It takes a little more than an hour to get from one side of Oahu to the other. With such a small surface area in the middle of the big blue Pacific, one would think it's impossible for the import scene to make a splash in the 50th state. On September 2, 2000 the IDRC gave the small island of Oahu a taste of mainland drag racing and the islanders were up to the challenge. Track officials tabulated that 2,000-plus spectators and 80-plus racers came through the gates. This was actually very impressive. One thing we found strange was the fact that the race didn't start until 2:00 PM and ended at 10:00 PM. It later made sense because the smart locals wait for the sun and humidity to go away before taking on the quarter-mile.
A few of the cars that shipped out to the Aloha State included the first two Nissan Skyline GTRs to ever go heads up against each other, Vspec's S15 Silvia, Donnell Branch's CRX and the 9-second Venom Civic coupe.
Considering that the Skylines are both daily drivers the e.t.s were quite impressive for the Toyo Tires Street VIII class competitors. The R-34 Skyline was an APEXi-sponsored vehicle, utilizing an arsenal of over the-counter APEXi parts. Running Nitto NT555R's, the white GTR collected numerous low 12-second timeslips which gave Owner Toshi "Big Baller" Hayama bragging rights.
The Import Tuner magazine-sponsored R-33 Skyline was down a few ponies compared with the R-34 model but was still able to run mid-13s throughout the day and eventually make it as far as the semifinals. One interesting fact was the car was able to roam the island freely once the racing was over.
The V-spec SR20-powered 240SX had its share of problems starting in California. On the way to the transport, an intercooler pipe blew completely off and was run over by the vehicle's 18-inch Enkeis. The Nissan would spend the week in Hawaii at Hypersports Racing, where a new intercooler pipe was fabricated. The Silvia competed in a car show the weekend prior to the Nats.
Donnell Branch made the trek out from Golden, Colorado. He informed us that either a clutch or transmission problem kept the car from shifting smoothly from first to second. The W.A.R CRX qualified third and did an admirable job, making it to the quarter finals but fell victim to Kazu Yamaguchi's 10-second Civic.
The Venom-sponsored Civic arrived in the islands just in time for the IDRC event. The Civic was on a mission to give Hawaii Raceway Park spectators a 9-second pass but after a violent Jimmy O'Connor burnout the Civic snapped an axle. After a quick swap, the Honda ran a 10.20 at 150 mph on its first test pass. Unfortunately, problems arose which made it impossible for Venom to give the crowd what they wanted. The good news is the 10.20 pass was the quickest and fastest run ever at Hawaii Raceway in a front-drive Honda.
In the Quick Class hometown heroes at the event included Lanny "Kid Sensation" Higa, Paul Umholtz, Kazu Yamaguchi and Wade Segawa. The two Hypersports cars owned by Lanny Higa and Paul Umholtz pulled last minute efforts to run at the event. By Friday Lanny's engine would drop a cylinder on the dyno and Paul's car experienced blow by in the radiator. Just as the fat lady was about to blow her horn Lanny pulled a frenzied, late-hour wrenching session-assembling a second motor which was ready by Sunday and Paul fixed his problem by Friday. It should be mentioned that neither Honda had a motor in it the Monday before the event.