SEMA eNews Vol. 18, No. 29, July 16, 2015

Racing News: Kawabata Wins Formula DRIFT World Championship

Compiled by SEMA Editors

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Masato Kawabata in the Team Toyo Tires Drift/Trust Racing Nissan 35RX GTR took the event victory and Aurimas Bakchis led the Formula Drift World Championship with a second-place finish.
   

Masato Kawabata Wins Formula DRIFT World Championship at Fuji International Speedway

Formula DRIFT Japan presented by G-Shock entered Fuji International Speedway for the fifth round of the inaugural Formula DRIFT World Championship. Masato Kawabata in the Team Toyo Tires Drift/Trust Racing Nissan 35RX GTR took the event victory and Aurimas Bakchis led the Formula Drift World Championship with a second-place finish.

Formula DRIFT Japan at Fuji Speedway was the first world championship round outside of the United States. The semi-finals pitted Tadahiro Fukada in his RC-ART Dreamteam with Falken Toyota Mark II against Bakchis in his ARK Performance/Feal Suspension/Nitto Tire Hyundai Genesis Coupe with Bakchis edging out Fukada to head into the finals. No. 1 qualifier Kawabata in his Team Toyo Tire Drift/Trust Racing Nissan 35RX GTR defeated Masao Suenaga in his RE Amemiya Mazda RX-7 to face Bakchis in the finals. The final head-to-head battle between Bakchis and Kawabata came to an early end as Bakchis’s motor gave on the second run and was not able to maintain drift. This gave Kawabata his perfect weekend by qualifying first and winning the competition.

The 2015 Formula DRIFT season will continue to Round 5: Throwdown, July 24–25, 2015, at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington.

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Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino are among the top teams fighting for a win at the 2015 New England Forest Rally, July 17–18. Photo credit: Hoonigan Racing
   

David Higgins, Ken Block, Travis Pastrana to Face Off at 25th Anniversary New England Forest Rally

This week's 25th anniversary New England Forest Rally (NEFR) will feature a stacked field approaching 70 cars and some big names stepping forward to challenge the Subaru Rally Team USA duo of David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew. Ken Block will compete behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta ST he drove to a win at the event in 2013. Ramana Lagemann and co-driver Nathalie Richard will debut the brand-new M-Sport Ford R5, and Brendan Reeves and Anthony McLoughin, will mark the U.S. debut of the M-Sport Ford R2. Also in the mix at this week's event is four-time Rally America champion Travis Pastrana, who returns to the series for the first time this year with Chrissie Beavis as his co-driver.

Also expected to challenge at the top of the pack is the privateer FY Racing team of Adam Yeoman and co-driver Jordan Schulze. Currently in second place overall in the series, the duo campaigns an Open class ’07 Subaru WRX STI and has been working hard to close the gap to Higgins and Drew at every round. Yeoman and Schulze have finished second overall at each of the last three events. Super Production class leaders Nick Roberts and Rhiannon Gelsomino have put their ’13 Subaru Impreza WRX STI on three overall podiums this year and could also be contenders at NEFR.

The New England Forest Rally is the sixth round in the 2015 Rally America National Championship. The 25th anniversary running of the event takes place July 17–18 and is headquartered in Newry, Maine. The event is expected to feature 120 challenging stage miles over two days of competition.

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The after-hours Grudge Night will be held at the conclusion of the 17th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway Park.
   

After-Hours Grudge Night to Take Place as Part of NMRA All-Ford World Finals

The first-ever NMRA Grudge Night will take place after hours, Saturday, October 3, as part of the 17th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway Park. The event will also include an appearance from Chris “BoostedGT” Hamilton and his turbocharged Cobra SVT Mustang from Discovery Channel's “Street Outlaws” TV show. Hamilton will sign autographs and participate in the Grudge Night racing.

The after-hours Grudge Night will be held at the conclusion of the regularly scheduled NMRA drag-racing competition. The grudge night races are open to all Ford vehicles equipped with Ford powerplants. All grudge races feature no time, no scoreboards and no time slips. Only the win light at the end of the track will determine the winner of each heads-up race.

Landon Simon to Run 2015 Indiana Sprint Week Specialty Car

Landon Simon Racing (LSR) and Mt Baker Vapor have announced that they will run a special paint scheme for USAC Racing’s 28th Annual Indiana Sprint Week. For the second straight season, the design will resemble a WWII P51 Mustang plane and act as a tribute to veterans and our country. The gold, red and blue fighter-jet-themed car highlights Simon’s primary sponsor Mt Baker Vapor and the e-cigarette company’s move from Bellingham, Washington, to their new headquarters in Mesa, Arizona.

Indiana Sprint Week consists of seven races in nine days starting with Gas City on July 10, followed by Kokomo, Lawrenceburg, Terre Haute, Putnamville, Bloomington and Haubstadt. LSR signed Mt Baker Vapor Electronic Cigarettes as their primary sponsor in March 2014. The Mt Baker Vapor #24 Sprint Car team is now based in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has slated a 40+ event schedule for 2015.

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