In its brief three-year history, California Speedway has already built a reputation as one of the fastest super speedways in the country. The state-of-the-art $120 million facility is home to the CART FedEx Championship Series and NASCAR Winston Cup Series. More than 100,000 race fans gather at the California Speedway several times a year to watch intense side-by-side race action. Although the Speedway is known for its high-speed banked turns, in September it was invaded by import drag racers.
The world-famous Jackson Racing Battle Of The Imports made its mark at the California Speedway by putting on a terrific show for racers and spectators alike. Jackson Racing dazzled the crowds with not only intense drag racing but also a free concert and unreal karting action. Even though the drag racing was limited to a 1/8th mile, it still brought out the big names in the scene. Lisa Kubo, Jeremy Lookofsky, James West, Manny Jaramillo, Jason Mulroney, Jojo Callos, Russ Matusevich, Charles Madrid, Roger Sangco, Ed Bergenholtz, Adrian Sabori, Leevon Eisele, Kurt Gordon, Joe Morgan, Ray Lochhead and Adam Saruwatari were just a few of the hot shoes present at the Battle.
Vendor row was also bustling with excitement. Title sponsor Jackson Racing showed its support for the event by bringing out a whole line-up of vehicles for display along with a frenzy of help to answer tech questions. Nippon Denso also had an impressive booth with lots of displays and give-aways-always popular with the crowds. HKS came prepared with its signature yellow tent and lots of help for people who were interested in their product line. The vendor that really caught our eyes was BOMEX. It had not one but two MA70 Supras equipped with Japan-spec 2JZ engines. The original single-turbo engine was torn out and replaced with a 2.5-liter, sequential-turbo engine. We bet those puppies really move. Also Spearco Racing Intercoolers had an impressive chart of timeslips from racers who utilize their products. When we talked with Spearco's Patricia Spears, she said, "The chart keeps on changing because the racers keep on getting faster. I have to update the chart after every race." Great job Spearco!
Turbo Magazine Pro-Import (P/I) ClassMany of the Pro-Import racers were skeptical about the 1/8-mile drag due to the nature of high-powered FWD vehicles. Most don't really start hooking up until after the 1/8-mile mark. So this was going to be a real test of driving skill and traction tactics. In a sea of DOHC-powered powerplants, a single-cam qualified at the top of the chart. James West's CRX, which is powered a 1.6-liter single-cam engine, qualified with a blazing 6.993; James was the only FWD driver to eclipse the sub-7-second mark in either qualifying or competition. The queen of Quick Class, Lisa Kubo was not too far behind with a 7.005, giving her the rights to the number two spot. Battle King, Jojo Callos was able to grab the number three spot with a 7.059. Ed Bergenholtz and his STR-sponsored CRX grabbed the number four spot with a 7.115.
Whoever said that four-doors belong on a family car needs to talk to Manny Jaramillo. The Fast-N-Eazy Racing-sponsored, four-door '89 Civic blasted its way into the number five spot (7.303) and our very own Jason Mulroney's Landspeed-sponsored Civic blazed a trail to the number six spot, blasting a 7.324. Dr. Charles Madrid hot shoed his way into the number seven spot with the STR/Ford Racing-sponsored '99 Ford Focus. That's right-a Ford Focus! Who would've known? Rounding off the rest of the field were Ben Benavides, Adrian Sabori, Leevon Eisele, Heather Zender, Noe Becerra, Kurt Gordon, Mike Malabanan, Joseph Lebron and Jeff Hufana.
In the first round of competition, there were several upsets. James West, Jojo Callos and Charles Mardrid were all given the early boot by underdogs. Manny Jaramilo gave Kurt Gordon an early shower while Lisa Kubo took out Leevon Eisele. The Second Round pitted Heather Zender against Adrian Sabori and Joe Lebron against Manny Jaramillo. Heather and Joe took out their competition and moved to the third round. Also in the second round, Lisa Kubo squared off against Ed Bergenholtz. Lisa got the better reaction and was barely quick enough to take the win. Jason Mulroney made quick work of Ben Benavides. This set up the semi-finals with Joe Lebron facing Heather Zender and Lisa Kubo against Jason Mulroney. The Quick-chicks sent the boys home crying as the final was set and it was going to be one good cat fight. Although there were two princesses going into the finals, there could only be one Queen. In the end, the true Queen of the Quick Class prevailed and Lisa Kubo took the Battle crown and the $5,000 purse with a 7.025.
Pro-Street (P/S) Class Quick-8The popularity of the Pro-Street class has definitely exploded in the past season. Just like the Pro-Import class, the Pro-Street racers have taken it up a notch with many of the vehicles specifically built for the class. At the top of the qualifying spot was AEBS Engineering Orange Juiced CRX, driven by Roger Sangco. Sangco was a force to be reckoned with; he qualified .305-seconds faster than his closest competitor. Jeremy Lookofsky brought out his newly revised toy and captured the number two spot with a 7.814. He still has some bugs to work out but be on the lookout for him. Teren King, a newcomer to the sport, made his presence felt with a 7.882, giving him the number three spot. Old-school supporter, Chris Sharma brought out his '86 CRX to teach the new schoolers a thing or two about performance. His 7.901 was good enough for the number four spot. Bisi Ezerioha and his single-cam wonder made their mark with an 8.025, securing the number five spot. Norman Aubry, Adam DeLeon and Mike Escamilla rounded off the rest of the field.
The first round was a flashback weekend as the top two qualifiers were eliminated. Roger Sangco and Jeremy Lookofsky both fell to their competitors in round one. This opened the door for the lower qualifiers. Bisi broke off Roger, while Norman defeated Jeremy. Chris Sharma and Teren King both advanced to the semis. Round two faced off Teren King against Bisi Ezerioha while Chris squared off against Norman. Teren proved too much for Bisi as he took the win light. Chris in his old-school CRX also took the win against Norman. The final round was set. The two contenders were Chris Sharma in his '86 CRX and Teren King in his '92 Civic. Chris was given the easy win as Teren drew blood too early and red-lit. Chris walked away with $3,000 and a nice trophy.
Pro-Import (P/I) Rwd Quick Class-8To even out the playing field for the FWD racers, the Pro-import Quick Class was divided into FWD and RWD classes. At the top of the totem pole was Russ Matusevich qualifying first with a 6.964. Following close behind was Rob Hornsby in his '71 Ford Pinto (6.984). The next four qualifying spots were captured by VW-power. Doug Gonzales, Lloyd Mosher, Craig Gibbs and Marty Staggs qualified third, fourth, fifth and six respectively. Turbo Joe Morgan was at it again; his 7.614 was good enough to qualify in the number seven position. Brian Mapes rounded out the field in his '66 Bug.
Unlike the FWD Pro-import and Pro-street class, the underdogs were ousted in the first round. All top four qualifiers advanced to the next round. The semifinal round pitted Doug Gonzales, the number three qualifier, against Russ Matusevich, the number one qualifier. Doug barely edged Russ out and advanced to the final round. The other semi-final round was Marty Staggs against Lloyd Mosher. Marty took the early lead and never looked back, taking the easy win. The final round was the battle of the Bugs. Doug Gonzales in the '63 Bug facing off against Marty Staggs in the '61 VW. Doug took the win by a scant .009-seconds. What a close race!
Pro-Modified (P/M) Quick ClassAlthough the Pro-Modified class only had three qualifiers it gave spectators a taste of high-powered, back-halved warriors in action. All three of the qualifiers were sporting the Mazda logo. At the top of the chain was Jim Johnson in an '85 Mazda RX-7. If the car looks familiar, it should; it was once owned by Ray Lochhead. The number two qualifier was coincidentally, Ray Lochhead in his '93 RX-7. Adam Saruwatari filled the last qualifying spot. Since there were only three racers, Jim was given a bye run while Adam faced off against Ray. Both racers eclipsed a 6.5-second run, but Ray edged out Adam with a 6.561 to 6.578. The final was a square-off of old school vs. new school. Jim produced like a pro and took out Ray; Jim went home with $3,000.
The next stop for the Jackson Racing Battle train is October 1, 2000 in Joliet, Ill. at the multi-million dollar Route 66 Raceway. Rest assured, Turbo will be there to cover all the action.
|TURBO MAGAZINE PRO ||IMPORT (P/I) CLASS |
|DRIVER ||VEHICLE ||QUALF. E.T. |
|James West ||'90 Honda CRX ||6.993 |
|Lisa Kubo ||'92 Honda Civic ||7.005 |
|Jojo Callos ||'94 Honda Civic ||7.059 |
|Ed Bergenholtz ||'89 Honda CRX ||7.115 |
|Manny Jaramillo ||'89 Honda Civic 4-Door ||7.303 |
|Jason Mulroney ||'95 Honda Civic ||7.324 |
|Charles Madrid ||'99 Ford Focus ||7.459 |
|Ben Benavides ||'95 Nissan 200SX SE-R ||7.468 |
|Adrian Sabori ||'94 Honda Civic ||7.521 |
|Leevon Eisele ||'98 Honda Civic ||7.612 |
|Heather Zender ||'94 Honda Civic ||7.648 |
|Noe Becerra ||'88 Honda CRX ||7.724 |
|Kurt Gordon ||'94 Honda Civic ||7.891 |
|Mike Malabanan ||'90 Acura Integra ||7.973 |
|Joseph Lebron ||'98 Saturn SL2 ||8.091 |
|Jeff Hufana ||'92 Honda Civic ||8.099 |
|PRO-STREET (P/S) CLASS ||QUICK-8 |
|DRIVER ||VEHICLE ||QUALIF. E.T. |
|Roger Sangco ||'89 Honda CRX ||7.509 |
|Jeremy Lookofsky ||'88 Honda CRX ||7.814 |
|Teren King ||'92 Honda Civic ||7.882 |
|Chris Sharma ||'86 Honda CRX ||7.901 |
|Bisi Ezerioha ||'88 Honda CRX ||8.025 |
|Norman Aubry ||'90 Honda Civic ||8.058 |
|Adam DeLeon ||'93 Honda Civic ||8.084 |
|Mike Escamilla ||'85 Honda CRX ||8.088 |
|PRO-MODIFIED (P/M) ||QUICK CLASS |
|DRIVER ||VEHICLE ||QUALIF. E.T. |
|Jim Johnson ||'85 Mazda RX7 ||6.255 |
|Ray Lochhead ||'93 Mazda RX7 ||6.576 |
|Adam Saruwatari ||'93 Mazda RX7 ||6.606 |
Although many were hoping to see Abel Ibarra's RX-7, he was racing the R-100. The R-100 still has the touch, as Abel lifted the front wheels off the ground at launch.
The Smoke Dog shows that this four-door is no grocery getter. The Civic smoked the hides off the line.
Ben Benavides was one of the few non-Honda supporters to make the Pro-Import FWD field. His 1995 Nissan 200SX made it to the quarter-final round before getting eliminated.
Russ Matusevich qualified impressively in the number one spot of the Pro-Import RWD category but was unable to make it past the semi-final round.
Saturn Performance was in the house as the Valvoline-sponsored Saturn SL2 of Joe Lebron attacked the tarmac.
The STR Focus was out and about with Dr. Charles Madrid at the helm. Charles qualified for the field of 16 but was eliminated in the first round by Joe Lebron.
Check out the wrinkle wall slicks on the Focus station wagon. Be on the lookout as we bring you more information about this vehicle in the near future.
Bomex had a couple of cars on display, equipped with the company's stylistic body kit. This dark blue Supra was outfitted with a sequential turbo powerplant from Japan
A long-time backer of the import drag racing movement, MSD Ignition made the trek from Texas to show its support. Electronic gurus were on hand to answer tech questions.
HKS USA had the company's turbocharged Integra on display along with an array of performance products.
Spearco Intercoolers had an impressive display of intercoolers as well as a list of top racers who use its products.
Although Miatas are commonly called a girl's car, it didn't deter these owners from modifying their Mazda roadsters to perfection.
One of the cleanest-looking display vehicles at the event was this Mazda Speed RX-7. Check out the light treatment on the bumper.
A SR20DET transplant into a 240SX has become a popular trend in Southern Cali. This S13 was striking--the sleeper look--but one pound of the pedal and it would be gone.
Torco Racing Oil had a taste of the import movement at the Battle.
Check out the sweet Mercury Cougar with the carbon fiber hood. Who says domestics can't compete?