Race Coverage: The 24th Annual World Cup Finals Import vs Domestic

Final Results

The final day of racing at the WCF started off strong with great racing but ended up hitting a series of delays due to a timing system issue. Jason Miller and the MDIR team worked feverishly to solve the issue and ultimately found the culprit, a single wire failed in a 50-pin connector. After the issue was isolated racing resumed and things got interesting in a hurry as the upsets began to pile up in every class.

Outlaw vs Extreme looked to be Isaias Rojas’ to win since he had the field covered by almost two full tenths, but it wasn’t meant to be. During the second round of eliminations, he was taken down by Edward Burgos due to a .541 reaction time. Burgos marched on to the finals where he met up with another underdog Jorge Juarbe. High drama began in the burnout box as Juarbe waited for Burgos rotary-powered RX8 to start and he even opted to give him extra time so they could race for the $30,000 prize. Ultimately Burgos wasn’t able to get the car started and Juarbe made a single pass to take the win.

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Carlos Olivo fought hard during qualifying to put himself in a good position for eliminations and ended up in the fourth spot when the ladders were set. That hard work paid off, plus he was blessed with some good luck and he was able to make it to the finals against Scott Bitzer who himself got lucky with several byes to the finals. When it was time for the finals Bitzer’s luck ran out as he broke during the burnout giving Olivo the win.

 

The X275 vs Hot Rod class was dominated by the domestic X275 racers all throughout qualifying and that trend continued into eliminations. Craig Walls qualified in the eighth spot and began his march to the final round with a series of solid six-second passes. Walls would face Tony Hobson in the finals who fought hard to make it to the final frame of racing. When the tree dropped Walls spun the tires and Hobson rocketed down the track clean and green for the win.

Street Fighter saw some of the biggest upsets during the first round where the top two cars both fell to lower-seeded racers. Defending class champion George Farkouh had to dispatch a slew of worthy foes, including his future wife Val Clements in the first round on his way to the finals. Jacob Conant started out in the sixth spot and found his way to the finals where he was actually on the clock and nearly didn’t make the call when his Mustang wouldn’t start. Farkouh waited for Contant to get his car started but struck the tires and wasn’t able to repeat as Street Fighter champion as Contant made a clean pass for the win. 

The Warriors vs Tres Cuarto class had the biggest variety of cars and combinations at the WCF this year. Jomar Gomex caught a few lucky breaks during eliminations and was able to fight his way to the final round where he faced James Smith in his nitrous-huffing Mustang. In the closest final of the event, Smith ran a 6.75 narrowly beating Gomez’s 6.79 effort. 

In Wild Street, Jonathan Atkins ran over the field during qualifying with his record-setting 7.30 pass. Martin Connelley found himself sitting in the second spot thanks to consistent mid-seven-second passes all weekend during qualifying. The top two qualifiers met in the final round where Connelley was able to get around Atkins with his best pass of the weekend at 7.48. 

 

Jason Hunt set the tone for the Super Street class during the very first round of eliminations when he took down the number one qualifier after qualifying in the 17th spot. Hunt marched his way to the final round where he was set to take on Canadian racer Patrick Pelchat in his Toyota Supra. Hunt gave the race away right at the start going -.095 red while Pelchat ripped off an 8.35 pass.

True Street was dominated all weekend by Joe Fisher and his 2JZ-powered Toyota Tacoma truck. Fisher easily dispatched his first three opponents before he met with Raif Fejzo in the finals. In the final round, Fejzo was dead late on the tree and didn’t have enough horsepower to run down Fisher who cruised on for the True Street win. 

Aweis Adde made the trip from California to compete in the All Motor class and he showed what the west coast was capable of. During the course of eliminations, Adde was a juggernaut resetting the class record multiple times en route to the final round. In the finals, Adde lined up against Teddy Weaver who went -.155 red and handing the victory to Adde. 

The Pro Street Bike class was owned by Jeremy Teasley from the very beginning at the WCF. Teasley set the class record during qualifying with a 6.42 to go number one and he never looked back. In the final round, his opponent Frankie Stotz had issues keeping his bike running and wasn’t able to complete a proper burnout. None of that mattered as Teasley laid down another impressive pass to secure his WCF win.

The EKanoo Toyota Returns With Big Boss Racing

When the EKanoo racing team debuted its 2014 Toyota GT86 it showed it’s potential early and eventually became the quickest import race car in the world. Eventually, the car went up for sale and it made its way to the United States. Juan Melendez from Big Boss Racing drives the car now and he explains how it ended up in its stable of cars.  

“When EKanoo was selling it the first time we approached them to purchase the car but Titan was able to buy it before we could. After that, Titan had the car for a while and ran it a few times before they decided to sell it. We started the negotiation process and things worked out for us to finally get it.”

Racing a car like the legendary EKanoo Toyota can be a challenge for any team because of the car’s complexity. Big Boss Racing was more than ready for what the car brought to the table and is looking forward to pushing it to new levels of performance here in the United States.

“Since we already have experience with high-caliber cars it wasn’t too difficult to transition into this one and get it to go down the track. We’ve made a few changes to the car but nothing really that major, just small items to make it ours. It’s definitely a lot more car for sure but we are just trying to chip away at it,” Melendez says.

At the WCF Melendez is being realistic about what the car is capable of. The team is looking at the bigger picture and wants to use this event as an opportunity to get more laps in and learn how to get the car to perform well on a regular basis.

“The big goal is to make the car consistent and get the car down the track repeatedly. If we can get it to run in the 5.60s we will be happy for sure,” Melendez explains. 

Gidi Chamdi Loves Being The GT-R King

Chasing records in drag racing can be an extremely humbling experience and trying to do it at a high level just amplifies everything. Gidi Chamdi was the first person to crack the six-second barrier in a Nissan GT-R but eventually lost the record. When Chamdi made the decision to come to the WCF his mission was to take the record back and now that he’s done it he’s enjoying every minute of it.

“It sounds just so good to be called the GT-R world record holder, we tried so hard for so long to make it happen so it just feels nice to know we have it now. Leading up to this race we spent a lot of time in Oregon testing and gathering data to help get the car ready. Seeing it all come together here was just amazing since this event is one of the biggest and best in the world,” Chamdi says.

The GT-R is a difficult vehicle to build as a max effort machine due to how complex the driveline is. Chamdi and the team at ETS have put a lot of time into this combination to perfect it and that has taken a lot of passes at the track.

“We actually learned a lot on the first four passes that we made and were able to find something each pass so the next pass would be faster. With this car, data is just priceless and having it is critical to going this fast. We were learning the amount of power the track could take total, how much to give it in the first two gears, and where to bring the power in to get the best performance,” Chamdi explains.

Chamdi has no plans at all to sit back and just leave his new record alone. He wants to keep lowering it and also pick up the MPH side as well. That goal may seem simple, however, a high-powered GT-R is a tricky car to drive and that makes the process interesting for Chamdi. 

“This car isn’t easy to drive because it’s angry all the time, but on occasion, it gives you a good pass and that’s what I got on the record run. Most of the passes I’m fighting the car, it’s’ a violent experience because of how powerful the car is, you just never get used to it. The record pass actually wasn’t perfect because the car broke up in fourth and fifth gear so we want to address that. We want to get the second part of the record, we have the ET and now we want to get the MPH side of it as well,” Chamdi says.

Edwin Burgos Retakes The Rotary World Record 

The Mazda Rotary engine is one of the most unique internal combustion mills ever created and it’s capable of big horsepower when you start tweaking it. Edwin Burgos has owned the Rotary world record in the past and this year at the WCF he was able to retake the title with a 6.08 at 231 in his 20b three-rotar powered RX8. Getting to this point has taken a lot of hard work for Burgos and he’s happy it finally paid off.

“It has taken four years of work to make this happen, it akes the right turbo combination to work with the rotary engine to go this fast. We’ve tried a lot of different things to get the most out of the car and get it to this point. There’s some power left in the car I think and we’re going to try and dip into the five-second zone this weekend,” Burgos says.

Making fast passes in a Rotary-powered car takes a different approach than an engine filled with pistons. Burgos lifts the curtain a bit and talks about what goes into laying down low six-second passes without pistons.

“It takes some different suspension tweaks to get the power down with a rotary and we’ve got that figured out now. With power management the rotary is different than a piston engine because it doesn’t make torque, it’s all in the RPM and horsepower it makes. You really have to rev these engines high and hard to make power while running out the back,” Burgos explains.

Carlos Daud Smashes The Four-Cylinder World Record 

Brazilian racer Carlos Daud is having a picture-perfect WCF that has been filled with personal bests and world records. Daud was able to lock down the number one qualifying spot in Radial vs Modified when he reset the four-cylinder world record on a blistering 6.16 pass at 225 MPH. Daud’s Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built Cobalt is powered by a unique engine that isn’t even available in the United States.

“We use an Opel C20XE that was developed by Cogsworth for GM back in the 1990s. The engine uses a billet block with a cast head and the internals are all custom so it can handle 75-80 pounds of boost. I’ve never dynoed it but based on the data we’ve collected it makes around 1,700 horsepower and the car ways 2,400 pounds. Before this weekend the quickest I’ve ever been 6.31 so setting the record is just truly amazing,” Daud says.

In Brazil, the closest track Daud has to really run his car all-out is over 800 miles away so anytime he can make a lot of laps racing he takes advantage of the situation. When the opportunity came up to make the trip to the United States to race Daud jumped on it and he’s glad he did.

“We have a ranking of the fastest four-cylinder cars in the world and I’m currently sitting in fifth. Ozzy from Orlando Speedworld invites international teams to the FuelTech World Sport Compact Challenge and he asked me to come up to the race at the beginning of the year. It takes about 60 days and a bunch of paperwork to get the car to the United States so I decided that I would l just leave the car in the U.S. so I could go to some other races. We went to Orlando and raced it for the first time on big tires and it ran well. I’ve never been to this race so It was an easy choice to come,” Daud explains.

Final Qualifying

The final session of qualifying were action-packed as racers were trying to improve their position or just punch their way into any of the competitive classes here at the WCF. Outlaw vs Extreme saw Isaias Rojas remain on top with a 5.68 followed by Juan Gomez and his 5.80 pass. Mark Benson still held down the third spot, but after snapping a crankshaft in half the team wasn’t able to repair the engine and were forced to withdraw from the event.

Carlos Edwardo shot to the top of Radial vs Modified after he reset the four-cylinder world record on an insane 6.16 pass at 225 MPH. What made this pass even more impressive is Edwrdo’s previous best was a 6.31 and this is only his second race on big slicks. Eric Laferriere remained in second with his 6.21 pass and Andy Manson followed closely with a 6.26 qualifying effort in the class.

Vinny Palazzolo kept the number one qualifying position in X275 vs Hot Rod with a 6.63 and continued to look like the car to beat this weekend. Carlos Olivio wasn’t able to improve much in the final qualifying sessions with his 6.66 but still recorded the top MPH of the weekend in the class at 220 MPH. Mike Cerminaro moved into the top three of qualifying after his much improved 6.73 effort. 

In Warriors vs Tres Cuarto Gidi Chamdi remained on top with his world-record 6.56 after his GT-R couldn’t stay planted on the MDIR surface enough during the final two sessions on Saturday. Ramon Matos is the only racer close to Chamdi on the qualifying sheets with a 6.64 in the second spot. Keith Rhea rounded out the top three in Warriors vs Tres Cuarto after his 6.66 qualifying effort. 

Asier Torres dominated Street Fighter qualifying and was the only racer to crack into the six-second zone with his 6.87 qualifying effort. Jack Couto finished qualifying in the second spot and was the quickest of the seven-second cars with a 7.12 effort. Michael Hurley stayed right on Couto’s heels during qualifying with a best pass of 7.14 after the final session. 

Wild Street saw Jonathan Atkins stay on top with his world-record 7.30 pass at 196 MPH. Martin Connelley was able to pick up a little bit on the final day of qualifying and finished in second with a 7.48 effort. Yandro Ulloa recorded a personal best 7.51 to make a push into the third spot on the Wild Street qualifying sheets. 

Pro Street Bike saw records broken all weekend long in the near-perfect conditions. Jeremy Teasley locked down the top spot with his 6.42 effort at over 226 MPH. Rodney Willford found his way into the second spot after a 6.50 pass at 219 MPH. After the final session was complete Frankie Stotz locked down third with a 6.58 run at 211 MPH.

Jason Ostrem narrowly locked down the top qualifying spot in Super Street with a 7.99 over Bradley Dillion who ran an 8.00 followed by Jonathan Colon’s 8.04 qualifying effort. True Street final qualifying was cut short due to a pair of crashes but Joe Fisher remained on top with an 8.10 effort. Robert Reinen took the second qualifying spot with his 8.22 and Stuart Lieby in third with an 8.23 pass. In All Motor Ronnie Hackelton stood on his 9.11 record-setting pass to remain number one while Teddy Wever’s 9.22 kept him in second and Maros Olivia stayed in third with a 9.25. 

Mike Cerminaro Goes X275 Quarter Mile Racing

Mike Cerminaro picked up the biggest win of his career at No Mercy 10 winning X275 driving Bruce Meichle’s Firebird. Being able to win at one of the premiere X275 races in the country against the toughest competition was huge and he’s ready to keep the good times rolling at the WCF.

“We came up to the World Cup with the car to have some fun. This car has never been run in the quarter-mile before so we’re sneaking up on the tune-up right now. We are running if further each time down the track to make sure it’s clean and happy,” Cerminaro says.

The work for Cerminaro and the team to get the car WCF ready was actually fairly light. They had to change the gear ratio so it could be ready for quarter-mile combat. The mechanical adjustments are one thing, but Cerminaro has also needed to adjust to running the second half of the track.

“Running quarter-mile is different, it feels a whole lot longer for sure and I can’t wait to pull the chutes. I’m having a lot of fun at this event for sure, it can be a little trying at times, but we are going to get it figured out. The competition is tough and we’re trying to do our best to keep the car fast and together the whole weekend to hopefully bring home the win,” Cerminaro explains.

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