Earlier in the year, I first laid eyes on the Top Fuel drag CRX in the pages of Option 2 magazine. My initial thought was Oh, great. Another CRX, which quickly changed as my eyes focused on 10.69 (sniff) e.t.'s. It was even more impressive when I later found out that the CRX was running on a stock B18C5 (Integra Type R) block (sniff). The import racing gods must have heard me that night, because they answered my prayers by bringing that lightweight bad boy to the States for the October edition of Battle of the Imports.
Upon arrival at the Los Angeles County Raceway, I was scanning the pits for friends, newbies of the 1,320, and the vets, when lo and behold the familiar wheeze of a turbine caused me to turn my head in unison with other spectators. A young passerby yelled out, "There it is! The Top Fuel CRX, man!" And everyone's jaws just dropped in amazement watching this machine make its way to the front of the exhibition line. A piece of engineering wizardry.
The night life of that Saturday proved to be more weird than exciting, as a small riot broke out as a result of rowdy and immature racers looking for more than just a round of brewskies. And we wonder why the law doesn't approve of us.
Sunday greeted me with a slap in the face and forced me to head out at 7 a.m. to help a friend who was trying out his new-found slug-powered Integ. The race-car entries were piling in just as fast as the sun was rising. I got caught up in a frenzy caused by the announcement for the Quick 8 and exhibition racers to suit up. I wasn't alone. The crowd went into mass hysteria. What a way to satisfy my craving for early morning doses of burnt rubber.
Things were really starting to heat up as many of the Quick 8 and exhibition racers ran easy low 11- and 10-second passes. Kurt Gordon and the KG Engineering-sponsored Civic ran an astonishing 10.06 at a very controversial 122 mph. Proving that she could hang with the boys was Lisa Kubo and her turbocharged Civic that ran back-to-back 10-second passes. The "all-motor" camp was also causing damage with Jeremy Lookofsky, who took home the fastest normally aspirated Honda with a 12.08 e.t. Also making a cameo appearance was the Hyper Lemon Jun Silvia, which blasted low 9-second e.t.'s throughout most of the day and kept the eager crowd on its feet.
As the temperatures began to increase in the rice rocket-filled desert land, so did the event as it got mad-live with deejays spinning the latest grooves. The score of women was, as usual, simply delicious.
Toward the end of the event, the moment I had been anticipating all this time was preparing its usual burnout duties right in front of my eyes. The long-awaited duel between Japan and the U.S. was here. Representing Japan was, of course, the Top Fuel CRX, driven by Yuya Nakagawa, and standing up for the States was the Cyber Racing-sponsored Integra, piloted by none other than Tony Fuchs. When the dust settled, the U.S. came out victorious as Tony ran an 10.78 at 134.72 mph. Not exactly what I was expecting from Top Fuel, but at least they were able to produce a low 10-second practice run earlier in the day to put all my doubts to rest.
Seeing all the speed demons, exhibitions, the females (yeah, baby, yeah!), the crowds that amounted to a 18,000 total over the weekend, and the record number of vendors who attended (54, to be exact), brought a great conclusion to an exciting event. Battle has always delivered and with that said, it's time to saddle up and head on out.