Fast friends — Alex Lezamo and Phillip Vaquez are best friends — 'brothers,' Lezamo says, correcting himself. The two labor as mechanics for eight hours each day, then come home each night to work on their vehicles in their side-by-side garages at the La Costa apartment complex in Naples. Their hands are constantly stained black with oil, grease and various engine fluids, and they only move their pupating street racers out of their cocoon-like garages for competition, or when Lezamo gives his buddy a haircut. When Vasquez moved into the complex last December, he quickly bonded with Lezamo over a shared passion for cars and racing. A passion so intense that Lezamo's girlfriend accused him of taking better care of his car than her. The two incubating street racers, Vasquez's Mazda RX-7 and a Lezamo's Hyundai Elantra, are gaining muscle and skeletal strength, growing into racing adulthood a piece at a time: new spark plugs, enlarged intake valves, stabilizing bars, steel cages to reinforce the cab, nitrous oxide tanks and a Geneberg 58mm carburetor. Through it's still being tweaked, the Mazda has already been tested — both in the street and on drag racing tracks in Orlando, Lakeland and Ponce. But the Hyandai hasn't. Lezamo says it will be ready for the races in Immokalee within two weeks. It wasn't always cars for these two. Lezamo holds his right arm out to show aged scars. Offering no specifics, he says he was in a motorcycle accident. Then Vasquez one-ups him by holding his right arm out and hyper-extending his elbow an extra 20 degrees. He wrecked his motorcycle in Puerto Rico in 1991, he says, breaking his elbow, both knees and three ribs. Motorcycles are memories for Vasquez, as he now looks at his 1982 five-speed Mazda RX-7 with its 700 horsepower engine the way a father looks at his newborn in the hospital nursery. He says it's the fastest 'full body' car in the world for the quarter-mile drag race. He's pushed it to 147 miles per hour, firing down the line in 9.74 seconds. 'That's my life,' he says. Published May 15, 2006

Photo by TRISTAN SPINSKI, Daily News

Fast friends — Alex Lezamo and Phillip Vaquez are best friends — "brothers," Lezamo says, correcting himself. The two labor as mechanics for eight hours each day, then come home each night to work on their vehicles in their side-by-side garages at the La Costa apartment complex in Naples. Their hands are constantly stained black with oil, grease and various engine fluids, and they only move their pupating street racers out of their cocoon-like garages for competition, or when Lezamo gives his buddy a haircut. When Vasquez moved into the complex last December, he quickly bonded with Lezamo over a shared passion for cars and racing. A passion so intense that Lezamo's girlfriend accused him of taking better care of his car than her. The two incubating street racers, Vasquez's Mazda RX-7 and a Lezamo's Hyundai Elantra, are gaining muscle and skeletal strength, growing into racing adulthood a piece at a time: new spark plugs, enlarged intake valves, stabilizing bars, steel cages to reinforce the cab, nitrous oxide tanks and a Geneberg 58mm carburetor. Through it's still being tweaked, the Mazda has already been tested — both in the street and on drag racing tracks in Orlando, Lakeland and Ponce. But the Hyandai hasn't. Lezamo says it will be ready for the races in Immokalee within two weeks. It wasn't always cars for these two. Lezamo holds his right arm out to show aged scars. Offering no specifics, he says he was in a motorcycle accident. Then Vasquez one-ups him by holding his right arm out and hyper-extending his elbow an extra 20 degrees. He wrecked his motorcycle in Puerto Rico in 1991, he says, breaking his elbow, both knees and three ribs. Motorcycles are memories for Vasquez, as he now looks at his 1982 five-speed Mazda RX-7 with its 700 horsepower engine the way a father looks at his newborn in the hospital nursery. He says it's the fastest "full body" car in the world for the quarter-mile drag race. He's pushed it to 147 miles per hour, firing down the line in 9.74 seconds. "That's my life," he says. Published May 15, 2006

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