Toyota Motorsports Englishtown preview

Toyota drag racers look for historic runs at Englishtown. ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 1, 2003) ? A year ago, Turbonetics Toyota Celica racer Matt Scranton made import drag racing history with the first 200-mph run with a pass of 202.55 mph at Old ...

Toyota drag racers look for historic runs at Englishtown.

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 1, 2003) ? A year ago, Turbonetics Toyota Celica racer Matt Scranton made import drag racing history with the first 200-mph run with a pass of 202.55 mph at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Last October, in the track's second event of the season, Ara Arslanian broke the six-second barrier in his Street Glow Toyota Solara, also a first in import drag racing history. Eventually, his teammate George Ioannou set both the Pro RWD (rear-wheel drive)-class national ET (6.939 seconds) and speed records (195.96 mph) in an identical Toyota Solara.

This weekend at the Nitto NHRA Sport Compact Spring Nationals, May 3-4, the three will be among a group of Toyota-powered drag racers looking to make more history at the high-speed Englishtown strip.

"It was a great accomplishment to be the first to reach the 200-mph barrier," said Scranton, half of the Scranton Bros. team duo. "My brother and I are hoping to keep up our winning streak and maybe reach some new milestones. Englishtown is the place to do it."

Scranton is riding an 11-race winning streak after taking the opening round at Moroso Park in West Palm Beach, Fla. He will have his work cut out for him in the ultra-competitive Pro RWD class against Arslanian, Ioannou, and Grant Downing. Scranton swept the Pro V8- class season in 2002 on his way to an undefeated championship. In 2003, his Turbonetics Toyota Celica is powered by a Turbonetics/TRD twin-turbo 5VZ V6 after the V8s and Pro V8 class were discontinued.

The New Jersey-based Bullish Motor Racing Team duo of Arslanian and Ioannou will be defending their October race win on their home track. They currently sit fourth (Ioannou) and fifth (Arslanian) in the Pro RWD championship points standings behind Scranton.

"Englishtown is special to me because I made the first six-second pass last fall," Arslanian said. "It's also our home track, and we hope to duplicate our success from last October."

Downing, driver of the Venom Racing Toyota Tundra, was the second import racer in history to reach 200 mph, and the first with a non-V8 engine, when he did it last year. The 2002 Pro-class champion is currently sixth in the championship chase in Pro RWD. Downing's turbocharged Tundra also ran a 6.95-second pass at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. "With everyone running fast like Matt, the Bullish cars and our Venom Tundra, I think you could see the top four cars in the 6.8-second range," Downing said.

The Pro FWD (front-wheel drive) will be another hotly contested class this weekend at Englishtown. Veteran drag racing champion Christian Rado will be in his TRD turbocharged 3RZ I4-powered World Racing Toyota Celica. The first race winner in NHRA Import racing history back in 1999, Rado will be pushing for his first win of the 2003 campaign after finishing fourth at the opening event in West Palm Beach. Luis Ferrer, who is third overall in the Pro FWD class, will also be campaigning a Toyota Celica this weekend.

Toyota-powered drag racers in the championship points this year include Brendan Alvarez (ninth in Pro RWD), Jimmy O'Connor (second in the Modified class), Luis Corujo (fourth in Modified), Alex Dieguez (fifth in Modified), and Paul Efantis (sixth in Modified).

Qualifying for the Nitto NHRA Sport Compact Spring Nationals will be on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, while eliminations will be run on Sunday. The race will be broadcast tape delay on Saturday, May 10 at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.

-toyota-

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Series Drag
Drivers Grant Downing , Matt Scranton