On October 12, 2003, Irwindale Speedway in California opened its gates to the second annual Drift Showoff presented by Falken Tires. With 40 participants jockeying to take home the first place trophy, drifters from as far away as New Jersey gathered in the early morning hours to prepare for battle.
Throughout the day, the Japanese D1 exhibition drifters amazed the crowd. As front bumpers and bodies littered the track, Tasuyuki Kazama (in the Kei-Office S15), Katsuhiro Ueo (in the Revolver AE86), and Yuuki Izumida (in the ORC R32 Skyline) performed high-speed acrobatic drifts and smoky burnouts with only inches separating each of their bumpers.
Kazama stopped at mid-track and began pulling off doughnuts in the Kei-Office S15 while half his body and legs hung precariously out the window ledge. If watching Kazama dangling from his car didn't cause the crowd's hearts to skip a beat, witnessing the high-strung Kazama jump into a $200K Ferrari 355, smoking the tires and drifting inches from the concrete barrier was sure to stir up some nerves.
Final rounds of competition brought together a classic Toyota vs. Nissan confrontation. Rhys Millen in his JZA80 Supra pulled alongside Daijiro Yoshihara in the Pacific Rim-sponsored S13 Nissan 240SX as both prepared for the final elimination duel. Both cars spun their tires as they boosted into the first 180-degree sweeper turn, effortlessly drifting the apex.
Choosing a winner was difficult as both drivers ran the tandem, showing no signs of weakness in either of their drifting skills. After numerous runs, the fifth and final run was the decision maker. Rhys Millen pulled out all the stops, eventually taking home the first place trophy.
Broken bumpers, fender benders and blown tires. All in all, the Drift Showoff was quite a success for drivers and spectators alike. We look forward to the next Drift Showoff to provide more thrills and excitement as the drift community continues to expand and grow in record numbers.