Juniors shine on the drag strip

The Kauai Junior Dragsters were kept in suspense for more than a few days as the Garden Island Racing Association officials ran into a problem extracting results for the two-day Labor Day series at the Mana Raceway Park.

Labor Day was the biggest event for the Junior Dragsters as the event was billed as the 2016 National Hot Rod Association Jr. Dragster Challenge. The two days pit young drivers against the 1/8-mile strip with the hopes of bringing home a Wally trophy.

“This being their biggest event of the year, these amazing kids had numerous awards and prizes up for grabs,” said Tracie Sakamoto of the Garden Isle Jr. Dragsters. “Mahalo to Kevin’s Automotive Repair and Kauai Vehicle Service Center for sponsoring the Jr. Class. Special thank you to Council Chair Mel Rapozo, Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro, Arthur Brun, candidate for Kauai County Council, Fredstan Kaluahine’s Towing & Service, Steven and Patti Ann Niau, Snap On Tools-Chris Bonilla, and Lappert’s Hawaii for their generous support for the Jr. Dragster events.”

Following two days of racing in the hot Mana plain, Devin Almaraza and Ryancie Sakamoto shared 2016 NHRA Jr. Dragster Challenge Champion honors.

Saturday’s event belonged to Devin Almarza who captured the Wally after being sponsored by Bamboo Grill & Sushi, Troy’s Place, Kevin’s Automotive Repair, and Nex Gen Diesel.

Team Sakamoto lit up the leaderboard in the Saturday event, as T’Ryane, Ryancie, and Ryant Sakamoto filled in second through fourth places, respectively.

T’Ryanne Sakamoto also copped the Closest to Dial-in honor, running a 7.90 seconds over her 7.90 dial-in.

Aaron Silva clocked a .040 reaction time to claim Best Reaction honors.

Ryancie Sakamoto, sponsored by Rapozo’s Auto Body, Rich Rapozo, Philip Rapozo, Triple T Plumbing Pauly’s Mobile Service, and Half-Scale Dragsters, was announced the No. 1 Qualifier with a .003 reaction time Saturday.

“I thank God for keeping me safe, and my dad for all he does,” Ryancie said. “This Wally is for him.”

Ryancie soared from her third place finish Saturday, to claim top honors during the Sunday runs, edging past Christopher Silva who was sponsored by RC Fabrication, 420 Air, Don Silva, Ekolu Valpoon, Keola and Janil Ke, Kauai Vehicle Service Center, and parents.

Christopher’s performance saw the young racer sweep the day’s special awards, including Closest to Dial-In where he ran an 8.920 seconds over his 8.90 dial-in; Best Reaction with a 0.10 reaction time, and the No. 1 Qualifier for his .005 reaction time.

He also scooped special awards, including the Best Appearance Jr. Dragster where he shared the honor with Zailea Lawrence, and the People’s Choice award where he shared the honor with Ryant Sakamoto.

Ryancie scooped the Perfect Reaction Club award for her .009 reaction time in the final elimination round. She also shared the Best of Show Jr. Dragster award with Zailea Lawrence.

Devin Almarza, claiming the Saturday event, was relegated to third place Sunday with Kyle Rapozo claiming fourth place.

Devin Almarza also claimed the special Best Engineered Jr. Dragster award along with T’Ryane Sakamoto.

The next drag races hosted by the Garden Isle Racing Association will be the 2016 State Championship Races on Sunday, Oct. 2 — a day race with gates opening at 8 a.m., timed trials starting at 10 a.m., and competition starting at 2 p.m. at the Kauai Raceway Park in Mana.

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