Drag Racing With Austin Hironaka

Last weekend, I got a chance to go watch a drag racing event out in Baltimore, Maryland. The crew I was traveling with was some friends from a local shop out of Tacoma, WA called SpeedFactory Racing. Before we had even left the rental car place, the hood was popped they were lookin for a way to mod the thing.

Modding Rental Van

The event we were attending was the 17th Annual World Cup Finals which was unique in that it was Imports VS. Domestics. We’re talkin Ford Mustangs running head to head with Honda civics, Dodger Vipers with Mazda RX-8s, and so on. I knew I was gonna be in for a treat. Thursday night we made it out to the track and started unpacking the trailer and getting everything ready for the first day of qualifying.

Within the first day of qualifying on Friday, James Kempf and the Speedfactory crew managed to run an insane time of 8.08@190MPH in the Street fighter Civic landing them number 1 qualifier going into Sunday.


Cole Maron put down a clean pass in the first day of qualifying as well and advanced to the finals of True Street with a 9.26@172MPH

And last but not least, Joel Sipes with a new PR in the All motor class with a 10.08@133MPH. He ran a faster pass later that weekend but the track had some faulty equipment that didn’t record that NEW NEW PR.

On the final day of the event, Sunday, it was head to head elimination. Everything needed to work PERFECTLY if you were planning to take home the victory. The day started off with James and Cole both winning their first round but not with a little resistance. James, in the Street fighter civic blew a head gasket and Cole, in the Blue True street civic smoked the clutch. No worries though cause they both advanced and pulled the cars into the pit to get started on the repairs. Within a couple hours, both cars were fixed and rolled to the staging lanes. Second round passes for the day come up with two more wins but not without a broken tranny in the blue True Street car and a completely blown motor in the white street fighter car. Back to the pits we go and this time there is an overwhelming amount of work to be done. Coles car gets a tranny rebuild but doesn’t quite make it back to the staging lanes in time and gets DQ’d and is out. All focus on the Street fighter Civic. 10+ people dive in and swap the motor in the car within 1 hour and 45 mins. The car rolls to the burnout box straight from the pits and its go time. I hope all is right under that hood!


Victory never tasted so sweat!! We all went nuts down on the track and the crowd backed us up! On the the finals we go. Not without getting the car back to the pits first to look over everything and make sure everything was good. However, everything was not good.. There was a massively bent valve in one of the cylinders. 3 cylinders for the final race? No thank you but they did what they had to do. James rolled to the line and made a pass. It wasn’t anything to boast about but we finished the event and it was an awesome journey! The Puerto Rico posse across the way from us took home a victory so they decided to celebrate in the rental van. I don’t blame em!

Thanks to the whole Speedfactory Family! That was F’N AWESOME!!

– Austin Hironaka

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