Formula Drift Texas Coverage
GASOLINE m o t o r s p o r t s
c o v e r a g e
c a r
c u l t u r e
THE MAGAZINE volume 1, issue 1
SPOTLIGHT ON DRIFTER
Model Q&A Leila Ann Karting Austin Hunter Spotlight Pro Am 1
Editorial & Design Editor in Chief Mikael Hinojosa Creative Director Mike Rahimi Art Director Mikael Hinojosa Contributing Editor Meagan Ellsworth Contributing Photographers Nelson Ayra Alex Ventura
Advertising Mike Rahimi 281-917-0221 email@example.com
Bryan Turrin 2
Adventures in ChumpCar Racing Driver Spotlight: Joshua Steele The Big 5 Event On the Hunt with Austin Hunter Shop Spotlight: ProAm Go Big or Go Home 2013 Lone Star Drift Series Q&A with Leila Ann
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Adventures in ChumpCar Racing by John Rawson @ ProAm Auto Motorsports in Texas seems to primarily consist of drag racing for 10 to 15 seconds at a time, drifting for 60 to 90 seconds at a time, or circle track racing around and around and around. What most motorsports enthusiasts don’t know about is something called the Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series. What is ChumpCar racing you ask? “ChumpCar” as it’s called, is an amateur road racing endurance series dedicated to offering affordable endurance racing to regular weekend warrior racers like you and me. Races are timed events lasting from 7 to 36 hours! For the past three seasons, ProAm Auto Accessories has been sponsoring the #92 Nismorons, a local Texas race team in the Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series. ChumpCar races are held all across the country at some of the most famous race tracks in the USA, and one in Mexico - ¡Olé! ChumpCar has held events at Daytona International Speedway , Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Sebring, and Road Atlanta to name a couple of the most famous venues. Locally, ChumpCar races at Texas World Speedway in College Station, Harris Hill Road in San Marcos, Eagles Canyon in Denton, and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The Nismorons is a team made up of 6 very good friends, all brought together by a common love of racing. We each live in different parts of Texas: Houston, La Porte, Austin, Lubbock, and Fort Worth. Our car, as our name suggests, is a Nissan 240SX, well known by all types of motorsports competitors as an excellent basis for a racing car – endurance, drift, or drag. Check out our site for tons of race reports, videos, and build threads – The greatest thing about ChumpCar racing is that it is a real group effort team sport. Unlike other forms of motorsports where there is a single driver and a crew, endurance racing at this level requires multiple people to perform all the tasks of the team, including driving and wrenching. If you like to hang out with your buddies and get a ton of seat time for not a lot of money, ChumpCar endurance racing is something for you to check into. Stop by ProAm Auto Accessories to learn more about getting into this sport, or to see ‘Ole 92 getting prepped for our next event. 4
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Photo credit: Proper Garage
What is your full name? Joshua Shayne Steele Do you have a driver “nickname?” Blue Steele, Mr. Nevrslo What series do you drive in? Formula Drift How many events per season? 7 events in the tour, I also do a number of local events for fun, as well as Nevrslo Motorsports demos. Nevrslo also runs “Nevrslo AM DRIFT”, it’s a series started, and geared towards armature drivers wanting to compete, but not get slaughtered by other advanced drivers!
Car make & model? Car number? List of modifications? #72 - 1998 S14 LS2/6/7 swap!!!! Hahahahahahahaaha LOL, no it’s an LS2 bored over 20, with everything else LS6 & 7 so that’s the inside joke! But it’s FULLY built and has way to much radical stuff to list! I can tell you it makes over 500 to the wheels, and the FULLY built T56 is powder coated neon PINK!!! Why did you select this chassis? What makes your car unique vs. others in the series? Long story short a friend of mine had the shell, we had already caged it, all it need was a wide body kit, paint, suspension, interior, and a
heart…LOL It was a 6 month build before 2013 FD RD1 Long Beach was upon us… What I think makes the car different is the drivers side front wheel!!!! HAHA I’m joking, we kept the car as simple as we could, no tubing this, and fuel cell that, and all the crazy sh!t you can do now a days. Reason being is that the probability of hitting a wall during the FD season is very high, so I didn’t want 100 plus hours into the front end of a car or what ever just to have it destroyed! If you had to use a completely different chassis for next season, what would you build? 350Z, those cars drive themselves!
Do you travel often? Yes, FD is very demanding as far as travel… The best city I’ve been to was Seattle, I’m big into grunge (Nirvana, Sound Garden, Alice in Chains, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc), thank God every day that Dave Grohl didn’t give up after Kurt left us! What is your favorite city and/or race track that you’ve visited? The best track is Texas Motor Speedway, it’s extremely fast in, then you put on the brakes, then lay on it again! During fun practice days you can link the whole thing! As well as I had a chance to spread T. Cox’s ashes during a mid drift pass, one of the best moments I’ve had in drifting. R.I.P Tyler
What is the most memorable event/ accomplishment in your career, until now? XDC RD 1 2010, making podium with one of my best friends Chelsea DeNofa!!! What better place than the HOUSE OF DRIFT!!!
Where do you see yourself in twenty years? Really? Well that would make me 54, sooooooo. Probably sitting at a bar telling Glory Days stories to “The Boss” him self!!! Haha Stuck in the 80’s man!
What would your ideal career be, if not race car driver? I’d go back to windsurfing on Maui every day and traveling to some of the most amazing wave breaks in the world!!! What are your hobbies outside of motorsports? Windsurfing and Surfing, don’t really wake skate any more, but we like killing each other on the inner tube behind the jet ski!!!!
spotlight with Joshua Steele
Alex Ventura Houston Streets
Purrs. Like an alley cat.
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MSRP excludes destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Dealer sets actual price. 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Limited pictured has an
9/12/2013 4:38:02 PM
What series do you drive in? How many events per season? How many teams/drivers per event? I race in multiple series including the Sodi World Series, Gulf Coast Karters Chonda Division. Sodi World Series 10-15 Races a year, 10-15 Drivers a race, 32 Drivers this Season. Gulf Coast Karters 16 Races a year, 14 Drivers a race, 30 Drivers a season Car make & model? Car Number? List of modifications? Sodi Chassis “SWS” GCK- CRG, Number 27T Why did you select this chassis? What makes your car unique vs. others in the series? My Kart is unique due to the history it has, it has been raced on the national level as a shifter kart for years,
although it has had better days it has great history. If you had to use a completely different chassis for next season, what would you build? If I was able to use a new chassis it would be a new updated CRG built by my friends at RPM Motorsports. Do you travel often? What is your favorite city and or race track that you’ve visited? I have raced on the National Circuit in the United States Indoor Karting Championship and placed 27th in the event and 1st in Texas. That race was in Phoenix, Arizona at Octane Raceway. I have been recruited to be on a National Endurance Team in Fontana, California. I have traveled in Chonda to two cities in Texas for the Texas Lonestar Grand Prix in Dallas in 2012 and Lockhart in 2013. My
Favorite would have to be the Dallas event where I scored my first top 5 in a national level race. What is the most memorable event/accomplishment in your career, until now? Is there one race/battle of yours that really stands out in your memory? The most memorable accomplishment I have is winning the Track 21 Houston Sodi World Series Summer League by over 3000 points. I Won 7 of the 10 races on the way to my title, and did not finish off the podium all season. The one race that stood out in my mind was the 2012 Texas Lonestar Grand Prix, I started the event in 18th position in a kart with an ill motor. As the green dropped the field speed into turn 1 and from 3rd place back spun, 11
I went left, saw a gap and made it through without a scratch. I ran as hard as I could and had my teammate Anthony Severson blocking behind me and only lost 1 spot to 4th place. My Biggest accomplishment has to be ranking 6th in the WORLD in the Sodi World Series rankings for at least a month, and number 1 in the US for over 2 months and counting! What would your ideal career be, if not race car driver? My dream is to open my own karting track, whether it is an indoor or an outdoor, my dream is to open and manage my own facility. What are your hobbies outside of motorsports? I love to go to all types of sporting events, as well as spend time with family and friends and my girlfriend of 5 years. Where do you see yourself in twenty years? I see myself in two positions. One is being an Elementary school P.E teacher or have succeeded in my dream and managing my own race track.
To see more on Austin Hunter, visit www.austinhunterracing.com 12
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BIG or GO GO HOME Photos by
Nelson Ayra & David Karey Words by
Meagan Ellsworth 19
The story isn’t about the event. It isn’t about the fans. It’s about the drivers. It’s about the sport. It’s about the tale of an old Japanese car known by most as a Toyota Corolla hatchback and by real car enthusiasts as an AE86. The story is about how this car became an icon for starting it all and how it is slowly disappearing from its own sport as it becomes replaced by modern monsters with engine swaps, and modifications that bring a car as high as 1400 horsepower.
It’s about how the old hatchback’s short wheel base just isn’t keeping up on the track anymore, how the pioneer and its parts aren’t being made anymore, and how even the drivers who continue to hang on to the sentimental chassis have a conflict in their heart for what’s best for their image, their budget, and their goals. One of these drivers is NonStopTun-
ing’s AE86 and rookie Formula Drift driver, Will Parsons. Triple digits, sand pits, and night blindness brought the dynamics to the table for Parsons and nearly 51 other drivers representing about 15 countries for Formula Drift’s 6th tour stop at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas on September 12th14th. It was FD’s first time to be held at the venue’s inner track.
“I’ve always wanted to see Formula Drift, but it was always too far away. Now its come to Texas and it was really cool,” Dennis Wheeler, a 23-yearold spectator, of Abilene, Texas said. Several of the drivers described TMS as completely different from any other track seen on the tour. For one, the run up and the connecting point between the first turn and second turn is longer than any other track. The design in the straightaway allows triple digits in the initiation, making it the fastest track the tour has seen so far. Also, the last sweeper is an increasing radius turn, which allows a plot twist in the run where a lot of the drivers could catch up in that area of the chase. “It’s about a fifth of a mile,” Chelsea DeNofa, Air Force/ BC Racing BMW
E46 driver said. “So just imagine you are drag racing all the way to the first turn up to 110 mph and then you click your car into drift. Then the straightaway between the “s” turn and the back turn requires a lot of grip, so in order to do that you need to dial a lot of drift in your car so you can be fast.” The straight allows more speed, but more grip can also make it more difficult to drift. “It’s kind of both, give and take,” DeNofa said. “It’s definitely a different set up. It rewards a more stylish driving which is good--it helps me out a lot. It’s one of the more exciting tracks for me.” The drivers quickly learned that they not only needed to gain knowledge of the track’s design, but awareness of its critical flaws. “Unfortunately, in the area called the ‘touch and go’ there is a very large drop off between the end of the track and the start of the rumble strip,” Patrick Mordaunt, Diamond Lighting
“This track is very fast, very high speed, lots of throttle, which makes it one of the smokiest tracks to have to chase somebody” Lexus SE430 driver said. “It is right where the cars have to come out wide, so if you go 6 inches to a foot out too wide, you’re basically hitting a huge bump that can deflate a tire, brake a rim, or break suspension arms… it has launched a couple of cars in the area as well, so it’s a very dangerous spot on the track.” If that was not challenging enough for the drivers, there was also a level 21
of difficulty in the final tandem runs being held later in the day. “Since this is the night event as the sun goes down the visibility does drop,” Mordaunt said. “The hardest thing is definitely the visibility.” If it wasn’t the dark limiting visibility, then it was smoke. “This track is very fast, very high speed, lots of throttle, which makes it one of the smokiest tracks to have to chase somebody,” NOS Energy Nissan 370Z driver, Chris Forsberg said. “There’s been a lot of errors by the drivers during the chase runs and that’s what is really forfeiting the wins over.” Going into the event the standings showed Forsberg, Daigo Saito (Achilles Tire), and Michael Essa (GSR Autosport) at the top of the list. Needless to say, fans had certain expectations for which drivers would perform well and who would go home with the prize.
Others, especially the locals, held on romantically with the hope that a driver like Parsons, Nate Hamilton, or Joshua Steele might make Texas proud with the advantage of already being familiar with the track from the ProAm Lone Star Drift series. But muscle memory and hometown advantage wasn’t enough to clinch the win for the locally loved. At one point during practice rounds, the crowd watched with shock and awe as a troublesome drop off in the “touchand-go” sent Hamilton’s car airborne, knocking him out early in the event. “A lot of guys were qualifying in the top 32 that I had never seen qualify,” Wheeler said. “I root for the locals Parsons and DeNofa. DeNofa’s crazy as hell, he doesn’t care.” But even the big name sponsored and wildest drivers like Monster Mustang driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. and rowdy crowd favorite, DeNofa weren’t safe from the challenges of the track.
“This has been the most controversial event and it’s in person,” Wheeler said. “A lot of guys are having a hard time getting it and it’s weird because there’s no walls or anything. Like Daigo Saito, I thought he would do better.” “So I guess they are going big or going home—that’s Texas style,” the amused fan said. As an FD veteran, Forsberg provided his insight on what Wheeler and many of the fans were witnessing.
“So just imagine you are drag racing all the way to the first turn up to 110 mph and then you click your car into drift.”
“There is a lot of good talent out there,” Forsberg said. “Some people were having trouble with this track. It’s a new track and adjusting to it is difficult, so there was a lot of upset in qualifying and a lot of new faces at the same time. Not to say I was surprised, but I kind of saw it coming. Whenever you go to a new venue there’s going to be a few new faces.” The NST team shared their pride in the efforts made by both FD rookies Steele and Parsons in their performance at the high-speed track as well as excitement when Parsons qualified as one of those new faces in the top 32. Parsons said he felt he had confidence in his practice and qualifying runs going into the finals. During his last tandem battle, a miscalculation was made by the NST driver that was enough to send the old Corolla off the track into his opponent, Matt Field.
“I had to follow him first and he stayed next to me until the restart cone. His car is a lot faster than mine so he was able to pull a gap on me in the straightaway.” Parsons said he was trying to catch up with Field, but ended up (clipping) the second inner clip. “That would have been a deduction,” he said. “Then I was starting to catch up with him at the end of the track but I still had a pretty good gap, so at the end of my lead run I knew I had to give 100% of everything I had.” The rookie said he drove really hard in the first turn and whole middle section, where he did fine. Then, while riding the sweeper around to exit the track the AE86 dropped a tire. “Right when the tire dropped I spun,” Parsons said. “Field ended up hitting me and we had a little crash there on the track. The damage wasn’t too bad, but it ended up giving him the win and that was the end of my day.”
Some people were curious as to whether or not Parsons would have gone further in the competition considering his earlier runs against Field. “I heard that he dropped the tire following me,” Parsons said. “I haven’t seen the replay or anything, but considering if he dropped the tire following me and I didn’t go off course and I finished the lap perfectly I think we would have gone one more time.” “We would have gotten a fresh start,” he said. “His car was really fast on the straight, so it was going to be tough to follow him.” Field went on to finish second to Michael Essa, with Forsberg rounding out the top three. “Essa did really good,” Parsons said. “He was good all weekend. Field really stepped his game up. He beat me, moved on and then progressively as he got further and further was really laying it down.”
“the gap between the rookies and the top ten is growing more and more every year” NST’s AE86 rookie didn’t finish first, but this FD TX event was the best performance that Parsons has had all season. One reason for that he says is just because the car itself actually cooperated. “It feels good,” Parsons said. “It feels awesome. The car was flawless this weekend. We’ve had trouble at every event this year. Every event I’ve had at least one issue with the car, this event we had no issues with the car. I hit people, all kinds of stuff and went off track and the car didn’t break. It was flawless the whole time.” Mechanical issues are not the only obstacles that Parsons has had to overcome this season. For starters, he has a completely different car. To most fans, it would appear that Parsons is driving NST’s same old green AE86, but Parsons’ current car was built using a shell that was previously owned by NST president Mike Rahimi. 24
“The shell sat in storage for a few years,” Rahimi said. “Parsons and his dad (Davy) purchased the shell and built it for the 2013 season. The F20C engine was built and rebuilt during the season. The roll-cage and the subframe modifications that had been performed on the old green car were outdated in the current FD rulebook and were the biggest reasons for the change to the new chassis.” It’s well known that the car itself is hard to handle. Adding a new shell, new tracks and the modern day competition to the mix makes the pursuit even more testing for Parsons. Despite the odds, Parsons found himself not only in the top 32 at FD TX, but also in the hunt for FD’s “Rookie of the Year”. Veteran driver, Forsberg, compared being a rookie now to being a rookie when he first started drifting. “It is a lot more difficult to be a rookie now because of the car calibers, the builds are insane,” Forsberg said. “They’re so fast, there is so much work that goes into these cars and adjustments to make them work correctly,
so being a rookie 10 years ago is a lot different because everybody was almost on the same playing field.” “Now the gap between the rookies and the top ten is growing more and more every year,” he said. “ So it makes it really difficult to put your foot in the door. Then again you have about 10 other guys on the same level, so you have to just try to outshine those guys.” Many fans and drivers understand that one of the big advantages of the AE86 is that it is a light and fast car. At the same time, the build itself presents some challenges. “Parsons, he’s normally super consistent but I don’t know what’s been going on lately,” Wheeler said. “He kind of needs to get out of the AE86 chassis to be honest, but it’s a great little car to learn in. I keep up on his build on 86garage. For someone to have the balls to compete in the 86, it’s such a smaller car, it’s so much lighter, its smaller tires. The speed is there you just have to go all out.” While a lot of drivers turn to more modifications and parts, sometimes with the help of sponsors, the rumor among the crowd is that it would be more difficult for Parsons because large name sponsors are less likely to sponsor the old car that isn’t being
manufactured anymore. “It’s true to a degree,” Parsons said. “A lot of the big money sponsors don’t want to mess around with anything that is not being sold commercially. That’s why you see so many of the big teams out here with 2013 model cars because companies are making new parts for them.” “So most of the guys with the old cars, the sponsors are more die hard I guess and more involved in the sport. A lot of the big money sponsors are invested for monetary gain,” he said. “They don’t care about the drivers or the sport necessarily, they just want to see results and they want to have the newest car and sell the newest car basically.” Parsons gave credit where it was due and explained that he did not feel that there was bias in the judging for large sponsored drivers. He explained one thing that needed to be taken into consideration is a lot of the drivers who have large sponsors are also the veterans who have several years under their belt making them talented and tough competitors.
He also said he would even consider switching cars, depending on the situation. “I’ve been debating it a lot this year with all of the problems,” Parsons said. “After this event I feel good, this is probably the best driving I’ve done in my drifting career. That makes me feel really good about my car and my driving and everything.” “I sometimes think I might be hurting myself by staying in the car, just because it is shorter wheel base, so it’s harder to get a lot of power and a lot of traction, which is sort of the direction that drifting is going.” he said. “So I don’t know if I am just holding on and should move on to a different chassis that might be simpler to drive, less to worry about in action, or if I should stay with it and keep getting it better.” At the same time, the car is not performing at 100% yet. “There’s a lot of stuff on the car that we haven’t finished that would make
“For someone to have the balls to compete in the 86, it’s such a smaller car, it’s so much lighter, its smaller tires. The speed is there you just have to go all out.”
it better, easier to drive and easier to make changes,” Parsons said. Knowing the competition and facing his own debate, Parsons said he sticks with the AE86 because of his knowledge of the chassis. “I know so much about it,” he said. “Switching chassis at this point would be really hard to do. We have so many parts for this car already and we know everything about it. There’s a learning curve when you switch chassis, always.” If the rookie decided to jump into another chassis, he said it would be something that is already put together, that he could buy or belonged to someone else that he could drive in. He said he would be open to any type of chassis, but it would absolutely have to be a good deal. “It’d have to be a sweet deal,” Parsons said. “But I’m going to stick with this car, invest money into it in the off season, try to fix some of the quirks it has, and bring it out to Long Beach next year.” From his car to his driving, the rookie’s former NST teammate, DeNofa, said Parsons is making progress. “As a rookie he is definitely stepping it up,” DeNofa said. “The whole thing about a rookie is to improve every round and he’s definitely been doing that. He has a couple of top 32’s, I definitely see a top 16 before the end of the season.” “I feel like I am taking some momentum with me for sure,” Parsons said. “The car is running good, this event boosted my confidence a lot. I really feel like I can hang with some of these drivers, on any given day for sure.” 25
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Thank you to everyone who competed in the 2013 Lone Star Drift Pro Am Series. Congratulations to the top 3 finishers who now have licenses to compete in the 2014 Formula Drift Championship. First Place Winner Tim Koenning Second Place Winner Nacho Nismo Third Place Winner Axle Riser For more information on the series and upcoming events: fabricatedmotorsports.com
Ryan G. Morgan
Describe yourself in three words? Fun, outdoorsy, laid back
Advent Works Photography 30
If money were no object, what car would you drive? Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Any tattoos? Where? Yes! 3 back, and each hip 31
Best thing about your time working/modeling for NST? Watching all the drivers compete, and being able to meet new people 32
Favorite event that you’ve worked on? My favorite event was Lone Star Drift round 4 “The Mexican Standoff” in Mineral Wells, TX. Lots of awesome performances and one huge epic party!
Favorite project? My favorite project would have to be modeling for the cover of Gasoline the Magazine. 33
Any girl crushes? Emma Stone
What is the one quality a guy must have for you to find him attractive? I would have to say two different things, his smile and personality! 35
would like to congratulate Will Parsons and Joshua Steele on a great 2013 Formula Drift rookie season.
Best of luck in 2014!
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PULLEYS Prothane RaceQuip Race Ramps Rays RC Engineering Recaro Red Line Oil Rosen Rostra Royal Purple Russell Samco Sport Scat Shu Shuriken Skunk2 Racing Snow Performance Sonax SPAL Sparco SPC SPEC SRP Pistons Stack StopTech Supertech Synapse Takata TEIN The Install Bay Thermal R&D ThreeBond TiAL Tokico Turbonetics TurboSmart TurboXS Vibrant Volk Walbro Whiteline Wiseco XS Power ZEX