Eric Plebani pushed his hybrid 4G63 Starion to new heights, qualifying atop the DSM-powere
Nestled in the cornfields in the middle of Ohio lies, possibly, the most underrated quarter-mile facility in the country-Norwalk Raceway. Here, Honda-hating Diamond Star lovers gathered to show who's who when it comes to thrashing their opponent down the quarter-mile. And even though the competition was fierce, this was the friendliest gathering of race enthusiasts you could ever come across.
Celebrating its eighth birthday this year, the show boasted almost 200 competitors and twice the normal amount of spectators filling the infield and grandstands. People came from as close as Norwalk and as far away as Miami. Two spectators even came from Aruba and the Middle East to glean some Diamond Star tips for their own cars back home. Competing cars were divided into 10 classes of varying states of tune. From the slowest, non-turbo category to the DSM-powered class, featuring Eric Plebani and his Buschur-sponsored Starion, who blasted his best ever e.t at the Shootout-a 9.73 at 141 mph. Look out Quick Class competitors, as you may soon be in a Starion's rear view mirror!
The class to watch this year was the Quick 8, featuring the fastest "race only" Talons and Eclipses. Spectators (and even racers) lined up around the burnout box to witness these monsters tear up the track with low-10 and even 9-second passes. Sean Glazar entered the Quick 8 as the number one qualifier, blasting a 9.83 in his Mitsubishi Mirage. That was about all Glazar could muster up, as he took himself out of the running after the first round, due to mechanical gremlins. Glazar will be a formidable force in future races.
In the semi-finals, the local favorite, John Shepherd was given a bye run into the final, due to Glazar bowing out. The boys from Connecticut had to work for their win however, as they coaxed the Pruven-sponsored Talon to victory over Jesus Rivera. This set the stage for tense moments at the line for the final, as Dan Cokic, driving the Pruven car, was matched against John Shepherd. Cokic was able to manage a slight jump off the line and get a two-car lead on Shepherd. About mid-track, Shepard showed the brute force of his machine and was able to win by a length at the finish, blasting by Cokic's 10.637 at 132 mph with a 10.126 at 142 mph.
As a side note, we feel the "Mechanic of the Day" award should go to Dan Buschur for his fleeting attempt to run the Quick 8. Buschur debuted his 1991 Talon featuring all "bolt-on" parts supplied by his brother, Dave Buschur of Buschur Racing. In his first qualifying pass, Buschur managed to break his transmission, locking third gear in place. In the time it would take most people to simply assess the situation, Buschur loaded his car onto a trailer and brought it back to his brother's shop. He then dropped the transmission, welded the differential on a bone stock spare, re-installed the unit, and made it back to the track just in time for the last of the qualifying passes. His work was futile though, as the clutch grenaded mid- track, totally destroying the clutch assembly and flywheel. We recognize your efforts, Dan...better luck next time.
As the last car ran down the quarter-mile, most attendees were on their way back to Dave Buschur's shop for the awards ceremony. The trophies were handed out to the first, second and third place winners in each class. That was not the end though, as this tightly knit group of racers hung around to enjoy the drinks supplied by Dave Buschur and revel in the day's experience. Many racers were quick to look forward to next year-all hoping that the event keeps growing and the e.t.s keep falling.