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Racing News: James Deane Takes Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Victory

Compiled by SEMA Editors

James Deane returned to Formula DRIFT and got the win in the Worthhouse Drift Team/Falken Tire Nissan S15 in last weekend’s Round 1: Streets of Long Beach.

Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach: James Deane Makes His Return to the Series and Takes the Victory

Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras kicked off the 14th season last weekend at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Round 1: Streets of Long Beach, where Irish driver James Deane returned to the Series and got the win in the Worthhouse Drift Team/Falken Tire Nissan S15. The first event of the season commenced on the Grand Prix of Long Beach Street Course. The event introduced new drivers to the field, including Georgy Chivchyan from Russia and Piotr Wiecek from Poland. More than 1 million viewers tuned in from around the world over the two-day event weekend, making for the largest viewership for a single event in Formula DRIFT history. Deane returned to Formula DRIFT after a seven-year hiatus from the series, making his way through to the finals by defeating both former champion Michael Essa and the reigning and three-time champion Chris Forsberg. Deane advanced to the finals by defeating Ryan Tuerck in the Gumout/Nameless Performance/Hankook Toyota 86 in the semi-finals. On the other side of the semi-finals bracket, Alex Heilbrunn in the IMR/Nitto Tire BMW M3 defeated Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Falken Tire/Drifz Wheels/Ark Performance Nissan 240SX to advanced to the finals. Deane’s consistency and technical driving was no match for Heilbrunn in the finals, and Deane won his first Formula DRIFT victory to take the lead in the chase for the championship.


2018 King of The Hammers Dates Announced

Hammerking Productions has announced the dates for the 2018 King of The Hammers. The week-long off-road race and festival will commence February 2, 2018, with the opening of Hammertown in Johnson Valley, California, followed by a week of off-road racing. The event culminates with the 12th annual King of The Hammers race Friday, February 9, 2018. The 2017 event hosted nearly 500 competitors and 40,000 fans from around the world for seven days of racing and qualifying. In addition to the main King of the Hammers race, where unlimited 4WD vehicles known as ULTRA4s compete for the crown, fans can expect the return of all the races held in 2017, including:  King of the Motos, which is an extreme enduro motos race; the Shootout, which pits rock bouncers and rock crawlers against each other for the fastest time up a rock waterfall at night under the lights; the Can-Am KOH UTV Race, where UTVs tackle some of the same extreme rock tails and open desert terrain featured in the main King of The Hammers race; and The Every Man Challenge race, which had the most competitors during KOH Week 2017, and features three limited 4x4 race classes competing on a modified version of the KOH course. The KOH Experience guided 4x4 tour will also return, where fans get a chance to take some of their 4x4 vehicles through some of the same terrain as the race cars following main race day.

Starting Friday night, April 14, Irwindale Dragstrip will add a second full night of weekly NHRA Street Legal Drag Racing.

Irwindale Dragstrip Announces Second Weekday Night of Drag Racing

Starting Friday night, April 14, Irwindale Dragstrip will add a second full night of weekly NHRA Street Legal Drag Racing. The additional night will be aimed at accommodating drivers and fans who can’t make it to Irwindale on Thursday nights. The facility is the only weekly NHRA Street Legal Drag Strip currently operating in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura Counties. Anyone with a valid driver's license who meets the track’s age requirements can race. Their car will need to pass a general NHRA safety inspection and have a proper operating muffler. The new Friday night drag-racing dates will add 36 more dates to the 41 regular open-to-the-public Thursday night and six Sunday Summit Series championship events already on the Irwindale calendar for 2017.

Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels Continues Sponsorship of NMCA West Events

Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels has renewed its commitment to the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) and NMCA WEST series. Mickey Thompson has sponsored the NMCA heads-up Radial Wars class since its inception in 2014. Additionally, the company offers onsite trackside support at most NMCA events and contingency awards to all drivers competing in Pro, Sportsman and various special event classes. The NMCA WEST season opens with the Spring Nationals—a three-day event March 31–April 2 at Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California. Competitors in 11 classes—including the 6-second, 240-plus-mph Pro Mod cars—will chase points toward a year-end prize and the title of world champion.

Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. will sponsor GReddy Racing and driver Ken Gushi’s Toyota 86. 

Keystone Announces Formula Drift GReddy Racing Sponsorship

Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. has accounced its Formula Drift associate sponsorship of GReddy Racing and driver Ken Gushi’s Toyota 86. The 2017 Formula Drift Pro Championship began last week on the streets of Long Beach, California.

ParkerStore Joins John Force Racing as Associate Sponsor

John Force Racing has announced a partnership between the 18-time champion NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series team and Parker Hannifin, whose ParkerStore will adorn JFR’s three Funny Cars and its Top Fuel dragster as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2017 season. ParkerStore will adorn John Force’s PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, Robert Hight’s Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, Courtney Force’s Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car and Brittany Force’s Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster. ParkerStore has been a sponsor in a variety of motorsports and currently partners with Kyle Larson and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is the company’s first foray in NHRA drag racing. 

In Fastest Street Car Ultra Street, Mike Silva faced Brian Greenberg in the final, who had swapped his Ford Fairlane for a ’67 Mustang. The race was close with a 5.40-to-5.43 final round, and Silva treed Greenberg, .121 to .361.

NittoTire NMCA WEST Spring Nationals Race Wrap

The 6th Annual Nitto Tire NMCA Spring Nationals, March 31–April 2, 2017, kicked off the first of four battles in the VP Racing Fuels NMCA West Drag Racing Series, where racers fight for event wins and valuable points toward class championships. This season, the NMCA West added the Ultra Street Category to the championship roster, Limited Street was renamed Outlaw Street and the usual array of heads-up and index classes was again joined by the Hotchkis Auto X presented by Nitto Tire.

ProCharger Outlaw Street: Johnny Coleman took the light for the win over Ryan Jones.

ARP Outlaw 8.5: George Raygoza just barely edged out Tim Schmackpfeffer for the win, 4.87 to 4.99.

Fastest Street Car Ultra Street: Mike Silva faced Brian Greenberg in the final, who had swapped his Ford Fairlane for a ’67 Mustang. The race was close with a 5.40-to-5.43 final round, and Silva treed Greenberg, .121 to .361.

Lucas Oil NA 10.5: Joe Keurjikian gathered his ’69 Firebird together for eliminations and a final-round appearance against Ryan Bell, whose Corvette took a slight starting-line advantage, but Keurjikian’s Firebird motored past for the 8.04 to 8.13 win.

Regular Meziere Enterprises Top Sportsman: Troy Williamson drove his ’00 Dodge Dakota to a final-round appearance against Bill Knudson and his ’82 Camaro. Both drivers left the starting line on kill, with Williamson clocking a .001 reaction time, but Knudson was a little too quick with a -.029 red light that handed Williamson the event win.

Champion Cooling Systems Pro Comp: Matt Treadway’s ’63 Corvette squared off against Kenny Snow’s dragster. Treadway went 9.901 on his 9.90 index and Snow was 8.901 on an 8.90 bid. The race result was therefore decided at the start, and it was Treadway who left for the win with an .037 light versus Snow’s slower .064 leave.

2016 NMCA WEST Open Comp: Brent Calvert squared off against past NMCA West champion Greg Dreher. Calvert was .017 to Dreher’s .024 on the tree, and took the double-breakout win with his 8.673/8.68 performance compared to Dreher’s 9.910/10.00 effort.

TBT Racing Products Street Comp: Jan Vanderpool faced Mike Sayle in a classic Mustang-versus-Nova battle. Sayle was quicker on the tree, but broke out of his 10.90 bid with a 10.86 elapsed time, while Vanderpool drove to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a 10.45 on a 10.44 effort.

Edelbrock Super Quick: Jay Shelton and Greg Hicks made their first appearance of the NMCA West season. Hicks was off the tree first by six thousandths, but his 7.828 on a 7.82 dial in wasn’t enough to overcome Shelton’s 10.700 on a 10.70.

Calvert Racing Quick Street: Marvin Roles was .001 on the tree, which had Kelly Davis chasing him down the rest of the way down the track and eventually, but just barely, breaking out with a 10.058 run on a 10.06 dial in. Roles followed up his .001 light with a 10.148 on a 10.14 dial in for the win.

Classic Performance Products Nostalgia Street Car: In the final round, Merle Williams and his shoebox ’55 Chevy faced Mike Nordahl and his ’64 Chevy II. It was an easy win for Williams as Nordahl went -.007 red at the hit.

Gear Vendors True Street: Bill Fowler’s ’87 Mustang averaged 9.42 for the overall win. Dan Geis in his white Chevy II averaged a 9.71 for the runner-up spot, and Morris Coleman grabbed the 9-second award with a 9/79 average. Taking home the 10-second plaque was Donald Halm in a ’16 HellCat with a 10.26 average, Gary Goodner went 11.27 for the 11-second award, and Nick Cuaresma averaged 12.12 in his ’72 240Z. Slotting in for the 13-second win was an off-pace Mike Santa Cruz at 13.04, while Melanie Green drove her ’06 Mustang to a 14.05 average and the 14-second win. Rounding out the True Street prize winners was Efren Jimenez, who averaged 15.11 in his Mustang.

Edelbrock Bracket Showdown: Will Mangrum took the Super Pro win, Daniel McClelland grabbed the Pro award and Charlie Allen grabbed the trophy in Sportsman. Sunday’s winners were Greg Hicks in Super Pro, Kelly Davis in Pro and Frank Malone in Sportsman.

Hotchkis Auto X presented by Nitto Tire: Saturday Sports Car Class winners included Steve Abbott, ’04 Corvette Classic Muscle; Chad Ryker, ’68 Camaro Modern Muscle; Greg Nelson, ’15 Camaro Z28 Compact; Eric Sheely, ’16 Ford Focus Truck; and Wes Drelleshak ’59 Apache. On Sunday, Sports Car Class winners were: Jordan Priestley, ’17 Corvette Grand Sport Classic Muscle; Mike Cuthbertson; ’68 Camaro Modern Muscle; Greg Nelson, ’15 Camaro Z28 Compact; Eric Sheely, ’16 Ford Focus Truck; and Brandy Phillips, ’72 Chevy C10. The Hotchkis Cup winner was Greg Nelson in his ’15 Camaro Z28.

The championship chase continues in June when Auto Club Dragway in Fontana hosts the second round of the VP Racing Fuels NMCA West Drag Racing Series, the 7th Annual Lucas Oil NMCA West Coast Shootout.