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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Congratulations to the 2001 IDRC World Champions

By Michael Ferrara

Hartford, Hoyos and Ford: 2001 Toyo Tires IDRC Pro Class Champions -- First Pro Class Domestic Sport Compact Rocks the Import World in 2001. Congratulations to driver Matt Hartford, team owner Nelson Hoyos and Ford Motor Company for winning the 2001 IDRC National Championship in the Toyo Tires Pro Class. The team finished with 591 points, nearly double the points of runner-up Efren Vazquez in his Team Toyo Mazda R-100. The team also had double the number of appearances of most of the field with a total of eight.

For the past 20 years, Domestic manufacturers have passively stood by and watched their market shares in both the youth and sport compact segments dwindle away to Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. While it was a frustration to the Big Three, Ford was the first to domestic manufacturer to successfully launch a counter-offensive. In October of 1999, the Ford Focus hit the U.S. dealerships and shortly after it was a top-10 seller.

While the Focus hit the consumer target from the start, the marketing team of Ford realized that long-term success would depend on the perception of the Focus brand. When it comes to perception of an automotive brand, there is no better outlet than successful Motorsports participation. While NASCAR is the King of all American Motorsports, it doesn't provide an outlet for a sport compact. Taking a look at the NHRA, it was obvious that the average age of the fans was two or three decades above the Focus buyer.

Beginning in 2000 and carrying into 2001, Ford Racing Performance Parts made investments in a number of racing teams campaigning the new Ford Focus platform with the IDRC and other import and sport compact event producers. In 2001, Matt Hartford and Hoyos Racing delivered an incredible return on their sponsor's investments with an IDRC National Championship.

"A brand-new platform and a new racecar came out of nowhere, rewrote the record books and captured the national championship in its debut year. While its V6 engines was controversial, it helped the industry as a whole by accelerating the development of V8 and three-rotor powerplants from the competition," says IDRC's National Director Michael Ferrara. Ferrara went on to say, "2002 rule revisions will require the Hoyos team to build a new engine to fit the rules. Even with this hurdle, we believe the Hoyos Racing team will be one of the favorites for the 2002 championship. "

Speaking of favorites, the importdrag.com on-line poll had the Hoyos Racing Focus winning the popularity contest among all Pro Class racers by a distinct margin. Hoyos finished with 28-percent of the vote to Puerto Rico's Jorge Lazcano (Nissan 300ZX) with 19-percent.

For the 2002 season, the Hoyos Racing team will join the other top Pro teams in the world for the IDRC biggest and best season ever. The most publicized and covered import and sport compact series in the world will produce 15 events at nine of the country's best tracks. The richest and most competitive national championship will combine with three divisional championships to provide all of the racers the best program for the racers. For the fans, the IDRC has expanded the IDRC experience to now include the SR-1 Team Drag Challenge, the AV-1 Audio Visual contest, expanded manufacturer's midway, a performance parts swap meet and a Dyno Tuner challenge (at select events). This is in addition to the world's largest people's choice car show the Meguiar's Movement One showcase.

Brent Rau Edges Out Crawford for the IDRC 2001 Nitto Tire Turbo Magazine Quick Class Championship -- Final Tally Has Rau Win By Just Seven points. Congratulations to driver Brent Rau and the Osofast racing team for winning the 2001 IDRC National Championship in the Nitto Tire Turbo Magazine Quick Class. The team finished with 700 points, just seven points ahead of Mike Crawford and the Phatridz Neon team, and only 100 points ahead of Gary Gardella and the Ecko Unlimited/DC Sports Civic.

Consistency and persistence were the keys to Rau's 2001 victory. While Rau only visited the winner's circle once during the year, he could be found in five final rounds during the 2001 season. Rau also had 11 appearances at IDRC events during the season. The team's associate sponsors Thermal R&D, Extreme Motorsports, ACT, Venom, and GReddy Performance Products helped to support the team on its quest for the championship.

The Nitto Tire Turbo Magazine Quick class is the original heads-up racing class for imports and sport compacts and it has also been the most competitive class since its inception. During 2001, 103 different racers competed in this class from coast to coast. Four racers stood above the rest and were in contention for the championship going into the 2001 Nitto Tires International Finals. Brent Rau, Mike Crawford, Gary Gardella and Sean Glazar. Unfortunately, only three of the four contenders would appear at the finals. Sean Glazar and his Extreme Motorsports Talon missed the opportunity to compete at the finals when repairs could not be completed. The Talon suffered extensive damage from an engine fire that occurred on November 11th in San Antonio.

For the 2002 season, the Osofast Racing team will join over 100 Quick class contenders for the IDRC's biggest and best season ever. The most publicized and covered import and sport compact series in the world will produce 15 events at nine of the country's best tracks. The richest and most competitive national championship will combine with three divisional championships to provide all of the racers the best program for the racers. For the fans, the IDRC has expanded the IDRC experience to now include the SR-1 Team Drag Challenge, the AV-1 Audio Visual contest, expanded manufacturer's midway, a performance parts swap meet and a Dyno Tuner challenge (at select events). This is in addition to the world's largest people's choice car show the Meguiar's Movement One showcase. Ten new season begins on Saturday, February 23rd, 2002 at Los Angeles County Raceway in Southern California. Join us, and experience history in the making.

Papadakis and AEM/GReddy/Toyo Tires/DVS Drag Civic---the 2001 Toyo Tires IDRC Pro Class Champions -- Last Year's Runner-Up Defeats the Best for This Year's Championship. Congratulations to driver Stephan Papadakis, the Papadakis Racing Team, Honda Motor Company and associate sponsors of the quickest and fastest front wheel drive in the world. The team finished with 595 points, 111 points ahead of runner-up Carlos Montano and his Pepe Loco rotary-powered Datsun 1200. This was enough to secure the 2002 IDRC crown in the Apex Integration Outlaw Class.

During 2001, Steph campaigned the Civic at IDRC and NIRA events. While Steph easily captured a victory in the FWD-only class of NIRA, Steph faced his stiffest competition of the year in the IDRC's Apex Integration Outlaw Class. Not only was Steph up against the front-wheel-drive rockets of Apex Integration and Chris Rado, he also faced the rear-wheel-drive, back-half powerhouses of the likes on Craig Paisley, Vinny Ten, Pepe Loco and others. In many ways, this was the epitome of accomplishments for the high-horsepower Honda, as it repeatedly shut down the competition with five wins in as many appearances. Additionally, the Civic also set a new IDRC class mph world record with a 180.00 mph pass at the IDRC's Long Horn Nationals.

For 2002, the IDRC expects the Papadakis Racing team to continue a successful campaign in the Outlaw Class. The race is on to see who will be the first Outlaw into the 7s. The Papadakis Racing team is one of the favorites to break the barrier while Vinny Ten may also be a major factor thanks to a rumored switch from automatic to 5-speed.

For 2002, Honda will also be backing show-car-star-turned-racer RJ DeVera and his Acura RSX Outlaw program along with import legend Adam Saruwatari and his Pro Class NSX and new Civic Si. The most popular brand in import and sport compact drag racing looks to be well represented in 2002.

According to Operations Director Wayne Kiang, "In 2001, the manufacturer support provided by Ford, Toyota and Mazda was very well received by our racers and fans. We hope that Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, GM and Dodge follow suit for the 2002 season to provide their customers, past, present and future, with support within our events. The best way to build loyalty for your customers is to reward them for choosing your vehicles. A contingency award of just an extra $500 from the manufacturer goes a long way to the heads-up and bracket racers in our series."

For the 2002 season, the Papadakis Racing team will join the other top Outlaw teams in the world for the IDRC biggest and best season ever. The most publicized and covered import and sport compact series in the world will produce 15 events at nine of the country's best tracks. The richest and most competitive national championship will combine with three divisional championships to provide all of the racers the best program for the racers. For the fans, the IDRC has expanded the IDRC experience to now include the SR-1 Team Drag Challenge, the AV-1 Audio Visual contest, expanded manufacturer's midway, a performance parts swap meet and a Dyno Tuner challenge (at select events). This is in addition to the world's largest people's choice car show the Meguiar's Movement One showcase. It all begins on Saturday, February 23rd at Los Angeles County Raceway for the ACT West Coast Nationals. This will be the biggest season opener ever with a projected attendance of over 15,000 fans to catch the first look at the new combinations for the 2002 championship season.

For More information, visit www.importdrag.com or contact the IDRC:

IDRC, Inc. 
21405 Brookhurst Street 
Huntington Beach, CA 92646 
(714) 593-0280 

 

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