Efantis, crew push their Supra toward a 10-0 drag season

ON MOTOR SPORTS

October 05, 2003|By SANDRA McKEE

The last time we made a big deal about Paul Efantis, he had won what seemed to be an incredible four consecutive races in the Number One Parts Inc. Race War Series in the BFGoodrich Street Tire Class.

Now he is 8-0.

The last two races of the season will be contested Oct. 18-19 in the Mopar NOPI Race Wars World Finals at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Efantis, who runs an import performance shop in Frederick that specializes in Toyota Supras, has every intention of going 10-0.

"We know what we've got," he said. "I'm not really nervous. I'm just going to do what I've been doing - keep my head focused and don't let my opponents psyche me out."

So far this season, Efantis is the one doing the psyching.

He and his 1997 Supra have set record after record as they have climbed the charts. In the season's first race, Efantis was clocking 165 mph and covering the quarter-mile track in 8.46 seconds. Last weekend, he ran in an Import Drag Racing Circuit-sanctioned event at a record speed of 170 mph in 8.29 seconds, which virtually makes his dragster the fastest Drag Radial car in the world among both import and domestic cars.

His top speed overall was set in a NOPI event at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville this summer at 171.6 mph.

"Basically, we've kind of gotten to the point, winning so much, that we're just racing ourselves," he said of his team's continual push for more power. "Sometimes when you're winning all the time, you can lose your initiative. So we decided to see if we could go faster and faster. We wanted to set goals and keep setting goals.

"One of our biggest highs came in early August when we were invited to the first annual Drag Radial Wars for domestic cars. We were the only import invited, and we won first place and the $5,000 prize. It was a high, not only winning the championship but being the top car among all those Domestics."

Efantis wrapped up the NOPI championship three races ago.

"I've got a little cushion," he said with a straight face, knowing full well he heads to California with a 1,165-point lead over second place, 2,010-845. He said he simply could have parked his car for the last three races and still walked off with the trophy but thought that was unfair to the fans.

"There are tons of fans out there," he said. "People could get disappointed."

So, he continues to spend his own money on this season's efforts and hopes to come to an agreement with a sponsor for next year, when he plans to move up to the modified class. Certainly a 10-0 season - if he can pull it off - won't hurt.

Possible woman's first

Oklahoman Christi Passmore can clinch a Top 10 spot in the final ARCA ReMax Series standings by finishing 17th or better in each of the two remaining races, regardless of what anyone else does, and could finish as high as seventh.

If she does, she would become the first female true rookie to finish in the top 10 of a national major oval-track touring series. The remaining races are Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and on Oct. 18 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

Passmore, 21, is from Pryor, Okla. She ran several ARCA races last season after competing in sprint cars on dirt tracks in the Midwest.

Nuts and bolts

Lowe's Motor Speedway chief executive Bruton Smith said on SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel talk show that if NASCAR would promise him a racing date, he would build a track in the New York City area - a prime expansion spot in the NASCAR master plan.

"[A racetrack] can be made," Smith told host Dave Despain. "If I had the date, yes, I'd build one. I know where I'd build it - somewhere where you could see Manhattan."

Scott Mohler of Frederick will drive his Mopar Dodge Neon in the All Motor category at the second annual K&N Filters NHRA Sport Compact Fall Nationals at Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. So far, Mohler has one NHRA victory - in Las Vegas - this season and four runner-up finishes. Entering this event, he trails All Motor points leader Ken Scheepers by just 32 points.

Marc Bunting of Monkton finished 13th at the Grand Prix Americas in Miami last weekend.

Annapolis motocross star Travis Pastrana finished 16th and 20th in his two Porsche Michelin Supercup outings at Indianapolis. Driving a Porsche 911 GT-3, Pastrana spun several times in his first race and was unable to avoid a spinning car in the second, damaging his car's radiator.

A new James Dean video documentary is being produced and aired on SPEED in 2004. Brooklandville's Lee Raskin, author, early Porsche historian and 356 vintage racer, will co-produce the James Dean segment in association with Alan Bolte and WATV Productions of Los Angeles. The segment will air in 2004.

Baltimore was one of 85 markets to see the live CBS broadcast of the Grand Prix Americas last weekend. One of seven live telecasts of the CART series, the race drew the season's highest ratings; 1.45 million households watched. The network will broadcast 10 events next year.

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