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1994 Honda Civic EG Hatch - Jojo Callos Pulls Off The Texas Miracle In Houston

David Hill
Sep 10, 2000
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Turp_0009_01_z+1994_honda_civic_eg_hatch+drag_racing Photo 1/1   |   1994 Honda Civic EG Hatch - Jojo Callos Pulls Off The Texas Miracle In Houston

Faster cars, lower e.t.s and bigger prize money marked the Lone Star State's last big import drag race of the Millennium in October, outside Houston. Billed as both a Nopi Drag War and the World Import Challenge, the event attracted more competitive racing teams to Texas with its $10,000 front-wheel-drive Quick 8 purse than at any other Texas event in 1999.

In February 1999, the field of cars in Texas was trying to beat the Wrightouch team from Hollywood Florida, whose driver, Garry March, was pushing a '92 Eclipse to a 10.68 second quarter mile. Back in the day, 10.68 was hard to beat. And so was a Pentium II 450...how things change.

Since then, Wrightouch has dropped from competing in Texas Drag Wars. The Texas field has seen a close competition between Kenny Tran of Jotech Motorsports and Jackey Yeung of Carboy, a Houston team. Both teams field Civics. Jotech, from Garland, Texas, has gone from running 10.9's to 10.1's this year, pulling ahead of Carboy for the time being. That's a figurative battle of "civic pride" for the two highest-profile import drag racers in Texas - Dallas and Houston. But this time around, Tran faced some stiff out-of-state competition in the FWD Quick 8, which might have better been called the Honda Civic Quick 8. With $10,000 in cash up for grabs a road trip was in the cards for a number of Southern California racers.

Jojo Callos of Long Beach, California was one such traveler. Jojo, without question the biggest winner of the 1999 race season, smelled a big payday. But his race to the winner's circle was much more than a quarter mile long-it took the Texas Miracle to pull it off. During qualifying Jojo experienced valvetrain failure which took out the bottom end. Looking for a spare motor, Jojo's plight was announced over the PA system and to his surprise a number of people approached him offering their stock engines. Jojo would like to thank them all for their kindness. Jojo has raced a lot in Texas and has made some friends, more than he thought. Sean Williams, a Houston-based racer also experienced cylinder head problems but his bottom end was intact. Sean knew one of Jojo's friends and used him as a mediary to offer the built 1.8-liter GSR block. Not wanting to risk Sean's engine, Jojo looked for other avenues but came up with nothing and took Sean up on his generous offer. Since Sean was in need of a head, he asked for help in finding a new head in return and a deal was struck. Jojo's crew Jason Dienhart, Ben Higacio, Kareem El-Sherif and Mike (aka Peewee) swapped the blocks in the pits late Saturday. Another of Jojo's new friends lent him a head. Tony from Endless Racing was building a motor at his shop and offered the engine's head. The 1.6-liter-derived head was mostly stock, running factory valves. The only addition was heavy-duty retainers. Jojo was quick to stress that he does not spin his engine past 8200 rpm and does not suggest anyone do so without proper valvetrain mods. He certainly was not going to subject the borrowed head to such abuse.

After wrenching through the night in a supermarket parking lot of all places Jojo and company secured the head, buttoned up the Honda and jumped back into the wars. The original plan called for some dyno tuning late Saturday but time ran out. The combination was fine-tuned at the track on Sunday. Jojo said he babied the car and credits its impressive performance to track preparation and his Tanabe suspension, which tag-teamed for a best-ever 1.53-second 60-foot. "I was primed to really run a big number. It's a shame that my race engine got hurt," said Jojo. "I've done a lot of racing this year and it paid off in competition but I have to thank those who helped me get to the track without their help I would have been a spectator."

Once back on the strip, Jojo faced some stiff competition. Tran was the top qualifier for the FWD Quick 8 (10.103@141.28), but John Brown of Boca Raton, Florida, took both the fastest time of the day-a blazing 9.959 seconds-and the top FWD speed of 146.53 mph. Tran's time marked over a half-second improvement from his Quick 8 finish in June. In the end when the chips were done, Jojo's 10.299 at 139.21 was too much and capped off one of the most amazing comebacks we have ever witnessed.

Two other drivers on the move are Kyle Puckettt and Ben Blalock. Pucket, who drives a Navy Blue Nissan 300ZX from SGP Racing, had shown the crowds many mid-11-second runs in practice or qualifying this year. That changed this go-round as Puckett put it all together in competition, winning the Turbo Magazine Quick 8 at 11.130 seconds and placing second at 11.064 seconds in the RWD/AWD Quick 8 to Blalock's Supra. Blalock and the Powerhouse Racing Team from Tyler, Texas have seen their Supras go from low 10s to high nines this year - and one of those Supras is even said to be an air-conditioned street driver. Blalock posted the lowest time in the RWD/AWD Quick 8 at 9.987 seconds, and won that class with a more casual 10.311-second e.t.

On the domestic side of things, Tim Fountain continues to remind import fans that if you have a taste for Detroit displacement and pushrods then you can pretty much milk them to go faster than everyone else. Fountain won the Domestic Quick 8 yet again with a time of 9.644 seconds. He also took the top speed of the day at 154.61 and the lowest time of the Quick 8 at 8.851 seconds. Fountain's weapon of choice? A 1967 Camaro.

But this event wasn't just about racing. The import drag culture in Texas is also about fashion, dancing, music, neon lights, dash-mounted television sets, illegal races on Westheimer, trunk-mounted aquariums and 57 motorcycles parked in front of James Coney Island. As such, a mosh pit formed around the DJ booth in the parking lot, motorcycle competitors and show cars turned out in large numbers and TV cameras captured images of the bikini-clad "Jotech Girls" in addition to those of the drag strip.

Take it or leave it, import drag racing can only continue to grow on a nationwide basis in the year 2000. The young and the young at heart will continue to soup up whatever they can get their hands on. The staff at Turbo would like to congratulate Jojo for his rocking of the cashbox, Jotech and Carboy and all the Texas racers for putting Texas on the import drag racing map in a big way in 1999 and John Brown for entering into the coveted nine-second club. We hope to focus on the Texas scene in 2000, see you then.

POSITION NAME FROM MODE OF TRANSPORT ET MPH
FWD QUICK 8
CHAMP JOJO CALLOS LONG BEACH, CA '94 CIVIC 10.299 139.21
RUNNER UP KEITH BURRIS MESQUITE, TX '90 CIVIC 10.744 132.72
#1 QUALIFIER KENNY TRAN GARLAND, TX '93 CIVIC 10.103 141.28
LOW E.T. JOHN BROWN BOCA RATON, FL '94 CIVIC 9.959 NA
TOP SPEED JOHN BROWN BOCA RATON, FL '94 CIVIC NA 146.53
RWD/AWD QUICK 8
CHAMP BEN BLALOCK TYLER, TX '93 SUPRA 10.311 135.39
RUNNER UP KYLE PUCKETT HOUSTON, TX '93 300ZX 11.064 124.06
#1 QUALIFIER BEN BLALOCK TYLER, TX '93 SUPRA 9.987 119.84
LOW E.T. BEN BLALOCK TYLER, TX '93 SUPRA 9.987 NA
TOP SPEED NA NA NA NA 137.97
TURBO MAGAZINE QUICK 8 - FWD VS RWD
CHAMP KYLE PUCKETT HOUSTON, TX '93 300ZX 11.130 115.45
RUNNER UP KEITH BURRIS MESQUITE, TX '90 CIVIC NA NA
#1 QUALIFIER BEN BLALOCK TYLER, TX '93 SUPRA 10.089 134.10
LOW E.T. BEN BLALOCK TYLER, TX '93 SUPRA 10.089 NA
TOP SPEED KENNY TRAN GARLAND, TX '93 CIVIC NA 142.45
DOMESTIC QUICK 8
CHAMP TIM FOUNTAIN DICKINSON, TX '67 CAMARO 9.644 141.04
RUNNER UP RAY DEW LEAGUE CITY, TX '73 BEETLE 10.572 119.88
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. TIM FOUNTAIN DICKINSON, TX '67 CAMARO 8.851 NA
TOP SPEED TIM FOUNTAIN DICKINSON, TX '67 CAMARO NA 154.61
CLASS A
CHAMP TIM FOUNTAIN DICKINSON, TX '67 CAMARO 4.151** NA
RUNNER UP CARLOS RIVERA ARLINGTON, TX '81 STARLET 0.000 NA
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. TIM FOUNTAIN DICKINSON, TX '67 CAMARO 4.151** NA
TOP SPEED TIM FOUNTAIN DICKINSON, TX '67 CAMARO NA 138.65
CLASS B
CHAMP GARY HURST SPRING, TX '88 MUSTANG 11.316 105.98
RUNNER UP GINNO DE FARRO GRAPEVINE, TX '94 SUPRA 12.863 77.04
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. CLAYTON DRISKILL HOUSTON, TX '91 MUSTANG 10.935 NA
TOP SPEED GINNO DE FARRO GRAPEVINE, TX '94 SUPRA NA 131.29
CLASS C
CHAMP PATRICK GUERRA HOUSTON, TX '98 CAMARO Z28 11.933 111.01
RUNNER UP BRYAN BYERS SUGARLAND, TX '78 CAMARO Z28 12.122 111.16
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. BRYCE DANNA KINGWOOD, TX '94 SUPRA 11.401 NA
TOP SPEED BRYCE DANNA KINGWOOD, TX '94 SUPRA NA 127.40
CLASS D
CHAMP PATRICK GUERRA HOUSTON, TX '98 CAMARO Z28 11.933 111.01
RUNNER UP BRYAN BYERS SUGARLAND, TX '78 CAMARO Z28 12.122 111.16
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. BRYCE DANNA KINGWOOD, TX '94 SUPRA 11.401 NA
TOP SPEED BRYCE DANNA KINGWOOD, TX '94 SUPRA NA 127.40
CLASS E
CHAMP THOMAS RIVERA HOUSTON, TX '91 MAZDA 26.180 40.45
RUNNER UP EDWARD WONG MISSOURI CITY, TX '96 200 SX 24.156 49.30
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. NA HOUSTON, TX NA 13.337 NA
TOP SPEED NA NA '94 CIVIC NA 110.03
CLASS F
CHAMP JOHN COX HOUSTON, TX '93 CAMARO 14.780 74.88
RUNNER UP DOANE VO DUNCANVILLE, TX '93 MIATA 14.622 97.53
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. DOANE VO DUNCANVILLE, TX '93 MIATA 14.622 NA
TOP SPEED KEE SAENGVANHPHENG HOUSTON, TX '90 TALON NA 98.34
CLASS G
CHAMP ELAIN NGUYEN HOUSTON, TX '97 INTEGRA 17.424 71.43
RUNNER UP MONIQUE WALLS HOUSTON, TX '98 ACCORD 16.338 85.13
#1 QUALIFIER NA NA NA NA NA
LOW E.T. NA NA NA NA NA
TOP SPEED NA NA NA NA NA

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By David Hill
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