In Honda Tuning All-Motor barrier breaking was at the forefront as well. The mission; be the first NHRA all-motor car in the nines. Rising star Leslie Durst made a statement rolling off the trailer and blasting a 10.001 at 134 mph. The top five qualifiers were Durst (10.001), Ken Scheepers (10.215), Scott Mohler (10.218), Jack Sacchette (10.228) and Bisi Ezerioha (10.261). This was one of the fastest all-motor fields ever as the slowest car posted an 11.35.

In eliminations, Durst dropped a 10.155 on number 16 qualifier, Lo Vang. Mohler and Scheepers, who are in a tight points race, also advanced. In round two, Sacchette and his '64 Beetle joined the battle for the 9s with a smooth 10.091.

Then Durst made history with a 9.934 at 134.99 mph, becoming the first NHRA All-Motor racer in the 9s, setting the NHRA record in the 9s and becoming the quickest All-Motor spec import.

In the semis, the two title contenders battled the quickest cars in the class. In the first pairing, Mohler's nice 10.31 couldn't beat Durst's amazing 10.011. The next pairing was Sacchette and Scheepers; if Scheepers won, he'd be class champion, but if he lost, Mohler would be the champion. Sacchette's 10.14 was too much as Scheepers slowed on the top end. In an anticlimactic money race, Sacchette red-lit on a 10.08 pass, giving the win to Durst.

Over in Modified, Vinny Ten ruled the day. The Queens, N.Y., native made the most of his first West Coast trip. His JZA80 Supra has been the dominant force in the class late in the season. Vinny reeled off a 7.871 to qualify first and 7.851-, 7.833- and 7.725-second e.t.s in eliminations to take the win. Vinny needs a sponsor, and we want to see more of him here so step up, sponsers!

In Turbo Magazine Hot Rod, the top five qualifiers ran 8s. The ladder was topped by class champion Marty Ladwig (8.648) followed by points runner-up Mike Crawford (8.764), Sav Leone (8.809), Bruce Mortensen (8.812) and Gary Gardella (8.861). In eliminations, Ladwig kept the 8s flowing until he encountered trouble in the semis. In a meeting of champions, both cars were wounded and Ladwig outlasted 2002 champ Mortensen to advance to the finals.

Ladwig faced number two qualifier Crawford in the money race. After getting a good jump, Crawford's Mopar Neon came to a stop and there were flames under the car. He'd chucked a rod through the block while Ladwig exorcised his demons and laid down an 8.89 for the win.

The 2003 season was a wild ride and the NHRA record book suffered quite a beating. The 2004 season should be even more exciting, with aftermarket trannies approved for use in Hot Rod and some wicked Pro FWD cars going together. We'll be out there, too. Check Backpressure (pg. 114) for the 2004 NHRA and NDRA schedules.

PRO RWD George Ioannou
PRO FWD Nelson Hoyos
MODIFIED Cesar Febus
HOT ROD Marty Ladwig
ALL-MOTOR Scott Mohler