Driftizzle Bizzle: Nfs Underground 2 Launch Party
EA Games celebrated the release of its Need for Speed Underground 2 video game by inviting Snoop Dogg, Pharrell, Brooke Burke, the top 16 Formula D drifters and a whole lot of fans out to Irwindale Speedway. Hosted by the smoking-hot Ms. Burke, the Formula D boys battled it out for the $10,000 first-place prize. Eliminating Taka Aono's AE86 in the first round and Rhys Millen's Pontiac GTO in the second, Alex Pfeiffer and the RS*R S2000 eliminated the Jasper Performance Supra in semi-finals to face Ken Gushi in the final round. During the second run of their competition, Gushi crashed into the safety barriers and was unable to complete competition, giving the win to Pfeiffer and RS*R. Following the screeching tires, the launch-party crowd was treated to a live performance by Snoop Dogg, who performed a NFSU2-exclusive song, as well as his ever-popular "Beautiful" tune featuring Pharrell. Archbishop Don "Magic" Juan sold separately.
NHRA Sport Compact Nationals Hit E-Town
It seems like yesterday import drag racers hoped to break into the 8s and 9s. Nowadays, cars are getting faster and faster. At the K&N Filters NHRA Sport Compact Fall Nationals presented by Toyo Tires and Import Tuner, Old Bridege Township Raceway Park saw 14 records smashed to bits. In Pro RWD, Stephan Papadakis and the AEM Civic set a new class e.t. and trap record with a 6.541 at 211.73-mph run, only to be defeated by Ara Arslanian and the Bullish Racing Solara in the final round. Defending Pro FWD champion Nelson Hoyos again set an e.t. record with a 7.406 pass in his '04 Cavalier. He took the win in a solo pass against Shaun Carlson, who was unable to make the call to the staging lanes. Hoyos now leads Lisa Kubo in the season's points chase. In the Modified class, Paul Efantis and the Lucas Oil Solara also took a new class e.t. record, running 7.429 at 184.37 mph, and grabbing the class win. With times only slightly slower, Ron Lummus and the Garrett Turbo Sunfire set a new Turbo magazine Hod Rod class record with a 7.895 at 186.43 mph, only to be disqualified in the final round against the eventual winner, Kenny Tran, and his Quaker State Civic.
Test Drive Mazdaspeed Rx-8: The Way It Should Be
Rotary fans will be happy to hear Wankel's latest love child is a complete blast, and Mazda made the parts to make it even better. In a vein similar to the Nismo S-Tune 350Z, the Mazdaspeed RX-8 features a host of manufacturer-designed accents and upgrades. Most striking about the Mazdaspeed package is the complete body kit. The 20-percent larger air dams in the front bumper help with cooling as well as styling, while the side skirts, adjustable rear wing, and rear underspoiler really set off the body curves. With its beautifully styled 18-inch forged magnesium wheels, the car almost has a widebody-esque feel when you see it for the first time. The carbon-fiber door trim and Mazdaspeed shift knob are decent dress-up upgrades, although whether they're worth the cost is up to you. The most impressive performance upgrades are the expertly crafted carbon-fiber front tower bar (with integrated master cylinder brace), Mazdaspeed shocks and springs, sway bars and exhaust system. With upgraded tires, the RX-8 just plan hauls on the Mazdaspeed suspension. Flat, sure handling is all you're going to get out of this car; it just plain sticks. Mazda did their homework too. The car is neither harsh nor uncomfortable. If you have an RX-8, the Mazdaspeed parts are the way to go.Smooth and fast revving, the Renesis engine just makes you want to tear up the streets and hear that beautiful Mazdaspeed exhaust note. We couldn't stay out of the throttle enough and the tank ran dry in a little over 200 miles. We can't wait to see if Mazda will be producing a turbo system for this car. Grab your own fun at www.mazdaspeedusa.com
Sin City Bares It All: Sema Show 2004
The largest aftermarket parts show of the year swamped Sin City Nov. 2-5, 2004. The crowds were out in force. I missed my flight out of Los Angeles International Airport so after waiting for a stand-by flight in my standard-issue Primedia threads, I was eager to hit the floor in Vegas. Not the slots though, the Convention Center floor. With more pimped-out rides, vendors, long legs, new products and fake breasts than any other show, there's just never enough time to visit everyone at SEMA. Because of the sheer volume of companies, products, releases and vehicles on display, you owe it to yourself to visit SEMA if you're even remotely related to the automotive industry.