Editor's NoteLisa won our overall title of Racer Of The Year and the title in Quick Class. However, we elected to honor racers in each class of import drag racing and look forward to doing more for the 2001 season.
Lisa Kubo 2000 Racer Of The YearTurbo: Trace back your roots in racing for us. What were your influences?Lisa: My roots in racing can be traced back to members of my family who have been drag racing since before I was born. Just about every person I came in contact with "family friends"-you know the ones you call aunt or uncle-were racers. Then at about 7 years old, I went to my first Winternationals and met The Lady of Drag Racing, Shirley Muldowney. I just couldn't leave her pit until I got her autograph, which I still have to this day.
T: When did your journey really begin?LK: My journey started off right out of high school in 1992 at the street races with my NOS-equipped VW Fox. I used to go out to Terminal Island and mess around. Then I attended my first Battle in 1994 and missed only maybe a handful of Battles since.
T: What do you remember of your first pass in the Civic? When, where was that? How quick? LK: My first experience in a turbo Honda was a 300-hp street car which I was the first female to run 11's in. This was September of 1997 at a PIRA event in Pomona. My race car on the other hand was a disaster. It wasn't as easy to handle 545hp as 300hp. I was all over the track; I mis-shifted because I had never experienced tire shake and wheel spinning before! What a great 13-second pass that was!
T: When did you decide to race full time?LK: I still had a part time job until the middle of 1999; that's when I realized I couldn't work and race. I had to make a decision. It was a big risk, but with the help and support of everyone it has worked out for the best.
T: Has being a woman had any impact on your effort? Describe the effects.LK: It has been a bit tough as far as being the new person in the Quick Class. There is also a lot more pressure because I am running against the best of the best. Yes, to a good degree I had to prove that females can be just as competitive in a male-dominated sport. It is made out to be a big deal, but when it comes down to it, I'm just another competitor.
T: Run down how you approach a pass. What kind of mindset do you have and what do you do? What's your ritual?LK: Truthfully, I do not remember anything: just the burnout, lights and when it's time to stop. Everything in between is pure intense concentration.
T: What's the difference between a 9.70-second pass and a 9.21-second pass?LK: A 9.90 pass and the 9.70 pass feel the same; only the speeds get faster and it's a lot harder to stop. The 9.21 pass on the other hand, felt a lot more powerful because the car was running a 2.0-liter motor and the torque was insane. I remember I felt my head get pressed against the seat, it was even harder to stop the car and I even smelled the brakes once the car stopped. After I pulled off to weigh-in, I was taking off my equipment and noticed my neck brace was no longer around my neck; it was on the passenger-side floor! When everyone rushed me I had a clue something big had gone down.
T: How much in purse money have you collected in 2000?LK: Roughly $13,000 very taxable dollars.
T: What do sponsors expect from Kubo Racing?LK: My sponsors expect the continual progress of Lisa Kubo Racing. The professional image we portray on and off the track is as important as how we perform. They trust my judgement and leave everything up to me.