Monday, March 30, 1998

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Junior drag racer Travis Medieros got strapped
in for a time trial Friday night.

Raceway aims to
turn up the heat

Wednesday night races
pitting drivers against HPD's fastest
promise one sizzling summer

By Harold Morse


Roaring engines, the smell of hot exhaust fumes and burned rubber all fuel the excitement of unleashed speed at Hawaii il,6p9,6p9 Raceway Park in Leeward Oahu.

Dragsters, ordinary street cars and heavily modified, souped-up stocks streak down the quarter-mile straightaway with a vengeance.

Motorcycles race too.

With a good jump at takeoff, it's not unusual for a dragster or modified stock to hit 184 miles an hour.

Highly sophisticated computers clock speeds announced from the tower after each run.

At the March 14 season opener, one car zoomed down the 1,320-foot strip in 6.99 seconds -- averaging 193 miles an hour.

Anyone can race an ordinary street car down the strip in competition.

Once a car-owner gets the bug, he might supercharge his wheels and compete at the next level. If he really goes all out, he can build his own outlandish dragster and compete big time. Dragsters run for money at Raceway four times a year.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Kiree Higa, 13, strapped junior driver Jaimie Barboza, 11,
into a scaled-down dragster at Hawaii Raceway Park on
Friday night while George Nitta checked the
car's tire pressure

Paul Maddox, who handles Raceway promotion, said that last summer, kids got their cars away from dangerous street drag racing and competed for 12 straight Wednesdays at Raceway.

Another summer of Wednesday night racing is set for 1998, to be held in cooperation with the police department.

"Kids will have the opportunity to race against police officers with their cars, legally, instead of down the freeway," Maddox said.

Starting Wednesday, June 10, the series is dubbed "Beat the Heat."

Track income comes from paid attendance, car entry fees and sponsors -- such as Snap-On Tools and NAPA Auto Parts.

"We had the Hawaii-Alaska shoot-out at the end of last month," said Michael T. Oakland, general partner in the group that owns the facility. "We had 4,000 people in here and 200 cars."

Paul Giovanegti, who runs two transmission shops, leases Hawaii Raceway Park from Oakland's group. Now in his second year, he makes money off track operation, but he's plowing it back into repaving the drag strip, installing new guard rails and improving infrastructure.

"I'm here every Friday and Saturday night, sometimes during the week, fixing stuff," Giovanegti said. A resident of nearby Makakilo, he piloted his sizzling, low-flying Chevrolet Beretta in late February at 191.86 miles an hour.

But the high-powered hot rod started handling badly. Using computer analysis, Giovanegti was trying to readjust it through fine-tuning of weight, balance and other factors.

With space-age technology applied to auto racing, Oakland tells kids not to neglect math.

The park also features a dirt oval track for stock cars, a sports car route and a go-kart track. Miniature remote control cars run in an oval about the size of a large living room.

A snack bar moves such goodies as teri-burgers, hot dogs, chili and shave ice.

Hawaii International Racing School is on the Campbell Industrial Park property at 91-201 Malakole St.

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