HDay zMAX Dragway 2015

HDay hits the road!

By: Daniel Affatato

I arrived at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina in awe. This place was massive. I have been to a lot of drag strips and this was clearly the Mecca for a reason. Seeing the 4 lanes wide track will leave you wondering “Why doesn’t every track have this?” The pits had some of the top names gearing up for competition. Cole Marmon, Joel Sipes, Scott Coman, Reed Chapman, Robert Mapps, Shawn Ramey, Wes Spry, Darell Hodges, Vincenzo Degiovanni, David Campos, Josue Eschavarria, Cesar Olin, Chris Miller, Ivan Ortiz Reyes, Joe Viveros and Nelsito Aleman made up the SFWD Class. Loan Nguyen Prayoonto, Julio Facuchai Ng, Tim Grey, Cody Novak, Donnie Scott were all fired up with their All Motor class cars. Jonathan Reynolds, Luke Wilson, Eric Medina and Josh Klein rounded out the Pro Stock class.

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Normally held twice a year, the New Jersey based event usually at Englishtown and Atco took its show to the world renowned zMax Dragway in North Carolina on June 13th and 14th. This track is best known for its 4 lane wide drag strip mainly used for pro NHRA showdowns. Javier Ortega and his OGS1320 crew are no amateurs when it comes to BIG events. They have over 20 years of experience so you can believe that this event was going to be nothing short of amazing.

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These events are packed with drag racing, show cars, lifestyle stage (which is crazy all day) and a vendor midway which is flooded with some of the industries top companies. Make your way over to the pit areas and see some of the worlds fastest Hondas/Acuras preparing for battle. The bleachers being so massive allowed for a unique experience of show-cars and vendors underneath within the shaded areas.

The index and bracket classes also bring on a ton of exciting racing. One driver actually ran his car in two classes and had it so dialed in he won both of those classes. I always enjoy the Si shootout and seeing these newer chassis Civics getting to stretch their legs.

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Norris Prayoonto had 5 cars to manage this weekend, 2 pro stock, 2 all motor and 1 SFWD - you can guarantee to see Norris and his team at every HDay.

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The 4 Piston Racing crew was excited to run their newest Pro Stock RSX creation as well as their Pro Stock Honda Insight coming all the way from Indiana.

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In the SFWD class Shawn Ramey was firing up his EK civic coupe for its maiden voyage down the 1320, this car has gone over a major overhaul with no corners cut.

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TD Autowerks/BelaK Industries was in the pits with a spectacular EG hatch build from Miami to throw down in the SFWD class.

Reed Chapman was coming off a fresh win from another event. Wes Spry was practically in his backyard, he definitely had the home court advantage. Last minute surprise had to be Chris Miller jumping in the driver seat of the TAE Auto SFWD Civic from Tampa- yeah, they were ready for some action too. Cesar Olin, Nelsito Aleman and Ivan Ortiz Reyes, hailing from Florida as well, had their turbo cars ready for the heat. David Campos driving the Clutchmasters civic for Prayoonto Racing made the trip from Virginia and Joe Viveros came all the way from Connecticut.

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Cole Marmon and Joel Sipes from Speedfactory came from the farthest away, Tacoma, Washington. Cole already won HDay Atco earlier this season.

Tim Grey had made the trip from New Jersey where he is a regular at HDay events in the All Motor class. You would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated racer. Loan Prayoonto had her ear buds in and her game face on ready to pilot her Driveshaft shop Civic to her second HDay win of the season after taking home the W at Atco earlier this season.

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Julio and the Shanghai guys came all the way from the Dominican Republic to race the RUN BC All-Motor Civic, these guys are fast and a ton of fun!

Cody Novak in the TAE All Motor car, this guy is coming for it, once the car is dialed in I have a feeling it will be right up there with the top competitors.

This event was shaping up to be something special and the heat was grueling on this weekend with track temps over 130 degrees. Each round of qualifying the cars continually went quicker as teams and tuners made adjustments. Jonathan Reynolds won the Pro Stock Class after flying down the track running a 8.9 second pass at over 150mph in his Honda Civic built by Prayoonto Racing. In the street All Motor class, Loan Prayoonto took the win while running a 9 second pass- which in the heat of the weekend, she was the only to do so in her class.

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The drag racing portion of the event capped off with two back to back, four lane wide passes with 8 of the 16 car SFWD field lining up! This was the first time any import/Hondas lined up 4 wide! Both 4 wide passes were hair raising to see- history was made. Over 4,000hp of pure Honda Power ripping down the track at the same time, now that is something I will never forget. Once the SFWD action unfolded, the 4 winners of the quarter finals were Chris Miller, Cole Marmon, Shawn Ramey & Joel Sipes. They all won their quarter final rounds with a 8.7 second pass against their competitors.

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Joel Sipes and Chris Miller faced off in the finals. With the adrenaline pumping going into the last race and some great heads up racing already in the history books these cars were ready to throw down one last time. Both cars had a mean start and it was anyone's race. About mid track Chris Miller had a transmission issue and Joel Sipes went sailing down the track in his BlackWorks Racing Civic to take the win.

 

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If you know anything about these HDay events, at event they host a car is given away. Not just any car, a fully customized Honda or Acura. This event's project was nothing short of fantastic. They went all out and swapped a K series into a 6th gen Civic coupe with all the fixings you could want, custom bumper, custom engine bay, custom wrap, custom interior and fresh wheels among other things. K-tuned, Hasport and many other great companies jumped on board all for one lucky fan to win at the end of the weekend. There's only one way to win these cars though, you have to be there.

 

Javier and his OGS crew nailed it bringing the show on the road to a new location. The North Carolina community really seemed to have fun and a lot of NY/NJ fans made the trip down to support the event they have grown to love. Not many can throw an event like this based around single car manufacturer, but OGS has done it multiple times a year and has fans continually asking for more! HDay seems to provide something for all forms of the Honda/Acura enthusiasts; whether you like race cars or show cars you can guarantee the best of the best will be out at these events.

Aaron Gaghagen on Email
Aaron Gaghagen
Multimedia Editor at VTEC Academy
Aaron Gaghagen is a veteran video editor and longtime Honda enthusiast. All told, he’s owned seven of them, and has enjoyed every single minute of wrenching on every single one. Except for that automatic one. That was probably a mistake. In 2010 Aaron teamed up with Brian Gillespie who along with another partner launched Nacho Speed Garage, a venture that capitalized on Aaron’s video expertise to do its part in entertaining and educating the Honda masses. Nacho Speed Garage took everything to the next level. Instead of reading magazines and cruising forums for content, Aaron and Brian were generating it themselves. The demise of Honda Tuning magazine in 2014 was the impetus for Aaron to do something even more impactful, though, which led to the creation of VTEC Academy and aims to carry that Honda torch forward in the same spirt of not just Honda Tuning but Nacho Speed Garage.