February 28, 2004

D1 Grand Prix USA Professional Drift

Irwindale Speedway

Irwindale, California

Written by Joseph Keawkalaya
Images provided by Joseph Keawkalaya


Created: 2/28/2004
Last updated: 3/1/2004

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than inhaling burnt rubber and getting showered with small bits of tires. I went to the D1 Grand Prix USA Professional Drift session at Irwindale, California with Chester, Glenn, Sarah, and Anthony. Over 12,000 people attended this event. This was the season opener for the D-1 drift series. It was cool to see professional drifters live and in person. Videos just don't do it any justice. The following drivers were entered in round 1 for points accumulation. They are listed in order of how they finished the last D-1 season.


1) Youichi Imamura: Mazda RX-7 FD3S sponsored by A'pexi (493 RWHP).

2) Nobushige Kumakubo: Nissan S-15 Silvia sponsored by Team Orange (463 RWHP).

3) Katsuhiro Ueo: Toyota Corolla AE86 sponsored by Cusco (197 RWHP).

4) Nobutero Taniguchi: Nissan S-15 Silvia sponsored by HKS (444 RWHP).

5) Gen Terasaki: Toyota Corolla AE86 (197 RWHP).

6) Toshiki Yoshioka: Toyota Corolla AE86 (184 RWHP).

7) Ken "Monkey" Nomura: Nissan Skyline R-34 4 door sponsored by Blitz (463 RWHP).

8) Kazuhiro Tanaka: Nissan S-15 Silvia sponsored by Team Orange (424 RWHP).

9) Masatoshi Asamoto: Mazda RX-7 FD3S (414 RWHP).

10) Hiroshi Fukuda: Nissan S-13 Silvia (444 RWHP).

11) Hisashi Kamimoto: Nissan S-15 Silvia sponsored by Veilside Racing (444 RWHP).

12) Yasuyuki Kazama: Nissan S-13 Silvia sponsored by Kei Office (414 RWHP).

13) Ryuji Miki: Nissan S-15 Silvia sponsored by Top Secret (513 RWHP)

14) Masao Suenaga: Nissan S-13 Silvia sponsored by RE Amemiya (345 RWHP)

15) Kuniaki Takahashi: Toyota Chaser JZX100 (396 RWHP).

16) Akinori Utsumi: Mazda RX-7 FD3S sponsored by DRFT/Motorex (396 RWHP).

The USA Best 3

Ernie Fixmer: Nissan 180SX SR20DET sponsored by Rotora, Yokohama, 5 Zigen (443 RWHP).

Rhys Millen: Pontiac GTO 5.7 LS-1 (400 RWHP).

Daijiro Yoshihara: Nissan 240SX S-13 SR20DET (210 RWHP).

Ken Gushi: Nissan 240SX S-13 SR20DET sponsored by Rotora, Yokohama, 5 Zigen (310 RWHP).

Bryan Norris: Nissan 240SX S-13 SR20DET sponsored by JIC Magic, Yokohama, 5 Advan (450 RWHP).


The event was judged by :

    1) Keichi Tsuchiya. He is considered the father of modern drifting and is known affectionately as the "Dori Kin" (Drift King).

    2) Manabu Orido.

    3) Manabu Suzuki.


    12,000+ people were in attendance.

    The beginning of the opening ceremonies which were led by the D-1 umbrella girls.

    Some of the participants in the middle infield.

    Event footage.

    Pictures of the official D-1 umbrella girls. Enjoy ;-).

The Advan Umbrella girls.

    That's me with the Advan girls. ;-)

    My good friend Chester with the Advan girls.

    Pictures speak louder than words.

    Natasha Yi at the Asian Diva booth. She's on the left.

    Nice T-25 custom-fabbed turbo manifold.

    S-14 with an RB26DETT motor transplanted.

    Escort's Drag Z32 Twin turbo car. I wish they would have popped open the engine bay.

    SR20DET motor for sale.

    RB26DETT motor for sale. Look at the transparent lexan cam gear cover.

    What can I say? This is an awesome machine. Nissan Skyline R-34 GT-R. Look at the size of those turbos.

    Toshi's personal Skyline R-34. He was one of the announcers for the D-1 event.


    Nobuteru Taniguchi's HKS sponsored S-15. He placed second place in the drift event.

    Another white Viper race car.

    "Tarzan" Yamada's JGTC Dodge Viper. Way to go American muscle! If you look closely, they made one concession to the Japanese automobile market. Look closely at the rear taillights, they look like Nissan Skyline R-33 GT-R taillights.

    Tarzan himself.

More pictures of the umbrella girls with Tarzan. Do you think I enjoyed taking pictures of the girls? ;-P


    Veilside's "Cherry Blossom" S-15.

    One of Veilside's nice 5 spoke rims. Check out the lip on this monster.

    Daijiro Yoshihara's S-13. He went head first into the wall in front of the judges and totaled his machine. Ouch.

    Hubert Young's totaled S-14. He just finished building the car the night before. He finished the paint, graphics, and body kit at the last minute. He totaled the car in a practice session on Friday. What a shame.

    Non's S-13 drift machine.

Some cars that were in the car show. I was pretty "Car showed out" so I didn't feel like taking more pictures. Check out the 350Z with swing up doors. Not my taste for sports cars unless it's a Ferrari or Lamborghini.


Here's the top 3 winners:

1) Yasuyuki "Rodeo" Kazama. He can drift the car and do donuts with the door open and body hanging out of the car. He put on a nice demonstration for us.

2) Nobuteru Taniguchi.

3) Ken "Monkey" Nomura

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