Wow, let’s just start off by saying it's about time! With record-breaking snowfalls across most of the Northeast, we're sure everyone is glad to see the white stuff evaporate, and ready for the sounds of spooling turbos and the smell of burnt rubber. Weather forecasts... who believes them? Let’s just put it this way, sunscreen was mandatory!
Saturday qualifying started off just right. There was a full field in the Turbo 4 class and with names like Brian Ballard and John Ferguson competing, quality racing was in store! With DSM driver Mike Reichen having the top ET and speed of the weekend, having a Talon take the win this weekend wasn't out of the question. In the semifinal against Ballard, Reichen was a no show allowing Ballard to go onto the final to meet up with Ferguson. When we spoke to Ballard earlier in the weekend, he said he was going to turn up the boost for what might be one of the CRX’s last runs to see what kind of numbers he could pull off. He stuck with the plan but was plagued with tranny problems for the remainder of the race. Ferguson in the GSC Motorsports Honda EG hatch also had his share of problems but the GSC hatch held on to pull it off in the end with a 10.3 @ 141 mph.
It was neck and neck most of the weekend in the Pro Stock class. There was really no early indication who might take the win but after a few elimination runs it was starting to show. Norris Prayoonto in his Clutch Masters Honda Insight set the bar with a 9.7-second pass! Unfortunately, he was unable to back it up in the final against his teammate, Saul Salceda. Prayoonto did win the race against Salceda with an 11.5 @ 119 mph vs. 12.0 @ 71 mph.
The Pro 4 Cylinder Class could have been more competitive. Of the seven cars competing, nothing could really keep up with the new Ecotec Cobalt of Gary Gardella. One new driver that we haven’t seen in competition before was racer Stephane Beaurgad from Gramby, Quebec (Canada) with his ‘87 Dodge Charger. Beaurgad arrived late Saturday afternoon and had a weekend best of 9.3 @ 146 mph. We look forward to seeing the Charger make some more noise.
In the final, Gardella’s Cobalt went on to face John Shepherd in his tried and true first gen Talon. Shep was very consistent throughout the weekend but his 8.90 @ 170 mph was no match for the Cobalt’s speedier 7.9 @ 179 mph.
The Pro Street class featured a four-car field but the classic match up of the Titan and MSP Supras was what the crowd wanted. The Titan car, driven by Gary White, faced the MSP Supra of Krystos Efantis in yet another showdown! After the two Street Tire cars threw down the famous smoky burnouts they both staged and got on the revs. Even though the Titan Supra treed Efantis with a .112 reaction time, Efantis managed to pull off the win with an 8.3 @ 173 mph to an 8.5 @ 174 mph. What a race!
What can we say about the Pro FWD class? Well, let’s just say this, the one car in the class that people haven’t stopped talking about was the Saturn Ion of Jason Hunt. Although he was the only entrant, Hunt didn’t let us down! He raced like it was the final every time he came out and made sure that the crowd got the show they deserved. He ran a blistering 7.71 @ 194 mph. That is just an unbelievable mph for a front wheel drive car.
Then it was the Pro Outlaw RWD class where the drivers are chasing each other deep into the 7s. Cars that aren’t quite Pro Rear seem to be getting closer to breaking into the 6s every time they’re out. With drivers like Brent Rau, Paul Efantis, Luis Corujo and newcomer Justin Humphreys, you know you’re in for a barnburner. In the first round of eliminations, Humphreys’ Race Redi GS300 took out crowd favorite Brent Rau in the Osofast Eclipse with a 7.5 @ 186 mph to 7.7 @ 176 mph. In the final, it was Humphreys and Efantis in a close battle. Humphreys’ reaction time was better than Efantis’ but in the end Efantis took the win with a 7.2 ET to 7.3. Both had the same 190 mph trap speed - simply unreal.
When it comes to all out performance of these engines, one has to admire Pro Compact. There were only three cars in this class, but the racing was still awesome to watch! Ara Arslanian’s StreetGlow Solara was out to show the crowd what Sport Compact racing is all about. Laying down a 6.7 @ 205 mph got the crowd pumped and eager to see what else was in store. In the first round of eliminations, Manny Cruz in his ‘90 Sentra faced Don Nase Jr. in his Ford Ranger pick-up. You want to talk about close, this race was about as close as it gets! Manny Cruz took the victory by the smallest of margins with a 7.971 ET to Nase Jr.’s 7.973. That’s correct, a difference of .002. So with the win, Cruz went head to head with Arslanian.