Wow. What. A. Weekend.

The week started with Smoky Nagata from Top Secret Japan tuning Nissans from Monday all the way through wednesday late night, and it closed with Import Reactor Unlimited and Anime Matsuri. But before the official and epic weekend got started, Import Reactor Drift was to be the opening ceremonies to Import Reactor Unlimited.

Russell Walkers purple stuff S13 ripping up the track. KP.

Russell Walker's purple stuff S13 ripping up the track. KP.

Import Reactor Drift is the first time that Import Reactor/Anime Matsuri has incorporated a new aspect of Japanese culture: Drifting. This is significant here in Texas, as most all organized drift events take place when the sun is bright and shining, the polar opposite of IRDrift. This also marks the first time in Texas drifting history that car clubs and teams will be sponsoring most of the drifters as they battle it out for a $2000 first place prize and bragging rights for their respective crews.

Nuff Said. DM

Nuff Said. DM

Stewart Leasks LS1 powered S13 taking a break. DD

Stewart Leask's LS1 powered S13 taking a break. DD

The Lexus V8 inspired AE86 that made Smoky Nagata smile. DD

The Lexus V8 inspired AE86 that made Smoky Nagata smile. DD

The formula worked great. Teams immediately drafted the drivers they wanted, and in exchange for buying the drifters their way into the event, the drivers would sport the car clubs’ Team Logo. Refined Elegance, Import AllStars, ProjectM, 16Niss, Ikon, Sunworks, Epik, Kazoku, StanceWorks, and 5star all snatched up the drifters they wanted, and the drama began.

Joshua Steeles super clean S13 coupe getting ready for the night. DD.

Joshua Steele's super clean S13 coupe getting ready for the night. DD.

Josh Steeles truck is the horseless carriage for his drift car. DD

Josh Steele's truck is the horseless carriage for his drift car. DD

Corey Gilberts StanceWorks sponsored S13 in the pits. DD.

Corey Gilbert's StanceWorks sponsored S13 in the pits. DD.

The day started with practice runs, ride-alongs, and working the kinks out as drivers dialed in suspension settings and tire preferences. It was also a great opportunity for me to check out the pits before the hordes of spectators got to it. Our newest photographer, Donnell McAllister, joined me as we took pictures of drift cars and talked to the drivers.

Derrick Rogers Frankenstein, 13B powered RWD Subaru car/truck. DD

Derrick Rogers' Frankenstein, 13B powered RWD Subaru car/truck. DD

Bubba Drift watching the drift action with Team Falken. DD.

Bubba Drift watching the drift action with Team Falken. DD.

Vaughn Gittin Jrs RTR edition Mustang probably missing the Japanese drift tracks. DD

Vaughn Gittin Jr's RTR edition Mustang probably missing the Japanese drift tracks. DD

But it wasn’t only just the local drifters giving ride-alongs. Falken Tires’ ace driver, Vaughn Gittin Jr of Drift Alliance hall of fame, was also kind enough to not only travel all the way from California in the Team Falken truck, but to also give a few lucky people a few brushes with death in his green and blue Ford Mustang Demo car.

Changing tires on the Falken Mustang was a common sight to see. DD

Changing tires on the Falken Mustang was a common sight to see. DD

A super slammed Miata

A super slammed Miata

Russell Walker talking to a few fans. DD

Russell Walker talking to a few fans. DD

Chelsea DeNofas BMW fresh from the XDC event in Cali. DD.

Chelsea DeNofa's BMW fresh from the XDC event in Cali. DD.

Of course it wasn’t all peachy for everyone. Some drivers had a few issues with some mechanical failures such as Victor Sun’s unfortunate power steering issues on his S13. It was a very normal thing to see the drifters working diligently on their own cars. Everything from adding new vinyl stickers to complete engine teardowns could be seen in the pits. Luckily, most everyone worked out their kinks and were eventually ready to throw down some smoke.

Fielding Shredder performing some surgery. DD.

Fielding Shredder performing some surgery. DD.

Fielding working on some body work. DD.

Fielding working on some body work. DD.

Alex Berrios mounting his car in an unusual way. DD.

Alex Berrios mounting his car in an unusual way. DD.

Coreys Teal S13 dismantled. DD.

Corey's Teal S13 dismantled. DD.

Sometimes, you gotta get creative, or you gotta go home. DD.

Sometimes, you gotta get creative, or you gotta go home. DD.

Amir Rizvi lending a helping hand for Victor Suns crippled S13. DD.

Amir Rizvi lending a helping hand for Victor Sun's crippled S13. DD.

Speaking of adding Vinyl…

Sammy Tiger, the only non Texan came straight from Atlanta to compete. DD

Sammy Tiger, the only non Texan came straight from Atlanta to compete. DD

B-Rad, aka Brad Burnett, sitting pretty in his 16Niss sponsored Corolla. DD

B-Rad, aka Brad Burnett, sitting pretty in his 16Niss sponsored Corolla. DD

Cody Surmans Classy Chassis, the Toyota Chaser. DD

Cody Surman's Classy Chassis, the Toyota Chaser. DD

Aaron Loseys drift car was also in attendance to test track conditions. DD

Aaron Losey's drift car was also in attendance to test track conditions. DD

Mr. Losey probably conducting bitnit. DD

Mr. Losey probably conducting bitnit. DD

And then the screeching began. One by one, the drifters took to the track, with each run getting progressively better than the last. There was one thing very different about this course than what you would normally see at a Texas drift event. K-Rails, aka, concrete barriers. The K-Rail brings a very crucial element to the event which is danger and chaos. Only the best drifters would get close to the barriers, as this gave them a ton of points to get as absurdly close to what would seem like suicide.

Vaughn Gittin takes to the track. DM

Vaughn Gittin takes to the track. DM

The mustang threw up gobs of smoke instantly to the delight of fans watching. DM

The mustang threw up gobs of smoke instantly to the delight of fans watching. DM

DM

DM

DM

DM

The lavendar rocket driven by Russell Walker. Big fish, little fish, put em in a box! DM

The lavendar rocket driven by Russell Walker. Big fish, little fish, put em in a box! DM

Mr. Berrios ripping it up. DD

Mr. Berrios ripping it up. DD

Ameens Cressida warming up his tires. DM

Ameen's Cressida warming up his tires. DM

Ameen chasing teammate Alex Berrios. DM

Ameen chasing teammate Alex Berrios. DM

Codys Chaser raping the asphalt. DM

Cody's Chaser raping the asphalt. DM

Dat. Ass. DM

Dat. Ass. DM

Brads AE86 was not what you expected to see after hearing the V8. DM

Brad's AE86 was not what you expected to see after hearing the V8. DM

Sammy Tiger wastes no time lighting up his tires. DD

Sammy Tiger wastes no time lighting up his tires. DD

The Subaru Brat had no problems peeling the tires from the wheels. DD

The Subaru Brat had no problems peeling the tires from the wheels. DD

Shredders Love-it-or-hate-it S14 venting smoke through its fenders. DD

Shredder's Love-it-or-hate-it S14 venting smoke through it's fenders. DD

Will Parsons NST/Import AllStars sponsored Turbo AE86 getting sideways. DD

Will Parson's NST/Import AllStars sponsored Turbo AE86 getting sideways. DD

786Motoring/Team Epiks Cressida sans Aero. DD

786Motoring/Team Epik's Cressida sans Aero. DD

Ameen Rizvi supporting a Houston-Imports.com sticker. DD

Ameen Rizvi supporting a Houston-Imports.com sticker. DD

Victor Sun before the mechanical problems that plagued his car. DD

Victor Sun before the mechanical problems that plagued his car. DD

Leasks super loud V8 S13 coming around the corner. DD

Leask's super loud V8 S13 coming around the corner. DD

Team Sunworks representing. DD

Team Sunworks representing. DD

The LS1 S13 gettin gangsta. DM

The LS1 S13 gettin' gangsta. DM

After 5pm, the track went “cold” and no one was able to drift until the qualifers at 7pm. The bleachers began to fill for what was sure to be an epic evening. Even as the wind became more prevalent, slowly, the crowds began to show. It was definitely an interesting sight to see as each sponsoring crew came to support their respective drivers and it was great to see the hardpark crews cheering for the drifters. It was something Houston hasn’t seen since the original Formula D that was held at night time over 5 years ago. This was definitely the place to be on this thursday night. This also marked when I could finally put down my camera and let the real photographers for Mayday take over. In addition to Donnell’s pictures, DFan and Khiem had made their way to Gulf Greyhound park to snap some photos for MaydayGarage.

Vaughn Gittin jrs car sitting pretty. DP

Vaughn Gittin jr's car sitting pretty. DP

Glaring lights didnt stop anyone. KP

Glaring lights didn't stop anyone. KP

Ready to Rock! KP

Ready to Rock! KP

The festivities officially began at 7pm with a 13 car tandem, and the mayhem was something to see and hear. One by one, the sounds of turbocharged JDM four cylinder SR20DETs mixed in with turbocharged european six cylinders and the rumble of normally aspirated V8’s filled the evening air as the crowd cheered and yelled at the top of their lungs.

This was Import Reactor Drift.

Chelsea and Team Refined Elegance showing us how Euros do it. KP

Chelsea and Team Refined Elegance showing us how Euros do it. KP

The new green scheme works great at night! KP

The new green scheme works great at night! KP

Sammy lettin loose. DP

Sammy lettin' loose. DP

Coreys StanceWorks S13 making its rounds around the course. DP

Corey's StanceWorks S13 making it's rounds around the course. DP

DP

DP

Its all about TX. KP

It's all about TX. KP

Fielding Shredders car after a little bit of battle damage. KP

Fielding Shredder's car after a little bit of battle damage. KP

Fielding Shredders car after a LOT of battle damage. DP

Fielding Shredder's car after a LOT of battle damage. DP

The Team Sunworks car tearing up the asphalt. DP

The Team Sunworks car tearing up the asphalt. DP

Import AllStars AE86 looking to place. DP

Import AllStars' AE86 looking to place. DP

Will making it work the streets. DM

Will making it work the streets. DM

DM

DM

786 Motoring and Team Epik getting crazy sideways at GGP. KP

786 Motoring and Team Epik getting crazy sideways at GGP. KP

The V8 doesnt disappoint. DM

The V8 doesn't disappoint. DM

DM

DM

After all 13 cars made their qualifying runs based on speed, style, angle, how close they could get to the K-Rail, and overall excitement factor, it was time to narrow down the field to just 8. These 4 sets of 2 would do Tandem, with each winner moving up the ranks. Only the podium finishers would get any prize money with first place pocketing an astonishing $2k, unheard of for any Texas drift event. But what did you expect? Go big or go home. Competition was fierce to say the least. But before the battles for top 3 would begin, Vaughn Gittin Jr. was kind enough to take a few spectators for some runs while the judges figured out who was moving into the great eight. With DJ Tito spinning the vinyl, and J-Rod of Formula D fame announcing, no one was bored.

kp

kp

Lighting up the tires was JRs specialty. KP

Lighting up the tires was JR's specialty. KP

Cheesin Vaughn. DM

Cheesin' Vaughn. DM

In case you forgot. DP

In case you forgot. DP

Vaughn was quite the character. DP

Vaughn was quite the character. DP

This lucky guy in uniform gets a chance to take a rollercoaster ride with Vaughn. DM

This lucky guy in uniform gets a chance to take a rollercoaster ride with Vaughn. DM

The look of a madman. DM

The look of a madman. DM

The mustang entertaining the crowds. DM

The mustang entertaining the crowds. DM

DJ Tito in the mix. KP

DJ Tito in the mix. KP

DJ Tito pausing his busy set to say Hi. DM

DJ Tito pausing his busy set to say Hi. DM

This also gave the spectators a little time to also check out the local heroes as they got ready for round two.

Checking out the rides at IRDrift was part of the fun. KP

Checking out the rides at IRDrift was part of the fun. KP

A 786 groupie awaits the driver. KP

A 786 groupie awaits the driver. KP

After the small intermission, it was back to the drifting. This is the most exciting part of the competition as drivers are put to the test by trying to close gaps and maintain both their racing lines and drift momentum as the other trys to escape the car following them. Mix in that K-Rail, and it’s a recipe for both drama and excitement. There were more than a few drivers who ate the K-Rail, as expected, and most just shook it off, and continued bumpers and fenders falling off, the show must go on.

Corey vs. Sammy. KP

Corey vs. Sammy. KP

StanceWorks vs. Project M. DP

StanceWorks vs. Project M. DP

Sammy and Project M take a huge hit to the K-Rail. DP

Sammy and Project M take a huge hit to the K-Rail. DP

Stew loses his rear bumper in front of Will. DM

Stew loses his rear bumper in front of Will. DM

Russell Walker and team Ikon smoke out their competition. KP

Russell Walker and team Ikon smoke out their competition. KP

Ameen leads Chelsea in a Battle Royale. DP

Ameen leads Chelsea in a Battle Royale. DP

As the last battles are fought out, Ameen clenches 3rd place for a podium finish, and the winner of IRDrift is to be announced by the judges table as Stew Leask and Sammy Tiger await the results. First place takes home $2k, and second takes $700.

The judges check out the tally. DP

The judges check out the tally. DP

Stew and Sammy pull up to the judges table. DP

Stew and Sammy pull up to the judges table. DP

Sammy and Stew eagerly await the outcome. KP

Sammy and Stew eagerly await the outcome. KP

DM

DM

Lets make it more dramatic! DP

Let's make it more dramatic! DP

But before J-Rod announces the winner, we have one more surprise. Out of an SUV pops out John Leigh, the man responsible for everything that is Import Reactor/Anime Matsuri. John is not alone. With him is none other than Smoky Nagata, Top Secret Japan extrodinaire and his main mechanic, Asai. They are here to check out American drifting and also to present the trophies to the top 3 winners. How awesome is that?

John Leigh and Smoky Nagata. KP

John Leigh and Smoky Nagata. KP

The winner is Stewart Leask in his awesome silver colored S13 coupe representing Team Sunworks with Sammy Tiger taking second overall for Project M! Vaughn Gittin Jr. congratulates all 3 winners as does Smoky.

Stew and Ameen congratulate each other as Vaughn hands Sammy his trophy. DP

Stew and Ameen congratulate each other as Vaughn hands Sammy his trophy. DP

DP

DP

Smoky congratulating Stew in Japanese. DP

Smoky congratulating Stew in Japanese. DP

This looks like the end screen for StreetFighter2, but so much better. DP

This looks like the end screen for StreetFighter2, but so much better. DP

After everyone got their trophies, it didn’t end there. Afterwards, Stew got the chance to tandem with Vaughn as the two eight cylinder powered cars finished off the rest of their tires for the night. The smoke made from both of these cars was nothing short of amazing. It was the perfect ending to a perfect event. Everyone stayed to get a chance to check out the drift cars and get to talk to the drivers and get autographs from Vaughn. I was actually very pleasantly surprised so many people stayed behind to congratulate the drivers. It was a great night to be a Texan.

Vaughn tandeming with Leask. DM

Vaughn tandeming with Leask. DM

Vaughn making his last run. DP

Vaughn making his last run. DP

Stew making his victory lap with Vaughn Gittin

Stew making his victory lap with Vaughn Gittin

Rodeo Drifting. DM

Rodeo Drifting. DM

Whats he thinkin about? DP

What's he thinkin' about? DP

As we conclude on the first day of Import Reactor Unlimited weekend, we’d like to thank all those involved to make the first Import Reactor Drift a success. Without them, this event would never had come to fruition.

Last thing. While making what would be his last run ever in the Falken drift demo Mustang, Vaughn had lightly tapped the K-rail with the rear bumper of his car. Where did it scrape?

Sho Nuff. DP

Sho' Nuff. DP

The MaydayGarage:
DD= David Do
KP= Khiem Pham
DM= Donnell McAllister
DP= Danh Phan

Stay tuned for our coverage of the show portion of Import Reactor Unlimited, the best car show in TX!
And don’t forget to become a fan of Maydaygarage on Facebook!

–David–
David@maydaygarage.com

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