Back in 2001 being a 15 year old kid from Minnesota into the Honda Drag Racing scene; I didn’t really have much to go on then reading a Super Street issue about the events out in sunny California. I remember I use sit and think about how it would had been to see Ed Bergenholtz CRX running 9’s for the first time or seeing Stephan Papadaskis’s H22 powered tube-framed civic. As a kid, they were more like dreams being read through magazine pages. Thinking about if I still felt the same way today as I did back then, I can honestly say the excitement is definitely still burning strong. I could never have foreseen the progression of the Honda drag racing scene to what it has come to be known today, since it always felt that in MN we were always a couple of years behind. I have always saw that the “cool” events to attend were always out on the westcoast or eastcoast and being a teenager with no transportation (but the yellow shuttle aka schoolbus), I could only dream of going.
Times changed a lot since then and this past weekend I got to attend one of the biggest gatherings of Hondas in the United States being held in Atco, New Jersey. Honda Day!!! It was easily one of the greatest events I have ever been to as a Honda fan. Everywhere was a Honda….lowered Hondas…JDM Hondas…and many many quick Hondas. This was the event where all the heavy hitters like SpeedFactory and Prayoonto came out to play. I’m not even going to lie, I had butterflies seeing all these drag cars that I have only seen stream across my computer screen. It was one of those moments where you really just had to stop what you were doing and soaked everything up because you weren’t sure when will the next time you’ll be able to attend another event like this. So, I had to make the most of it.
Starting from the show car area, I could clearly see a trend going on. There was a lot of replica rims, but those that carried the legit ones, I had to take a moment to appreciate them. I’m not trying to hate on the reps, but seeing 10 sets of XXRs and a handful of Rotas, you just have to pick and choose the ones that really stood out. Overall, all the cars looked awesome and everyone seemed to be having a great time.
***honorable show car mention***
There was a 2nd gen Acura Integra GS-R in the V.I.P lot that literally had to be the one I remembered the most in the vast field of Hondas. It wasn’t in anyway flashy, but it took me back for a bit. This 2nd gen GS-R easily was the cleanest Integra I have ever seen in my life. It looked as though someone took me back to 92 and rolled it out from the assembly line just for me. It was really a treat to see something so simple and clean, yet received so much attention. There was a constant crowd around the car and I couldn't get the shots I wanted, but it would not have matter much because pictures could not have truly revealed its beauty and rarity. I felt that only an event like Honda Day, can a car like this could truly be appreciated. I’m sure everyone who was in its presence knows exactly what I mean. So, I applaud to the owner for bringing this rare gem out.
The Drag racing…oh, how I love you! I was hypnotized the first time I laid my eyes on SpeedFactory’s cars. I literally felt like I was in Jr. High looking at a girl I had a crush on. My heart started beating fast, palms sweaty, and all I could do was drool and point “dude…that’s the quickest Hondas”. Seeing all these cars that I’ve wallpapered on my laptop in reality was an experience that had to be the closest thing I felt to love (lol). The Honda fanboy in me came out in full force and I couldn’t get enough of it. I almost forgot I had to take photos, but I did my best to look through the lens as well as admiring all the racecars.
I wasn’t use to sitting in the stands at events since I’m usually close to the action snapping away photos, but since I was just a general attendee like everyone else, I got to enjoy some racing. Besides YouTube videos, I have never seen an 8second pass or the high caliber all-motor Hondas, so when I got to see SpeedFactory’s Outlaw Civic first passes hitting an 8.1et, I was breathless. “Wow…did they just really run 8s right out of the gate? Incredible!” was just some of the many thoughts that were circling my mind watching all these races. Of course the first couple of groups that went was doing 14s and slower, but as the morning progress every class kept getting faster and faster.
I have always enjoyed a nice long stroll in the pits because it gives me a more personal attachment to all the teams and cars. Seeing teams working on last minute preparations or just lounging around, reminds me that these guys are just like you and me; guys who simply just love this sport and do it because it’s life. It doesn’t need to get any more complicated than that. I guess when you include sponsors and money, things can get harder for some, but I could sense a different aura from the professionals and regular joes. It wasn’t the big double level trailers to the one truck pulling a flat-bed, but it was in everything. It was how the team carried themselves right down to how the car performed on the track. It gave me a better sense of the different type of levels in this sport.
I couldn’t really hide the fact how excited I was at watching all the races. Lost in a world filled with fast cars and a great environment, I could truly understand what made Honda Day such a great and successful event. It might be the Honda fanboy in me, but I don’t even care because I love the event and hope I can attend more in the future. I just want to thank Honda Day for putting such a great event for us Honda fans and I hope to many many more events.
Another quick mention:
SpeedFactory’s Outlaw broke the 200mph that weekend and became the first FWD Honda to ever do so. Congrats to SpeedFactory and everyone who was running throughout the weekend. See you soon New Jersey!
thank you and be sure to chime in at the JMP Facebook page for more pictures