Thursday, July 10, 2008 | 2 a.m.
If the smell of burning rubber gets your motor running, head out on the highway (or Las Vegas Boulevard, if you prefer) to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s Super Tuner Nationals, featuring professional drifting and Battle of the Imports drag racing.
IF YOU GO
What: Super Tuner Nationals featuring Formula Drift Series and Battle of the Imports
When: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Admission: Friday only, $25; Saturday only, $35; two-day pass, $40. Discounts available with advance purchase.
On the Web: www.lvms.com
1. Get to the point
Last year’s well-attended drifting exhibition at The Strip is replaced by the fourth round of the seven-round Formula Drift Pro Championship, the recognized North American drifting championship series. As a result of its being a points-paying event, 43 teams are entered — up from about 15 a year ago — and will attempt to qualify for one of 16 spots in the elimination bracket.
2. Looking to repeat
Tanner Foust, last year’s Formula Drift champion, comes to Las Vegas with a 31-point lead over Samuel Hubinette and a 33-point cushion over third-place Chris Forsberg. Foust earned his first victory of the season in the most recent event, in Englishtown, N.J., and had a third-place finish in the season opener in Long Beach, Calif. Forsberg won at Long Beach and Rhys Millen won Round Two at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
3. A visit from the master
Manabu “Max” Orido, a former underground street racer who often is credited with helping launch the phenomenon of professional drifting in Japan, has officially entered this weekend’s competition in Las Vegas. Orido will be driving the Project Mu/3T Motorsport/Yokohama Aristo.
4. Not just for imports
The Battle of the Imports drag race being held in conjunction with the Formula Drift event features heads-up racing in three championship classes (Pro-FWD, Pro-Import and Pro-Stock), four street classes (Street Tuner, Street Comp, Street Performance and Street Stock) and three Sportsman classes. Despite its title, the Battle of the Imports is not limited to imported cars; three American makes are among the top five in points in the Pro-FWD (front-wheel drive) class.
5. Not your father’s drag race
In addition to racing on The Strip’s quarter-mile and the adjoining drifting course, the annual Super Tuner Nationals will include a car show, DJs, a “supermodel bikini jam,” driver autograph sessions and an extensive vendor midway. And lots of burning rubber.