Threats of thunderstorms and hot steamy weather were not about to deter thousands of import race enthusiasts as they descended on Englishtown, New Jersey. The annual IDRC Summer Slam event has earned a reputation for drawing the fastest racers from around the country, and this year was no disappointment to those that attended. For those that took a break from the hot racing action and ventured outside the grandstands, they realized there was much more to this event than just fast cars. Summer Slam provides a venue for some of the slickest and sharpest show cars and low-riders in the country.
Sport Compact Street Class
With DOT-approved drag radials for tires, eight contestants, some from as far away as Texas, came to do battle in the highly competitive Street Class. This day, Mazda and Mitsubishi filled the top four qualifying positions. Having won in the quarterfinal round, John Shepherd was looking to move into the finals. He would have to put Steven Kan, who beat Bert Tongue in the quarterfinals, down for the count if he wanted to see final round action. As the light turned green Steven showed John just how ready he was, blasting off the line with a .466 reaction time. But it would be John's all-wheel drive and brute Diamond Star power that clinched the win as he just walked by Steven at mid-track. The next two players had a much closer match. Ari Yallon, the 2000 Street Class champion, and Jeff Hill met in the semis, as it was Mazda against Mitsubishi. Both had equal reaction times and what looked like equal power in this neck-and-neck battle. But it is the one that crosses the finish line first that really matters, and Ari, in his rotary powered Mazda RX-7, proved that to be true as he put himself into the final round to duke it out with John Shepherd.
Had you been in the staging lanes before the final round you could have watched John and Ari trying to psyche each other out as they both took joking pop shots at each other. "You sure that wastegate hose is on tight Ari?" "It wouldn't matter, I only need half the boost I normally run to beat you John." But again, it would be the one first to the finish that would win the big money. Both racers dropped the clutch at the same time, however John's AWD launched his Mitsu just ahead of Ari. As Ari tried to make back distance lost, he found himself fighting second gear. When second finally popped in, John was already several car lengths ahead and pulling. John made the slam and stopped the clock in 10.197 at 141 mph, clinching the Summer Slam win for 2001
Import Tuner's All-Motor Class
Number one and two qualifiers Scott Mohler and Fred Ellis were the ones to watch as they easily defeated their opponents in the quarterfinal round. In the semi-final round, Scott was matched against Brian Mosholder, who had a close victory battling with Jose Bermudez in the quarter final round. Scott unfortunately would have to give it up to Brian in the semi as he broke just past the 60-foot, pushing Brian into the final. Fred Ellis was matched against Jeff Taylor for the other semi-final round. As the light turned green, both racers dumped the clutch and launched for the finish, but by the 60-foot it was all over. Fred just had more power and easily crushed any dreams of Jeff making it to the winner's circle.