The Street Glow Extreme Rush is an opportunity for import racers to drop the hammer at traditional, domestic Powerade NHRA events.
That's right, four and six-cylinder turbocharged import draggers share the limelight with Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, running in their own exhibition classes. The imports are from the NHRA Summit Racing Sport Compact Pro FWD and Pro RWD classes and the competitors are selected by their points standing in the SC series. This was the second and final Extreme Rush event for 2003 and after the success at the Route 66 event, the imports hoped to convert more domestic fans at the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.
In Pro RWD, Stephan Papadakis and the AEM/Driver FX Honda Civic unleashed a shock-and-awe campaign that would make the Pentagon stand and take notice.
On a day when the current king of Pro Stock, Greg Andersen, qualified atop the ladder with a 6.826 at 203 mph, Steph blasted a 6.753 at 206 mph. George Ioannou and his Street Glow Solara pounded out a 6.823 at 203 mph. Imports had the top two spots in the category. In other six-second news, Abel Ibarra put his K&N Filters RX-7 in the sixes with a stout 6.952 at 199.46 mph. Abel has been at the threshold a number of times; it's good to see him get it done on the Powerade stage. Next stop the 200-mph Club?
Naysayers of imports would say, "You're quick, but can you last for rounds?" Steph answered in one of the most impressive performances ever seen from an import. The AEM Civic dropped 6.748 (206.23), 6.733 (205.80), 6.775 (206.46) and a best-for-last 6.711 at 207.46 mph on the crowd. The fans have taken noticed of these imports and you know the Pro Stock racers are aware of the situation. Greg Andersen won the event with a 6.807- you can connect the dots from there.
Not all of the Pro Stock racers like being challenged by these newcomers. Warren Johnson seems to be one of the detractors. In a public address system interview, he didn't think much of the imports as they made their exhibition passes. When George Ioannou clicked off a 6.814 at 206, The Professor was asked what he thought of that. He turned and stormed out of the room.
In an ironic twist, Johnson's cars and the Street Glow Solaras were scheduled for a photo op. Ara Arslanian has long wanted to race Warren in the first import vs. Pro Stock showdown. Rumor has it that a four-car shootout-George and Ara vs. Kurt and Warren Johnson may go down in 2004. The likely venue? Englishtown.
The cars in Pro FWD weren't on top of their game. Christian Rado did well to qualify with an 8.377 at 164 mph, Lisa Kubo ran an off-pace 8.766 at 125 mph, and Nelson Hoyos and Shaun Carlson suffered from mechanical demons. Jarrod Silvers ran in the 8.90 range all weekend and took home the win.
Will the Extreme Rush be back in 2004? We're not sure. These imports may be getting too quick.
|PRO FWD QUALIFIERS |
|1. Nelson Hoyos ||GM '03 Cavalier |
|2. Lisa Kubo ||Saturn Motorsports '03 Saturn |
|3. Jarrod Silvers ||'03 Honda |
|4. Jerrold Rhodes ||'89 Honda |
|5. Shaun Carlson ||Mopar '03 SRT-4 |
|6. Ed Bergenholtz ||Mazdaspeed/Boost Racing '04 Mazda 6 |
|7. Chris Rado ||World Racing '02 Celica |
|8. Charles Madrid ||Bergenholtz Racing '89 Honda CRX |
|PRO RWD QUALIFIERS |
|1. Abel Ibarra ||K&N Filters '00 Mazda RX-7 |
|2. Matt Hartford ||Summit Racing '02 Cavalier |
|3. George Ioannou ||Street Glow/Bullish Racing Solara |
|4. Ara Arslanian ||Street Glow/ Bullish Racing Solara |
|5. Stephan Papadakis ||AEM Racing '03 Civic |
|6. Matt Scranton ||Turbonetics Racing '03 Celica |
|7. Craig Paisley || Paisley Racing '02 Tacoma |
|8. Manny Cruz ||'71 Mazda R100 |