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A 9-Second Honda Insight? - Shake Down

Norris Prayoonto Proves There's Nothing Green About The Honda That Every Tree-Hugger Approves Of.

Jul 1, 2005
0507_htup_01_z+honda_insight_drag_car+launch Photo 1/1   |   A 9-Second Honda Insight? - Shake Down

In the second race of the NOPI Drag Racing Association's (NDRA) 2005 season at Maryland International Raceway, all-motor stalwart Norris Prayoonto logged a 1.34-second 60-foot time and crossed the traps in 9.77 seconds at 136.37 mph, beating challenger Fred Highland in the semifinals. It is, at press time, the fastest all-motor e.t. (although not yet record, as Prayoonto did not back it up on the subsequent run).

It's also the culmination of three years of development, going back to the day Prayoonto decided to switch from an Integra platform to the Insight.

"The Insight is just the next level for me, especially with the RSX motor," he explained. "I was the first to actually bring it out on the track. There are quite a few getting built right now." Semifinalist Highland staged opposite Prayoonto in an Insight, while out on the West Coast single-cam guru Bisi Ezerioha recently unveiled an F22-powered Insight that he plans to run in NHRA.

Why the Insight's sudden popularity? Aero, baby. Aero.

"For the kind of horsepower numbers we're making, we're running way faster than what we should be running," Prayoonto admitted, stopping short of revealing his horsepower numbers.

"The aerodynamics definitely help. Last year we blew up 10 motors. We're making about the same horsepower as we did then, except we've actually got time to dial in the chassis a bit more and get used to the car and the motor. The motor that ran 9.77 is the same setup as the one we came out with last year. In its first pass [last year], it went 10.30-the same motor setup. But last year we couldn't keep our motors together, so we didn't have a chance to actually play with different tires, suspension-things like that. Finally we've got the motor program holding together now and we have a chance to experiment with different things. The motors right now are in the beginning stages. We'll get a lot faster."

That's a scary thought for his all-motor competitors. The win at MIR was his second in a row. Prayoonto has been developing the K-series engine for more than three years and has a target of 9.50 for this year. Still, he realizes geography has kept his name and accomplishments under the radar.

"I'm the East Coast underdog, man. You know how it is, East vs. West. It doesn't really matter to me. I just keep things to myself. If you think I'm the underdog, that's cool."

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