The luckier noobs of the sport compact world will get reminded, now and again, of the Honda dominance that once ruled the drag strip. It comes mostly from old windbags of the scene (like some of the crusty editors around these parts) who have been known to get nostalgic about how Civics and Integras once choked the staging lanes.That time probably looked a little like Pomona did over the weekend of October 21st and 22nd.
Visitors to the Auto Club Raceway probably wouldn't have guessed it at first, given how many ghastly Scions were in between the gates and the grandstands. But those who found their way trackside were treated to a weekend's worth of memorable Honda battles.
Leading the charge, and in a somewhat poetic twist, the Honda Tuning All-Motor class had a grand total of 7 Hondas qualify (out of 11 qualifiers) for Sunday's pro elimination rounds. Three of the four top spots went to the gentlemen who were sitting atop the point standings: leader Jeremy Lookofsky, who qualified 4th; Norris Prayoonto, who earned the 3rd spot and sat over 100 points behind Lookofsky; and Prayoonto teammate Saul Salceda, who qualified first for Sunday and sat some 90 points back of Norris.
The weekend was Salceda's. He powered his '00 Clutchmasters/IPS/Omni Power/Eneos Integra past Scott Kelley's Corolla in the Quarters, went uncontested in the Semis, and won the class with a 9.573 at 141.18mph against Leslie Durst-Armendariz, who red lit in her tC. The showdown pitted the #1 qualifier against the #2 qualifier, and the win is Salceda's 3rd Wally of '06. Talk about drama.
Saturday and Sunday may have belonged to Salceda, but Jeremy Lookofsky owned the class in 2006. He successfully campaigned the DVS Drag Cartel Civic to wins in Denver and Las Vegas, 5 runners up, 3 #1 qualifiers, and set an All-Motor national speed record at 141.89mph in Atco, NJ. By the time eliminations rolled around, Lookofsky knew he had enough points to secure the championship without a win. He was summarily dispatched in the Quarters by Prayoonto's Clutchmasters/IPS/Omni Power/Eneos Insight.
Bisi Ezerioha was also making heads turn in All-Motor, both for his speed and the rare NHRA appearance. He and his Torco/Bisimoto.com Insight got as deep as the Quarterfinals before he was done in by Durst-Armendariz.
The biggest story of the weekend, though, had to be Stephanie Eggum's. It's no secret the Hot Rod class pilot has driven the hell out of her un-sponsored Civic coupe this year, and she faced a tough climb on eliminations day.Qualifying 8th, she first got past Chuck Seitsinger's Alternative Motorsports hatch, which fouled in round 1, and Eric Del Rosario's Integra, which broke in the Quarters. Receiving a bye in the Semis, she would end up squaring off against class rival Ron Lummus in the Final. Eggum won posting a blazing 7.973 seconds at 180.77mph. "It was the best race of my career," she was overheard saying.