The Ice Bowl E10D #6
There is something intangible about the art of drifting. Forcing a car to break traction against its will – and then not allowing recovery until the driver is good and ready – goes against everything the factory has programmed the car to do, and then some. Beyond the limit of grip lies a deep-rooted passion for sliding sideways like a slithering desert snake with too much sunlight exposure and not enough balance to move forward in a straight line.
It was with this sense of trepidation and impending tire smoke that East10Drift and Slow Society gathered with hundreds of onlookers at Chilhowee Park in downtown Knoxville on a frigid Saturday morning to kick off the 2013 season of events. After a chilly driver and press meeting, the course was walked and lapped, tents were raised, music played, and the pits blossomed into a frenzy of activity as suspensions were checked and adjusted. A full 36 driver entries were scheduled and accounted for.
About 10:30am, the sun began to drive away the frigid weather just as the first full-speed solo warm-up laps began to drive away any doubts as to exactly how much rubber was going to be used up by day’s end. RPMs were raised, clutches began to dig in for hours of abuse, and the gentle waves of tire smoke began a steady wafting over the crowd and into the parking lot where an impressive car show was in progress. Even the Knoxville Police provided chaperone services and proved to be friendly onlookers.
Veterans such as Johnny K from Nashville knew exactly what to expect, and thus were armed for bear. Johnny’s fully race-prepped 240SX with an LS1 swap just looked the business with its generous DBR High Performance livery and quick-removal body panels. His experience competing in the Southeast was evident in the controlled maneuvers he piloted his car with. That stripped interior with an array of competition parts installed had us a bit weak in the knees, if we’re honest.
Everyone in the local scene is familiar with Hooman and his recognizable red 350Z, lacking front and rear fenders similar to many other cars present. One of the real joys of grassroots motorsports events is the sheer variety present, from modifications to paint schemes to methods of tuning and driving to each enthusiast’s individual personality. All shapes and sizes are welcome, and the sport of drifting itself lends quite well to such a spectrum of talent. Hooman is of the “Slide first and ask questions later” ilk, and the crowd really enjoyed his ability to hold spectacular slip angles.
Scott Rutledge was present, driving Andrew Cate’s black 240SX, and we were loving the multi-colored wheels he was rocking. Andrew himself piloted one of several cars with Green Tea Hawaii vinyl wrapping the front or rear fenders. It should be mentioned at this point that we will be covering Andrew’s drift specialist shop Knox Power in a film feature the week before the next event on March 23. You won’t want to miss it! Scott’s IS300 is currently at High Velocity Motorsports getting a final tune, so he should be back behind his own wheel in no time.
By the time lunchtime rolled around, the stands were packed and more spectators were pouring in the gate every second. The Slow Society-hosted car show was in full swing, featuring some impressive VIP builds, aggressive stances, and a head-turning custom 1964 Chevrolet C-10 pickup. Even Harper Acura/Infiniti/Audi showed with an orange TT-S we all hoped they would try to drift and a G37 we’re glad they didn’t. Tire-mounting services were provided in the pits, and rest assured they had barely a moment to breathe. Very few participants left with tread to spare. For a little intermission break up Mike and the crew from i-75 motorsports broke out the karts for a little action.
Many other familiar faces were present. Tetro was driving Cody Ward’s black/blue/white RB-swapped 240SX, as Tetro’s own car is currently undergoing an LS conversion. Keaton piloted his green S14 with another RB motor, a stunning set of Work wheels and no bumpers, and while we noted that Keaton and Tetro are possibly two of the quickest drivers in the region in terms of average speed maintained over a course, once Tetro gets that V8 and Keaton sorts out his fuel issues, the fast will become faster.
In addition, a brilliant blue G35 we hadn’t seen before made its presence known with a howling exhaust note, and a willingness to really be thrown into massive redline-bruising slides with alacrity. The infamous “lockup and slide” maneuver made an appearance occasionally with most participants as they neared the final braking zone, and soon retrieving cones from under front bumpers became a full-time enterprise.
Bryan Broberg drove his teal Silvia with a full tube-frame front end, and proved to be a very smooth operator even with a passenger aboard. As if to prove the “anything goes” mantra completely accurate, a classic Chevy pickup with dropped rear axle and half-removed bed also wheeled around the track with gusto. In a moment of levity, one of two radio-controlled trucks present scurried after the full-size pickup around the lower track section, comically imitating a housefly chasing a pterodactyl.
In the classic corner, a “perma-vert” Toyota AE86 arrived on a trailer with a roll cage replacing the roof. It was not uncommon to see this Trueno running the course with nearly every possible body panel removed, including the bumpers and hood. Another great from the ’80s was an inexplicably mint-looking 300ZX wearing attractive charcoal grey on the outside and a built turbo 3.0L on the inside. With OEM wheels (lowered on StanceWorks coilovers) and complete interior, it was hard to fathom why owner TJ Preston would then thrash this pristine example around a track, but he put on a great show nonetheless, with several year’s experience under his belt.
Among the engine-swapped entries was a thundering black 240 with a straight-piped LS1 engine and a red RX-7 running a Ford 302 short block that did more spinning than sliding. Also in the V8 category was a brilliant orange SN95 Mustang GT with a carb on top and factory ride height that made weight transfer a tricky proposition. At the extreme opposite end of the Mustang was the “Poison Gas” stickered 240SX that buzzed around like a mosquito, ready to change direction at the moment’s notice.
All in all, a great time was had by everyone, with photo and video coverage, hot dogs and beverages, and a cloudless sky for our enjoyment. Special thanks to the sponsors who helped make this event possible: Slow Society, Forward Motion, Green Tea Hawaii, Slide Faction, Socialized Importz, Harper Acura/Infiniti/Audi, Amsoil, Lower Class Imports, MPC Motorsports, and of course East10Drift. We hope to see everyone back at the March 23rd event, and look forward to the Smoky Stadium event in May!