Since we've been publishing a series of photos from my recent trip to Battle of the Imports in Las Vegas, I thought I'd put together a special gallery focused on our good friend, fellow Speedhunter Christian Rado.
Here's a photo of Chris's World Racing Pro FWD Scion TC at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway start line, right about to launch. What the photo doesn't illustrate is the deafening sound of the engine – everyone around the car was doing their best to plug their ears, but it doesn't really help. Just imagine what it must sound like inside the car! Also, unfortunately, you can't really see it in the photo, but there are actually flames shooting up from the engine bay, out of the hole in the hood of his car! Damn, this car is a monster!!! No wonder he had the grim reaper painted on the side of it…
I first met Chris way back in January of 1999, before he even had a name in the import industry. We were actually sitting next to each other on a plane bound for Japan (for the Tokyo Auto Salon) – that's how we met. We got along right away once we found out we were both die hard Toyota fans – me with my collection of vintage Toyotas, and Chris with the big baller Supra Turbo in his garage… a garage which now includes a ton of Toyota, Lexus, and Scion cars. Jeez, he has a ton of them now. Back then, he told me he had just bought a welder and taught himself how to weld – so he immediately begain working on a roll cage for his Integra, which he promised me would be a very fast car. He also told me a lot of crazy stories about some of his exploits with his turbo Supra, but perhaps I better not write about those! haha…
Now Chris is one of the biggest names in sport compact drag racing, and he actually has factory backing from Toyota and Scion for crying out loud! Much respect! And after all that, he is still the same super cool, down to earth person that he was in 1999. The success hasn't changed him at all – if anything, it has helped him focus more; on bigger and better goals. The Speedhunters team has tremendous respect for this guy, he is a good friend!
Here's Chris getting strapped in to the cockpit of his 7 second Scion TC at Battle of the Imports in Las Vegas. Just by looking, you can see how focused he is – even when he has me all up in his face taking photos, he's still completely focused physically and mentally on the task at hand – piloting his insanely fast Scion TC on the dragstrip, and being the first one at the finish.
Seriously, I need to give this guy his props. From when he started back in 1999, Chris Rado has certainly made a name for himself. He talks big, but he always backs it up. I like that. This guy is a man of action, and he has always been extremely focused on his goals. Gotta keep focused, keep hungry, and keep your eyes on the prize, that's how you succeed in anything.
The eye of the tiger. In the cockpit of his Pro FWD Scion TC, Chris remains super calm, collected, and deep in concentration.
MOVE! Get out the way! Look at how much smoke fills the cockpit when Chris's Scion TC is in the burnout box! Ridiculous! How could anyone see past that! Just look at the thick smoke billowing out of the front fenderwells, and check out how the smoke reacts underneath the car as Chris's TC lunges forward! Very cool!!! I hope the guy in front has a good life insurance policy…
As the sun sets behind us, Chris remains in line, getting ready to move forward into his lane. Look at all the chassis development that went into the build of this Pro FWD Scion TC. The rollcage must be extremely beefy and heavy, but still the car runs in the 8s!
That's a cool towing point. Right in the middle of the car! It's being towed by a Toyota too – a brand new Toyota Highlander, to be exact. The new Highlander is an extremely comfortable vehicle, and very luxurious! I had the opportunity to test drive a pre-production prototype of the car sometime last year!
The low rear wing and the wheelie bars all work to keep the rear end of the car planted down. How about that net attached to the wheelie bars? I'm assuming it's for the parachute, so the chute won't get tangled up into the wheelie bars?
Unfortunately, Chris's World Racing Scion TC had some problems at Battle. I saw the mechanics from the team working on the transmission and the clutch through the night until the thunderstorm hit. But just take a second to look at the ridiculously insane size of the turbo up front! OMG that thing is freaking humongous!!!