Call it fate or whatever, but some things never die. Thank God for the internet, the industry has gained even more momentum from the posts and comments that only social media brings. What started out as a statement sparked a new place. My long-time friend and race rival Paul Vikornvongvanich had a drive to create a group on Facebook to bring back the ones who started the Import Drag Racing scene.
Little did I expect it to reach out to so many, but thankfully it did. People started posting up old flyers, photos, and even magazines from the 90’s that we somehow still had. We talked about the good ol days and how things where, and how great it was to do what we did because we innovated and created practically everything we could. In that same group he created, I mentioned it in a post that no matter how the world treats us, how the new racers and new trends come about, we should all be grateful for being part of that era. A time when we actually had patience with building something out of nothing. Spending every dime without committing a crime, just so we can blow some doors off at the street races Friday night. We didn’t truly have guidelines on what to do with most of our cars, because we where mostly the first to do it. The good thing though is that most of us are still alive and well, most of us like myself are still involved in the industry, but regardless it’s always good to talk about the great times.
After 2 weeks, the group had more members, adding people and reconnecting faces with others just started happening. It was just like old times, but now on the internet without us having to leave from home. Lol. It could be age or just straight laziness, but it worked. Paul appointed me as one of the admins, so along with adding members I wanted to connect the people that still make our industry alive today. Cliff Wallace owner and founder of Import Face-Off has been keeping the Import Drag Racing scene alive for some time, with accredited success and ongoing improvement at every event. Import Face-Off has been the place to race, bringing in thousands of people at their one day events across the country. So what better way to bring back some great OG Drag Racers to an event that still runs the blood deep.
Well thanks to Paul, Cliff and several others it happened on March 06, 2016. A Sunday that was suppose to rain out, the weather gods cried it out in the am, but the rest of the day was ours. Covering the event for thefoat.com and M&H Tires I felt compelled to not miss any part of this event. No records broken, or oil-downs, but lot’s of racing, show cars, music, and even a small vendor row. The sun eventually came out and while some of the OG’s where reminiscing about whatever it is they where talking about, the pits had bbq’s and good vibes. The car show had different tastes from lowered and stretched to straight gangsta. Lol. What was even crazier was Stephan Papadakis, (one of the industry’s legends) returning after the weekend before and winning the bracket class. Comes out again and repeats for a second win that gave a lot of the new guys something to learn about. Another Legend, Ron Bergonholtz was back on track behind the wheel of the Wicked RSX, a car built and worked on by a few of the Wicked Racing Crew from the yesteryear’s. A beautiful car, but it was only able to do one run. Ali Ashfar came out with his single digit Camaro and did a few passes, although not an import, but by this day in age who cares, racing is racing. More OG’s came out than I had anticipated like Craig Paisley, Lisa and Gary Kubo came out, Myles Bautista and so many others all came together. It was a beautiful thing, and great to see familiar faces again, especially at the track.
Last but not least, Congratulations to Nalani Whatley a female Racer that won FWD defeating mostly Turbo Cars with a K-Powered N/A CRX. Also to Byron Compita from the Jerry Built Camp for winning All-Motor Pro.
So was the event a success? Absolutely and if it wasn’t for the drive of our OG’s, and the enthusiasts of today, we wouldn’t have great events like this. -Rommel Estrada #dontletoff
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