3S 2003 National Gathering Drag Race

July 11th, 2003

Gateway International Raceway (St. Louis)

~85F and sunny with gentle breeze

AWD Quick 8


Gateway International Raceway, it doesn't get much better than that.  The day started out with unyielding excitement anticipating 9 second runs etc.  Many racers and spectators came to the event expecting records to be not only broken but smashed, fueled largely by internet bench racing.  However, few realized until well after the event, that only a couple of the top 10 or so big guns were in attendance racing.  Those being Matt Monett in his "show car", not to be confused with his race car, and Mike Mahaffey in his record breaking orange '94 R/T turbo.  However, Mike's orange beast was far from top shape with a healthy dose of brand new radical upgrades including huge hybrid turbos, a new intake manifold with enough volume to house a small family (sticking through hood), and an AEM swap in the days prior to the event.  Simply not enough time to tune although it did show signs of big power.  AAM also reported difficulty shifting the 6 speed and swapped it right after the event.


So, without Jack Tertadian (overheated engine during overzealous road course encounter with turbo Porsche), neither of GT Pro's drag cars (stuck in broken down trailer on West coast), Terry Bosserman still waiting on parts, Chuck Theiss, . . . the usual cast of names and others, the drags moved on.  I know, excuses, excuses, but how are we supposed to break records unless the capable cars show-up ready to run?  For those that did make it, impressive times were had considering the mods, state of tune, and experience level.


Unlike last years gathering with unlimited qualifying attempts, Gateway dictated only two back-to-back qualifying rounds to make the quick 8 (fair, but unexpected).  This caught several racers that could have made the quick 8 with their pants down.  John Adams and others were stuck in the pits working on their cars.  In total there were 43 cars that attempted to qualify (many using it as a test & tune) with the following 8 making the cut.


Qualifiers - AWD Quick 8


Driver 3S model 1/4 E.T. (seconds) Turbo / Comments
1)  Matt Monett '95 VR-4 11.289 GT 368s
2)  Aaron Eckhart '93 VR-4 11.945 GT 368s (NOS off)
3)  Mike Mahaffey '94 R/T TT 11.954 HUGE Garrett Mitsu hybrid?
4)  Jeff Wong '95 VR-4 Spyder 12.146 TD05H - Big 16Gs
5)  Francis Morice '96 R/T TT 12.213 DR 650Rs
6)  Bob Witmer '93 R/T TT 12.318 GT 355s
7)  Jay Ficazzola '91 VR-4 12.552 15Gs
8)  Dave Netter '93 R/T TT 12.668 13Gs


In each case, the winner is highlighted in white.


AWD Quick 8 - 1st Round


Driver R.T. (seconds) 60 ft (seconds) 1/8 E.T. (seconds) 1/8 mile
1/4 E.T. (seconds) 1/4 mile
1)  Matt Monett 0.270 1.655 7.183 98.64 11.178 122.97
5)  Francis Morice 0.132 1.751 7.804 92.27 12.086 113.19
3)  Mike Mahaffey 0.470 1.960 8.443 90.56 12.474 124.53
7)  Jay Ficazzola 0.398 2.030 8.708 81.91 13.364 107.00
2)  Aaron Eckhart -0.222 1.921 8.026 87.89 12.276 111.73
6)  Bob Witmer 0.093 2.151 8.665 85.50 13.103 113.24
4)  Jeff Wong 0.133 1.724 8.061 85.70 12.350 117.56
8)  Dave Netter 0.430 1.776 8.038 86.46 12.625 107.72


As expected, Matt Monett advanced over Francis Morice.  This despite Francis running a new personal best ET just shy of 11s, enough to advance against any of the other first round racers.  Matt's 1.655 short time and 11.178 ET would be the quickest recorded during qualifying and eliminations (although Matt would improve his times after eliminations).




Just as Matt took out one of his customers in the first round, Mike Mahaffey did the same with a victory over Jay Ficazzola.



Bob Witmer advanced thanks to Aaron Eckhart (DSM 2002 winner - 3S Quick 8) leaving the line too early.


Looking for picture of this race - Aaron's white Stealth has purple racing stripes with a '99 wing and front end conversion with big FMIC.  Bob's '93 dark blue Stealth has a Wings West "Super Style" wing and some murals painted on the hood etc.. (car #20T & #11T)  please email pic to twinturbo@comcast.net


Lastly, Jeff Wong's big 16G Spyder pulled strong during the last 1/8th over Dave Netter (aka dirty Dave).  So in all 4 races, the white car lost.


Looking for picture of this race - Jeff Wong has the black Spyder (seen below) and Dirty Dave has a stock looking first gen Stealth.  Bob's car is pictured below racing Jeff Wong.  (car #12T and #41T)  please email pic to twinturbo@comcast.net


AWD Quick 8 Semi-Finals


Driver R.T. (seconds) 60 ft (seconds) 1/8 E.T. (seconds) 1/8 mile
1/4 E.T. (seconds) 1/4 mile
1)  Matt Monett - - - - - -
3)  Mike Mahaffey 0.108 1.870 10.718 58.95 16.339 87.08
4)  Jeff Wong 0.043 1.862 7.841 97.87 11.918 122.74
6)  Bob Witmer 0.473 1.948 8.245 81.34 12.947 106.81


The Sportsman's Ladder (1 vs 5, 2 vs 6, etc.) paired up AAM and Dynamic in the 2nd round.  Unfortunately for Matt, he stalled his car while adjusting his clutch foot (car in gear) just after staging.  Instead of restarting while Mike Mahaffey staged, he tried to get the starters attention.  While rolling down the window and waving, Mahaffey finished staging and the green light signified the beginning of the end for Dynamic.  Matt watched from his stalled car as Mike completed his 16 second run for the win.



The other semi-final race saw Jeff Wong trip the quarter mile beam in under 12 seconds, a first for a Spyder and enough to defeat Bob Witmer.  Look at Jeff's R.T., very impressive but nearly handed Bob a second free pass.



So it would be Mike Mahaffey against Jeff Wong in the finals.  The #1 & #2 qualifiers took themselves out with a no start and red light (anything can happen in heads-up drag racing).


AWD Quick 8 Finals


Owner & Vehicle R.T. (seconds) 60 ft (seconds) 1/8 E.T. (seconds) 1/8 mile
1/4 E.T. (seconds) 1/4 mile
3)  Mike Mahaffey 0.578 1.784 7.884 89.89 11.976 124.80
4)  Jeff Wong 0.233 1.793 7.720 99.03 11.723 124.68


Mike Mahaffey, defending champ, was expected to win even though Jeff's Spyder had posted a better ET for the day.  Jeff, not one to fold under the pressure, ran yet another personal best and didn't give Mike enough track to catch him.  Jeff beat Mike by .345 seconds off the line and another .253 seconds down the stretch for a victory by .598 seconds.  Despite launching the big turbos with a respectful 1.784 short time and gaining 35 mph over the last 1/8th, Mike Mahaffey fell short.  1st place honors belong to Jeff Wong and his black Spyder.




After finishing all the bracket races and Quick 8s (AWD & FWD), the lanes were opened back up for test & tune / grudge matches.  Matt Monett ran several low 11 second passes including an 11.089 @ 125.92 mph in his full weight "show car".  Several minutes later (hot lapping) he ran an event best 126.20 mph trap speed.  Matt owned the track with the fastest dozen or so slips of the day in his pocket.  Barring stalling at the line, nothing finished ahead of him including a supposed "9 second" supercharged Mustang that first dropped it's blower pulley, fixed it, and came back only to damage his engine while trying to keep up.  Other fast 3S cars made some passes including Jim Juliff's GT 368 powered Stealth with an 11.71 at the hands of Brian LaFuentes (GT Pro).  It was good to see GT Pro once again driving a 3S (more promised to come).


So, no records were broken (unless you count Spyder records).  The fastest US 1/4 ET stands at 10.787 (Mike Mahaffey - AAM) and Zesty GTO retains 10.561 world record.  But compare the Quick 8 with last years field and you'll see that despite many 'no-shows', we are making progress.  Last years #3 qualifier wouldn't have made this years quick 8.  2002 NG Drags  With that said, everyone expects better times than we witnessed at the gathering in the coming months as cars are completed and tuned.  The NG drag race was just one out of 365 days this year, we've got lots of ground to cover.


Many thanks to Alan Sheffield and my GF, Laura Jolly, for the pics.



Last Updated: 07/19/03 09:35 AM

Created July 16th, 2003