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Sat, 22 Sep 2001, 03:49 PM

Import Series Returns to New Jersey
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- On June 17, the drag strip at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park looked more like a swift flowing river then one of the nation's quickest quarter-mile strips as torrential downpours covered the surrounding area.

The roar of turbo boosters and nitrous oxide will again come to life Sunday, Sept. 23, as the NHRA Summit Import Drag Racing Series rolls back into Englishtown for the conclusion of the inaugural Nitto Tire NHRA Import Nationals.

After day one of racing action, Rafael Rivera led the Pro drivers as the Gainesville, Fla. winner blazed the quarter-mile in 7.711 seconds at 168.85 mph. Right on Rivera's heels is points leader R.J. Simrock's Ford Focus who clocked times of 7.738 at 168.35. Rivera will look to hold down the No. 1 spot and knock off Simrock during eliminations to cut into his points lead.

Carlos Gonzalez led the Modified category after Saturday's racing action with a pass of 8.948 at 149.70. Ara Arslanian and his Toyota brought up the rear of the field with times of 12.493 at 79.23. Modified star Craig Paisley will be making his return to the NHRA Summit Import Drag Racing Series following a horrific crash in Gainesville. Chris Rado, currently qualified in the second position, leads the category in the points standings.

Import superstar Lisa Kubo has the No. 1 qualifying spot heading into Sunday's action with her blast of 9.439 at 151.85. Kubo better be on her game because Sacramento winner JoJo Callos is right behind her with his numbers of 9.922 at 143.64. Angela Proudfoot, one of the up-and-coming import drivers on the east coast, is solidly in the field in the fifth spot with her run of 10.300 at 132.09. The likes of Callos and Kenny Tran hope Kubo goes out early so they can take advantage and move closer to the top spot in the Hot Rod points standings.

Team W.R.C. Racing found themselves in the top qualifying spot when they covered the quarter-mile in times of 12.145 at 87.59. Ruben Ramos anchored the Street Tire field with his pass of 16.158 at 91.09. The Street Tire racers were given a break at the Nitto Tire NHRA Import Nationals as points leader Ari Yallon, the only driver to remain undefeated through the first three races, did not attend the event.

Scott Mohler found himself at the top of the heap after qualifying in the All Motor category when he turned times of 11.403 at 118.44. Mohler has a two-tenths of a second advantage on Gainesville winner Cotorres Gee and his blast of 11.604 at 113.22. Gee has a chance to gain valuable NHRA Summit Import Drag Racing Series points on category leader Joel Mandl who chose not to attend the race.

* SCHEDULE: Gates open at 8 a.m. E.T. time trials 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Heads-up qualifying at 11 a.m. Pre-race ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. Final elimations at 2 p.m.

* TICKETS: Tickets are available for Nitto Tire NHRA Import Nationals. For more information contact Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800 or visit

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