The sleepy little town of Morrison, Colo. is not the type of place one would expect to find hundreds of highly tuned Hondas and Diamond Stars battling it out for import supremacy. But keep on a few miles past the somnolent, ex-mining village and you'll stumble upon Bandimere Speedway, one of the highest racetracks in the nation and home to the Proformance Engines IDRC Import Nationals.
Two years ago, when the Import Challenge first came to town, it wasn't much to speak of. A Supra with 18s and a flip (chameleon) paint job took best of show and the drag races weren't necessarily a fair match-up-the wins went to whoever could hold their car together the whole day without blowing a head gasket or CV joint.
After two years, two shows and a lot of growing pains, it seems the mountain boys have finally got it together. Although the strip throw-down final was between two hot-shoes from the West Coast, the turn out of locals was immense. With more than 400 local racers tearing up the strip, from 10-second blown Hondas, to a 23-second Reliant K, everybody had a good time as the hot sun cruised in and out of the clouds. There were plenty of spectators to enjoy the sights as 5,000-plus were on hand, quaffing drinks and snow cones while watching intense drag racing action.
Besides the hot race action, many vendors were on hand to show their goods and strut their stuff, as a number of them had DJs spinning beats and battling each other all day. Trance and hip-hop could be heard competing with each other, as the brazen roar from the high-performance exhaust echoed off the mountain wall that this racetrack was built into. Of course, no show would be complete without the requisite burnout contest, which was hotly contested, but the eventual winner would be a Nissan Altima.
The real stand-filler was the Miss Import Challenge. More than a dozen lovely ladies would compete, but only one would prevail. Taking the win light would be the blonde bombshell-too bad we don't know her name, but we still voted for her.
On the track, the high elevation of Colorado proved to be detrimental to the times of the Quick Class racers, preventing them from doing their best. Even with the elevation, Russ Matusevich qualified in the top spot of the Nitto Tires/Turbo magazine Quick VIII with a blistering 10.18 at 138.02 mph. Russ qualified more than half-a-second faster than his closest competitor, but his '85 Supra later succumbed to mechanical problems, removing him from competition. This opened the door for the KG Precision stable, which had three cars at the event. The final round was an all-KG affair, with shop owner Kurt Gordon facing off against Leevon Eisele. The boss went down when his 11.31 was not enough to beat Leevon's 10.92. Not only did Leevon's win help him pocket $1,000, but it also moved him ahead of Lisa Kubo in the IDRC season points standings.
In the Toyo Tires Street Class presented by Sport Compact Car, half of the eight-car field was of Diamond Star heritage. In the end, it would be a bout between a Toyota and Diamond Star. Gabe Massine and his '92 Plymouth Lazer faced off against the '91 Supra of Dante Smith. Gabe had a best run of 12.08 in the competition, while Dante had a best effort of 12.16. The close race that all hoped for was spoiled when the Supra broke at the line.
Along with the two heads-up classes, there were three classes of bracket racing on the menu at the Proformance Engines Import Challenge. By the end of the day, this little tourist town near Red Rocks, Colo. didn't know what hit them.