In round one, the HP Civic posted the quickest e.t. of the round at 9.15, and all the favorites advanced except for Kenny Tran, who ran a slow 10.15 against Marty Ladwig's 9.91.
In the second stanza, Callos got back to his 8-second habits, blasting an 8.93 in his Casrol Syntec Integra. Ho Lung proved consistent, running a 9.14 to win against Jennifer Williams. Sav Leone pulled a 9.44 on Ladwig and his Sunfire, which suffered converter problems. The most entertaining round two race was between Mortensen and Angela Proudfoot.
Proudfoot had blown two head gaskets in qualifying and was going to call it a day when she learned her first round rival, Mike Crawford, was not going to make the show. Her crew hurriedly swapped out the gasket and made the first round pass unopposed to collect some cash. When Mortensen suffered a broken CV joint in the burnout box, Proudfoot was in with a chance and decided to push it. Despite being heavily wounded, the Venom Civic staged a .890 reaction time to Proudfoot's .914, but as the Venom Civic began pulling from side to side, Proudfoot edged away, running a 13.20 to Mortensen's 15.81.
The semis pitted two hot drivers against each other when Callos and Ho Lung heated the hides in the burnout box. What a race it was. HP Racing fogged their Civic for the first time ever and the nitrous proved to be a touch too much for the H22A Prelude powerplant, which let go near the end. The HP Civic still put up an impressive 9.25 at 154 mph. Callos ran a 9.10 and took a three-car lead into the finals. Once again, Proudfoot was facing the gallows as her semifinal opponent, Leone, had a 9.44 and a 9.66 under his belt. But his Civic started leaking fluid after the burnout and Proudfoot advanced on a solo pass.
Callos screamed to an 8.87, collecting the big money in the Hot Rod final. The seas parted in Moses-like fashion for Proudfoot, who didn't face a healthy car until the finals and walked away with a handsome pay of her own.
Street Tire had only four competitors and it was clear there would be a familiar pairing in the finals-Mark Mazurowski and the Titan Motorsports Supra, and Ari Yallon and the Rotary Performance RX-7. The Titan Supra was the favorite, having strung together 9.42 and 9.72 passes in the qualifying and first round. In the finals, Yallon red lit and had driveline problems. The Titan Supra marched to victory with an authoritative 9.24. As this issue goes to press, Rotary Performance is testing a 20B three-rotor for use in Yallon's RX-7. The rest of 2002 should be a real dog fight.
The burgeoning All Motor class continued it impressive 2002 season. Points leader, Jesus Padilla, continued his stranglehold on the class by blasting a 10.53 in his 3-rotor RX-7. Padilla is making the most of his time as next year his 20B will be banned from the class. It came down to a shootout between the top two qualifiers, Padilla and Scott Mohler in his FWD '98 Dodge Neon. Mohler's 10.78 was an outstanding effort but not enough to beat Padilla's 10.32.
The Maple Grove event embodied all the high and lows of classic drama. Threatening weather, bullies pushing the peasants out of the way, and clutch performances aplenty. The intensity in the series should increase substantially as we head down the stretch of the 2002 season.