The Turbo Racer Of The Year (ROTY: Think Rottweiler) awards program represents a personally fulfilling journey. I intended to start the program last year. In fact, I had the trophy design in hand and price quotes in pocket, but about this time last year, Turbo was in the midst of being assimilated into the Primedia empire. I had a difficult time navigating through corporate finance departments.
I think things have turned out for the better. Kicking off the program in 2000 gets this fresh, new millennium off on the right foot. The planets have aligned in other ways as well. Import drag racing has continued its phenomenal growth; for the first time there is a season points championship series and there are racers committed to the sport full time. Beyond that, the shear quickness of the cars must be opening eyes in all quadrants of the automotive landscape. Stephan Papadakis is securely in the 8s in the world's quickest front drive, the uni-body boys are at 9.1 and counting, all-motor mania has two contestants in the 10s and the beat goes on in the other classes and divisions of import drag racing.
As the sport grows, we are hopeful ROTY will grow as well. For now, I look at the program as another step in our support of the import scene. ROTY is a chance to recognize those who are at the forefront of the industry, pushing the envelope and making new inroads for all who follow in their footsteps. I selected the winners based mostly on their winning record. The performance of their competition, the quickness of their car, record-setting runs and how they handled themselves in the public eye played a smaller, but important, part in the scheme of things. Many of the elite racers are the ambassadors of the sport; if we are to see mainstream acceptance, these racers must conduct their business on the right level.
In the spirit of doing the right thing, Honda has teamed up with Stephan Papadakis and Adam Saruwatari, two of the biggest names in the sport, to promote safe racing at tracks and discourage street racing. The program, dubbed Racers Against Street Racing or RASR, will see Honda increase its contingency program for the 2001 race season. The RASR program has been founded by Honda but RASR will likely become its own entity with no ties to Honda itself; it will become a vehicle to drive home the importance of safe, responsible racing. How far it will go and who will take up the reins remains to be seen, but safety is an idea everyone should support.
The shear quickness of the cars must be opening eyes in all quadrants of the automotive landscape.