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Mud Drags - Sept 1st, 2013

I'm back at Kalaeloa Raceway Park within hours of leaving here after the previous night's Stock Car and HulaCross action. It had been a wild and wooley night with all kinds of action and a little carneage to go along with it. This is only the second Mud Drag event here at KRP and the previous one had been during the daytime so it'll be different for/better for the drivers and spectators. Mud Drag racing, being seldomly run is an event combined of Mud Drag Purists as well as some spill over of the spectators and competitors of the Sand Drag series. I see lots of familiar faces as well as folks whom I've never met and vehicles that I've never seen before (which is always refreshing).

There's an awesome sunset developing as the drivers gather at the pit shack for the drivers meeting so I take a quick shot and post it to my facebook page while we wait for the remaining drivers to scurry over. The rules are fairly simple and much like the Sand Drag series except that there is no "tree", rather they are using a simple light that will come on to "go" and someone to observe and flag the winner with a finish flag (grass roots racing at its purest). In the meeting officials explain that there will be four groups; Unlimited, Modified Truck and Jeep, V8 Truck and Jeep and 4 Cylinder. Other groups are announced, but only be filled once the competition grows and classes are needed. Mike Kitchens is announcing today and he calls for cars to come up for practice starting with the Unlimited Class. I find my seat in the spectator stands on the Ranch side of the track which runs West to East across the infield of the oval track. The water truck makes a few more passes along side the 150' mud pit and fills the remaining rutts as best he can and we hear the sound of the Unlimited cars starting up.

Koa Grace is first to the tower lane line in his Sand Drag rail which he's modified slightly at the front end for the mud pit. The front tires are definitely bigger and the front of the car is higher off the ground. As Koa lines up Iwalani Medeiros brings her V8 buggy around the staging lane and takes her place next to Koa in the ranch lane. They rev the engines quickly, put the cars in gear and the starter brings them forward to the starting line to set the light. At the light Koa launches, accellerates hard through the finish line and manages to woe the car up in the shut down lane (although that looked kind of fast and he may have suprised himself). Iwalani was a bit slow to launch, but heck this is just practice and she's probably getting a feel for the car on this track as (from what I know) she is more used to Sand Drag racing.

Bobby Perkins is next to run for a bye-run pass (as there are only three Unlimited vehicles today). Bobby is another Sand Drag regular that wanted revenge after entering the last mud Drag race event and breaking (I think the transmission). Bobby is sporting some smaller front paddle tires, but other than that the truck appears as it usually does. Bobby's pass looked fine although it's a bit hard to see the starting light from where I am sitting so I don't know what his reaction time looked like. The next group is comprised of a mixture of the remaining classes. Buddy Kupau has his 80 jeep ready to get dirty as he lines up against a camoflage Toyota Forerunner in the first matchup but Buddy, usually a tough competitor, was slow at the light with the Forerunner taking the win. The next pair matches up what looks like a pair of 4 cylinder trucks, both Toyotas and they run real close to the point we can't tell who the winner is. What's this? Some kind of an amphibious six wheel drive vehicle up against a Chevy truck and the truck wins handily. Now there are two Chevy Trucks one blue and one black. I've seen the blue truck at the Sand Drags before and it's pretty fast, in fact fast enough to take the win this time around too. Another Toyota lines up against a white Ford truck and this time the Ford wins. More practice runs include a GMC truck against a Toyota, another camoflage painted Toyota against one painted silver, a Toyota truck with a camper against a primer red Toyota truck and a Toyota truck against some 50's looking truck that wasn't running very well and finally the Orange Jeep of Ed Maria and a dark red Jeep who looses to the squirly and quick orange Jeep.

The Eliminations are announced and they start by bringing the Four Cyliders up first with #122 Rob Hussey in a Toyota Forerunner in the tower lane against the six wheel drive #5 Harry Xenitelis in the ranch lane. The six wheel drive truck doesn't have any launching power and the Toyota wins handily. Next up is the #55 of David Ramos against the #239 of Kaika Smith. These are two camoflage painted trucks and it's a close race, but the 55 wins even with the dog cage in the bed. Now we see the gray Toyota truck #63 of Melvin Ige up against the 261 a black Toyota truck. The start is close, but the 63 pulls ahead and gets the win. Marvin Bayangos lines up the Silver Toyota #68 in the ranch lane to to battle against the Yellow Toyota #2 of Pila Hussey and we see a decent light from both drivers, but the win going to Bayangos. Next the primer red Toyota truck #420 of Charles Vierra in the ranch lane up against the #62 driven by Paul Taxeira. Taxeira has the jump and the lead, but the engine breaks up at the top end appearing to give the win to Vierra. I think Vierra may have won that one thanks to Taxeira having a problem. The final pair is the white Toyota truck #53 of Wayne Chu against the Camoflage painted Toyota Forerunner #237 of Tyrone Wilson. The white Toyota takes the win and moves on.

Now they run the V8 Truck and Jeep class first round of eliminations. First up is the pair of #51 Isaiah Thomas driving the gray GMC truck against the #11 of Wayne Waiolama in a white Ford truck. The Ford gets a big jump, but can't find second gear when it's time to shift essentially handing the win to the GMC of Isaiah Thomas. Mark Levi in the Blue Chevy truck # 187 gets a bye run and only needs to cruise down the track to the finish line, but in traditional form Mark lays it down making a smooth, fast pass. The truck looks really good and just made for the mud.

It's time for the Modified Truck and Jeep class and first to the line is the blue Chevy truck #010 of Chad Bush up against Ed Maria in the Orange Jeep #8. The 010 takes the win while Ed Miara saws at the wheel with the truck going left, right, left right under accelleration and under breaking, fortunately able to keep the Jeep under control. Now it's Buddy Kupau's turn in the #80 jeep up against the #939 driven by Kaipo Naeha. It looked as though Buddy had the better launch at the start and was able to hold on for the win. Tommy Bacos brings the #911 red jeep up to the line for the final pairing in this class against the dark red Jeep #70 of Darryl Estocado. Estocado gets a massive launch and gets all kinds of sideways, but manages to hold on for the win.

The Unlimited class is up now and first to the staging lane is Iwalani Medeiros in the 8164 up against the 1122 of Koa Grace, but Koa Gets his car lined up first, stages first, leaves first and gets to the finish first. Iwalani had a hard time getting the car lined up and something strange happened during her run as she ended up backwards in a half spin as she came across the finish line. It's a bye run for the white Toyota truck of Bobby Perkins. He picks the ranch lane and gets a good launch and run looking ready for the final.

They'll run the next round of Modified truck and Jeeps next and up to the line come the blue Chevy truck #010 of Chad Bush against the purple Jeep #80 of Buddy Kupau. Chad gets a massive launch and is sideways down the track, but fairly easily defeating Kupau's Jeep. There's a bye run for Tommy Bacos in the red jeep # 911 which is uneventful and he'll meet up with Bush in the final. A few grudge match races are run in a short break prior to the final round of the Unlimiteds.

The final round Unlimited match up is the white Totyota truck #7902 of Bobby Perkins against the rail #1122 of Koa Grace. Perkins gets the launch, but the power and speed of the rail piloted by Koa Grace is too much and he gets caught and passed just before the finish line.

There's a short break and some hillarious foot races for varying age and gender groups that keep the crowd entertained while drivers and crews prep the cars and get lined up for the remainder of eliminations. In the first race it's kids from 4 to 10 years old and there are about 8 of them all shoeless. I didn't get any names, but some shirtless 8-year old looking boy won this one. Next is the 13-17 year old group made up of two with shoe and two without shoe entrants. No shoes seems to be the way to go as a shoeless runner wins again. They get 8 men to line up and at the last second explain that they will need to run backwards which proves to be quite entertaining with many of the entrants falling down. They are only able to get three women to line up at first, but after a bunch of coaxing from friends and fans we end up with six women who they divide into three pairs who careen down the muddy track only to have the leading pair fall 10 yards from the finish and the crowd goes nuts.

There are three more rounds for the 4-cylinder class. The #122 of Rob Hussey gets past the #55 of David Ramos in the first match up and he'll go up against Melvin Ige in the #63 who managed to beat the #68 of Marvin Bayagos in their 2nd round match up. The #420 of Charles Vierra beat Wayne Chu in the #53 to the line so he'll get a Bye-run into the final round. Round 4 and final round of the 4-Cylinder class sees Rob Hussey's Forerunner against the Toyota truck # 420 of Charles Vierra. It was a really close race, but Hussey was able to squeeze by before the finish and the win.

For the Modified Truck & Jeeps, the red jeep of Tommy Bacos lost out to a photo finish against Chad Bush...it ended up being a pretty incredible race for both of them.

I'm looking forward to the next event and only hope that we can get a few more racer's and classes out there and if you haven't checked out KRP yet maybe you too!
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