Once again, another Nissan rivalry came to as the next competitors took to the start box. Jon Shaffer lined up aside Pablo Cabrera, both cars powered by a naturally aspirated Chevy LS; though Jon’s 240sx was an S14, Pablo’s an S13.
The Spacious Garage S14 took to the front first. Due to the even playing field and characteristics of both Chevy-powered Nissans, neither had a clear advantage over the other coming out of the gate. The Nissan S-Chassis’s remained close to each other throughout the first few corners, up until the hairpin. Cabrera, looking to gain even more proximity, oversped across the hairpin’s first clipping point, swinging wide and taking out a few cones. This mistake cost him dearly, as it gave Jon an opportunity to slip away and break off Cabrera’s grip.
Cabrera took the mantle of leading next, unable to break away from Shaffer in a similar fashion. Spacious Garage S14 hot on his heels, Cabrera simply seemed ensnared in Shaffer’s trap if there were one, unable to break off and run away. Because of this, Shaffer didn’t make a similar mistake to Cabrera, thus enabling him to keep and even enjoy the proximity seen in the first half of the run.
Shaffer took the win, moving on to the final four.
Next was yet another Nissan chassis line-up; Tony Cisneros versus Meliton Villamor.
Tony led first, his torque advantage allowing him to break away from Meliton in the smoke. Despite the pattern of breakaways coming to a close upon the hairpin’s entrance, the distance was simply too great to be made up with a well-cued dive bomb into the horseshoe corner, leaving the advantage to Tony.
Thus, the TriSpeed S14 took the lead role for the next run. Despite a great initial run-away from the blue 240sx, Tony Cisneros was hot on his heels with an expert dive on the hairpin, snuggling his Chevy-hiding front end right to Melliton’s quarter panel throughout. The door to door was even maintained as they left the hairpin; a typical breakaway point for the lead car.
Cisneros took the win, meaning he’d soon battle Shaffer for First and Second place.
Before that was to happen, however, Third place had to be determined between Pablo Cabrera and Meliton Villamor.
Cabrera took to the lead first, the raw, unadulterated torque of his Chevy LS enabling him to break out of the starting box and carry a six-car-length gap to the first initiation. However, due to a well-timed dive-bomb and sheer determination, Meliton was able to halve the distance by the time both cars crossed the finish line.
Thus, Meliton was handed the lead role for the next run. His time in the lead began great, getting the launch on Cabrera off the line and running away in an attempt to hold the distance. However, Cabrera was quick to catch up with his torque advantage. Combined with the divebomb to Meliton’s door, the pressure made him crack. A brake lock turned to a straightening-out from the TriSpeed car, the V’s Performance car spinning out in order to avoid colliding.
As Pablo’s Third Place was cemented, the battle for First began brewing in the start box.
It was yet another dual of Nissan S14s, this time the stakes were only higher: Winner of this battle would be taking the top spot on the podium tonight.
Cammed idles loped through the track’s grounds as Jon parked in the lead car’s partition of the start box, both burly Chevy LS engines roaring away moments after.
With the stakes, there was no room for error allowed in the minds of either driver. Hence, no breakaways happened off the start, Cisneros’s amazing follow run ensuring near door to door proximity throughout the entire course. It’s worth mentioning I noted possible mirror contact in my notes following the hairpin’s first apex. Cisneros’s close-follow strategy paid off upon exiting the hairpin, Shaffer unable to break away even there as door-to-door proximity was held and maintained up until the ride back up the bank.