Info is from 2004
Occupation: Engineering student
Location: Houston, TX
Club Affiliation: Texas A&M Sports Car Club, DailyDrifter.com
Experience: 4 years autocross, 2+ years drifting
-1st place, Falken Drift Showoff, Houston, TX 04/04
-2004 Placed top 16, Formula Drift - Texas, qualified 7th overall 06/04
-2005 Placed top 16 Formula Drift - Irwindale, CA
Interests: Derrick = 100% car nut
Drift Car: 1986 GMC Caballero (El Camino) (owner: James Evans)
Other Cars: 1973 Datsun 240Z, 1991 Nissan 240SX,
A small bit of history about myself:
I first got my start in racing 4 years ago with the Texas A&M Sports Car Club. I autocrossed with the TAMSCC every chance I got. After about a year of autocrossing my ’84 Nissan 300ZX turbo that I had at the time, I was forced to retire it due to an unfortunate parking-lot accident. In it’s place I acquired another 300ZX for $500 to get me to and from school. It was in this car that I made the greatest advances in my car control skills, and what ultimately shaped my outlook motorsports altogether. Ah, my fantastic $500 300ZX -- how I miss it. I greatly credit my current successes in drifting on my past experiences with that car, so I think a description is appropriate. Words cannot do this car justice, but that won’t keep me from trying.
$500. . . . Looking back, I honestly think I overpaid for the car. It was a ’84 Nissan 300ZX non-turbo. I bought it with 240,000+ miles on the clock, and as far as I could tell, only the engine oil and tires weren’t 1984 originals. Rotted suspension bushings, blown shocks, warped rotors, rusted out unibody. . . . you get the idea, the car was a piece. Predictably, it wasn’t a Ferrari when it came to handling. In fact, it handled so poorly that I wouldn’t ever let anyone else drive the car on the street for fear of them taking an unplanned (yet certainly inevitable) off-road excursion. But that didn’t keep me from autocrossing it. And autocross it I did for almost 2 years in that form. It was never assumed that I could ever become competitive in my 300ZX, so my autocrossing performances progressively became more focused on having fun and less on timed competition. That 300ZX was an incredible handful to drive, but it did have one redeeming characteristic – it seemed to oversteer with even the smallest deviation from driving a straight line. With blown shocks and more body roll than a canoe in a storm, weight transfer was undamped, but mercifully slow and just barely manageable. With experience behind the wheel, I eventually learned how to control the weight shifts to keep the car from spinning multiple times each run. Once mastered, I could comfortably throw the car around autocross courses in a manner quite befitting a drift event.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, it’s clear to me now that 90% of car control is one’s ability to manage the weight of his/her car, and I had unwittingly taken a crash-coarse in weight-transfer dynamics and techniques. I think that it’s interesting to note that I had learned the fundamentals of car control from the “other side” of vehicle stability. Most enthusiasts and racers learn high-performance driving using a vehicle with relatively stable handling characteristics. Aspiring drifters usually learn by taking a stable car and learning techniques to upset that stability. I, on the other hand, had started with a car that was excessively unstable and unpredictable. I was forced to find for myself ways to keep my unstable car under control. The skills I gained from this experience have helped me immeasurably when I started drifting.
The 300ZX was eventually given away when I acquired a ’90 AWD Talon. I autocrossed the Talon for a year with a mild suspension setup. The change in car immediately took me from a consistent dead-last finisher to a 2-time semester class champion in the club’s unlimited street-tire class. The AWD was fast, but it just wasn’t as fun as my old 300ZX. I could get it sideways easily going into any corner, but I sensed it needed a lot more power to be able to throw it around like I did the 300ZX. I soon sold the Talon to make way for my long-time passion – a 240Z project that has since snowballed beyond belief, and I’m still not finished with it today.
During my time with the Talon, a good friend of mine, Keith Lempa had been building a 240SX with the common SR20 motor swap and Tein suspension. He introduced me to the then-new Houston-based drifting organization http://www.dailydrifter.com I had heard of drifting before, but I had never considered how it might fit into my future. On June 22, 2003, we attended the first ever Texas area drift event, hosted by DailyDrifter. I co-drove Keith’s 240SX and we had a total blast. I haven’t missed a DailyDrifter event since!
Somewhere along the way, I met James Evans who was playing around with an El Camino. We were fast approaching a TAMSCC autocross and I was having trouble finding a co-drive since I had sold my Talon not long before. I had seen that James had brought the El Camino out to the previous autocross, so getting desperate for a co-drive, I asked him if I could co-pilot the ElCo. “No Problem” he said – little did I know what I had started for the both of us. At the time I met him, James had just totally re-done the suspension with poly bushings, Hotchkiss springs, and Bilstien shocks and I was surprised to find that the El Camino actually handled reasonably well. Since then, James and I have driven the ElCo at every TAMSCC autocross we could attend.
Not long after my first autocross in the El Camino, I convinced James to take it to a DailyDrifter event so we could try our hand at drifting the ElCo. And well, the rest is history. . . . .
Occupation: Real Estate
Location: San Antonio, TX
Club Affiliation: Daily Drifter
Experience: Four wheeling and rock climbing since he had a license. Started Auto-xing in 2003, Started drifting in 2004 after attending the Formula Drift Houston event.
-1st place, Falken Drift Showoff, Colorado, 05'
-1st place, Import Face Off, Louisiana, 05'
-4 ~ 1st places, Daily Drifter Grind events, Texas, 05'
-Several top 3 finishes at local events.
Drift Car: 2005 Nissan 350Z w/ twin turbo kit.
Other Current Cars: rb25 r33 rwd skyline, 95' BMW M3, 2003 EVO, S13 240SX with SR, Truck
A bit of history about myself:
Aaron will add his bio sometime soon.
Occupation: Engineer (Accident Reconstruction)
Location: Bryan, TX
Club Affiliation: Texas A&M Sports Car Club, was president of the A&M Motorcycle Club
Experience: 2+ years autocross & drifting, 7 years sportbikes, 14 years working on vehicles & Drag Racing
Drift Car: 1986 GMC Caballero (El Camino)
Other Current Cars: 2000 Chevy Truck, 1989 Camaro z28, 1986 Monte Carlo SS
A bit of history about myself:
I am married to a wonderful wife, with a 1 year old daughter, two dogs and a house on a few acres in the country.
I graduated from Texas A&M University with an Engineering degree. I worked for an R&D company doing fuel cell research for 2 years (some patents pending – but no money for me). I am currently working at a small Accident Reconstruction firm, where we look at mainly severe auto accidents for both civil and criminal trials. Interesting job, where my car knowledge and engineering degree both come in handy.
My first car was a 1986 Monte Carlo SS, and I still have it, and it has never run in the 12 years I have owned it (bought it to fix up, but had little money in high school and less money in college, some day I’ll fix it up). My first driving car was a 1984 Monte Carlo SS that I bought for $1000 with a blown motor. I had a total of $1700 in after I rebuilt a motor for it. I drove this through high school and first part of college. I started off liking drag racing the most, but my tastes have changed. I still like drag racing but have found autocrossing and drifting to be more fun. I spent about 7 years into sportbikes, but after a lot of misbehaving and one wreck I am back into cars. Built the El Camino, currently finishing up construction on my LS1 / T56 swap into my 1989 IROC Camaro. Owned a Miata for a year sold it for a truck (tow vehicle and can carry a car seat). When you have a job looking at vehicle accidents all day, safety on the road is something you think about a lot. This is the short version – I’ve owned about 10 cars and 8 sportbikes, for more details on my cars and photos go HERE