When the word Hawaii comes to mind everybody's first thoughts are "Paradise, fun in the sun, big waves, hot chicks." The last thing on your mind is import drag racing-unless you are a resident of the islands. If you live on the island, your only chance to see a full-fledged import drag race is to either fly out to the mainland or wait for the annual IDRC import race to hit Hawaii. Drawing more attention to the Aloha Nats in 2001 was the fact that Hawaii fans would get a taste of the first front-drive tube chassis racer to compete on the island.
Last year Jimmy O'Connor piloted the Venom Civic to a 10.2 second pass which was the closest any front-drive had come to the nines on Hawaiian soil. This year it was Shaun Carlson who was attempting to be the first to run nines in paradise. The Meguiar's Zetec-powered Ford Focus made the trip out from the mainland to put on a show. According to Shaun Carlson, "we are starting to make some great strides in making the Meguiar's Focus run quicker and more consistent."
With the help of Benson's Machine, BCE Racing Heads, and Sakata Motorsports, the Nuformz team has the Focus' Zetec engine producing in excess of 700 hp and over 500 lb-ft of torque. With reliable performance at this power level, the team has begun to concentrate on getting the proper clutch combination to lower elapsed times and improve consistency. Shaun proved that nines are possible in Hawaii by laying down three nine-second passes. 9.7, 9.8 and a 9.9.
On its first pass, the Meguiar's flagship looked to burst out of the hole but problems at mid track resulted in an aborted run. Later, an in-car camera revealed that when the car was shifted into second gear the steering wheel popped off making it impossible to steer the car. A startled Shaun guided the car by the hub successfully avoiding any unpleasantries with the guardrail.
Nitto Tire Quick Class
The eight-car field in the Quick Class ran from the low 11- to 12-second zone, proving Hawaii's track is hard to hook onto. Cars that normally run in deep in the 10s were struggling to hit low 11s. The number one qualifier was David Aaron, who popped off an 11.15 at 127 mph before blowing the turbo. Jason Whitfield's CRX had problems with the throttle body on its last qualifying round eliminating the car from the qualifying field. With the APC CRX out of commission the team decided to donate their turbo to Ron's Racing and get the number one qualifier back on track. With seconds to spare the CRX made the first round but a loose intercooler clamp turned the turbo fury into an all-motor Quick Class car.
The finals became a battle of island supremacy with number four qualifier Kazu Yamaguchi representing Oahu and number three qualifier Arthur Kratz playing for Maui. In the first rounds Kazu managed to click off an 11.0 but fell off pace with an 11.9. Arthur also had unstable e.t.s by running a low 11 to qualify but a 12.14 in competition. In the finals both found their 11-second rhythm but Yamaguchi had a stronger beat, dispatching Kratz 11.12 to 11.60.
APC Street Class
Last year's champion, Brandon Nasu, was know as "The GT-R Killer" for taking out both the R-33 and R-34 Skylines from the mainland to win the Sport Compact Car Street Class in 2000. This year he was back to defend his title and his dominating 12.45 e.t. was powerful enough to place him in the number one qualifying position. In the finals it was a victory for Toyota, with Brandon's '93 Supra battling with number two qualifier David Nolby in his '89 Supra. With the exception of a bye run in the first round, Brandon was able to run 12.4 all day while David had his fair share of competition to the finals. In the end Nasu's experience and a solid 12.46 proved too much and he became a repeat champion.
|NITTO TIRES TURBO MAGAZINE QUICK CLASS|
|Kazu Yamaguchi||11.126||133.58||0.588||Win $1500|
|APC STREET CLASS PRESENTED BY SPORT COMPACT CAR|
|Brandon Nasu||12.465||115.75||0.582||Win $1500|
|IDRC HIGH-TECH CLASS|
|Allen Nakamura||10.909||128.65||0.693||WIN $1500|
|FORD RACING PERFORMANCE PARTS SUPER COMP CLASS|
|Henry Ramiro||11.486||1.074||11.40 dial||WIN $500|
|FORD RACING PERFORMANCE PARTS SUPER MOD CLASS|
|Char Vowell||15.001||0.546||14.93 dial||WIN $500|
|Christopher Bornios||14.314||0.622||14.50 dial||$200|
|FORD RACING PERFORMANCE PARTS SUPER STOCK CLASS|
|Shea Barboza||16.068||0.634||16.18 dial||WIN $500|
|Randall Abe||16.811||0.557||16.18 dial||$200|