Calling it the Super Bowl of Sport Compact Drag Racing might be an understatement – for a number of the teams it would come down to this final race. For the Pro RWD class and All Motor class, the championship would be decided at Pomona Raceway, along with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers of the series. With champions already crowned in the rest of the classes, Ed Berghenholtz, Ron Lummus, and Justin Humphries were in attendance to put on a show for the crowd. Unfortunately, both Berghenholtz and Humphries were kept out of elimination competition due to an early curfew at the track cutting out the third round of qualifying. Needless to say however, all the racers in attendance still went out of their way to put on a show.
Berghenholtz, Rado and Humphries made exhibition passes in the bracket classes to entertain the crowd. But the main focus was the elimination racing in both the pro classes and the sportsman classes. Pro FWD would showcase a battle between Marty Ladwig with the GM Ecotec Cobalt and Jerrold Rhodes in the Icon Racing Civic. Ladwig, having hit a blazing 7.12 e.t. pass on Saturday’s qualifying, would leave Pomona with a win in the Pro FWD category over Rhodes. Ron Lummus and the Garrett Turbo team continued their hard work that had them shining throughout the season. Setting up the finals against a greatly improving Stephanie Eggum and her Civic, Lummus’s Sunfire continued his 7.8x runs to drive into the winner circle. In the Modified class, Dee Karagiannis and his Mazda RX-7 would record his first victory in the class over Ken Scheepers and his Mazda RX-8.
In the remaining two classes where the championships were still undecided, a qualifying pass by Jesus Padilla narrowed down the points chase. Tony Shagday and the Skunk2 Integra were out on a mission, breaking records and running a best of 9.63 @ 141.8 mph in the finals against East Coast racer Norris Prayoonto. Shagday and the Skunk2 team would unfortunately have to settle for a second place championship finish losing by a narrow 10 point margin.
Once again, Pro RWD was the class to watch. Vinny Ten made the trip from the East to put on a show with his extremely bright orange 350Z. Powered by a Nissan engine, Ten continued to show improvement with solid 6 second passes. An unfortunate trip into the sand box due to a brake failure would end Ten’s weekend reign – but everyone agrees, it was great to see him back in action. Points leader Brad Personett and the Team Titan Scion tC would qualify with a solid pass giving them the upper hand in the race to claim the championship. Round one saw Matt Hartford’s hopes of a Pomona win end when Ed Marx in the Team Titan Celica scored a victory. In the quarterfinals, defending champion Matt Scranton would lose to a faster Marx as teammate Personett would have a side by side race with AEM’s Stephan Papadakis. The outcome of these races lead to yet another all Team Titan final as Personett sealed his championship with a solid win over Stephan Papadakis. The championship standings were also decided, with Matt Hartford and the Summit Racing Cavalier in second and Matt Scranton in the Ride Revolution taking third place honors.
The action that took place in the Sport FWD class was incredible however. Several teams from all across the country made the trek to the Pomona finals setting up a classic East vs. West battle. John Ferguson and the James Innes Racing Civic hatchback traveled all the way from South Carolina to battle it out with several of the California cars and the Utah cars. With several 9 second passes in the field all weekend and some of the most exciting racing Sport FWD has ever seen, Ferguson would prevail over Utah’s Cortney Green with a hole shot win with side by side 9 second runs. Julie Stepan would take the win in the Sport RWD class in her newly painted Subaru WRX that now sports a new front end and a white/pink scheme.
Congratulations go out to all the winners, and a huge thanks to the folks at Sony Xplod and NHRA for putting on yet another great season. See you all in 2006!