D1 Grand Prix: USA versus Japan

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Over this past weekend Japan's D1 Grand Prix Professional Drift series was back in town at Irwindale Speedway in California. One of the events on the schedule pitted a five car team of driver's from Japan against a five car team of drivers from the United States (or at least drivers currently residing in the U.S) in an all out drifting battle. As expected the Japanese team drove all JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) vehicles such as a Toyota Soarer, Nissan Fairlady Z, Nissan Silvia, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Nissan Skyline. The U.S. team was a bit more diversified with vehicles as they had two Ford Mustangs, a Porsche 911, Pontiac Solstice and Nissan 240SX. The rules of the match were simple; one car from each team went against each other in a tandem battle. The loser's car would get taken away until there was only one left standing, thus determining the winner. There were two judges for the event, one being D1's own Japanese judge and the other being Dodge sponsored drifter Samuel Hubinette. After the first round the American's were down in numbers with two driver's to Japan's three, despite efforts from Samuel in the judges stand to try and even things out. The second round saw the U.S. down again, one driver to two, but it was enough to keep things going to the end. The final pairing came down to two previous D1 Irwindale winners, Nobushige Kumakubo from Japan in his Evo and Vaughn Gitten Jr. (aka JR) from the U.S. in his Mustang. JR put up a good fight against the 2006 D1 series champion, but after one round of sudden death Kumakubo and team Japan won the title belt.

Check out the gallery below for some shots of each match-up and subsequent winning celebrations.

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