Don’t be fooled by the name. This isn’t some dark and dangerous alleyway controlled by a gang of Honda E-thugs sporting hellaflush fitment. This is VTEC Alley, where you can find more cool Hondas in this little area than any other square mile in the world. Located in the heart of Phoenix, within an area hardly bigger than a postage stamp, resides six performance shops comprised of Arizona’s most respected tuners, manufacturers, mechanics, and engineers, including Hasport, Tri-Tech Motorsports, Locash Racing, Teague Speed Racing (TSR), RC’s Garage, and Full-Race Motorsports.
“People often ask if having so many shops within such a small area hurts our business, but I tell them it’s the exact opposite. Having so many Honda-related companies that do different things in close proximity is beneficial for both the customers and the shops. The customers don’t need to drive all over town to get what they need. As for the shops, we try to support each other by sending each other work and doing work for each other,” says Joe Sawyer, owner of Locash Racing. With each of the shops specializing in various professions, including chassis fabrication, dyno tuning, engine swaps, and more, VTEC Alley is a large reason why the Honda Tuning market has continued to flourish.
Shop Specialization: engine mounts
Favorite Honda/Acura: all Civics
Weapon of Choice: all
Reason: “For Hasport it’s about pushing the envelope so we’re happy to experiment using all types of chassis and engine combos,” Brian Gillespie says.
Brian Gillespie, the marketing development specialist and face of Hasport Performance, is no stranger to the Honda world, becoming the authority in engine swaps and the number-one aftermarket engine mount manufacturer for Hondas. Hasport’s made its name as a specialist in transplant motor mount kits business since the company did its first engine swap out of brother Keith’s salvage yard—Honda Auto Salvage—from which Hasport derives its name. Both Keith and Brian have each been active racers for many years. They used their race cars as testbeds to develop new products as well as junkyard vehicles at their disposal to fabricate and test-fit engines in various chassis. Hasport has continued to develop engine mounts as business continues to blossom.
Hasport’s infamous supercharged K24-powered CRX has become a legend at track events, terrorizing competitors in the Unlimited FWD class. Throughout the years, the CRX has won numerous championships and titles in the time-attack circuit as well as seen multiple engines, including a D16, B16, supercharged B16, and three different supercharged K-series engines. This year, the CRX will be receiving a V-6 swap in preparation for the Super Street FF battle taking place at Auto Club Speedway. We asked Brian why the Honda tuning market has continued to flourish with the current state of the economy. He says, “It’s like skateboarding; there is a massively strong culture and community that has built up around these cars due to many factors, including the cost of the car, superior automotive engineering, ease and low cost of modifying, large and interactive online community, and timeless styling.”
Shop Specialization: engine rebuilds, swaps, forced induction, wire tucks/harness rebuilds and drag/road race vehicle fabrication
Favorite Honda/Acura: EF (fourth-generation Civic)
Weapon of Choice: ’06-00 Civic EK hatch with B-series turbo
Reason: “The EK’s aerodynamic body along with the engine bay allows plenty of room for the addition of forced induction,” Josh says.
Josh Wojtyna and his wife, Nicole, founded Tri-Tech Motorsports in the summer of 2008. Josh’s passion for cars began at an early age, spending time watching his father rebuild classic cars. It was during this time that Josh learned the value of automobiles and his desiring addiction with high-horsepower cars. While growing up, he took his vast knowledge of cars and began dabbling with Honda and Acura engines while performing engine swaps and rebuilds in his parents’ garage. Just like how his father taught him the value of cars, he carried on the family tradition and taught his wife how to wrench and maintain her personal CRX. Tri-Tech’s most recent projects include a 250-whp all-motor road race car and Honda EG drag car with a target horsepower goal of 700 whp, slated to debut at early next year.
Teague Speed Racing (TSR)
Shop Specialization: Honda/Acura performance, drag car fabrication, engine/transmission rebuilds, race prep, and general repair/service
Favorite Honda/Acura: DC2
Weapon of Choice: ’94-01 Integra with B-series turbo
Reason: “Why ask why? The DC2 offers the most engine room and nothing will beat a turbo B-series,” Aaron says.
Aaron Teague was born and raised in Hawaii, where he first started working on cars. “I started working on friend’s cars installing simple bolt-on components like intakes, headers, and coilovers. I eventually expanded my skills to perform engine swaps, tranny rebuilds, and rewiring. My friends were all into Hondas at the time so I got my first car, a CRX with a B16A swap. That’s when I really started learning about these cars and what Hondas could do,” Aaron says.
Aaron eventually moved to Phoenix at the age of 18 to pursue a full-time career working at Full-Race. “Working at Full-Race on high-horsepower turbo Hondas really opened my eyes to their true potential,” he says. In 2008, Aaron and his friend, Jake Blackman, banded together to rent a small shop to store their race cars while Aaron performed some side work on customer cars to pay for the shop, racing, maintenance, tools, and more. The shop was continually expanding, and he continued to work for Full-Race full time until February 2011 when he decided to devote his full-time schedule to opening Teague Speed Racing (TSR).
Aaron recalls the most memorable project for TSR was building Jake’s EK Civic Si. “It’s been through numerous modifications and changes to get to its current state. There have been plenty of late nights wrenching on the car, but we definitely learned a lot from those experiences. The Civic’s fastest quarter-mile to date is 9.0 e.t. at 168 mph. Hopefully, with our new turbo setup and minor modifications, an 8-second pass will be in the near future,” Aaron says.
TSR ’98 EK Civic
Output: 1,030 whp/650 lb-ft of torque at 44 psi of boost
Campaigns: SFWD (Street FWD) Class
Quickest Time: 9.52 e.t. at 158 mph
Engine Specs: B18C (84mm bore), BorgWarner S400sx Turbo (67mm compressor wheel), CP pistons 9.5:1 compression ratio, B18A1 crankshaft, Performance CNC ported and polished cylinder head, Ferrea Racing valvetrain, Skunk2 Pro 1+ camshafts
’00 Civic Si
Owner: Jake Blackman
Output: 1,150 whp/700 lb-ft of torque at 45 psi of boost
Campaigns: Outlaw Class
Quickest Time: 9.0 e.t. at 168 mph
Engine specs: B18C (84.5mm bore), Precision Turbo 4572 billet turbo (72mm compressor wheel), CP pistons 9.5:1 compression ratio, B18A1 crankshaft, Performance CNC ported and polished cylinder head, Ferrea Racing valvetrain, Skunk2 Pro 1+ camshafts
’94 EG Civic
Owner: Raul Gonzalez
Output: 840 whp/460 lb-ft of torque at 24 psi of boost
Campaigns: True Street Class
Quickest Time: 9.814 e.t. at 159 mph
Engine Specs: B18C (84mm bore), Precision Turbo PTE Billet 6765 turbo (67mm compressor wheel), custom sleeved block, CP pistons 9.5:1 compression ratio, Manley Turbo Tuff rods, Performance CNC ported and polished cylinder head, Ferrea Racing valvetrain, Skunk2 Pro 1+ camshafts
’94 EG Civic
Owner: Oscar aka “Raul’s little brother” Gonzalez
Output: 440 whp/296 lb-ft of torque
Campaigns: daily driver
Engine specs: stock B18C, Garrett T66 turbo
Shop Specialization: drag and road race dyno tuning, ECU programming, fabrication, and CNC machining
Favorite Honda/Acura: DC2
Weapon of Choice: ’94-01 Integra with B-Series turbo
Reason: “This chassis and engine setup is a potent combination that allows everything including an aftermarket turbo kit to fit with ease,” Joe says.
For the past 12 years, Locash Racing has been responsible with tuning some of the fastest Hondas in the Phoenix area, including Jake Blackman’s 1,150-whp EK drag car, TSR’s 1,030-whp EK, and Raul Gonzalez’ 840-whp ’94 EG Civic. When Joe’s not dyno tuning, he spends most of his time manufacturing products on his CNC machines for some of the biggest names in the sport compact industry.
Locash Racing has become a household name in the Honda community and has built numerous shop cars including a 900-plus wheel horsepower ’95 Acura Integra, clocking a best time of 9.67 e.t. at 160 mph using an 84mm B18C1 engine; Garrett 72mm compressor wheel turbo; Injector Dynamics 1,000cc/min x8 injectors; Full-Race top-mount turbo manifold; T1 Race Development Intercooler and Motec M800 engine management.
Shop Specialization: import performance, nothing specific—we do it all
Favorite Honda/Acura Chassis: Civic EK coupe
Weapon of Choice: ’96 Civic coupe with LS-VTEC turbo
Reason: “You can’t go wrong with a classic setup,” RC says.
At the age of 15, RC was exposed to the world of Hondas, after taking a ride in his friend’s ’88 HF CRX. That took place more than 12 years ago as RC recalls falling in love with the car and also perking his interest in building cars. “I started out helping my dad restore my first car, a ’68 Dodge Charger. I loved that car but ended up having to sell it because I got myself into some trouble,” RC says. When he turned 18, he purchased an ’88 HF CRX with a B16A1 engine—his first Honda.
After spending a few years of DIY wrenching on his personal cars, a local shop took note of RC’s handiwork and hired him as a part-time technician. He quickly worked his way up the ladder to head technician. During that time, RC continued to do side work for friends and associates out of his parents’ backyard. “Every engine swap or modification I made on a customer’s car was always by referral or word of mouth. Unfortunately, I was always pissing my dad off for having so many customer cars in the backyard.” In 2010, he decided to give his dad a break and relocate to a small retail shop. RC kept his shop small and simple, as he wanted to maintain it as his personal hobby and only take on a few cars in order to deliver the highest quality of work. “Maybe one day I’ll make it big but for now I’m just enjoying it all one day at a time. I think I’m doing pretty well considering I failed high school auto class. By the way, I’d like to give a shout-out to Mr. Tom, my Sunrise Mountain High School auto shop instructor.”
Owner: Geoff Racier
Shop Specialization: fabrication, turbo exhaust manifolds, turbocharger engineering/ development
Favorite Honda/Acura chassis: S2000, Integra DC2, and ’06-11 Civic FG/FA SI
Weapon of Choice: “The S2000 F22C engine package, in my opinion, is absolutely perfect. If it’s a FWD race car; the DC2 Integra with B-series is the lightest weight, most aerodynamic, and stiffest of all the options. If it’s for the street, then it’s definitely a Civic FG/FA Si turbo, which is very comfortable to take on long trips, and the stock motor can take 420 whp all day long” Geoff says.
Geoff Racier grew up in Monmouth County, NJ, and attended High Technology High School, an invite-only magnet school for future engineers and mathletes. Geoff considered himself a nerd of sorts, but his focus has always been obsessed with making cars go faster. Down the street from his parents’ house and on the bus ride to school was a legendary Midas—this place was considered the epicenter of O.G. East Coast Honda drag racing and where Geoff cut his teeth. “Every day the school bus would pass the Midas, I’d see some sick turbo Hondas in the parking lot back in ’97. I eventually started hanging out so much they had to kick me out at night,” Geoff says. Arvin Hernandez was the shop owner and guys like Rafael Estavez, Javier Ortega, Myles Bautista, and Gary Gardella made their names working and racing alongside Arvin. “The first time I saw Arvin run an 11-second quarter-mile, I was hooked and from that point on I dedicated my life to building turbo Hondas.”
After graduating high school, Geoff went to mechanical engineering school as well as a part-time community college to get ASE certified; all to make turbo Hondas go faster. One day, Geoff decided to design and build a turbo manifold from scratch that resulted in the first Full-Race manifold that gained instant recognition on the Honda scene. The manifold was the defining moment for him as it brought about the birthing of his company. Founded in 2002, Full-Race quickly established themselves as the authority in turbo system design, engineering, and fabrication for the sport compact community, which was coincidently located just across the street from Hasport Performance.
As business flourished, Geoff perfected the art of turbocharging and went one step further with the advent of twin scroll turbochargers, quickly maturing and propelling Full-Race into a brand that is recognized by enthusiasts, competitors, and auto manufactures around the world, and has helped raise the game for the turbo Honda community and more.