Boys Under the Hood

What makes fast-car enthusiasts furious? Cops, speed limits, and punk kids with loud mufflers and no brains.

Three young, midriff-bare girls -- strangers to the car scene -- pull up and approach. As though turbocharged, a gaggle of young men leap from the pickup to make time with them. The married Gore remains seated. The girlie distraction is a welcome aside for most, as no one's been too keen on racing, what with the wet roads.

Scungio, however, does have a competition with which to contend. Another young driver has been badgering him to get in his RSX Acura and race. Scungio has resisted, believing this particular challenge by a lesser car to be pointless. Nevertheless, in a few minutes, he and the other car are rolling out toward 441. In less than 10 minutes, they are back, Scungio having stomped him by a "fair distance," he says to his buddies. "He wanted to race again, but I said no way; once is enough. It costs too much in gas and nitrous. If it was close, maybe, but it was ..." He holds his hands flat to represent the cars, showing his fingermobile smartly pulling away from the challenger.

Scungio is a relative latecomer to fast cars but certainly not to speed. Until last October, he got his kicks atop motorcycles -- you know, those crazy guys who pass you on I-95 doing wheelies at 90 mph. It was during his two-wheeler days that he met Mike Reich, now 25 years old, and the two became close friends and business partners, selling motorcycle parts over the Internet. (They've since opened a store called Motor Matrix in Margate, which offers performance auto parts.) By late last summer, the duo had had enough near misses on cycles to make them look for safer thrills.

"My parents were all on me about bikes being dangerous," Scungio explains. "My girlfriend was on me. Mike's girlfriend. One day, just out of the blue, Mike says, 'Let's sell our bikes and get some cars.'" Around October last year, Scungio bought the 2.0-liter Acura; Reich went with a turbo WRX Subaru.

"It was pretty hard at first, leaving bikes," Scungio says. "When Mike and I started [with cars], we didn't even know where to go. It'd be kind of weird: Both of us driving different cars, going out to look for some people to hang out with.

"When we got in the car game, nobody knew who we were. The first time I went to a car show, everybody's like 'You wanna race?' 'You wanna race that thing?' It's because of the car. Nobody knew me. They wanted to see what their car could do against that car. Most of the kids out there who ask to race are not trying to see if they can beat me; they pretty much in their head know it. They don't want to race unless they know they're going to beat you. If they have doubt in their mind, most people won't race.

"Pretty much the kids are the ones that challenge. They get intake and exhaust on their cars, hang out in a bunch, and think their shit is so fast. You'll notice that a lot of these older guys are just chillin' their ass."

Scungio's car is not ostentatious; it's mostly stock, except for upgraded intake and exhaust systems, drag tires on the front, and a nitrous tank discreetly secured in the spare-tire cavity. The nitrous is a don't-tell-'em-if-they-don't-ask advantage, Scungio says. He's clocked a quarter-mile under 14 seconds at Moroso Motorsports Park, he claims.

So who really gets his goat out there?

"Somebody who talks a lot," he replies. Like the dudes the other night at the Home Depot parking lot, hectoring him that his car was slow. He finally raced them and won twice. "I said, 'I gave you a fair run, right? Right?'"

The competition, however, evolves ever so quickly. Honda Guy Rollins offers a final cautionary tale for any would-be street racer. He recalls a friend of his was once hanging out with everyone at Miami Subs in Davie around 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. The friend raced and lost. "He got pissed off," Rollins recollects with relish. "He went home, changed engines in two and a half hours, came back, and beat him."

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