Import drag racing took a big step in its evolution Sept 30 and Oct 1, 2000 at the Route 66 Battle of the Imports in Joliet, Illinois. To put it all in perspective Quick Class racer Jimmy O'Connor ripped a 9.72 during qualifications but, miraculously, found himself fifth on the grid. Rarely is a 9.72 not a Top Dog position but at Route 66 Jimmy and the Venom Racing Civic had a litter of 9-second puppies in front of them. This Jackson Racing Battle event took on even more epic proportions when three Quick Class racers challenged the 8-second barrier. With a class-leading 9.18 timeslip already in his pocket, Brent Rau scorched his way to 9.23 in his second-gen Eclipse while Extreme Motorsports comrade Sean Glazar blasted 9.22 in the finals to win the Quick Class. In the Honda camp Lisa Kubo became the quickest uni-body Honda with a dazzling 9.21-second run. The stage is set and it certainly looks like an 8-second Quick car is a "when not if" proposition. Who will get there first? That's the million-dollar question.
Turbo Magazine Pro Import QualifyingCrowd favorite Brent Rau, who had recently set the record for fastest Mitsubishi (9.18 at 152 mph) was definitely one to watch as he took advantage of the traction provided by the well-prepared track. Brent managed to back up his 9.18 with a 9.23-second qualifying pass boosting him to the top spot for eliminations. Brent found himself having to wipe down his windshield though as he blew a head gasket toward the end of the track.
Sean Glazar also made it to Route 66, but he ditched the Mirage he has been running all season to bring back his Talon with an experimental auto tranny. Good thing he brought a spare 5-speed though as his only qualifying pass that day was problematic. Sean was in the pits the rest of the day swapping the auto back to a stick.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Mike Simon treated the spectators to his tube-frame, Mitsu-powered Honda CRX with big smoky burnouts. This car is not just show though as Mike was making mid-8 second passes all day. Ed Bergenholtz was also out running exhibition passes, trying to make the elusive 8-second run. It was not to be found this weekend.
The unfortunate event of the day happened just as the last few racers were trying to qualify. A Supra from Sound Performance in Chicago, Illinois squeaked off a fast 9.54-second pass but tagged the wall at the end closing the track for the rest of the day. The driver walked away unscathed (except for his ego) and the Supra was even driven away from the scene, but there was not enough time to clean the track for the rest to qualify. That would have to continue the next morning. The 9.54 put the Supra second on the grid. Honda big guns Kenny Tran and Lisa Kubo nabbed the third and fourth spots running 9.59 and 9.68 respectively. The rest of the qualifiers can be gleaned from the chart.
Turbo Magazine Pro Import EliminationsIn eliminations the big name racers advanced to the second round. It should be noted that Lisa Kubo had a bye run in the first round so there was no pressure on her to make a full pass. Not wanting to let the crowd down nor herself, Lisa put the pedal to the metal. With a little tire scrub and the turbo screaming Lisa managed to set the new record for the fastest uni-body Honda at 9.21 inching even closer to the 8's.