Import drag racing has been a fast growing sport around the country in the last few years. Most of these cars are equipped with a four cylinder engine and get great gas mileage; not what you would picture on a race track. What usually comes to mind when drag racing is mentioned is either a dragster, which does over 200mph down the track, or a big American muscle car that leaves a cloud of smoke and stripes of burnt rubber behind. No one pictures the little front wheel drive Honda normally seen being driven by high school kids and grandmothers.
The NHRA, or National Hot Rod Association, has its own spot on the strip for import cars called the Sport Compact Racing Series. This series was started six years ago and has shown growth in sponsors, fans and competitors each year. Every year the cars get faster while previous records get broken. The same is true for the IDRC, or Import Drag Racing Circuit. This racing circuit has been around for nine years and also continues to grow each year. And perhaps the most popular race association for imports, NOPI (Number One Parts, Incorporated) is also the largest. It holds NOPI Nationals at the Atlanta Motor Speedway every year and is the largest outdoor compact automotive show. In addition to racing, all of these associations hold car shows and other entertain events at each race. This allows for an even larger draw of fans at each event.
Import cars have become more popular with racing and customizing in the last decade. This may be because of their prices, wide customer base, reliability and the fact that they are easy to work on. Take for example the Honda Civic. It is by far the most popular import car for customizing and racing. Not that the car is fast by any means from the factory. The base model Civic dx comes with a measly 98 wheel horse power. But take this car, which weighs around 3500lbs, drop in a more powerful engine from a Honda Accord and you have a pretty quick car.
Another very popular model is an Acura Integra. Honda and Acura engines and transmissions are interchangeable with one another, which makes for an even larger selection from which to choose. These engines may start out making 190 wheel horsepower, but with a few aftermarket parts can produce upwards of 250 horsepower. This may seem like small numbers compared to bigger muscle cars, but keep in mind these cars weigh less than 4000lbs.
Import drag racing is a new form of automotive entertainment. These cars are drawing a younger crowd, which makes for a whole new generation of car enthusiasts. There are new car magazine, products, websites, racing series and even television shows promoting this new culture. Even car dealerships are tuning in to the import racing world. Some are offering better factory options on the popular models and new models are being made to appeal to the drivers and fans of the import culture.