As import drag racing continues to explode across the nation, it can be easy to forget where it all began. Southern California's short list of race tracks consist of Pomona Raceway, very well maintained but almost impossible to get a date for an import event and Carlsbad Raceway, which is less than spectacular and considered more of a test facility. If you could run a number at Carlsbad then you're guaranteed to run quicker elsewhere. Then there is Palmdale, the birthplace of import drag racing. The track owner is always willing to work with the import scene and on June 24, 2001, the IDRA returned to its roots.
Following the IDRA back to Palmdale were a band of racers that were raised at Los Angeles County Raceway, including Jojo Callos, Leevon Eisle, Adrian Sabori, Bisi Ezerioha and Jeremy Lookofsky. Many newcomers to the Pro Import Class at the June Battle included Isaak Fuentes, Elino Pavia and Yasuhiro Ono out of Japan.
The two top qualifiers were Jimmy O'Connor in the Venom Racing Civic and the Kaaz USA-sponsored second-generation RX-7 driven by Yasuhiro Ono out of Japan. The RX-7 has been known to terrorize drag strips in Japan with low nine-second passes, but the team met their match in the high altitude of LACR.
In its first round match up with Joel Tanzman's AEM/Innovative Turbos-backed Supra, the Venom Civic snapped its drivetrain at the line, giving Joel the win.
Joel made it all the way to the finals, taking out Roger Scalise in the semis after Roger had problems at the line. The finals was a Toyota versus Honda showdown with Adrian Sabori backing the Honda camp and Joel representing Supra pride. Adrian's fight to the finals included a bye run in the first round, followed by taking out Yasuhiro Ono's Kaaz RX-7. In the end Joel's 10.40 was not enough to beat the JG/Edelbrock Civic's 10.23. Adrian and the Honda badge went to the winner's circle.
In Pro Mod It was Ford versus Ford, Focus versus Focus, but the difference of wagon versus hatchback, rear-drive versus front-drive and Zetec versus 2.3-liter Pinto power. Shaun Carlson piloted his front-drive Meguiar's Focus while Joe Morgan hard-charged the 1320 in his rear-drive wagon. Shaun ran into transmission problems, which later led to a clutch problem. With Nuformz head quarters so close to Palmdale, the team rushed back to get a spare transmission just in time to make the second qualifying round. Joe on the other hand was running flawless in the K&N Focus wagon. He qualified with a 9.52 and won the event with a 9.68 to Shaun's 10.14.
Venom Racing Pro Street VIII brought Southern California's fastest all-motor racers to fight it out on the 1320 for Battle supremacy. At the top of the list was Jeremy Lookofsky's CRX, piloted by Shawn Hiller. Included in the mix were well-known all-motor pilots Scott Kelly, Bisi Ezerioha , Joel Mandl and Erick Aguilar. In a semifinal match Scott Kelly took the easy win over Joel. The JG-sponsored Civic had a coil problem at the line, giving Scott advancement to the finals. The Nitto-sponsored CRX dominated the field, taking out Bisi in the first round and moving on to Erick Aguilar in the semis. In the final round match with Scott Kelly's Toyo Tires VW fastback and Jeremy's Nitto Tire CRX, the air cooled VW posted a 12.14 e.t which was not enough to take out the CRX's 11.12. The 11.12 is also the fastest Honda all-motor time seen in the high dessert.