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.
Asylum Motorsports Super Comp Class
|Winner ||Joel Yeagle ||Lakewood, Co. ||'78 Spitfire ||12.200 |
|R/U ||Steve Tasca ||Colorado Springs, Co. ||'95 Civic ||14.051 |
Mile-High Motorsports Super Mod Class
|Winner ||Dustin Moore ||Arvada, Co. ||'00 Civic ||16.995 |
|R/U ||Dennis Miller ||Arvada, Co. ||'94 Integra ||15.989 |
PFI Performance Super Stock Class
|Winner ||Mitch Baker ||Parker, Co. ||'00 Tundra ||17.922 |
|R/U ||Rick Lam ||Longmount, Co. ||'95 Honda ||17.587 |
NITTO TIRES/TURBO MAGAZINE QUICK-VIII CLASS
|1 ||Russ Matusevich ||Northridge, CA ||'85 Supra ||10.189 / 138.02 |
|2 ||Leevon Eisele ||Quartz Hill, CA ||'98 Honda ||10.797 / 134.16 |
|3 ||Brent Levistad ||Loveland, Co. ||'90 CRX ||11.134 / 128.75 |
|4 ||Kurt Gordon ||Huntington Beach, CA ||'94 Civic ||11.314 / 132.69 |
|5 ||Chad Doerr ||Loveland, Co. ||'88 CRX ||11.468 / 129.72 |
|6 ||Donell Branch ||Cold Springs, Co. ||'88 CRX ||12.161 / 118.73 |
|7 ||Aaron Schley ||Orange, CA ||'94 Civic ||12.535 / 107.50 |
|8 ||Tom Lacrosse ||Littleton, Co. ||'95 VW GTI ||12.680 / 109.18 |
|Tom Lacrosse ||12.958 ||108.96 mph ||.911 r/t ||$100 |
|Kurt Gordon ||11.922 ||127.37 mph ||.863 r/t ||WIN |
|Mark Hawkins (alt) ||12.600 ||111.29 mph ||1.072 r/t ||$100 |
|Leevon Eisele ||11.484 ||124.37 mph ||.820 r/t ||WIN |
|Aaron Schley ||13.020 ||101.21 mph ||.590 r/t ||$100 |
|Brent Levistad ||11.824 ||85.99 mph ||.843 r/t ||$100 |
|Donell Branch ||11.912 ||121.49 mph ||1.349 r/t ||WIN |
|Russ Matusevich ||BROKE || || ||$250 |
|Kurt Gordon ||12.400 ||130.80 mph ||1.442 r/t ||WIN |
|Leevon Eisele ||22.813 ||58.85 mph ||1.923 r/t ||WIN |
|Donell Branch ||11.463 ||100.74 mph ||1.320 r/t ||$250 |
|Kurt Gordon ||11.316 ||136.32 mph ||.836 r/t ||$500 |
|Leevon Eisele ||10.922 ||135.14 mph ||.748 r/t ||$1000 |
TOYO TIRES STREET-VIII CLASS PRESENTED BY SPORT COMPACT CAR
|1 ||Dante Smith ||Albuquerque, N.M. ||'91 Supra ||12.226 / 114.12 |
|2 ||Shane Richmeier ||Henderson, Co. ||'73 Datsun ||12.291 / 110.85 |
|3 ||Gabe Massine ||Lafayete, Co. ||'92 Lazer ||12.490 / 108.43 |
|4 ||Jerry Hepburn ||Lakewood, Co. ||'94 Supra ||12.732 / 111.47 |
|5 ||Hal Landry ||Aurora, Co. ||'98 Eclipse ||12.995 / 107.09 |
|6 ||Jason Martinez ||Westminster, Co. ||'93 Talon ||13.043 / 108.40 |
|7 ||Eric Sandoval ||Westminster, Co. ||'94 300ZX ||13.062 / 110.79 |
|8 ||Erik Westlund ||Lakewood, Co. ||'92 Talon ||13.089 / 103.45 |
|Dantee Smith ||12.470 ||110.32 mph ||1.078 r/t ||WIN |
|Erik Westlund ||13.272 ||102.81 mph ||1.049 r/t ||$100 |
|Jerry Hepburn ||12.969 ||110.85 mph || 1.321 r/t ||WIN |
|Hal Landry ||14.531 ||102.94 mph ||.688 r/t ||$100 |
|Shane Richmeier ||12.443 ||110.68 mph ||1.350 r/t ||WIN |
|Eric Sandoval ||13.691 ||109.67 mph ||1.140 r/t ||$100 |
|Gabe Massine ||12.087 ||111.26 mph ||.853 r/t ||WIN |
|Jason Martinez ||12.878 ||108.48 mph ||1.005 r/t ||$100 |
|Dantee Smith ||12.167 ||114.58 mph ||1.022 r/t ||WIN |
|Jerry Hepburn ||12.707 ||113.66 mph || .862 r/t ||$250 |
|Shane Richmeier ||16.956 ||69.95 mph ||1.109 r/t ||$250 |
|Gabe Massine ||13.011 ||107.39 mph ||.887 r/t ||WIN |
|Dantee Smith ||BROKE || || ||$500 |
|Gabe Massine ||12.712 ||109.83 ||1.014 r/t ||$1000 |
The weather was great and there were more than 5,100 spectators taking in the action at Bandimere.
Leevon Eisele, racing out of the KG Precision Engineering stable, took home the victory in the Nitto Tires/Turbo Magazine Quick VIII at the Proformance Engines IDRC Import Nationals.
Facing off against Kurt Gordon (the KG of KG Precision Engineering) in the finals, Leevon didn't flinch, running a 10.92 to Kurt's 11.31.
Leevon got the props from the Colorado crowd. There were 5,100 spectators and more than 400 cars in competition at the event.
Russ Matusevich and his Supra took low e.t. honors and the top qualifying spot in the Nitto Tires/Turbo Magazine Quick VIII with a wild 10.18-second, 138-mph blast. Russ made it to the semis before breaking while facing off against Kurt Gordon.
Team Saturn made the trek, but were unable to qualify for the field of eight.
Tom Lacrosse and his '95 GTI represented the VW camp in the Quick VIII. Tom nabbed the eighth and final spot with a 12.68-second e.t.
Equaling only the Miss Import Challenge contest in crowd turnout, the burnout competition kept the stands filled. This Nissan Altima took home top honors.
There was also a show 'n' shine competition at the event. Here we see the top Integra.
Miss Import Challenge. Don't know her name, but still voted for her.
Donell Branch represented Colorado well. Qualifying in the sixth spot, he advanced to the semis by running an 11.92. He fell to the eventual champion, Leevon Eisele.