After a long hiatus, NOPI returned to the heart of it all, SoCal, to bring their version of drift in a series called, wait for it, NOPI Drift. Held at the Home Depot Center, the site of the Summer X Games, the event blended the usual NOPI activities of bikini contests, car show, more bikini contests, music acts, and even more bikini contests with tire screeching action. Did we mention they had bikini contests?
When we weren't inundated by half-nekkid chicks parading on stage, we managed to make our way to the drift area, where we were greeted by many an accident. During practice. On solo runs. Hitting flimsy plastic K-rails that flapped around worse than Nicole Richie caught in an F5 tornado. Like Nick Hogan. After a few decent practice runs, Hogan hit the wall twice on Saturday, knocking him out of the competition. In his and all the other drifters' defense, the converted parking lot turned drift course was very tight. But waiting for the course to be reconfigured by forklifts after every crash was worse than watching paint dry on a really humid day.
On a serious, that-was-close note, however, was NASCAR driver Chris Cook's crash in his green Mopar Dodge Viper. Cook showed a lot of promise throughout the weekend, pushing his Mopar to the crowd's delight. But after pushing too hard during a Sunday practice run, Cook hit the wall and flipped the Viper on its roof. Paramedics rushed to the scene to find an unconscious Cook, who was eventually cut from his vehicle and rushed to the emergency room.
After the initial drama of the practice runs, the top 16 went without a hitch and surprisingly without many accidents. A crowd-rousing crash occurred, however, during the final battle between a pair of green-colored machines piloted by Forrest Wang and Justin Pawlak. After a close first run, Wang let his 240SX hang, causing the rear to bang against the K-rail as Pawlak sprang his way to the finish.
And that, mang, is the NOPI gang going out of L.A. with a bang.www.nopidrift.com
Alex Pfeiffer Nissan Silvia S13
Andrew Hateley Nissan 350Z
Forrest Wang Nissan 240SX
Damien Bagley Nissan 240SX
Stephan Papadakis Honda S2000
Hubert Young Nissan 240SX
Bill Sherman Nissan 240SX
Jayitr (Sammy Tiger)Sritonskham Nissan 240SX
Justin Pawlak Mazda RX-7
Chelsea Denufa Mazda Miata
Ryan Hampton Nissan 240SX
Lance Feliciano Nissan 240SX
Kenji Yamanaka Nissan 240SX
Daniel Willie Nissan 240SX
Blake Fuller Nissan 350Z
Chris Milano Nissan 350Z
Winner: Justin Pawlak Mazda RX-7
Second: Forrest Wang Nissan 240SX
Third: Kenji Yamanaka Nissan 240SX
Fourth: Bill Sherman Nissan 240SX