Man, it’s been awhile, huh? Well Houston was a fluke… the people were nice as always, and I had a great time meeting new people and getting the chance to drift in a new state. The course was in a REALLY small area, but I guess it wasn’t too bad considering the area restraints. I found it really difficult trying to find my own angle of attack for the course because it seemed like everybody either had less or more power than me (mostly more)… this meant that my strategy for the course was different than everybody else’s. I guess it’s one of my problems that I haven’t really realized until Houston… instead of listening to what people are telling me, I should go with what I feel is right, since I know my car better than anybody else.

I was doing fine during the first day of practice… I was able to go pretty fast considering that some of the people that I was doing tandem with had double my horsepower weren’t able to pull away from me or stay too close either. The second day (competition day) turned into a huge mind game for me… the course changed slightly, and I let it get to me… I spent the entire practice time trying to adjust to the new course. My 4 practice runs were up… and each time I went out, I realized a new thing that I had to adjust in order to perform the way that I wanted to. By the last run, I knew exactly what I needed to change to run the way I was the day before at practice. During my first qualifying round, I did pretty well and I was happy… I was in my zone and my confidence was high. The second round, I did something pretty stupid… my friend suggested that I should get closer to the walls if I wanted to get into the top 16. This totally messed me up, as I was confident already and now I thought everything that I was doing so far was wrong. Well I tried to get it together as well as I could, and I was determined on getting close to the wall. During my practice run, I took notice of the wall and tried to get closer, and I did. I finished my run… not pushing 100%, but then again it was just practice so that I could get closer for the next two laps (which were the judged qualifying runs). On the next run, I went in really fast and approached the wall at the top of 2nd gear while my throttle was floored, and my rpm needle was bouncing off of the rev limiter… I felt the wall getting really close, and as I looked at my clipping point, I realized that getting close to the wall changed my line, and my initiation was too early for this line… my car didn’t have enough momentum or horsepower to bring me around the clipping point… I was about 5 feet short. So realizing that I had to initiate later to clear the clipping point, I went out for my last qualified run… I initiated later… flooring the accelerator again… this time I felt like I had a lot more speed into the corner, and then I flicked the car throwing the rear end towards the wall. The tach was bouncing off the limiter again and this time when I looked at the clipping point ahead, I realized that my car had much better momentum this time and I was going too fast for the corner. I stepped on the brakes and the car immediately went to full countersteer and the steering wheel locked… but I was in good shape… I was in perfect position to approach the clipping point. My line was pretty decent and my adrenaline was high… I clipped the apex of the corner and I was doing better than I did all weekend! Then… I choked. I was having such a good time in my car that I screwed up at the easiest corner of the course! I spun at a low speed 2nd gear corner, and the competition was over for me.

What did I learn? Don’t try new things during qualifying rounds… at least not yet. I also learned that I know the limits of my car better than I thought I did. AND that playing with the walls is a great rush and it makes drifting 10 times more exciting! I love it… and I’ll be doing it a lot more often!

In other news, KAAZ USA has offered me a spot on their drift team! It’s a 2 man team, along with Barry Wong from Hawaii. I have high hopes… the car that I’m going to drive has a lot more horsepower than I have now, and now I get to start saving up some money again… paying for Formula D out of my own pocket has really put a strain on my lifestyle outside of drifting. Being a privateer is really hard work! And my car was never up to par with the other 400hp monsters drifting out there! This way, I get to live a normal life outside of drifting… Kristy, Nadine, and I all need money for our futures. Anyway, we are currently working on sponsors for Team KAAZ… I hope to bring Tanabe on as a sponsor… they have helped me so much that I want to have them with me wherever I go… as long as I’m drifting competitively. If anybody interested in sponsoring us is reading this, please e-mail me!! Well, it’s time to go to bed now… hopefully I’ll have some videos from Houston up soon! Good night!