Here's how jaded you get living in Southern California and working around cars virtually every day: You go to a famous drag strip like Auto Club Speedway's (AKA "Cal Speedway") and watch numerous 1,000hp imports blast 8- and 9-second passes, amidst some of the cleanest show cars and hottest models in the country (the world?), and you spend the day complaining about how this event – out of the multitude of similarly impressive events you cover for a living – had more delays and bye-runs than usual. And shitty cell service.
Shameful first-world problems, we know, but let's give them some context. Bakersfield and Las Vegas are Import Face-Off's two biggest and fastest West Coast(-ish, in the case of Vegas) events of the year. Fontana lands right between them on the calendar, and usually sees a smaller and less prepared grid. But this being SoCal even off weekends have their share of brawlers.
Let's look first at the FWD class. An import racing series, Import Face-Off's FWD class is the most hotly contested, and in L.A. that means a big participation among those who usually do their bidding in the southland's desolate industrial areas and rural straights, at night, evading the watchful eye of the law. One of the fastest among this rebellious breed is Behzad "Driver B" Agahz and his turbo K-series four-door Civic. B made consistent 9-second passes in Fontana (running as fast as 9.3 sec @ 165 mph) – much faster than the field. Until the finals, that was, where B inadvertently staged with the car's bumper instead of the tire, barely flickering the staging light and triggering a red light when the tree dropped, giving the win to underdog Gary Rodriguez with an 11.622 @ 122.63.
The infamous Jerrybuilt crew's Byron Alvares looked good to take the All Motor Pro class, atop its field of quick N/A Hondas, but continuing the upset theme Jarrett Lynch and his old-school Mazda RX-2 wheelie machine narrowly stole the finals with a 10.101 @ 127.38 to Byron's 10.211 @ 137.40, despite almost missing the big show due to crossing the centerline on one of his elimination runs and triggering mass confusion in the rules – a bye run, at that. Who goes full hot rod on a bye run?!
There were no upsets in All Motor Sport competition; season points leader (now 2015 season champ) Marissa Liongson saw to that, her and her white, ITB-aspirated Civic hatch burning through the competition with an 11.533 @ 120.20 final run.
All the Outlaw and Forced Induction Pro class racers were preparing for Vegas, so next up was Forced Induction Sport, where Jeff Chang's 9-second Subaru WRX STI all but walked through his opponents' breaks and best efforts, entering the finals as the last car standing and winning with a Crazy-Cart-rivaling 15.840 @ 71.79.
In addition to officially sanctioned racing and test-n-tuning (that 2JZ-powered funny car ran a 6.4 @ 202 in t-n-t!), Fontana brought a bigger show area than some may have expected, with impressive participation from Team Hybrid, Emperor Motorsports, Platinum VIP, Limitless, and more. Full results can be found below, and we'd like to extend a special shout to Erick Aguilar of Erick's Racing (the owner/builder/driver of the first 9-second all-motor Honda), who not only spent the weekend working with his affiliated racers, but whose S2000-powered, vintage Datsun pickup took home "Best Old School" honors.
Click through all our favorite images below, and head over to importfaceoff.net for more details, results, and the coming 2016 event calendar.
CAR SHOW WINNERS
Best Civic 2nd - Edenilson Escobar
Best Civic 1st - David Calderon
Best Other Honda 1st - Stephen Talbot
Best Acura 2nd - Michael Mao
Best Acura 1st - Patrick Mejia
Best Mitsubishi 2nd - Peter Thantron
Best Mitsubishi 1st - Paolo Gonzales
Best Nissan - Brian Gee
Best Toyota - Steve Taylor
Best Scion 1st - Al Cabral
Best FRS/BRZ - Miguel Armas
Best Mazda - Danh Vo
Best Subaru 1st - Victor Sandoval
Best Korean - Mark Lopez
Best Domestic Sports Compact - Gustavo Lopez
Best Domestic Car - Lance Doss
Best Euro - Pat Estudilb
Best Female Entry - Brianna Holguin
Best Luxury 2nd - Mike Axvazian
Best Luxury 1st - Mike Vo
Best Import Truck - Chny Estrada
Best Domestic Truck/SUV - Mike Lim
Best Stance - Adrian Mellelo
Best Display - Ken Ticknor
Best Interior - Jose Romo
Best ICE - Frank Alvarez
Best Paint/Finish - Brian Dizon
Best Engine Bay - Mike Lim
Best Club Participation - Hybrid
Best Club Representation - Legacy
Best of Show - Randy Riggs
Best Old School - Erick Aguilar