This year, we changed up the order of our events slightly. In an attempt to have cooler running conditions for the cars (away from the sweltering Arizona sun) and to give everyone a bit more breathing room on the main track day, we decided to run the drag portion of the Tuner Shootout in the evening following the dyno sessions. The front straightaway at Firebird International Raceway is a very long strip of tarmac, a perfect place to play home for our quarter-mile drag race.
Weighed more heavily in the overall standings than the dyno competition, the drag portion of the Shootout is always a bit of a tricky one for our competitors. Each team is allowed up to three passes, and in the interest of saving the cars from possible damages, most teams elect to run until they’re satisfied; whether that means a single run, two runs or all three is up to the competitors’ discretion.
Quickest e.t. is how points are distributed, and this year the top three cars were all within 10/10ths of each other. Trapping first, with a 10.87 at 124 mph was Thomas Smith and the Zenkai Motorsports STI. Following just behind were the rest of the AWD cars: JC Meynet earned 74.52 points with his 10.94-second pass, and Tony Szirka of UMS was just a mere 0.03 seconds behind, placing him in a close third overall at this point in the contest. The Insane Speed EVO had some trouble hooking up off the line, so even with its massive amount of power, the first pass only netted a 13.33 e.t. When the Insane Speed EVO lined up for the second run, disaster struck in the form of a dropped differential. After spilling fluid all over the launch pad, the bright-blue EVO was towed off the track and sidelined for the remainder of the Shootout.
Travis Barnes piloted the Snail Performance Subaru to a respectable 11.12 at 127 mph, with Tage Evanson coming in next at 11.58 in his nitrous-assisted, K-powered, Hasport-sponsored Civic hatchback. The ScienceofSpeed NSX sounded great under load, and driver Mike Speck managed to trap a 12.26 at 115 mph, followed closely by Oscar Jackson Jr. in the Sportcar Motion Integra Type-R. Oscar ran a 12.87 at 117 mph, which was pretty quick for the modestly powered (relative to the rest of the cars in this competition) FWD car. Phil Robles piloted the KSport DC5 to a slower-than-expected 13.56, due to issues hooking up off the line, and AFI Turbo was plagued with the same issue in its turbocharged S2000, managing only a 13.89 at 111 mph.