These Old Photos, NHRA Xplod Series Final October 22, 2006

Here is Ron’s K motor and his experimental intake manifold that made tons more power than everyone else at the time.  I remember he was trying to scare up the money to make the tooling to cast these.  I believe someone eventually stole the design from him or something and now there are a few manifolds on the market that bear some resemblance to the original IPS.  Anyway here is the manifold, the first of the big plenum K motor manifolds.

The rest of the motor was equally impressive. I believe it made something like high 300’s on gasoline out of 2400cc which is still something to proud of years later.  Nowadays everyone runs methanol and super high compression from larger engine combinations and makes well over 400 hp.

Of course, there is the one and only Chris Rado.  His Scion TC was a monster built by the mad scientist Bob Norwood and later refined by Brian Kono.  On this day he was the runner up to the Berganholtz Brothers. Now his World Motorsports organization mostly works on exotic cars and we always use his awesome dyno!

This event was sort of sad to me, all of my friends I went to see did well but I missed the days of the IDRC with interesting cars and enthusiastic fans. I was also amazed at Import Drag Racings meteoric decline in popularity. I think some of it was that the NHRA didn’t understand what was the appeal of import racing but like I said before, that what a whole different subject.

Some of my recollection of the day may be fuzzy so if anyone else can remember details chip in on the comments below.



  1. didn’t import drag racing fall off a cliff when drifting came around? I always thought thats what killed it… to the average level car enthusiast, drifting is much more exciting to watch… and its much easier to convince a gf that doesn’t care about cars to come out to a drift even than a drag racing event. but I mostly came around when the car builds started getting serious and there was stuff to nerd out about.

    I used to hate on drifting cause there’s no time, no clear winner, just depending on a group of subjective judges that are always wrong… in drag racing there’s a time and a clear winner! doesn’t matter how much brown nosing he does with the judges… I hear judges have improved, I don’t really know as I didn’t pay attention to drifting when it was starting out, but James Deane is still obviously favored over everyone else… only time judges hand him a loss is when his car breaks. even when he clearly loses judges still give him another chance by calling an OMT (sorry for the rant, JD’s an amazing driver, but I’d prefer to see him win on his own merit than unfair wins thanks to the judges)

    drifting is definitely more fun to watch than drag racing. I scratch my drag racing itch by watching 1320 vids every once in a while… but drifting is much more entertaining live than in vids… and my own driving I prefer track days, which is incredibly boring to watch… although COTA TA coverage was cool with outside video of the full lap.

    so thats kinda how I saw the decline of drag racing… I don’t really know any of the behind the scenes politics with any of the organizations

  2. Yes, he is really good, and I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve any of the win’s he gets, he deserves most of them… but anytime he does make a mistake, unless its a huge mistake, it more or less gets ignored. the most glaring one I can think of right now was when he clearly lost to Odi and instead of being handed the loss they gave him an OMT to try again.

  3. I really don’t think the judging is intentionally biased. I mean you don’t attend the drivers meeting and are not briefed on what exactly the judges are looking for. Of course, you are right that the judges are not unfailable but that’s one of the reasons why they are three of them and there is a standardized judging criterion that all drivers are briefed on many times over the course of an event.

  4. but they do announce what they’re looking for on the live stream before the event starts… so I do know what the judges are looking for at a particular event. JD just always get the benefit of the doubt while other drivers don’t. In one run they’ll say JD get the win cause despite the fact that he had less speed he had a better line hitting all the clipping points, the next run they’ll say he gets the win because he had better speed despite not hitting the clipping points.
    must be frustrating for other drivers, listening to the judges explanation of why JD won, next run beating JD in that category, just to have the book flipped on him.

    I know judging is hard, I know JD is an amazing driver, I’ll even agree with you that he probably is the best in the world as far as drifting goes. but judge him consistently, to flip the book every time to better suit the run JD just had. And I do think he deserves most of the wins he gets, but he also gets more undeserved wins (and/or OMT’s) than any other driver in FD.

    anyway, import drag racing is cool! 😀

  5. I thought it was Chevy getting in and dominating with it’s unlimited budget that killed it. The corporations took the sport out of it. Which makes sense as it went back underground and is now blazingly fast and exciting again.

  6. I still really enjoy drag racing. It is fun. Even with all the road racing experience, at amateur to pro level, I live my life, a quarter mile at a time.

    I think Ron Bergenholtz is working with a Trans Am team out in Texas.

    1. Pretty sure Bob Norwood did the original build as the Norad Calica and Brian Kono did work on it later, reskinning it as the Scion, I should know, Brian does a lot of stuff for my cars and I am always in and out of his shop.

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