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Formula Drift Long Beach DONE

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Long Beach, Ca – Sunny LA was the location for Formula Drift Round 1. Coming out with new livery, the car also came out in a totally different color. Shaking off the yellow from last year, the red was an abrupt change and welcomed by many people as a good move. As far as the car goes, there were many changes from last year. One of the largest was the move from the supercharger to a single turbo setup. To be honest, its been so long since I have drifted the car (pretty much Irwindale last year) I didn’t noticed a huge difference. I think this is a good thing because the supercharger was instant power on throttle and I didn’t notice a change with the turbo. I did however notice I had a bit more power down low. See the supercharger boost was linear, meaning the boost increases with increasing RPM, so at redline, I was at 14psi and 6psi at 3000 or 4000rpm. Now it is at 12 psi at 3000 or 4000 rpm and it’s a constant boost level all the way to redline. Big thanks to Brad at Groundwerks Garage for making the turbo setup possible.

Suspension, suspension, suspension. WOW!!!!! What a change. All I can say here is that last year I got a lot smarter about setup. I still have a ton of work to do and more to learn, but I really enjoy learning about suspension stuff. It intrigues me to the point where it’s a borderline obsession. What did I change?
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Well, for starters I am running the Driftworks Geomaster knuckles front and rear. These things are nice. They keep the stock geometry all while lowering the car 2 inches. What this means is all the suspension arms are in their stock-ride-height locations, not pitched up or down. This allows the suspension work more freely and not all bound up with aggressively pitched geometry. Also, you can run your car hella low and it’ll still work….except for your tires hitting stuff inside your wheel wells. The next things changed were the anti-sway bars. With the VQ setup, I wasn’t able to run a front bar without it hitting the TC rod and binding the suspension. I also got a rear bar that wasn’t too stiff as well. I set the alignment to the same specs as last year and BOOM, the car was amazing. Like I said, I haven’t drifted since Irwindale and now Im hitting all the marks like a pro. I was happy.
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The final change was going to a lighter wheel from the Konig Wheel line. I got a set of the Konig Milligrams in gold and they are really nice. You can feel a difference while drifting, the wheels spin up faster when you romp on it.

Practice was pretty good. I got familiar with the course and just started working on my line. The funny thing here is that I lost a ton a weight and now my seat seemed too far back now as compared to last year. I adjusted the seat and everything really started working even better. Crazy I know. Where you sit in the car is important.

Qualifying was intense as always. Seems as though we don’t get too much time to think about it, we just line up and go. I did my runs, they felt good and I qualified 19th, yeah, my best in my FD career so far.
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I was paired up against Jeff Abbot for the top 32 competition. I was very happy. He out qualified me, but I knew I had a chance. Not like last year, were I qualified low and got paired up against a top guy. I was getting excited for the top 32 battle. We start the tandem and I have some pretty decent runs. At the finish line, they hold you until the official word from the judges come down. I am watching the official in anticipation for the win. He gives me the thumbs up and I starting yelling in excitement. Just for the record, its not smart to yell while you are wearing a helmet, its pretty loud. I am so happy for my first top 16 battle. I can line up in front of the crowd now for opening ceremonies.
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My crew member Sean and I had a bet, if I got to top 16, he was going to wear a tight shirt and be my umbrella girl. Yeah, he did it and it was funny.
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Top 16 was with Kyle Mohan. I knew I had a chance but blew it during the tandem battle. Oh well, better luck next time. See you in Atlanta, my hometown and my favorite track. I’m gunning for a top 8 finish at this event.

A big shout out to my sponsors:
KONIG Wheels
KENDA Tires
Strack, Inc
Import Image Racing
Fortune Auto
Petfinder.com
Brad @ groundwerks Garage
Driftworks
Sams Auto Land
Byron Hill for the graphic design help, BIG THANKS
Michelle Forsberg for the information on getting things done in a pinch
Sean Smithson
Mark Lenardon
Eugene Chou, HE’S MY BEST FRIEND
and my girlfriend Susan

OMG Its been forever since I have posted…..

OK OK, so I havn’t posted in a while, big deal. I have been busy. Busy with what you say, well as most of you don’t know, I just recently moved to LA. Yup, bye bye midwest, hello fun sun and unfortunately earthquakes. So far its been good, traffic isnt that bad really, everyone drives fast as hell on the interstates. Even little old ladies pass me doing 90 sometimes, they are crazy here and I love it.

So we are living in an area of LA called Koreatown. Its cool I guess…the rent is pretty cheap and its close to some cool stuff.
where I live in LA

If you are in the LA area and you want to meet up, shot me an email…I want to know where all the drifting is going on.

SEMA 2010

Located in Sin City, the SEMA show is the place to be after the seasons ends. My car was at the show pimping in the Kenda Tire booth #40013. The show truly is the greatest show on earth. There is so much to see, its pretty ridiculous. I found an exhaust tip that was like 2 feet in diameter.
see
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KENDA booth
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posing
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And the models….well, one of them at least. The other one was hiding in the trunk maybe.
I was wondering why I had ass and hand prints all over my windshield at the Englishtown Clinic….here is the reason.
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My car was WAAAAY too nice for the SEMA crowd…
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I walked around, looked at stuff, talked to people and it was fun. Way too much to see. Its cause for freaking out, cause there is just too much. Dudes changing huge dump truck tires to show you the equipment, crazy stuff around every corner. I recommend it to anyone.

Big thanks to Kenda Tire, Strack Inc and Konig wheels for the help this year. I finally got to meet some of the people that have been helping me this year.

Dennis Mertzanis LOGO

FormulaD is Over, Round 7 is in the Books

Irwindale, CA –  Round 7 is in the books and well, we didn’t do as well as we wanted.  The important thing is that we ahd fun and learned a ton.  Seriously, we learned, and we are going to take what we learned and kick some butt next year.

If you read my blog, you remember I blew my engine at Sonoma.

Working on the car to get the blown engine out. Thanks Sams Autoland for all the support this year. Couldn’t have done it without you.
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engines out
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Engine we got from Garage Boso…Thanks Ross and Frank
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Brad under the hood of the car putting the finishing touches on the engine change after blowing it in Sonoma.
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the man, uh the……..man….wow, not flattering…I’m just saying
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Lining up for practice.
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Thanks to Brad@Groundwerksgarage the car was running great.
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We were having some setup issues, so here are the guys working hard to make some changes. Thanks Dave Epifano, Brad Hettinger and Sean Smithson for the support.
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Getting a little bit closer to the wall.
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not sure why I like this picture, but I do.
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nothing beats this race support vehicle. It was an automatic manual…it shifted the manual automatically, weird car.
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my office, were I do my work
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another cool picture, this one I’m warming up the Kenda tires
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All the competitors getting ready for qualifying.
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screen shot of the driftstream live and there I am on my 1st qualifying run.
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my 1st run score….a 1 for speed, really????
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second run is looking good
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uhh, what????? reverse entry OMG
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oops, good setup, but too close to the wall….next time
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Now I have an excuse for my brake light being out.

getting some love from Nikolay-scissor-hands
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ok, I put alot of pictures in this one, so I hope you like it.

I’d like to thank:
Kenda Tires
Strack Inc
Konig Wheels
Extreme Dimensions

and in no particular order:
Eugene Chou
Brad Hettinger
Sean Smithson
Dave Epifano “The Fonz”
Jelani Winston
JC Robinson
Mark Lenardon “Makeshift Films”
Sam, Jim and Dwight from Sams Autoland
Tony B
The Gardella Racing guys, Gary, Scott, Moose and Bruce,
maybe Angerman but he didnt do anything ;)
Matt Powers for some suspension parts.
Drift Emporium for the spacers
David at WORKS Motorsports
Rob at Z-Car Garage
Frank at Garage Boso
Erik Jacobs with Atlelite.com
Toyo Tire changer guys, all of them, BIG THANKS
and of course my girlfriend Susan, needless to say, my biggest fan and greatest supporter.
and whoever else I have forgotten

and of course the fans, without you there would be no one in the stands.

The KENDA Tires Racer Support Program is Here!!!!!!

http://www.facebook.com/kendaracing

Wanna race on Kenda Tires? Here’s your chance – Kenda has set up a racer support program for all the passionate racers who want to race on the Kenda Kaiser’s (used in DMCC and FormulaD).

If you’re interested, email John at Blvdtire@comcast.net for the official race support program. If you are a racer, send in your race resume and quality for discounted Kenda tires! Drift on!

Also, look us up on Facebook at “KENDA Tires racing” to keep up with the latest news and information.

Formula Drift Video from MakeShift Films (aka. Mark Lenardon) a+

Dennis Mertzanis, the Pinot Noir of Drifting from Mark Lenardon on Vimeo.