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Rotary Power Strikes at Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals
Submitted by K.W. Hanna on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 4:51am

Lox, Fla. local Borges earned his first career Top Qualifier Award to lead a full field of competitors in the Modified category. Borges, driving a 1997 Mazda RX-7, covered the distance in 8.429 at 159.88 during the last run of the last qualifying session to edge out Ken Scheepers’ 8.581 at 159.17 clocking from an earlier qualifying session for top honors.

A large RX-7 presence was felt in the Modified category with four of the nine qualifiers running rotary power. (results below)


1) Carlos Borges, Lox, Fla., '97 RX7, 8.429 seconds, 159.88 mph
2) Ken Scheepers, Flower Mound, Texas, '05 RX8, 8.581, 159.17
3) Paul Efantis, New Maricet, Md., '03 Solara, 8.649, 118.04
4) Luis Ferrer Jr, West Palm Beach, Fla., '98 Celica, 8.657, 152.41
5) Carlos Perez, Orlando, N.J., '83 RX-7, 8.719, 151.20
6) Frank Muntx, Hialeah, Fla., '96 Toyota, 8.772, 148.63
7) Ali Afshar, North Hollywood, Calif., '05 WRX, 9.234, 153.37
8) Justin Humphreys, Mount Airy, Md., '03 GS300, 9.439, 105.93
9) Jose Ortiz, Deerfield Beach, Fla., '91 RX7, 10.004, 117.44

Rotary Power also commands respect in the Honda Tuning All Motor class where we find the RX-7s of Jesus Padilla and Angel Valentin trailing just tenths of a second behind the impressive RSX piloted by Shawn Hiller. Good job, maybe next weekend guys! (results below)


1) Shawn Hillier, Encino, Calif., '04 RSX, 10.126 seconds, 131.23 mph
2) Jesus Padilla, Kissimmee, Fla., '85 RX7, 10.143, 130.22
3) Angel Valentin, Kissimmee, Fla., '85 RX-7, 10.642, 124.25
4) Scott Mohler, Frederick, Md., '98 SRT4, 10.647, 123.81
5) Scott Kelley, Anaheim, Calif., '69 Fastback, 10.719, 126.01
6) Vince Tiaga, Glendora, Calif., '05 Mazda, 10.766, 128.27
7) Adam Franzetti, The Colony, Texas, '04 Civic, 10.822, 126.01
8) George Matuszek, Longwood, Fla., '95 Civic, 11.199, 120.77
9) Tony Shagday, Newark, Calif., '04 RSX, 11.981, 77.55

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Final Round Details from Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals
August 22, 2005 - 6:13am

Padilla and Scheepers win their classes, take home wins for rotary power!

Scranton, Padilla extend victory records at Palm Beach Sport Compact Nationals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Scranton (Pro RWD) and Jesus Padilla (Honda Tuning All Motor) both won their respective classes Sunday at the inaugural Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals to increase their status as the most prolific race winners in NHRA Xplod Sport Compact history with 13 victories each. Shaun Carlson (Pro FWD), Ken Scheepers (Modified), and Gary Gardella (Hot Rod) also added to their career win totals by winning their respective categories at the seventh of the 11 races on the $2.1 million NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series.

Hot, humid weather mixed with sporadic but brief showers challenged competitors for a second consecutive day at Moroso Motorsports Park. While the conditions kept competitors away from any record setting runs, close competition was still the order of the day as all five pro categories featured exciting finals. In addition, with the exception of the Pro FWD category, the other four championship classes final round matchups featured a same-manufacturer pairing.

The Pro RWD category final not only featured two Toyota Celica’s, but it also was an all-Florida final between Sunshine State locals Scranton and Brad Personett. Scranton, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., and Personett, of Orlando, Fla., were both looking for a victory to ensure maximum points gain on category points leader Matt Hartford. Scranton’s Ride Revolution Celica stopped the timers in 6.764 seconds at 209.01 mph while Personett’s Titan Motorsports Celica was eliminated when Personett left the starting early and was disqualified, nullifying his time and speed of 6.868 at 207.66.

“We had a great weekend,” Scranton said. “My team really busted their butts in this hot weather to get us this win. My folks were here to watch it. The Ride Revolution Toyota Racing Development/Garret Turbocharger Celica has been on a rip lately. We’ve run some local races over the midseason (NHRA Xplod) series break and it really helped to sort things out. We’re looking forward to go to Indy (Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series) put on a good show for the fans and show them what these sport compacts can do.”

Scheepers drove to the stripe first in his 2005 Mazda RX-8 against Carlos Perez’s 1983 Mazda RX-7 to claim victory in an all-Mazda Modified class final. Scheepers’ starting line reaction time advantage (345 R/T to .479) allowed his 8.976 at 148.98 performance to edge Perez’s quicker but losing 8.853 elapsed time. The victory was the first in the Modified class for the Flower Mound, Texas native, who was the runner-up in the 2003 All Motor class final championship point standings.

“I have to thank all my fellow racers and friends who told me to take a step back,” Scheepers said. “It sure has paid off. When we debuted this RX-8 at this same track back in April, it was clear we weren’t ready. Taking a big step back and taking small steps forward has obviously paid off for us.”

In the Hot Rod category, Gardella and Ron Lummus were paired against each other for an all-GM Ecotec final. In an extremely close finish, Gardella’s 0.091 reaction time at the starting line compared to Lummus' 0.117 helped his Ecko Unltd. Dupont Hot Hues Chevy Cobalt finish ahead of Lummus’ Garret Turbos Pontiac Sunfire 8.014 at 173.91 to 8.016 178.81. The victory gave Gardella, a native of Jackson, N.J., his second straight event title and his third of the season.

“It was another hot weekend,” said Gardella, who also was the only Sony Xplod Top Qualifier of the event to make it to the winner’s circle. “We’re on a win streak and we’re going to try our best to keep it going. I have to thank our sponsors – people like Ecko Unltd,. Dupont, Red Bull, and County Line Autobody for making this happen week in and week out. With their help we’ll hopefully keep the wins coming.”

In the second all-local, same-manufacturer final of the event, the 1985 Mazda RX-7 of defending Honda Tuning All Motor category champion Padilla finished ahead of Angel Valentin’s 1985 Mazda RX-7 for his record-tying 13th career NHRA Xplod Series win. Padilla, of Kissimmee, Fla. tripped the timers first with a pass of 10.146 at 130.73 to finish ahead of Valentin’s slower 12.536 at 75.40.

“Everyone was struggling,” said Padilla. “The humidity and temperatures were bad. I was lucky that my car was working all the way to the finals – it was strong all the way. The win is special because not only because Moroso is my home track, but it keeps me tied with Matt [Scranton] as the one of the winningest drivers in the (NHRA Xplod) series. There’s no feeling in the world like winning and I want to thank all my supporters who made it possible – my wife, my kids, my friends, Jericho Transmissions, Mazdaspeed, NGK, Microtech.”

In Pro FWD category competition, Carlson drove his Mopar SRT-4 to a career-best time 7.639 at 183.41 to finish ahead of current points leader Ed Begenholtz and his Mazda6, which stopped the timers in 8.157 at 182.07. The win is gave Carlson, a resident of Alta Loma, Calif., his second career Wally event trophy.

“We did it, finally,” Carlson said. “It took a lot of custom fabrication, R&D, and hard work to get here but the car is going to work from here on. It took awhile though, and we thank Mopar for sticking with us. We’re excited – we think this SRT-4 has what it takes to possibly be the first FWD car in the sixes (under seven seconds).”

The 2005 NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series continues with the first-ever contesting of the Pro RWD category at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S Nationals, August 31 – Sept 5, at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indianapolis. The regular NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series season resumes when all five championship classes are contested at the ninth race of the '05 season, the NHRA Las Vegas Sport Compact Nationals, Sept. 9–10, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas.


Sunday's final results from the Inagural Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park. The race is the Seventh of 11 in the $2.1 million NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series:

PRO RWD -- Matt Scranton, Land O Lakes, Fla., '04 Celica, 6.764, 209.01 def. Brad Personett, Orlando, Fla., '04 Celica, foul.

PRO FWD -- Shaun Carlson, Ontario, Calif., '03 SRT-4, 7.639, 183.41 def. Ed Bergenholtz, Santa Ana, Calif., '06 Mazda, 8.157, 182.07.

MODIFIED -- Ken Scheepers, Flower Mound, Texas, '05 RX8, 8.976, 148.98 def. Carlos Perez, Orlando, N.J., '83 RX-7, 8.853, no speed.

HOT ROD -- Gary Gardella, Howell, N.J., '05 Colbalt, 8.014, 173.91 def. Ron Lummus, Anaheim, Calif., '05 Pontiac, 8.016, 178.81.

ALL MOTOR -- Jesus Padilla, Kissimmee, Fla., '85 RX7, 10.146, 130.73 def. Angel Valentin, Kissimmee, Fla., '85 RX-7, 12.536, 75.40.

SPORT FWD -- Hector Davila, Deltona, Fla., '92 Honda, 10.358, 137.90 def. Fernando Reves, Orlando, Fla., '00 Honda, 10.838, 143.86.

SPORT RWD -- Chris Gore, Plantation, Fla., '95 Supra, 11.940, 101.27 def. Scott Davis, Orlando, Fla., '03 Evo, 12.466, 104.54.

STREET STOCK -- Chris Dye, Colorado Springs, Colo., '02 RSX, 13.115, 108.09 def. Ramon Ruiz, Miami, Fla., '92 Civic, 13.345, 102.54.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Final round-by-round results from the Inagural Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park, the Seventh of 11 events in the $2.1 million NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series:

PRO RWD: ROUND ONE -- Brad Personett, Toyota Celica, 6.850, 205.52 def. Stephan Papadakis, Honda Civic, 8.795, 114.57; Matt Hartford, Chevrolet Cavalier, 6.839, 199.86 def. Ara Arslanian, Solara, 6.962, 205.66; Matt Scranton, Celica, 6.911,201.56 def. Henry Garcia, Lexus, foul; Vince Fourcade, 7.320, 193.29 def. Vinny Ten, Nissan 350Z, foul; SEMI FINALS -- Scranton, 6.706, 214.28 def. Hartford, 7.204, 157.78; Personett, 11.383, 73.26 def. Fourcade, broke; FINALS -- Scranton, 6.764, 209.01 def. Personett, foul.

PRO FWD: ROUND ONE -- Shaun Carlson, Dodge SRT-4, 7.607, 183.89 was unopposed; Ed Bergenholtz, Mazda, 19.572, 35.44 def. Jerrold Rhodes, Honda CRX, broke; FINALS -- Carlson, 7.639, 183.41 def. Bergenholtz, 8.157, 182.07.

MODIFIED: ROUND ONE -- Ken Scheepers, Mazda RX8, 8.965, 149.62 def. Ali Afshar, Subaru WRX, broke; Carlos Perez, Mazda RX-7, 8.676, 155.17 def. Luis Ferrer Jr, Toyota Celica, broke; Frank Muniz, 19.120, 55.71 def. Paul Efantis, Toyota Solara, broke; Carlos Borges, RX7, broke def. Justin Humphreys, Lexus GS300, 0.000, no speed; SEMI FINALS -- Perez, 14.001, 91.86 def. Borges, broke; Scheepers, 8.563, 156.93 def. Muniz, broke; FINALS -- Scheepers, 8.976, 148.98 def. Perez, 8.853, no speed.

HOT ROD: ROUND ONE -- Ron Lummus, Pontiac, 8.464, 167.00 def. Kenny Tran, Honda, 12.474, 79.48; Mike Crawford, Dodge SRT-4, 9.126, 154.34 def. Stephanie Eggum, Honda, 9.047, 164.68; Gary Gardella, Chevy Colbalt, 8.054, 174.96 def. Junior Espinal, Honda Civic, 10.356, 129.32; SEMI FINALS -- Lummus, 8.084, 180.03 def. Crawford, 8.979, 157.97; Gardella, 7.995, 174.48 was unopposed; FINALS -- Gardella, 8.014, 173.91 def. Lummus, 8.016, 178.81.

ALL MOTOR: ROUND ONE -- Scott Kelley, Volkswagen Fastback, 10.570, 127.37 def. Vince Tiaga, Mazda, broke; Angel Valentin, Mazda RX-7, 11.332, 111.55 def. George Matuszek, Honda Civic, 11.701, 117.75; Jesus Padilla, Mazda RX7, 10.095, 131.11 def. Tony Shagday, Accura RSX, 18.345, 42.39; Adam Franzetti, Civic, broke def. Scott Mohler, Dodge SRT4, broke; Shawn Hillier, Acura RSX, 11.347, 77.96 was unopposed; QUARTERFINALS -- Hillier, 10.233, 130.69 def. Kelley, 10.499, 127.53; Valentin, 10.811, 122.63 def. Franzetti, broke; Padilla, 10.095, 131.11 was unopposed; SEMIFINALS -- Padilla, 10.094, 131.36 def. Hillier, 10.249, 130.00; Valentin, 13.644, 110.11 was unopposed; FINAL -- Padilla, 10.146, 130.73 def. Valentin, 12.536, 75.40.
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