The thunderous rappity-rap of bridge-ported rotary engines was heard and felt in numerous chest cavities at Atco Raceway in Atco, N.J. as the nomadic gypsy tribe that is the NHRA Sport Compact Drag series rolled into town. The higher the number of rotary old schoolers, the bigger the Puerto Rician connection and, not surprisingly, the better the racing action.
Being the fourth race of the year, the championship points races will really start to crystalize from here until the stretch run in the fall. Coming into Atco, George Ioannou and Brad Personett were literally head-to-head in Pro RWD, while in Modified there were four racers within 100 points of each other.
Jesus Padilla (All Motor), Lisa Kubo (Pro FWD) and Marty Ladwig (Hot Rod) were building on sizeable leads but none were by any means out of reach. Splash in some controversy and the usual adrenaline rush and you get a typical, record-setting weekend on the NHRA trail.
|NHRA Northeast Sport Compact Nationals|
|Pro RWD||George Ioannou||Ara|
|Pro FWD||Lisa Kubo||Nelson Hoyos|
|Modified||Jose Ramos Jr.||Carlos Perez|
|Hot Rod||Gary Gardella||Marty Ladwig|
|All Motor||Jesus Padilla||Scott Mohler|
Turbo Magazine Spotlight Performer-Steve LockettAnother car that caught our eye at Atco Raceway was Steve Lockett's 1997 Neon. It put together some impressive runs-10.90, 10.306 at 143.72 mph, 10.238 and 10.560, and took the win in Sport FWD. We were surprised to see an automatic in the interior of this home-built rocket. The DOHC 2.0-liter engine has a lot of old-school in it with the INDY intake manifold and tubular exhaust manifold, but you can't argue with 10.23.