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2001 Acura Integra - Nothing Less Than 110 Percent

The import drag juggernaut that is T1 Race Development

Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez
Aug 26, 2011
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper

Sweltering heat; the type that makes you sick to your stomach, all but begging for even the slightest inkling of a breeze to creep through the race suit. Nervous tension and unadulterated adrenaline course through ice-cold veins, as the left hand’s death clutch on the steering wheel tightens. With a sign from the official, the right hand slaps the gear shift into a battered chamber, and almost robotically, both feet systematically work in harmony to help motivate massive 26-inch Mickey Thompsons into submission, producing a halo of searing heat in an attempt to increase adhesion on the heavily abused concrete. A short distance to the staging position offers little time to think, and from this point on, second nature takes the reins. Bright yellow lights quickly trickle down the mechanical tree toward the inevitable. Searing green spheres soon break through the desert sunlight, and the crowd, life’s daily stresses, and anything else outside of the next 1,320 feet become completely irrelevant. A remarkable, somewhat violent chain of events unfolds over the next 8.57 seconds, including the surreal act of hurling a 2,400-pound Integra chassis from a standstill to over 183 mph. It’s a feat that 99 percent of the population will never experience firsthand, yet one that Tony Palo of T1 Race Development has become quite comfortable with.

Htup 1109 01+2001 acura integra+cover Photo 2/11   |   8.57 @ 183.9

The 2001 Integra you see pictured carries an enormous amount of weight on its heavily modified shoulders. The car serves as T1’s official flagship, sporting a number of the same parts the company offers to its ever-growing customer base. Beyond that, it has unofficially accepted the role as an advocate for import drag racing in the Midwest, while also serving as an example of Mr. Palo’s exceptional driving ability. Finally, it has taken the role of mentor, a rolling benchmark, if you will, for aspiring drag racers throughout the country.

Of course, reaching the elite level of competitive drag racing isn’t something that occurs overnight.

The car started its racing career innocently enough, in the hands of a customer around 2005. With it producing a healthy 650hp thanks to T1 Race Development, the owner handed the keys over to Palo to see what the car was truly capable of on the track. Just 10.1 seconds later, a new track record in Texas had been set, and the event’s trophy was proudly perched in front of the car as high fives were slapped. No doubt impressed by the results, the owner asked that Palo help campaign the car for the entire race season, and serve as its full-time driver. Palo explains, “The next time out with the car we ran 9.80 and became the first SFWD car from Texas to break into the 9’s, and we won that event as well. We continued setting records and winning events.” Building on the momentum, the team muscled their way to the top of the West Coast SFWD Championships in 2006 and clinched the win. With an obvious connection to the car, Palo purchased the vehicle in 2007 with plans to continue its rapid progression.

Htup 1109 02+2001 acura integra+burnout Photo 3/11   |   2001 Acura Integra - Nothing Less Than 110 Percent

In 2008, the first-ever Outlaw Shootout was held at Englishtown, New Jersey, and the T1 crew climbed into the number-one qualifier position with an impressive 9.19. The team would go on to claim the title of being the first FWD street car to break into 8-second territory with an 8.99, then back it up with an event-winning 8.97 in the finals. “In my eyes, that was our biggest accomplishment, and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. We came back home as champions and over $14K in winnings,” he adds proudly. Rather than taking a break, the Integra was pushed even harder in Ennis, resulting in an 8.90. Later in Utah, at the 1st Annual West Coast Outlaw Shootout, the team would once again walk away victorious.

As with any competitive drag car, change and adaptation is mandatory when searching for improved performance. T1 has gained notoriety for researching cutting-edge technology and outside-the-box-style thinking. Palo states, “If we have an idea that might work, or we’re confident something will improve performance, then we do it ourselves and either go faster, or we learn something in the process. This gives us real-world knowledge and, in the end, allows us to better serve our customers.” Countless hours of research and various combinations have lead to T1’s unique intercooler system. Residing in an ice water box while chilled water is pumped directly through its core at 55 gallons per minute, the result is superior cooling efficiency while keeping as much weight as possible over the front tires. A special coating is also enlisted to avoid condensation on the intercooler from the extreme temperatures. Further emphasis on cooling was placed on the car’s radiator, which was originally a full-length Integra unit. The piece was first cut in half, then stacked and fitted with custom end tanks and a massive Spal cooling fan that maintains temperatures below 195 degrees Fahrenheit—even with no airflow through the custom front end.

Htup 1109 06+2001 acura integra+exhaust Photo 7/11   |   2001 Acura Integra - Nothing Less Than 110 Percent

While some prefer to keep their vehicle as simple as possible, Palo explains that modern day ingenuity is a key component to the Integra’s success. “I like to use technology in ways that will result in a fast, reliable, and consistent car. I have a ton of stuff going on with the electronics. Everything under the sun is being data-logged by at least one of the MoTeC components, and there’s a lot of control going on with the systems related to input from sensors and other parameters.” Although we were able to corner Palo for all of the car’s current specs during the photo shoot, there’s a good chance that much has changed since then. “Being one of the most recognized shops in the Honda drag racing industry, we’ve always used this car to showcase our talents. Many live by the motto ‘K.I.S.S.’ We don’t.”

Heavily involved with the intricacies of high-performance Honda building for well over a decade, Tony Palo has unquestionably earned a coveted spot in the import drag racing history books as one of its premier frontrunners. Rather than rest on his laurels, you’ll find Palo, along with the T1 Race Development crew, pushing theory and technology while smashing records throughout the country. Do yourself a favor, don’t blink.

Htup 1109 07+2001 acura integra+manifold Photo 8/11   |   2001 Acura Integra - Nothing Less Than 110 Percent

T1 Race Development
In 2005, Tony Palo officially opened the doors to T1 Race Development after having already established himself as a heavy hitter in the sport of import drag racing. Carrying a reputation for professionalism and an extensive body of work with elite industry leaders, Palo saw T1’s customer base begin to multiply almost immediately. A staple in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Tony and his crew offer expert fabrication, dyno tuning services, custom wiring, race car prep, and much, much more. Many of the products offered by T1 can be seen in action on Palo’s Integra, with results that, well, speak for themselves. Check out for all of your high-performance needs.

Bolts & Washers

2.0L B18C1
84mm x 89mm
Golden Eagle sleeves
Avid/T1 custom motor mounts
T1-spec JE pistons
GRP aluminum rods
Web Cam Pro Series cams and rockers
RLZ Engineering CNC-ported head
Ferrea custom valves
Ferrea custom retainers
Ferrea custom valvesprings
Web Cam rocker arms
Precision Turbo billet 72mm compressor
T1 3-inch to 3.5-inch intercooler piping
Kinsler fuel injection, T1 spec
90mm Wilson throttle body
T1 custom air/water setup
Garrett 1000 core hp core
I/C core submerged in water tank
Weldon 2345 fuel pump
Full Race twin-scroll top-mount exhaust manifold
T1 4-inch up-pipe
TiAL MVR wastegates (x2)
Custom dump tubes through hood
Injector Dynamics ID2000 (x8)
Goodridge -8 lines
Kinsler Monster Mesh fuel filter
Kinsler FPR
T1 custom fuel cell, factory location
Denso coil-on-plug ignition
T1 coil cover
Denso IK27 plugs
M&W Pro Drag 4
PPG gearbox
4-speed “dog engagement”
T1/G Force shift kit
Tilton carbon/carbon clutch
Tilton chromoly flywheel
Driveshaft Shop spool
Driveshaft Shop Pro Series axles
Liberty billet bellhousing
Machine work by Watt’s Machine Shop
PlanB Motorsports valve cover
Estimated 1,200 whp
Triple adjustable Penske/Hypercoil front
Omni Power rear
Progress spherical bearing kit, front
Omni rear LCAs
T1 radius rod setup
OEM Honda brakes
Hawk brake pads
Goodridge brake lines
Tilton master cylinder with booster delete
CNC staging brake
Stroud parachute
Wheels and Tires
Weld Magnum 15x10 front, 6-inch backspace
Weld 15x3.5 rear
Mickey Thompson 26x10-15 front
Mickey Thompson 24.5x4-15 rear
JCR three-piece front end
T1 rear wing
T1 bellypan, front to back
T1 SFI 25x5-spec certified cage
Sparco Rev bucket seat
Simpson 5-pt cam-lock harness
Grant steering wheel with MW quick-release
MoTeC M800 ECU and boost controller
MoTeC SDL dash logger
MoTeC E888 expansion module
T1 Race Development, Mike Morris, Wayne Potts, Carlos Vega, Justin Jons, Mitchell Mixon, Driveshaft Shop, Full Race, Injector Dynamics, PPG Gearbox, Clutchmasters, Web Cam, RLZ Engineering, Watt’s Machine Shop, Golden Eagle

Owner Specs

Favorite Website
Screen Name Or Nickname
Building Hondas For How Long
14 years
Your Dream Car Pretty happy with my GTR, but could see myself in a Ferrari!
Build Inspiration
The desire to show what we’re capable of
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
DJ Tiesto
Greatest Movie Of All Time
The Hangover


RLZ Engineering
Injector Dynamics
Full Race
Web Cam

By Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez
69 Articles



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