Bullish Motor Racing was a force to behold at the K&N Filters Sport Compact Nationals, held June 15-16 at Maple Grove Raceway just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania. The truth of the matter is the entire Pro class is off the chain. At the 2001 race in Pomona, the Escort Drag Racing 300ZX put the sport on its ear with a 7.45-second winning e.t. in the finals. To illustrate how far this class has come, that effort would have put the Nissan fifth in the field.
At Maple Grove, qualifying was marred by rain. George Ioannou and his Bullish Solara were on top with a 7.18 at 188.62 mph, followed by Grant Downing and the Venom Tundra at 7.25, and John Lingenfelter at 7.30. Jorge Lazcano was fourth with a 7.35 in the Contreras 300ZX, and Abel Ibarra, running a 13B in his K&N RX-7, nabbed fifth with a 7.58. Jose Torres (Siguel Racing RX-7), Manny Cruz (Duttweiller V6 Cougar) and Chanito Vazquez (La Licenciado Conquest) rounded out the field.
In the first round, the Venom Tundra experienced an internal intercooler failure but was lucky to make it to the line. Grant Downing cut a .931 light on the way to a 7.59. His adversary, Manny Cruz, cut a quick .443 light and blasted a 7.66 in his Cougar to take the win. George Ioannou was too much for the La Licenciado Conquest , posting a 7.26 on Chanito Vazquez. Abel Ibarra, temporarily running a 13B until the 20B components log-jammed at his machine shop are finished, had an injector come loose, spilling alcohol on the track and resulting in a Bye pass for Jorge Lazcano. Jose Torres left before the tree was activated, giving the cake-walk to his foe, John Lingenfelter.
In the semis, Ioannou advanced with a 7.30, as did Lingenfelter with a 7.31. This set up a real showdown at high noon in the final. Ioannou got the jump on Lingenfelter and ran an impressive 7.19 at 190.03 mph to the turbo Ecotec four-powered Sonoma's 7.28.
In Modified, the action was intense. The star of the show was the Rosado Racing Corolla, which has continued its accelerated evolution since the season opener in Gainesville (state?). Alex Dieguez hot-shoed the Corolla to a new class e.t. record of 8.050 in the first qualifying run. In round two, the Corolla scattered its Jehrico five-speed tranny. Rosado Racing claimed the Turbo Magazine Midnight Oil Award when the crew swapped out the wounded Jehrico transmission and, with help of Mike Long at G-Force transmission, installed a pieced-together G-Force tranny. It all paid off as the Rosado Corolla showed no ill effects, blasting an 8.13 at 157.98 mph in the first round. Dieguez' opponent, Christian Rado, showed signs of improvement in his FWD Celica as he posted a best-to-date 9.04 at 163.31 mph. The Celica is reportedly putting 791 hp to the ground and the Maple Grove effort shows that the team's suspension tuning efforts are moving the program in the right direction. Stephan Papadakis, who ran 8.32 and 8.28 in qualifications, advanced with an 8.56. Carlos Gonzalez moved on with an 8.29 and Matt Hartford piloted the Paisley Racing Supra to a 9.16, which was enough to advance as Nelson Hoyos and the GM Racing Cavalier experienced trouble in the burnout box.
In the second round, Papadakis earned his pay for the weekend by treeing arch rival, Gonzalez, .451 to .710. Consequentially, Gonzalez' 8.180 was .023 seconds short of Papadakis' slower 8.416. Hartford and the Supra didn't answer the call, so the Rosado Racing Corolla had a Bye to the finals. Papadakis had broken a rod against Gonzalez in the semis so Dieguez got a single in the finals as well. The Rosado Corolla unleashed an 8.091 at 167.07 mph, which put the Toyota in the NHRA record books with the quickest e.t. in the Modified class.
In Hot Rod, the top two qualifiers were in the 8-second club. Bruce Mortensen dropped a quick 8.77 on the field to grab top dog status. Jojo Callos proved ready to rumble with an 8.91. Lance Ho Lung and the HP Racing Civic nabbed the third spot on the ladder with a 9.29.