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Nitto NHRA Sport Compact World Finals - '06 Champs Are Crowned

Dec 29, 2006
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The track was prepped, the skies were clear and the engines were fired. On the weekend of October 21st and 22nd, it was time to declare a champion. The final stop on the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series fittingly took place at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. As the localized heart of the Southern California import drag racing scene, Pomona was the perfect setting for the Nitto NHRA Sport Compact World Finals. Competitors crowded the ranks from the pro classes all the way on down to the sport and street stock ranks.

Ed Bergenholtz took his second consecutive championship in Pro FWD with his Team Audiobahn Mazdaspeed 6. It seems that seven-second timeslips are the norm for the Pro FWD class nowadays, with Christian Rado running a 7.65 at 191.16 mph in Saturday qualifying. Hair-raising moments arose for both Gary Gardella and Brian Jimenez during competition with a couple crashes, but there were no serious injuries to be had and the event continued on. The final showdown came down to Rado versus Bergenholtz and the monster Scion tC did its best, challenging Bergenholtz's 7.607 at 190 mph time with a 7.736 at 185.66 mph run.

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Up in Pro RWD, the field belonged to Titan Motorsports following the elimination of Abel Ibarra and his K&N Engineering Mazda RX-8. 2005 Pro RWD champion Brad Personett led the Titan team (6.570 at 216.13mph), followed by Matt Scranton and Gary White. In Sunday's final, the win would go to White with a blistering 6.850 at 202.12 mph run. With seven wins, one runner-up finish and ten top qualifiers, Personett would clinch his second championship in Pro RWD with his second place finish in Pomona.

Showing great strides in both technological advancement and speed, the Honda Tuning All-Motor class virtually became the 9-second club, with the top three qualifiers all laying down 9.5-second timeslips. Norris Prayoonto took the top spot on Saturday in his Insight with a 9.549-second run, followed by the Scion tC of Leslie Durst-Armendariz. Unfortunately for Armendariz, she would redlight on Sunday's final after setting a new class record with a 9.508 at 141.28 mph run, handing the win to Saul Salceda's Clutchmasters DC2 Integra. Jeremy Lookofsky would take his first ever championship and was crowned the Honda Tuning All Motor champion in his DVS Drag Cartel Civic.

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In Modified, Paul Efantis put on his best game face and showed everyone the tails of his Toyota Solara. Taking the top qualifying spot on Saturday with a 7.388-second run, Efantis would show no signs of budging come the finals. With the championship on the line, Efantis lined up against Jorge Lazcano's Mazda RX-7 for a mano-a-mano champ battle. Efantis took the holeshot and laid down a 7.392-second run to Lazcano's 7.447-second time, taking both the Pomona win and his second career championship.

Ron Lummus, the 2005 Hot Rod class champ, looked strong to repeat again in '06. While Stephanie Eggum and her EK Civic would need to both win at Pomona and eliminate Lummus in the first round in order to take the championship. Showing no sign of slowing, Lummus would take the top qualifier spot with an 8.340-second run in his Garrett Turbo Pontiac Sunfire, and would destroy car after car on Sunday. Meeting in the finals, Eggum would take the overall win against Lummus, but not the championship, which was Lummus' second consecutive title.

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For those of us that don't hit the strip with trailers, rigs and crews, the Sport FWD finals held great suspense and interest. Twenty-one entries showed up to try and fill the sixteen available spots, with all the top drivers shooting into the 9's during qualifying including Tony Palo's 9.826 at 150.08 mph run. Tyler Hara's turbocharged EK Civic would eventually take the Sport FWD win on Sunday with a 10.124 at 147.68 mph run.

In the Quick 16 class, the biggest field of all could be found with forty-three entries arriving to try and take the overall win. Hector Urias would take the top time during Saturday qualifying with a 10.159-second run, and he would repeat the dominance again on Sunday with the Quick 16 win after a redlight start by Pete Selders in the finals.



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