It’s that time of year once again where the fastest racers from all over the world meet at Maryland International Dragway for the World Cup Finals: Import vs Domestic. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this storied event and it’s already shaping up to be one of the best ever. There are nearly 400 heads-up racecars on the property and the stands will be full this weekend as racers try to qualify for eliminations on Sunday.
There’s only one word that can describe the first day of qualifying at the WCF: carnage. Racers have been pushing their vehicles to their absolute limits, sometimes the results were personal bests, other times the results have been disastrous. The Jason Miller-prepped track has some serious teeth and it has already claimed the lives of multiple driveline parts. We’ve seen axles break, carbon driveshafts explode, and in Logan Yelton’s case, a transfer case disintegrate.
It was another wild day of racing at the World Cup Finals: Import vs Domestic. The big theme of the day was machine versus nature as many racers struggled with the colder temperatures. There were many instances of race cars having a hard time with the cooler air and not being able to do a burnout, or dying as soon as the driver mashed the loud pedal. The solution required racers to start their cars several times before they even got to the ready line to make sure their engines had plenty of heat in them.
Not all racers struggle with the cold air, several absolutely thrived in it and put up some crazy numbers. The Pro Street Bike class saw several riders run well into the 220 MPH zone, with several dipping into the 230 MPH range. Don Burton laid down a crazy 5.88 ET on a 275 Mickey Thompson radial tire. Not to be outdone, Manny Buginga blistered the track with a 5.75 blast on a 315 radial tire. Both of these passes are potential new world records and could easily be lowered again before the World Cup is finished.
Final qualifying on Saturday at the World Cup Finals got off to a very rocky start. Numerous oil downs, crashes, and other mishaps took up several hours of the day leading to a couple of classes losing their fourth qualifying round. The rest of the day was packed with some amazing runs and high drama as racers did everything they could to push their ticket into eliminations on Sunday.
Qualifying for the Stick Shift Shootout provided some of the biggest highlights of the day on Saturday. Racers like Jonathan Adkins, who ruan his first six-second pass with a 6.97, laid down some impressive passes. The biggest run of the day came from Joel Steel during the night session. Steel absolutely wrecked the H-pattern stick shift record with a 6.81 pass, eclipsing the old record by over a tenth.
There’s nothing like Sunday eliminations at the World Cup Finals. Maryland International Raceway is filled to capacity with passionate drag racing fans ready to cheer on the best racers in the world from multiple racing organizations. There were numerous upsets, plenty of drama, and of course a full day of outstanding racing.
The headlining classes at the 25th edition of the World Cup Finals didn’t disappoint. Manny Buginga absolutely owned the Outlaw vs Extreme class all weekend long. He was low qualifier, reset the quarter-mile radial tire record with a 5.75, and went on to win the event. Small tire veteran Andy Manson has been to the World Cup numerous times in different classes and was finally able to pick up his first event win in Outlaw vs Extreme. NHRA Pro Mod world champion Jose Gonzalez pulled double duty this weekend making some exhibition passes in his ProCharged Camaro, and running in the Warriors vs Tres-Quatro class. Gonzalez made impressive passes in both cars and won the Warriors vs Tres-Quatro class. Mike Cerminaro has teamed up with Bruce Miechle several times to drive Michele’s 2002 Pontiac Firebird. This partnership has led to some big wins, and now the duo can now add a World Cup Finals victory to their resume in X275 vs Hot Rod.