On August 20, 2000 Pennsylvania's Maple Grove Raceway hosted some awesome import drag racing that showcased top guns from both coasts and all points in between. Despite threatening weather, attendance for this Maple Grove event almost tripled the last IDRC Maple Grove event. From the first set of cars to the last, the big dogs ran some big numbers.
Nitto Tires/Turbo Magazine Quick XVIThe only rear-wheel-drive car in the Quick XVI field happened to be the heaviest as well-the 4G63-powered Starion piloted by Eric Plebani. The Starion has undergone a step-by-step development process starting in the 11s and working its way to the 9s. At this event, Plebani would better his personal best by running a 9.54 in qualifying and taking the number two spot in the Quick XVI. Since its last record run at the Diamond Star shootout, absolutely nothing has changed; the car seems to run faster and faster with each race. Plebani also told us we should expect to see a jump in boost soon, which he hopes will land him in the 8s.
Brent Rau's '95 Mitsubishi Eclipse has been battling driveline problems since its makeover last year. The car generates Quick Class record runs, but usually ends up eliminated due to some sort of breakage. Such was the case at Maple Grove. Rau was able to run much faster and advanced all the way to the semi-finals before breaking yet another axle when up against Kenny Tran. While Rau missed out on a trophy, he left with something more valuable-big-time bragging rights as the world's quickest Diamond Star and Quick Class racecar with an e.t. of 9.40 seconds at 149 mph.
After an incredible year of racing with the same engine, Texan Kenny Tran has finally retired his record-breaking engine. Tran was the first and fastest front-drive competitor at the '99 IDRC International Finals. During its tour of duty, the 1.8-liter VTEC engine ran consistent 9-second e.t.s and has earned a well-deserved freshening. Tran's shop, Jotec Motorsports, didn't miss a beat; the new engine landed the green Civic a new personal best-a scorching 9.64 at 139 mph. Considering this was the engine's first pass, we hope to see quicker e.t.s later in the season. However, Tran was able to progress to the finals and a match against Lisa Kubo.
Lisa Kubo has once again taken over the points lead from Leevon Eisele. While chatting with crew chief Gary Kubo in the pits, we noticed an upgrade on Lisa's ride. A set of M&H 26x8x15-inch slicks replaced her normal set of 25x9.75x13s. Gary informed us that this event was the first time the team has ever tried the new gumballs. While most racers who have upgraded to this size slick have had axle breakage problems, the Kubos decided to also upgrade the factory hubs to accept larger Prelude units to avoid these gremlins. The ExtrudeHone-sponsored Civic locked down its fastest time ever-a 9.59 at 153 mph, as well as taking home a first place victory in the Quick Class. Lisa ran single digits throughout the entire program, proving that Hondas can be quick and live to see another day.
APEXi Outlaw VIIIThe APEXi-sponsored Outlaw VIII class is on the verge of breaking into the 7-second zone and has definitely become the class on the rise in recent months. The points standings have three competitors battling it out-Stephan Papadakis, Craig Paisley and Carlos Montano.