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D1 and NHRA Event - Double D's: Drift Vs Drag

Scene: D1 Vs NHRA At The NHRA Sport Compact Spring Nationals; Englishtown, NJ

Jonathan Wong
Aug 2, 2007
Photographer: Carter Jung
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For their second pairing after last year's Las Vegas event, the NHRA and D1 organizations chose one of the East Coast's biggest drag venues - the Old Bridge Township Raceway in Englishtown, New Jersey - as the scene for one of '07's most anticipated events. It was the first time the famed Japanese drift contest was held near the Atlantic Ocean, instead of the Pacific. Since the always popular NHRA drags have been known to pull upwards of 30K attendees in one weekend, naturally both delivered in huge dividends.

D1
Although Saturday was mainly a time-trial session for dragsters, the outer perimeter of the track was alloted for Japan's favorite drifters to square off against hometown heroes such as Drift Alliance, Team Falken's army of sliding machines and many other US drivers, for a small purse event (points earned here did not go towards any official D1 standings). With judges Dai Inada, Hisashi Kamimoto and Manabu Suzuki (the only original D1 judge on hand) joining announcer and translator Toshi Hayama, the Best 16 seemed to be a solid match-up for all who advanced to this round. Here, during tsuiso (twin drift), drift fans witnessed a determined JR Gittin, who on the day before had run into problems with his Mustang before switching to a SR20-powered Corolla (owned by friend Eric Davis), compete against Takahiro Ueno's Soarer, which rarely misses a beat. Although sorely underpowered in comparison to Ueno, not to mention lacking previous seat time in the Corolla, Gittin held his ground and went the distance with not one, but two more "one more time" calls. But despite his best effort, the judges awarded Ueno the win.

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The "best crash we've seen in a long time" award went to Brian Wilkerson of MA Motorsports, who tagged the foam K-rails hard while competing against Yoichi Imamura in the Top Secret/ORC Z32, sending a cloud of decimated foam particles flying into the air. Surely he was eliminated from that round. Amazingly, most of the damage was cosmetic, which meant correction later by pulling off both bumpers and a few body panels. But Wilkerson's error couldn't be overlooked with Imamura advancing on. Rookie of the Year Darren McNamara in the Falken AE86 received a disappointing loss to teammate Ross Petty. Meanwhile, Japanese heavyweights Nobushige Kumakubo and Toshiki Yoshioka passed up Drift Alliance's Tony Angelo and Chris Forsberg.

During the Best 8, the field narrowed down most of the Americans except for Robbie Nishida, Ross Petty and Andrew Hateley, all of whom were later they were eliminated. Meanwhile the semis, which pitted Nomuken, Kumakubo, Ueno and Yoshioka against one another, made for an intense battle for the viewing pleasure of the virgin D1 crowd. Eventually, it all came down to big power versus little power when Kumakubo lined up with Yoshioka. However, Kumakubo, a proven winner in many D1 competitions, showed once again why his Impreza continues to be a star when he easily outmaneuvered and overpowered Yoshioka, earning a sweet $5K for his efforts.

NHRA
Just like the old-school days, stands filled to the brim with fans on Sunday to cheer on their local favorites and superstars of the sport compact drag world, as they went on to establish six new national records. Marty Ladwig had his biggest win since going solo, but with the support of GM Racing and Garrett Turbos, he set the record with a 7.27 run, beating Ed Bergenholtz with a 7.30 time. Not to mention all his runs were in the 200mph zone with his best being a 201.55, good enough to set the national speed record.

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Brent Rau also scored a new record as well when his Eclipse tripped the lights with a 7.06 e.t., and had he backed up his 199.17mph, he would have also set a national speed record as well. Rau earned a narrow win over Paul Efantis in the Modified Finals, with a 7.09 pass. Oddly enough, Efantis actually nailed the national speed record with a trap speed of 192.36mph.

Stephanie Eggum kept Kenny Tran from winning his third event in a row by steering her silver Civic toward a fourth Hot Rod category victory win, with an 8.12 pass at 181.92mph. The Honda Tuning All Motor division was once again the prize of Norris Prayoonto, who won instantly after teammate Saul Salceda hit redlight at the line but still managed to roll through with a mid 10-second run. Jeremy Lookofsky chalked up another win for the Honda camp when his DVS-sponsored, K-powered Civic reached a national time record at 9.33-seconds. Finally in the Pro RWD class, Brad Personett took his sixteenth win and achieved a time record at 6.64-seconds with the Titan Motorsports tC.

D1 RESULTS
    CAR
WINNER NOBUSHIGE KUMAKUBO  SUBARU IMPREZA
SECOND TOSHIKI YOSHIOKA   TOYOTA COROLLA
THIRD KEN NOMURA  NISSAN SKYLINE R34
FOURTH TAKAHIRO UENO   TOYOTA SOARER
NHRA RESULTS
PRO RWD
   CAR TIME
WINNER BRAD PERSONETT '06 SCION TC 6.657 AT 201.31MPH
R/U GARY LEE WHITE '05 TOYOTA CELICA 6.962 AT 205.88MPH
PRO RWD
WINNER MARTY LADWIG 07 CHEVY COBALT 7.303 AT {{{200}}}.77MPH
R/U ED BERGENHOLTZ 07 MAZDA 6 7.581 AT 195.19MPH
MODIFIED
WINNER BRENT RAU 99 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE 7.095 AT 173.14MPH
R/U PAUL EFANTIS 03 TOYOTA SOLARA 7.381 AT 189.10MPH
HOT ROD
WINNER STEPHANIE EGGUM 00 HONDA CIVIC 8.122 AT 181.91MPH
R/U KENNY TRAN 06 SCION TC 8.287 AT 174.26MPH
HONDA TUNNG ALL MOTOR
WINNER NORRIS PRAYOONTO 04 HONDA HYBRID 10.598 AT 83.27MPH
R/U SAUL SALCEDA 00 ACURA INTEGRA DNF
SPORT RWD
WINNER DARIN DICHIARA 94 TOYOTA 9.409 AT 157.04MPH
R/U MARK MAZUROWSKI NISSAN {{{240SX}}} DNF
URBANRACER.COM SPORT FWD
WINNER KEVIN VAN NATTEN 04 DODGE {{{SRT-4}}} 10.124 AT 141.64MPH
R/U JONATHAN REYNOLDS 01 ACURA INTEGRA
DQ
QUICK 16
WINNER LOAN NGUYEN 99 HONDA CIVIC 11.765 AT 118.98MPH
R/U CRISTIAN GOMEZ 98 ACURA INTEGRA 12.022 AT 115.85MPH
By Jonathan Wong
485 Articles

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