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The SRMS, Auto-X purpse-built, Project ST

Street Racing Illustrated | Behind the Wheel – Mario Ojito; Cars, Coffee, and Racing

SRMS is back like they never left with their Car Meet & Auto-Xing Event; Cars, Coffee, and Racing.

 

Story | Phillip Pratt

Interviewer | Clifton Hernandez

 

Nice S2K Auto-Xing at PBIR Karting track

Nice S2K Auto-Xing at PBIR Karting track

 

Like a phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes, sometimes you have to let something die to build it back up stronger. Street Racing Made Safe came onto the South Florida racing scene like a tidal wave. Starting small at the now-defunct County-line Raceway, the non-profit organization eventually found its footing when it became a fixture at Palm Beach International Raceway (or PBIR). After some turbulent times, things have come full circle for SRMS president and founder, Mario Ojito. He took the time recently to sit down with SRI and layout plans for his new projects, most notably, what we can expect with his new crossing-promoting endeavor: Cars, Coffee, and Racing.

 

Street Racing Illustrated: Tell us, what does the timeline look like? What came first? Cars and Coffee or Auto-X?

 

Mario Ojito: Auto-X came first. I’ve always been passionate about Auto-Xing. It’s been something that I’ve always enjoyed. It definitely lasts longer [in terms of racing] than a quarter-mile. Right there, that’s the selling point [for me]. It’s a bit more technical. I actually did another Auto-X back when we did County-line [Raceway]. We used the other side of the property. I set up a bunch of cones. It wasn’t anything big. Then in 2017, before the “corporate take-over” happened, we did an Auto-X over at PBIR, but then it all stopped after that.

 

SRI: How long did it take for Auto-X to get incorporated into SRMS’ portfolio officially?

 

Mario: We started SRMS in 2011 and we did Auto-X two-years later in 2013.

 

SRI: Is there something else you working towards? I mean between Cars and Coffee and now Auto-X, is there any other cross-promotions you have your eye on?

 

Mario: Oh, yeah. We’re working on something close to downtown Miami. It’s going to have everything. It’s going to be like culture-overload for the car enthusiast market. Essentially what I’m trying to do now is similar to what we did back in 2011. Something that has never been done before. Why? Because Roll-Racing is everywhere. It’s copied by everyone. So now I’m reinventing the wheel.

 

SRI: Do you plan on having a list for Auto-X, similar to the SRMS Top-10 List?

 

Mario: No, because Auto-X has multiple classes. You see, you have SRMS classing and SCC classing. SRMS classing is designed and created for the novice types that don’t want to go through the 125+ classes and standard SCC rulebook. That’s why we created the classing differences. If I were to create a Top-10 List for that, there would have to be a Top-10 List for each class. That’d be impossible. In SRMS, there are already 9 individual classes using the three different drive types (FWD, RWD, and AWD).

 

Mazda Miata eating a turn

Mazda Miata eating a turn

 

SRI: Where did the idea of Cars, Coffee, and Racing come from?

 

Mario: Ok, I’ve wanted to do Cars and Coffee event for some time now and we were able to do that with our partners, CLRDHOT. That’s where Cars and Coffee Key Biscayne came from. They’d been doing it for a while before we came along. I had already been working on the Homestead deal, so that’s where the “Racing” came into play. After that, I made sure our new dates didn’t conflict with the pre-existing Cars and Coffee Key Biscayne dates.

 

SRI: Cars and Coffee meets are more informal. People park and sit around. Very much a culture-thing. How do you want to this particular event grow? More of a relaxed meet-up or more like an SRMS racing event?

 

Mario: Ideally, it’d be more of a mixture of both… So it’d be a mix of the racing crowd with a focus on the purpose-built vehicles and less of the streetcar flying down the track trying to get to end. This allows for a much more diverse market. Not just regular Mustang GT guys with full bolts, but people trying to build all-around vehicles coming together.

 

SRI: You’re looking to get more than just the Test-N-Tune crowd then?

 

Mario: Well the cool factor about Cars, Coffee, and Racing is the fact that the racing is happening just 10 to 15-feet away from where you’re at. So, you’re right there. There will also be a VIP lounge, and VIP stage, so you can go up 20-feet in the air and literally look over the whole track, which is pretty cool. The other cool aspect is… people drive an hour and a half to go to Cars, and Coffee Palm Beach. Instead, for a large part of South Florida, this is only 35 to 45-minutes away. There’s definitely more parking with the 3000 spaces, and then you have the racing. Of course, with a new event, to start off we don’t expect the pack the house, but we’re hoping for the best. Doesn’t really matter, to be honest, we’re going to be there, and what counts the most is consistency. We’re consistent. After January when we hammer everything out, we’ll be moving over to the Speedway, while still holding the [Auto-X] event. We’ll be holding bigger festivals and Homestead Speedway come 2019.

 

AMR Motorplex layout for the upcoming Cars, Coffee, and Racing event

AMR Motorplex layout for the upcoming Cars, Coffee, and Racing event

 

SRI: What can the non-racing attendee, the person just coming to come, expect to see at Cars, Coffee, and Racing?

 

Mario: We’re going to have multiple vendors, we’re going to have food trucks, go-kart rentals at a discounted price, the racing around the track. There’s also going to be a VIP area which will have the VIP cars and stuff like that, not to mention the regular dope cars that come out for South Florida meets.

 

SRI: Is there anything that like a long-term goal? I know you mentioned the coming Downtown Miami event, but what about this one in particular?

 

Mario: I guess, what I’d like to see happen is for this to become a monthly enthusiast festival. You know; kids play areas, different forms of entertainment. But that’s essentially what I’d like to see. Of course, I’d like to see that place completely packed! I’d love to see 3000 cars there but I want to emphasize the racing aspect because it gives people so much more. We’re just trying to make it different than anything else that’s ever been done. The layout of the parking, the way the racing is happening. Everything.

 

“We pioneered Rolling-Racing, and now everybody does it. It’s cool, but now it’s like we’re doing it again…”

 

SRI: So what’s your personal favorite part of the event?

 

Mario: Racing obviously. I’m a racing guy! I love everything that has to do with racing.

 

SRI: Yeah, I remember you jumping into your ST while emceeing the Auto-X event up at PBIR!

 

Mario: Oh, man, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy that! Our first logo was simply “I Love Street Racing”. It’s just something that’s not hidden with me. Though when I drive on the street, I have to set an example. I haven’t street raced since 2009 before I put in an application to become a nonprofit. Going on 9-years now. People have lined up next to me a million times since then, but I’ll never race them.

 

Cars and Coffee Key Biscayne 07.29.2018

The “ILoveStreetRacing” sticker on display at a Cars and Coffee Key Biscayne event.

 

SRI: Is there a car at an Auto-X event that you haven’t seen yet that you want to show up?

 

Mario: Sure, the new NSX. Electric motors, twin-turbo, well-balanced, very lightweight… I’d love to see Joker_NSX come out.

 

SRI: Besides the Auto-Xing, what else are you looking forward to with this event?

 

Mario: The spectator-factor. Usually at a Cars, and Coffee event, what gets people hyped up and breaking necks is people just revving their motors, or someone rolling in with a high-end car. When you show up at a [drag racing] track and don’t run, no one really cars. But in this type of event, you can have fun without worrying about breaking anything. Your high-end car should perform perfectly fine.

 

SRI: Now it comes down to driver skill…

 

Mario: Exactly. Which is why I love Auto-Xing even more. It’s not really about what you drive at this point, but how you drive it.

 

SRI: Do you plan on branching out anymore? Outside of South Florida?

 

Mario: Not sure… we did that in 2017 and really all that ended up happening was us sharing facilities and those track managers turning around running with the concept. Kind of just happy with Florida, right now.

 

A GR Subi making rounds at PBIR Karting track

A GR Subi making rounds at PBIR Karting track

 

SRI: As far as the weather at this event. This is Florida, after all…

 

Mario: This is a rain or shine event. We do not stop Auto-Xing. Of course, it’ll have an effect on people coming out to spectate. We expect the main amount of people coming out will be from 8 AM to 2 PM and then after that, the only people left will be the ones still racing. The only time we have to stop the event is if there’s lightning. If not, we keep running. Auto-Xing actually becomes more fun when it’s raining!

 

SRI: You did something with Auto-Xing up at the BB&T Center parking lot once, considering taking this North?

 

Mario: That wasn’t an SRMS’ event, really. Just something we participated in, but insurance is ridiculous when using sites not regulated for racing. Besides that, I’m focusing on the Miami market, and the Homestead Speedway location and just capitalizing on that. Killing the game there. Everyone else can play catch-up after that.

 

SRI: SRMS is about getting people on the track and off the street. Going back to when The Fast and The Furious premiered and the industry really took off; do you foresee this format of racing doing something similar as you move forward?

 

Mario: No, not like that. I do see an uprising in the market because we’ll be putting it in front of people and changing the perception of it. Giving them a way to see it and giving them a way to enjoy it. I see us one day maxing out and not being able to [facilitate] any more racers, just because we won’t be able to. We’re capped at 120 cars in 4 running groups. We’re trying to offer a minimum of 5 runs a day. But because we’ll be running from 8 AM to 6 PM at night, I think most people will be getting 10 or more runs to start out, which is a lot for $55.00. Compare that to a Test-N-Tune where you’d be lucky if you got 5 runs.

 

It really isn't about what you drive.

It really isn’t about what you drive.

 

SRI: So you want people to come out early and get as many runs as possible?

 

Mario: Well, it’s mandatory. Registration will open at 8 AM, the drivers meeting will be at 9:30 AM and the track goes hot at 10 AM. From there we call the run groups accordingly.

 

SRI: That’s cool. Man, I’m getting this old feeling I used to have when I was a kid. Getting all excited about driving up to PBIR (then, named Moroso) and running my car. I can see this turning into that for people.

 

Mario: It’s an exciting time! We pioneered Rolling-Racing, and now everybody does it. It’s cool, but now it’s like we’re doing it again [with Auto-Xing and our other projects], and I’m getting that same emotion I had, where I’m excited. We’re pushing this beyond the boundary that other people had and I’m going to keep doing it. I’m not going to stop and there’s nobody that can stop me. We’re going to change the face of racing (again). What we’re doing in Miami, what we’re doing at AMR and what we’re going to do Homestead Speedway. I will continue to push the envelope in directions no one has.

 

Cars, Coffee, and Racing inaugural event kicks off 8 AM, August 12th, 2018 at AMR Motorplex in Homestead, Florida. For more information email: info@streetracingmadesafe.com

 

Street Racing Made Safe 03.24.18

Street Racing Illustrated | SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS in West Palm Beach on March 24th, 2018

Story | Phillip Pratt

Photos | Phillip Pratt & Gerry Burke

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | The always fast DentPros 911

 

On a perfect weather night where we saw the return of Rob and his thousand-plus horsepower Supra to Street Racing Made Safe, MPI’s GTR making a 195 MPH pass and Frustrate running something close to eight seconds in his AWD EG hatch; you’d think it was a night the racers and spectators won… but no. With well over 15 broken axels on both front wheel and rear wheel drive cars, the biggest winner was Palm Beach International Raceway’s freshly paved, professionally prepped (perhaps a bit over-prepped?) track. It conquered both the amateur and the experienced, built and daily-driven, leaving some to load up their trailers earlier or call for a tow truck. We all love the action, but racers, seriously… if you drove to the park from a great distance, perhaps it’s best not to dig in the car that got you there? Despite the spattering of hold-ups due to having to push crippled cars off the track, it was still a great night of power. While they weren’t able to get too much into the Dig List Top Ten, I think everyone in attendance did learn a valuable lesson; while building your racecar, don’t neglect your axels.

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | The MPI GTR before it made a 195MPH pass

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Daniel Frustrate lining up for a call-out on the Dig List

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Digs in high demand

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Cousins

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | The view most see of this car

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | MPI GTR sitting scary

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Perfect FWD burn-out. Think it broke too.

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Mustang warming up the rubber

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Beautiful weather

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Rob in the lanes alongside the MPI GTR

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Javi’s RSX

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Lanes were jam-packed

 

SRMS 03.24.18

SRMS 03.24.18 | Some of fastest Bikes in SoFlo

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Street Racing Illustrated | We, the “unsavory” – TX2K18

Harris County officials attempt to sully the intentions of the annual TX2K racing festivities.

Story | Phillip Pratt

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Zachery Muddiman for TX2K and 1320 Video

 

Before we start, we’d like to set something straight about what we’re about here at Street Racing Illustrated and subsequently SRMS. We do not condone, promote, or try to justify, illegal street racing of any kind. Our primary focus is and always has been to journalize our culture in its many facets including the drivers, builders, tuners, cars, bikes and legit events where our talents and passion can be safely put on display.

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Zachery Muddiman for TX2K and 1320 Video

 

TX2K is an annual event that is currently held at the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, a city that resides in both Harris and Chambers Counties. The massive event draws in racers for hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Like other events of its ilk, TX2K provides enthusiasts with a safe outlet where they can go W.O.T. (wide open throttle) without worrying about something or someone getting in between them and the finish line. The latest iteration of the event was held this past weekend from the 15th through the 18th of March. It’s also the same weekend that law enforcement in the area decided to launch an operation which netted at least 42 arrests of people participating in illegal street racing activities of various degrees.

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Joshua Hopson for TX2K and 1320 Video

 

Now, this isn’t an article defending anyone that found themselves in trouble. If you got roped, you know what you were doing. It comes with the territory. The larger issue with this is the connotation some choose to pin to the entire culture. Prosecutors involved with the cases claim; “the TX2K drag racing at Royal Purple Raceway brings in an unsavory crowd into our area…” This is what we call throwing the baby out with the bath water. Instead of praising TX2K for attempting to provide an option, they are demonized and accused of creating the problem.

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Joshua Hopson for TX2K and 1320 Video

 

In the Channel 13 report that broke this story, it’s said that the event attracts participants from “as far as Ohio”. Something I do not doubt. But to say TX2K “brings in an unsavory crowd into our area” infers that this crowd doesn’t exist year-round (I’m not calling our kind “unsavory”, chill). Let’s be honest, even if a track was open every day and every night of the week, there would still be some form of racing happening in our streets. It’s an activity that’s been around since people began using engines instead of horses to get around. Despite what doomsday screeching, Fast and Furious watching, news anchors would have you believe, it’s not some kind of new fad that started in the early 2000’s.

 

This is the official response from Peter of TX2K Enterprises:

Royal Purple Raceway and TX2K have always been committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment [for] racers and fans alike. TX2K is a track-focused event that gives racers a chance to race one another at the most premier race track in the country. Neither the track nor the event condone street racing and plan to continue to offer a street car event in the [safest] place possible…the race track.

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Zachery Muddiman for TX2K and 1320 Video

 

Problem is; tracks are disappearing around the country. Most drag strips are built miles away from residential areas. Even then, they have strict ordinances placed on them in terms of what hours and days they can be in operation. More often than not, what gets tracks shut down isn’t the street racing that happens around the area, as we saw in Texas this past weekend, but the noise it creates for nearby residents… which is the reason they are built so far into the sticks, to begin with. This problem only presents itself once developers start to buy up land near these establishments, and then build multi-million-dollar homes for people with deep pockets that have the resources to apply pressure to officials to have the nearby noise machine closed for what they eventually cite as, “safety reasons” (yeah… right).

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Cody Carey for TX2K and 1320 Video

 

Allowing words such as unsavory to be associated with racers and legitimate, structured, events like TX2K, damage the entire culture and makes it easier for lawmakers to take away the very tools that help prevent what they claim to be fighting. While there were 2 deaths attributed to street racing in 2016 (unrelated to TX2K), there has never been a death on the streets during a TX2K event. A simple Google search of DUI deaths in the same area and you’ll wonder why lawmakers are not more concerned about that statistic.

 

Photo: Harris County Precinct 8 Constable's Office

Photo: Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office

 

In fact, in 2015 Harris County ranked among the highest in the state for substance-related deaths while driving (149). This is not to diminish someone losing a loved one to street racing, but it puts in perspective what this is truly about; quite frankly, it’s about noise, not public safety. Which leads one to wonder why officials don’t just partner with TX2K and present a united front instead of threatening to shut it down. There’s nothing wrong with shining a light on something that is a legitimate concern, not just in Texas but across the country, but to denigrate something that is actually helping to stem the tide is short-sighted and ultimately, irresponsible.

 

Photo Courtesy of TX2K & 1320 Video

Photo taken by Cody Carey for TX2K and 1320 Video

Street Racing Illustrated would like to thank TX2k for sharing their thoughts with us and 1320 Video and all their gifted contributors.

Street Racing Illustrated | SRMS 2.10.18 “Grudge Night”

SRMS Grudge in West Palm Beach Florida.

Story & Photos | Phillip Pratt

 

Nothing like perfect weather to drive a great night of grudge racing. Despite an unfortunate setback with a Mustang spilling its guts halfway down the track, creating an hour and a half long “wait and see” situation, we were treated to a plethora exciting races from some of South Florida’s fastest cars. Atop of a night where we saw local tuning guru, Javi Bastista of “Javituned”, and his wicked fast, turbocharged RSX move from the 7th position to the 3rd in a single night on the 40mph roll list, Daniel “Frustrate” Rodriguez debuted his AWD set-up on his K-powered EG hatch (also tuned by Javi). Javi was able to defeat Frustrate in the tuner vs builder clash, but time will tell if he’ll be able to hold on as I suspect Frustrate is only going to get faster as he gets used to his new set-up. Due to the aforementioned Mustang evacuation, the Dig list wasn’t able to pop off, however, those that stuck around while the track got cleaned up got to see Frustrate take on Dig-King, Eddie Miller, in his 73’ Plymouth Duster with a pro-tree. Frustrate was able to pull out a victory as Eddie let off the throttle quarter of the way down the track giving up at least a car length’s lead and ultimately the race. If you missed it, I wouldn’t worry. They’ll do it again, soon.

 

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | BD Performance GT-R

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | Daniel “Frustrate” Rodriguez and his AWD K-series EG

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | Dentpros 911 staging up with a Camero

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | Javi and his RSX and Carta Performances’ Foxbody Mustang

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | Javituned’s own creation

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night”

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night”

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | Eddie Miller and his 73′ Duster getting ready to run Frustrate’s AWD EG

SRMS Grudge Night

SRMS “Grudge Night” | Frustrate and his family back in the pits after his win over Eddie Miller

Street Racing Illustrated | Evolution of the Beast

EVOLUTION OF THE BEAST

Fr8train’s journey from contender to king and back.

Story | Phillip Pratt

Photos | Phillip Pratt / Gerry Burke

 

Evolution of the Beast | C&S Transmissions in Miramar, FL

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train” | Home at C&S Transmissions in Miramar, Florida

 

When the word “evolution” is mentioned, at least in the circles we run in any way, most immediately relate it to other words like “Mitsubishi”, “Lancer”, the engine code “4G63”, or, if you’re a die-hard Subie driver, “@#$% you!”. But to the rest of the sane world, the word “evolution”, derived from the word “evolve”, is the gradual development of something, especially from a simple form to a more complex one. It’s typically a slow process that begins to help an organism survive in whatever ecosystem it lives within, as the environment or other organisms around it change. Some develop rock-hard shells or the ability to change their color, maybe even to secrete venomous slim from their skin; it’s all done to better their chances in a world that’s out to kill and probably consume them.

 

Evolution of the Beast | Twin-Turbo LS

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train” | Original Twin-Turbo Set-Up, utilizing the stock ECU

 

Carlos, owner of the Trans Am named “Fr8train”, and the former king of the SRMS (Street Racing Made Safe) Top 10 List down in South Florida, knows this process all too well. Anyone familiar with the SRMS program in SoFlo knows his tenuous rise the top of the pack. The low-profile Firebird went from contender to top dog defeating every challenger put in its way. Having anywhere between 700 to 850-wheel horsepower, provided by a twin-turbo LS powerplant would generally make this a reality. That power combined with a rock-solid transmission built to necessity, in-house, by C&S (Carlos’ transmission shop) in Miramar, led to several run-ins with the ever-popular Danny “Frustrate” Rodriguez and his then B-Series powered, EG Civic. Losing to Frustrate during that friendly rivalry was enough to trigger Fr8train’s growth, but it most definitely wouldn’t be the last.

 

Evolution of the Beast | Carlo's Twin-Turbo Firebird

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train” | Party’s Over Indeed

 

The car wasn’t purchased as we see it. It was acquired by Carlos’ father as a mere shell. From there, they decided to drop in the 5.7L LS V8 that’d you’d typically find in a WS6 but built it out with forged internals stroking it out to a healthy 393. Instead of going down the familiar avenue of a bottle nitrous (something they were used to) and calling it a day, they decided to go turbo. And not just a single snail either, two big boys. Utilizing the stock ECU (yes, the stock computer) and manual boost controller, they tuned it out to a ripe 711-wheel horsepower on only 3lbs of boost! That was enough to get him into the top five, and on the way, set up dances with several impressive contenders including a couple ridiculous Fox Body Mustangs, big power Supras and a wicked Evo or two. By the time Carlos was ready to challenge for a top-three spot, he’d turned up Trans Am to about 8lbs making more than 900-wheel horsepower. Finally, he was set to face-off with his target; Frustrate, and his boosted EG, who much like him had fought his way up the list over the last few months and wasn’t interested in letting go his crown. It was a close race, but Frustrate held on and did so for several months and just as many races. It forced Carlos to take his Firebird back into the lab.

 

Evolution of the Beast | Carlo's Twin-Turbo Firebird

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train”

 

The next time we saw Carlos, a couple things had changed. At a Super Chevy show, he snapped the timing chain on the Trans Am. It turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise as it led him to switch from a hydraulic to a solid roller which allowed the car to shift at higher RPMs and make a little more than 150 extra horsepower. This pushed the Trans Am well into the 1k+ club. That, combined with some needed track testing, was enough to dethrone the “People’s Champ”, Frustrate, at the next event and hold onto the #1 spot for quite some time. He even took the show on the road with a trip to Orlando Speed World. After some heated back-and-forths and the changing of the day (the race happened several minutes past midnight, in front of a handful of people), Carlos and Fr8train walked a local LS-powered Fox-body, with no more than two wheels on the ground for half of the 1320.

 

Evolution of the Beast | Firebird Vs Civic

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train” | Facing off against “The People’s Champ”, Daniel “Frustrate” Rodriguez

 

Carlos’ success didn’t go noticed, however. There were several groups from around the area that wanted a shot at him. Even Frustrate returned with a new set-up. This time utilizing a fully-built turbo-charged K-series motor. He was most certainly faster than before, but it still wasn’t enough to dethrone Carlos, who since their last meeting, had pushed the Trans Am to hold more than 1200 horsepower, converted to an automatic tranny and by then was consistently popping up on two wheels… and still had A/C. It wasn’t until weeks later, when Miami Performance Inc. and Fabshop Miami (no relation) showed up with their frighteningly fast GTRs, was anybody able to contend for Carlos’ crown. Ultimately, the younger, more advanced cars proved too much for the Trans Am and both, at one time or another, bested Carlos, controversy on roll-speeds and jumps notwithstanding, mind you.

 

Evolution of the Beast | Carlo's Twin-Turbo Firebird

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train” | Warming up the tires on a cold night in Orlando

 

With all that behind them, the boys at C&S are looking forward. They hadn’t originally built the Trans Am to be a “world-beater”. It was a passion project. Something to play around with on the weekends. Even after the big pressure contests, he endured against his friend Frustrate, it was just always just about fun at the end of the day. Now it’s a little different. During Carlos’ bouts against the MPI (Miami Performance Inc.) GTR there were a couple of dust-ups between the two crews. Ok, maybe more than a couple. Just about every time these guys got near each other there were most certainly words and always the chance of an altercation or two. I don’t want to claim it’s “personal” but I’m also not going to assume it’s just about going fast anymore.

 

Evolution of the Beast | Carlo's Twin-Turbo Firebird

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train”

 

With the intention of making a comeback, C&S have completely torn down the Trans Am; A stiffened-up chassis, a completely new rear-end, and a more advanced, substantially larger engine that will put out more than 2000-wheel horsepower (shhh…). The only thing that will remain from the previous power/drivetrain is the tranny because you know… C&S is a tranny shop. Carlos doesn’t plan to be present at the beginning of the new season of races in West Palm Beach. However, he does plan to be offer takers both rolls and digs, and promises “When I do come, they’ll know.”

 

Evolution of the Beast | Carlo's Twin-Turbo Firebird

Carlos’ Firebird “Fr8train”

Street Racing Illustrated | Behind the Wheel with Juan Burgos

Behind the Wheel with Juan Burgos

From daily driven to passion project.

Interviewer | Clifton Hernandez

Photos | Phillip Pratt

 

Juan Burgos’ boosted EG-Sedan

 

Where does the admiration of an inanimate object come from? What drives (no pun intended) us to keep a pair of shoes or hat way past it’s prime?  Sure, we could take a ride down to Foot Locker and buy a fresh pair of Nikes and probably a new snap-back, of course. But we know what’s good when we get back home. When it’s time to jack the car up and get to work, we know what’s going to be on our feet and absorbing the latest batch of sweat off our head. We sat down with Juan Burgos to talk about his car, racing, and… other stuff, to answer this question.

 

Street Racing Illustrated: What got you into cars?

Juan: Honestly, ever since I was little, 2 or 3 years old, my parents always told me I had a fever for cars. I always had little toy cars. My grandma, she used to take care of me a lot, she’d be the one playing cars with me. Back in Colombia (where Juan is originally from), I used to fight with my parents to stay home from daycare to go with my dad instead. I used to put nails in his tires just to see how it would get fixed.

 

SRI: So, you were definitely a @#@$# kid… How old are you now?

Juan: I’m 23 about to turn 24.

 

SRI: When did you come here?

Juan: I was about 4 or 5 years old when I first got here.

 

SRI: What was your first car? The one you learned to drive in, doesn’t have to be yours-

Juan: It was always a Honda. I had multiple ones, including this one, my 94’ EG 4-door, I bought it to fix up and sell. It was originally meant to be a project for a class in high school. I was going to fix the head gasket and then sell it. It was my senior year project to graduate from technical school. It was a single-cam [back then, of course]. I loved it so much, ended up keeping it as a daily, but the fix didn’t last. I blew the motor.

 

Juan Burgos’ boosted EG-Sedan

 

SRI: This is the car you have now? Your first car is the still the car you have now?!

Juan: Driving, driving, like taking it out to get registered legit, yeah. I don’t daily it anymore, I’ve got a truck for that. But this was basically my only car under my name until I got my truck.

 

SRI: This is interesting… If I gave you an unlimited budget to build anything you wanted, it’d be…?

Juan: I’d probably stick with this same car. My same Honda. It’s been a long process. Honestly, [with this car] there’s never any end to it. Even now, there’s not that much to it. I’m not fast enough to make it to the [Street Racing Made Safe] Top 10 list, as is, but if I had the budget I’d go K-series. Right now, it’s got a B-series because it’s within my budget. The Ks can be a bit expensive; like, I’d have to go with a Dog Box because the transmissions never hold up…

 

SRI: Are you saying your dream car is the car you’re driving?

Juan: I’m not saying [the Civic] is my dream car, but with an unlimited budget, it’s the one I’d continue with.

 

SRI: How old were you for your first race?

Juan: Probably 17 or even earlier than that. My parents don’t know but I used to drive without a license.

 

Juan Burgos’ boosted EG-Sedan

 

SRI: Well, there’s no way they are going to read this… What was the race?

Juan: Me and my friend’s car, another EG 4-door, but automatic. It was his sister’s car. Just the two of us going down the block, neck-to-neck the whole way, bone stock cars! I don’t think we even made it to 70 [MPH]. But it was entertaining!

 

SRI: What’s the best race you’ve had so far, since then? I don’t mean that stock foolishness. I mean a real race?

Juan: I like going up against high-end cars. When I’m at the track for an event I go to like GT-Rs and stuff. Try to find one as stock as possible and put them to shame. My favorite race though was against this blue GT-R. It was pretty close. His trap speed was about 128, mine was 121. My goal right now is to beat one.

 

SRI: How does that go down? When you’re approaching these hundred-thousand-dollar cars and asking them to race your Civic? I mean they really have more to lose than to gain going up against you.

Juan: First thing they ask is ‘what’s done to the car’. I tell them it’s a 2.0 bottom with a 1.6 head (B20) on 8lbs of boost. They call me a liar and say I’m making five or six-hundred horsepower. Right now, it’s only making around three-hundred to the wheels. I offer to show them a dyno-sheet and everything. It’s hard to get a race.

 

Juan Burgos’ boosted EG-Sedan | “Warming up” before making a pass at Palm Beach International Raceway

 

SRI: Are you like the only gear-head in your group of friends?

Juan: Nah, I have a lot of guys around me that are into racing. Mostly people from my neighborhood. Ever since we were teenagers. There’s a group of us called Four-Seven Built. Daniel is one of my friends I hang with the most. He’s got an S10 with an LS swap. He goes to track with me every time.

 

SRI: So, who’s car is faster?

Juan: I’d say mine… when he’s off the juice. All-motor he’s not faster, but on the juice, he’s got me. [laughs]

 

SRI: What’s your favorite aspect of the whole hobby? Is it the racing, the satisfaction of building something you know can compete?

Juan: I just love the adrenaline you get behind the wheel. The car isn’t all that pretty on the outside-

 

SRI: Been meaning to ask you about that. Is there something you want to do to it…?

Juan: I sent it to get painted once. Some guy in Hialeah that knew my dad. The biggest mistake I’ve ever made [with the car]. It’s why it looks the way it does now. The car was beautiful for like two weeks, shinning. I’ve got one video and one picture of the car when it first came out. After that… the paint just went to crap. I paid the guy $900, just for the labor. It was a learning experience. Once I’m done with the new motor set-up, I’ll get back to making it look pretty. Not into body-kits so much anymore, but I want to make it clean. As OEM as possible.

 

Juan Burgos’ boosted EG-Sedan

 

SRI: What magazines were you into coming up? Did you have Super Street posters on your wall and stuff like that…?

Juan: Every time I’d go to the grocery store with my parents I’d go over to the magazine rack and get Lowrider, I always liked that-

 

SRI: So, boobs, then.

Juan: [laughs] I guess you can say that!

 

SRI: I’m sorry but, ten-year-old with a Lowrider magazine, you aren’t looking at no damn cars… I’m kidding.

Juan: If it were in my budget to do it, I’d build one [a Lowrider] today. A 59’ Impala. Hydraulics, clean undercarriage, sound system… But it’s expensive.

 

SRI: Don’t hear Lowriders around these parts too much. What got you into that?

Juan: I don’t know, I just like them. I used to watch a lot of West Coast Customs-

 

SRI: Just say it, you watched Pimp My Ride! Say it, you like goldfish in cars!

Juan: I watched it! [laughs]

 

Juan Burgos’ boosted EG-Sedan

 

SRI: The guy that wants to keep his Civic was OEM as possible on the outside, is also into Lowriders with all their elaborate, deep paint jobs?

Juan: I want to keep it [the Civic] as factory looking as possible. As of today, the car has full interior, everything still. I don’t think I’ll ever cut up the car to save two-hundred pounds or so. I want to keep it fun and safe.

 

SRI: Well it’s been real Juan, got anyone you want to shoutout?

Juan: I’d like to thank my wife Julissa and my brother Alejandro for helping me work on the car and getting it to where it’s at. She doesn’t mind getting dirty like other girls. And last, my friend Daniel for helping me out on the build as well.

 

“I’d like to thank my wife Julissa and my brother Alejandro for helping me work on the car and getting it to where it’s at…”

 

Instagram: @juan_skiii

 

Street Racing Made Safe is looking for you to join our Team!!!!

Street Racing Made Safe is looking for you to join our Team!!!! We are hiring event staff, operations directors, and a social media manager in different areas!!

  • Palm Beach, FL
  • Maryland
  • Memphis, TN
  • Cordova, IL

SRMS GoFundme for Benji aka “Artic Fox”

SRMS is about getting racing off of the streets but the friendships we made are equally important. Benjamin Reyes, aka Arctic Fox Mustang (#8 on the Top 10 list) crashed his car at our last event and we want to help him get back to racing. Anything will help…. even if it’s kind words. #StreetRacingMadeSafe #iLoveStreetRacing #TakeItToTheTrack #SRMS#RollRacing #Streetracing

https://www.gofundme.com/ArcticFoxMustang

 

Events

Street Racing Made Safe Top Ten List Season 3 Round 2 at PBIR

Street Racing Made Safe Top Ten List Season 3 Round 2 at PBIR