobby and Tim access to his home garage, lift, and all the parts he had. With Masin’s help, the Poages installed their spare trans just in time for the official time attack session, though Bobby clearly took it easy out there, wanting the car to make it to the drag event. It’s also worth mentioning that the rotorheads on RX7club.com contributed $1,200 to help the Poages with fuel for the 4,400-mile road trip. How cool is that?
The Mak Auto RB25-powered S13 Silvia also experienced some untimely drama: Its turbo oil feed line sprang a leak just as it was about to pull out onto the track during the official time attack session. Ironically, the oil line was probably the only part on the car not assembled by the Mak crew, but as car owner Russ Whelan explained, “Instead of loading the car up on the trailer and giving up, we sprang into action and took on the project of removing the hotter-than-hell oil line and fixing the end that had the fitting issue. We cut back the line until we had good material again and reinstalled the fitting so the car would be ready for the drag event.” That, my friends, is what we call manning up, AZ-style.
The Full-Race curse continued, Geoff and the crew knowing something had to be seriously wrong as their R14 spat 10-foot flames during the autocross. As Geoff told us, “After the autocross, we pulled the car into the pit and did a compression test—zero psi in cylinders 4 and 5. Game over.”
Despite Full-Race’s early exit, we still figured one of the local teams would shine brightest on Firebird Main, given the local track knowledge advantage. But once again, it was the crafty crew from RS Motors that took the win, posting an extremely impressive 64.226-second lap time. To put that in perspective, we’ve seen Unlimited class time attack cars on race tires run slower, so for a street-legal Evo IX with an internally stock motor and rolling on 320 treadwear-rating summer tires to run this quick is downright mind-blowing. As Ron from RS Motors explained, “We knew the tires only had one good lap from our practice sessions [before they overheat and performance starts to drop off, a typical trait for a street tire used on a racetrack]. So the plan was to get the tires ready on the warm-up and give it all on the first lap. We were having problems with the coupler blowing off in practice, too, so we knew we only had one good lap in the car anyway. Sure enough, the coupler blew again on the second corner of our second timed lap. But we had timed our good lap and hoped it would be good enough.”
Turns out the RS Evo’s time was more than good enough, beating out Second Place finisher Markos Mylonas in his Forced Air Technologies/Snail Performance WRX by almost 2 seconds (66.053). Still, this was Markos’ best finish of the day and a result he and his FAT/Snail crew could be damn proud of, especially when you consider that Markos only began competing in time attack a couple of years ago and that his Impreza is a true daily driver. The dude is definitely a quick study and a racer we expect to see big things from in the future.
Less than half a second behind the FAT/Snail WRX was Bruzewski’s Evo, posting a solid 66.413-second lap, though the Hasport crew must have been pretty stoked to have been nipping at this beast’s tailpipe in their plucky little CRX, posting a very impressive 66.760-second lap with young gun OJR behind the wheel.
Ken Suen in his GodSpeed Project four-door Si posted his best result of the Shootout with an impressive 67.995-second lap, good for Fifth overall. And Pablo in his Mazdspeed3 was less than a 10th of a second behind with a best lap of 68.023, good for Third quickest among the front-drivers and faster than all the RWD teams. Gabe Ortega in his boosted B18 EG Civic was right there, too, just a half-second behind Pablo.
Quickest among the rear-drivers was privateer John Lazorack in the coolest car in the world, his ’88 Chrysler Conquest. John’s actually more of a drifter than he is a time-attacker, so his lap time of 68.426 seconds was very respectable, especially when you consider just how custom-built this machine really is (all the work having been done by John himself, including the fabrication of the V8 long-tube headers).
The Innovate FR-S was only a couple 10ths behind, and the Crawford BRZ just a few more 10ths still, and we could clearly see and hear that Crawford’s Subie was suffering from similar ECU gremlins as the Innovate FR-S suffered on the dyno. Privateer Sean Hammad in his boosted E36 M3 was 5 seconds back, which sounds like a lot, but this was his first time on Firebird Main and the first time in years he’d even been on a racetrack, so all in all he was holding his own out there.
John’s actually more of a drifter than he is a time-attacker, so his lap time of 68.426 seconds was very respectable.
|1||RS Motors Evo IX||64.226||100.00|
|3||David Bruzewski Evo VIII||66.413||96.706|
|7||John Lazorack Conquest||68.426||93.861|
|8||Gabe Ortega Civic||68.512||93.744|
|11||Sean Hammad M3||73.811||87.014|
|12||Bobby Poage FD||75.436||85.139|
|13||Full Race R14||DNF|
|14||Mak Auto S13||DNF|