So back to the NOPI event… after drifting the S14, I thought my day couldn’t get any better. Although I had been dying to get in the car with Asamoto all day long, I was still going to return home a very happy camper. So Nadine and I were packing up so that we could go home… and we went to say bye to our friends and went to say bye to Kumakubo, Asamoto, and Tanaka. Instead of just waving bye to us, Kumakubo interrupted his Japanese executive friend who was talking to him, and walked over to us. He asked us if we were leaving already, and he told us that he felt bad that he couldn’t give us a ride yet (he was obligated to give rides to his sponsors and their friends all day long). So he told us to wait a little bit, and he walked off and talked to one of the organizers of the event so that they can interrupt the schedule so that Team Orange could do another demo (so that Nadine and I could ride with Team Orange!). What a nice guy… Not to say that I’m anything like Kumakubo, but when I’m at events, I’m so busy that I constantly forget things and sometimes promise people help and I never get around to it… Kumakubo is tons better at drifting and is tons more popular than me, and he still took the time out for Nadine and I, who pretty much are nobodies to him. There’s no better way to describe the man, than with the example I just gave. He’s super nice, and I really look up to him for that.

Anyway, So I jumped into Asamoto’s car and Nadine jumped into Kumakubo’s K-Style truck. Tanaka was in front, Kumakubo behind him, and Asamoto was picking up the slack in the rear. They took off fast… Asamoto was super aggressive… and I guess he had to be, because he was at the same pace as Tanaka and Kumakubo. And then the drift started – Asamoto was going too fast… and I saw Kumakubo’s car getting a little too close and then BOOM Asamoto slammed on the main brakes and yanked hard on the side brake… his car fell back into place and even a little too far back (which is still about 10 times closer than I’ve ever been to another car while drifting) and he got back onto the accelerator hard. This brought him too close to Kumakubo’s car and the whole process started again. This went on for about 3 minutes and I’ve never been so nervous about crashing… I swear there was a couple of times that we barely missed crashing into the rear end of Kumakubo’s car… but then again, what do I know? I suck! It was amazing to be feel what I dreamed to experience after watching Kumakubo and Asamoto doing twin dori door-to-door in one of the final rounds of D1. It was interesting, because Asamoto was laughing out loud on several occasions, mostly when he almost hit Kumakubo, or when Kumakubo would turn his head to look out the window and Asamoto was coming straight for him. Needless to say, Kumakubo had a huge smile on his face as well. The best way for me to describe what it felt like is… violent, and barely hanging on to control.

And the end of that story leads into Drift Showoff 3 at Irwindale. At the beginning of the day, I was determined to have fun, which meant that I wanted to try using my sidebrake more, and hit the line that I thought was right. We got a couple of practice runs, and the competition was going to start. I thought about it for a while… and I didn’t do so well on my practice runs. I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong, but I knew that my approach wasn’t quite there, and my line was off. I was going way too wide… and I thought I was entering the drift too fast. So I thought about it a while, trying to figure out what I was going to try and pull out of my butt, since I only had 2 laps to impress the judges enough to move onto the second round. I knew where I wanted my line to be, and I just needed to trace it. So I went out, and did OK on the first lap, and did a really quick assessment as to what just happened, so that I could adjust for the 2nd lap. And the 2nd lap wasn’t bad either. Both times I was close to tracing the line that I wanted, and far from going wide. So I was happy. And I moved onto the second round! Koguchi was judging that first round, and he said that although I wasn’t going as fast as I could have, I traced a perfect line. He scored me the highest score of that round, which also included 2 other drivers. I didn’t find this out until afterwards, but it made me really happy to find that out! The second round I continued to do that same, tweaking my line a little bit, but bogging after the apex. I should have got onto the accelerator sooner that I was, and that was causing the problem. Nadine yelled at me about that, so I told myself that if I moved on, that would be my focus. And I did move on to round 3… the top 8 drivers of the day. And I got on the accelerator sooner, however, never realized that I was entering too slow or too late. So I didn’t make it to the final 4. But I’ve got a great video taken from Marc of my final run of the day, where I get on the accelerator sooner. In this video, I initiated with the clutch, gave it some gas to approach the corner, and then was mostly off throttle, I was pulling the e-brake to change my angle, and as I approached the apex, I rev-matched and downshifted back into 2nd gear, and I got back on the throttle and continued to the next corner. For some strange reason, I felt a little unconfident about my tires, so if you listen, you can hear me let off the gas when i transfer to the drift to the right corner. Maybe it was me being overly cautious since I was in the latter rounds of the competition.

Here’s the video: My final run in the Top 8 round of Drift Showoff 3