I wasn’t supposed to say anything, but since people have already found out, I was invited by D1 Grand Prix USA to qualify for D1 this year. This is a pretty strange time for me… This is the time when I ask myself, “How badly do I want to compete? And for what purpose?” Obviously, D1 is the king of all competitions… SOME the best drivers from Japan, and SOME of the best drivers from the USA. At the same time, it is the most commercial drifting event ever created. Well, I could sit back, and watch it happen… or I can take hold of this opportunity and get on the track with these professionals and experience driving in a new light. Am I ready to take out Ueo? Nope… not everybody in D1 is able to accomplish that, but they all do their best trying. That’s what I’m going to do… but mostly, I’m going to have a hell of a time having fun. I’m doing this for myself.

So you may be asking… “But Benson, your car is smashed… how are you going to drive it?” Good question! I’m not sure how I’m going to drive it. So I’m not. Richard offered me JDM Rice 2… I think that is one of the nicest gestures somebody can do… i refused at first, because he has put so much time into it. But Richard does a good job in believing in me. His car is so beautiful, and of course, I am going to make sure that I take care of it to the best of my abilities. He tuned it for me to make some more power out of it, and make sure that it’s reliable. The car is now making 290hp, compared to the 200 it had before. Since then, it’s received my Tanabe Sustec DDs, my tires, a new Bride seat, door beams, and a new alignment. It’s a lot to get used to at an important event like this, but I think I can handle it. I just need some time… to get used to it and fine tune it.

You wouldn’t believe how much there is to do to prepare for something like this. Actually, I’ve been sick all week and part of last… Nadine’s just gotten sick and she is throwing up and not feeling well at all. I’ve been doing my best to make sure that I bet better by eating well, staying extra warm, getting enough sleep… Nadine is starting to feel better. She will be working with media during D1, so she needs all the rest that she can get, also.

While I’m trying to relax and prepare myself physically, mentally, and preparing schedules, tires, etc… my friends have helped me out SOOO MUCH. Richard has been so great, he’s been staying up late to get the car tuned, picking up various parts for the car… Alex Chang swapped my suspension over from my car and installed his new Bride seat and Takata harnesses while I was taking care of Kristy and Nadine… Alex Pfieffer drove over to A’pexi at the last minute yesterday so that he could do the wheel alignment… Len Higa helped me out with getting door beams in the car and helped me to get my racing equipment from Sparco (Nomex suit, shoes, gloves, etc.). They’ve all lost sleep over helping me get ready and I really really appreciate it… I’ll figure out how to pay you all back, somehow. Nadine has been a great source of support too. With all this craziness going on, I get lost in all of it… I wonder why I’m doing it, if it’s worth all of my friends’ efforts… Nadine has always been there to keep me grounded and clear my mind. Thank you baby… I couldn’t do this without you.

So, tonight I’m going to get some practice in the pink machine. Hopefully everything will go well and I can get enough seat time. Tonight I’m just going to focus on finding the limits of the car and having a good time. Tomorrow is qualification and if that goes well, then Saturday, I will be there driving. What a thought! If you asked me a month ago, I couldn’t even imagine being in the position I am in now. But since then, somebody has given me a rare opportunity, and I’m not gonna let it flash before my eyes. I’m going to take hold of it, and do my best to earn my way into the biggest D1 event ever.

Wish me luck… I’ll talk to you all after it’s over.