Woodburn Raceway, located 20 miles south of Portland, Oregon, opened its arms to the traveling adrenaline rush that is the NHRA Sport Compact Drag Racing Series.

Track owner Jim Livingston put it all out on the table when he said during the drivers meeting that Warren Johnson had recently run some awesome e.t.s down the Woodburn 1320, and the track crew had prepped the track with VHT "from wall to wall and start to finish." He also said, "If you're not running good, look at your car, not my track."

While the event held August 17-18 was within the traditional Saturday/Sunday daylight format, the controversy of the night race in Dallas was the talk in the pits. The eye of the storm was the Summit Racing Modified class Cavalier campaigned by John Lingenfelter and driven by Matt Hartford.

The Modified Class involves full tube-frame front drives battling back-halved rear drives. The Cavalier has a modified firewall and tubes running from the firewall to "shells of the stock shock tower" and then to the front of the car. Racers in and out of Modified have called the Cavalier "a Pro car with a steel body."

Regarding FWD-to-RWD conversions, the NHRA rule book states under the Modified Class-Chassis, General heading, "Converted cars may only be backhalved, may not be full tube-chassis, and must retain stock front suspension, original floor pan forward of rear seat, minus 6 square feet for transmission removal, and original firewall."This has traditionally meant little modification from the firewall forward. Good examples would include the Modified Class Supras of Craig Paisley and Venom Racing.

The controversial Cavalier had a hiccup in Dallas, but the writing was on the wall. These fears came to fruition when the Cavalier shattered the existing class record in Woodburn, running 7.93, 7.92 and 7.88, and handled the Modified field with little challenge.

The legality of the car and other political issues could well be addressed by the time this article hits the stands, but we can't stress enough the impact this had on officials and competitors alike.

There was more domestic drama, as the GM Racing Hot Rod class Sunfire was rumored to have a carbon-fiber roof. This seemed to be a weight issue, but if the car is at class weight, then what's the big deal? The truth of the matter is, the Ecotec-powered Pontiac is running in top form. The engine seemed to sputter going down the track in the past, but it now sounds much healthier, backed up by the car's best-ever 9.24 e.t.

There was much to celebrate at Woodburn. Kenny Tran busted into the 8-second club with an 8.94 and the Titan Motorsports Supra clinched the Street Tire title. Kenny made his historic pass on 28x9 slicks, not his usual 10-inchers and his crazy 172.44-mph trap speed dropped a lot of jaws.

To put this speed in proper perspective, Stephan Papadakis ran an 8.37 at 174.35 in the first round; that's only a 1.9-mph difference. The Titan Supra had the only single-digit car in the field and easily covered the competition.

In Hot Rod, it looked like an 8-second showdown between Kenny Tran and Bruce Mortensen. The potential spoiler was New Jersey's Gary Gardella but he couldn't oust Mortensen in the semis, which set up a repeat of the Dallas Hot Rod final.

The Wally went to Bruce and the Venom Racing Civic this time around as Kenny could not hold his Civic on the line and fouled. The win gave Bruce and Venom Racing the lead in the season points race.