The evolution of Honda performance, the driving force behind import drag racing, has been impressive to say the least. In the early days, doubters-made mostly of domestic V8 fans-were quick to smugly point out that a front-drive Honda would never run a 12. Since then their arguments and reasons have stayed the same, only the numbers have changed. Next it was Hondas would never run an 11, then never a 10, then never a nine... you get the idea.
The first Honda in the 10s was David Shih's Silver Bullet CRX that blasted a 10.87 at 136 mph in the summer of 1996 at Sacramento Raceway. 1999 was truly the year of the nines as front-drive Hondas led the charge to single-digit glory. Stephan Papadakis was first into 9-second territory. He was quickly followed by Team Bergenholtz which proved unibody racers could run the number too.
Looking back, we would have to credit development in the import racing slick arena and the advent of FWD wheelie bars for the stampede into the nines. Hondas have been making 500-plus horsepower for years; only in 1999 were they able to use it efficiently enough to collect 9-second timeslips. M&H Tire Company would have to be the spearhead leader in the rubber department, working with import racers and busting out custom compounds specifically geared to front drives.
No doubt many snickered when, as the smoke cleared after the Team Bergenholtz CRX emerged from the burnout box, they saw a set of wheelie bars hanging off the back of the car. That snickering was short lived as the Honda blitzed to a 9.72. By the next race, nearly a dozen cars had bars and the assault on single digit e.t.s was in full swing. Late in the season, Team Bergenholtz lost the world's quickest unibody crown to Kenny Tran of Jotech Motorsports who ran a 9.68.
Late in the '99 season, a racer debuted a new car and sandwiched a 10.06 between two mid-11-second runs. In an effort to side-step controversy, we opted to leave him off the Honorable Mention list because he did not back up his performance. We are sure he will be in the next Top 10 and knowing the driver, he'll most likely be in the 9-second club as well. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Top 10 List is the cutoff time. Getting the props in the world of import drag racing is a tough gig as the cutoff point for the Top 10 is an ultra-quick 10.05. Now, on to the list.
|HONDA HONOR ROLL|