Putting an exclamation mark on what has been a phenomenal season of high speed action, Redline hosted their final event of the 2006 season at the definitive west coast Time Attack track, Buttonwillow Raceway. Using the technically challenging circuit #13, featuring just enough in the way of straight stretches to balance the tight twisties of Cotton Corners and blind apex of Lost Hill, 50+ competitors in some of the best prepared sport compacts and domestic muscle came out to claim bragging rights for the winter. You know things are going to be interesting when you’ve got mega-talent like legendary drag racer Chris Rado in his World Racing Scion tC, pro drifter Tanner Foust behind the wheel of the JIC Magic/Hankook Nissan S15, and NASCAR driver Chris Cook in the Barber Driving Experience Ford Mustang GT all in attendance.
After a full day of practice on Saturday, there was no room for excuses or mistakes on Sunday during the Time Attack. Not that everyone avoided unscheduled off-track excursions – there were more than a few cars sporting missing front bumpers, cracked front splitters, or wrinkled sheet metal thanks to some rather ambitious driving given the cool track temps. But given the very high quality field of shop cars and privateer entries, drivers were truly pushing it to the limit in search of Time Attack glory.
Grabbing a big slice of glory for himself was Nils Leufren in his Robi Spec Mitsubishi EVO8, breaking the two-minute barrier with an amazing 1:59.767, claiming top honors in Street Class AWD and the overall Street Class championship trophy. Winning Street Class RWD and posting the second quickest time in Street Class overall was Chris Cook, demonstrating just how good the new Mustang really is with an impressive 2:03.705. Also in Street RWD, Tim Kuo in his AJ Racing sponsored Honda S2000 gave Cook a serious run for his Mustang money by posting a best time of 2:04.443.
In Modified Class the top dog by a large margin was the RWD champ Billy Johnson in the Factor X/Seamless Gentlemen’s Club Acura NSX. In fact, Johnson was so quick in the NSX that he beat all but one of the Unlimited Class cars with his 1:55.014 second lap. Second quickest in the Modified Class was also a RWD entry in the form of Robert Walker in his Maxrev.net sponsored Honda S2000, posting a best of 1:58.356. Third overall in the Modified Class and in Modified RWD was Aaron Bitterman in his VRT 350Z, thanks to a 2:01.245 second lap.
Dominating the Unlimited Class and posting the fastest overall time for the event by a huge margin was Tanner Foust in the JIC Magic/Hankook Tires Nissan Silvia S15. Having run in the 1:52’s at previous events, Foust managed to squeeze an absolutely astounding 1:51:137 out of it when the chips were down. Next quickest overall in the Unlimited group was the FWD winning Hasport Acura Integra, power its way to an amazing 1:57.425 without a front bumper cover or splitter (which caused obvious handling issues). Chris Rado wasn’t far behind Hasport either in his turbocharged and beautifully prepared Scion tC, posting a best of 1:58.992. Rado may be better known for his straight line skills, but he showed a huge amount of skill and a ton of courage the way he flung his little Scion around Buttonwillow. The fastest AWD car in attendance was Ryan Novak’s Harmonmotive Subaru WRX STi, winning Unlimited AWD class with a best of 1:58.736
All in all, Redline’s grand finale for their ’06 Time Attack season was a fantastic show of driving talent and car prep. Given the plans JIC Magic has for their S15 this winter, the ’07 season promises to be bigger and better than ever before and we can’t wait to see who shows up and tries to dethrone the current Buttonwillow king.