What do you get when you combine one of the fastest dragstrips in the United States with the fastest imports? The answer: new records and new personal bests for several racers. More than 5,500 fans came to watch their favorite racers compete in the IDRC Firebird Nationals, the first of two events to be held by the IDRC in sunny Arizona.
The talk of the town was the all-motor record being broken by Erick Aguilar and his B-series '95 Honda Civic coupe. The Erick Racing Engine-sponsored Civic blistered the track with an elapsed time of 10.683 at 125.16 mph. The previous record, held by Jeremy Lookosky's L'Natural CRX, was 10.73 at 129 mph since October 2000.
Bisi Ezerioha also accomplished the unthinkable, breaking off a 10-second run down the quarter with his all-motor single-cam CRX. Ezerioha's 10.930 at 123.92 makes him the world's fastest all-motor single-cam. Adam Saruwatari in the A&L-sponsored Pro Class NSX beat his previous personal best e.t. with a 7.771 at 171.84mph.
Bfgoodrich Tires Street Class
The obvious favorite in the Street Class was Ari Yallon. He's been unstoppable, but would he be able to make it two-for-two at IDRC competition? Yallon had some heavyweight competitors, which included Saad Saad's 1000-horsepower Supra, MotoRex's nitrous-assisted Skyline and Peter "Fei Lo" Yeung's RX-7. For Yallon to win, he'd have to bust out his bag of tricks.
In round one, both the Skyline and Peter were eliminated. MotoRex hurt an engine while the RX-7 broke an axle at the line. This would set up Saad to face number-four qualifier Ryan Carwin and his '71 Celica with Yallon getting a bye run. Carwin got to the finish line first and beat Saad to advance to the finals. However, in the finals, Carwin was no match for Yallon, as the Rotary Performance RX-7 breezed to the finish line with a 10.470 to Carwin's 11.000.
Importdrag.Com All-Motor Class
The battle in the All-Motor Class was hot and heavy. After the slaughtering by the Bugs at the IDRC opener in Palmdale, the Honda gang was ready to take revenge. But the Bugs were also ready and they garnered three of the top five qualifying spots to prove it. Erick Aguilar and Norman Aubry were the only two Hondas in the top five. There was a full field of 16 qualifiers in the All-Motor Class and there were no upsets in the first round as all the top qualifiers advanced to the quarter final round.
In the quarterfinals, all four Bugs that were left in the field were paired against Hondas. Aguilar and Ezerioha advanced from the Honda camp and Danny Cerny and Doug Gonzales were able to make it for the Bug squad.
In the semis, it was once again a Bug against a Honda. Gonzales was paired against Ezerioha, while Aguilar paired off with Cerny.
Both Gonzales and Aguilar advanced to the finals so the run for the money was an 'H' vs. 'VW' showdown. The stage was set; would the Hondas have their revenge? At the line, the Bug experienced drivetrain problems, giving the win to Aguilar and the Honda camp.
Importdrag.Com Turbo Magazine Quick Class
In Quick Class, favorites Jojo Callos and Bruce Mortensen were the guys to beat. But you had to root for budget racers Mike Laskey and Mike Carl, who made the trek from Washington. One of the pair qualified with a 9.80. In the first round, all the top qualifiers advanced to the second round except for Carl who was beaten by Dominic Conti.
The quarters went according to the numbers with no surprises except for Conti, who pulled the rabbit out of the hat again by beating number five qualifier Joel Tanzman. Conti cut an awesome light every time, but would it be enough against Callos? In the semis, Callos squared off against Conti, while Mortensen traded blows with Mike Laskey.
Callos was unstoppable, tearing up the track with another 9-second blast and Mortensen followed with a 9.281 of his own. In the final, it was dj vu with Mortensen facing Callos. Mortensen tried to pull an upset, but mechanical problems allowed Callos to take the easy win. True to form, Callos ran a 9.435 in the finals against Mortensen's wounded 20.486.
Apex Integration Outlaw Class
Who reigned supreme in the Outlaw Class? Was it Stephan Papadakis in the world's fastest FWD or Stephanie Reaves, the world's fastest FWD female? In a qualifying round, Papadakis beat Reaves. But who knew what the GM crew had in store for Sunday's elimination rounds. In Sunday's eliminations, Papadakis, Ron Lummus, Reaves and Rene Franco would make it to the semis. Papadakis breezed by Franco while Lummus and Reaves battled it out for an appearance in the finals. Both left the line with nearly identical reaction times but Lummus' launch was the difference, as Reaves couldn't close the gap.
In the closest racing of the day, Lummus was barely able to edge Reaves out with an 8.856 to her 8.891. In the finals, Papadakis took the easy win when Lummus' Bug experienced mechanical problems.
Importdrag.Com Pro Class
With only two competitors in the Pro Class, there would be only one race to decide the winner. Adam Saruwatari in the A&L-sponsored NSX vs. Grant Downing in the Venom Racing Tundra. Only the second time at the track, chassis builder Downing pulled an amazing 7.677 at 179.64 to Saruwatari's 7.844 at 171.23, taking the win and giving the Venom crew a win.
IDRC's next stop will be the Lone Star Nationals at River City Raceway in San Antonio, which should be the event to attend. Bring out the sunscreen, because it will be a scorcher. The question is will records fall in the hot Texas sun? You'll just have to wait and see.