The biggest trend in drag racing is pitting the Mitsubishi Evo VIII against the Subaru WRX. These two cars go at each other like a pair of Alpha males fighting for the last spot in the gene pool. As competitive as the action is on the track these two tuning camps seem to get along very well. It makes sense as the cars have so much in common-all-wheel drive, turbo four power plants, done up interiors, big brakes and rally-inspired ancestry. There have been a half dozen or so of these match-ups and 2005 saw them evolve at a quick rate.
The BFGoodrich Street Wars event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park delivered the goods as the only three Evos to dip into the 9s were in attendance along with a few other Diamond Stars with single-digit capability. The usually overmatched Subaru camp was in with a chance as the Big Valley STi from Puerto Rico was shipped in to do battle down the quarter mile.
After the first round the Subaru camp was in dire straights indeed. Outnumbered eight to one, only the Big Valley STi remained alive in the competition. It was soon evident that Rolando Rest and the Big Valley STi were on a collision course with Al Friedman and the Dynoflash Evo.
In the semis it was a battle of Turbo magazine cover cars as Friedman (Evo Envy, October 2004) squared off against Dan Cokic (Firepower, October 2005). A lot less than a year separated these Evos on the track as Friedman prevailed 10.618 to 11.437. That set up the showdown at high noon everybody was hoping for as the Big Valley car dispensed of Paul Placido with a 10.564 in the other semi. The consistently quick STi did not flinch and its 10.620 covered Friedman's 10.800. But Friedman's off pace 116 mph trap speed signaled something was amiss with the Diamond Star. Post race inspection uncovered a split rocker arm.
The crowd, which provided an atmosphere thick with anticipation, erupted like a turbo at full boost as the two combatants left the line and buzz was still palpable many minutes after the race. How big will this rivalry get? With the quality of the cars in question and the quality of the people behind them we expect bigger and better things in 2006.