Formula Drift Round 3 Wall, New Jersey

June 9th, 2010

June 5th, 2010 – Wall Township, NJ

Formula Drift Round 3 was at the beautiful Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. My drift weekend officially began on Thursday at the County Line Body Shop run by Gary Gardella’s brother, Richie.  The car had collected a broken windshield the weekend before at East Coast Bash and Gary offered to help me replace it before Round 3 FormulaD. I left Wednesday after work and drove all night to get out to New Jersey to pick up my car.  It was really a pleasure to meet Gary’s dad and believe me when I say that he is a trip.  After speaking with him, you could really understand how proud he was of his sons’ accomplishments.

After loading up the car, we headed out the venue. Our first agenda for the day was to raise the suspension on the car a bit due to the roughness of the track surface and the transition from the banking to the infield. I have heard horror stories and losing my car to a rough track was not an option. After playing with alignment settings, I set the tire pressures and went out to practice. The car felt amazing with strong grip and great tire wear.  We were putting out a lot of tire smoke and the Kenda tires really put down traction. This course was not an easy course to learn.  A lot of people have said that the course is not that great but I am thinking the opposite as I had a ton of fun driving there.

Here’s a quick run-down of the course:

You start out on the bank, having the throttle pinned in 3rd gear and carrying it out all around the banking. The banking tightens up a bit at the end so you have to remember to stay off the wall as you shoot down off the bank and into the first transition. Coming off the banking and into the infield is very harsh if you don’t hit it just right. After you get off the bank, you slip past the first clipping point and transition hard to the opposite direction into the start of the figure-eight, a right hand turn.  Coming out of the right hander, you have to commit the throttle, stretching it out, to get to the left hander. This brings us to one of the harder parts of the track; it is so bumpy the car actually gets airborne during the transition. While you’re in the air, it can be tricky to figure out where you are going to end up. The course concludes itself with a left hander and that is the run.

I felt good about the Friday practice and qualifying.  My strategy was to do a somewhat conservative first run to get some points and then really go hard on the second run.  I took off for my first run and it was pretty good, decent height on the bank and I was hitting my clipping points.  I went into the last left hand turn a bit too fast and hit one of the outside clipping zone cones.  I was deducted points for this but I had to get focused on the second run.  I went out for my second run and worked to really make it count.  I rode high on the bank and the transition off the bank was awesome.  I really nailed the clipping point and setup a quick transition into the right hander.  I went flying into the corner a bit too fast and slid up the bank to earn a zero on my second qualifying run. Man, what a let down! I like to say that I take pride in my consistency, even if I am not the best guy out there. Once again with a qualifying position of 31, I picked the 2nd qualifier of the day, Darren McNamara, in his Falken/ASD prepared Saturn Sky.

Darren had won this event the year before so I knew that my chances were slim. However, I was going to throw everything I had into it. Running him was a lot of fun and he continued into the Top 16.

All in all, I have got to say that this weekend was a blast! Once again we did well and had a great showing for Team Kenda / Mertzanis.

Thanks to Kenda Tire, Strack Inc, Konig Wheels, Extreme Dimensions, Competition Clutch and M&R Products for the support this year.

Thanks,

Dennis Mertzanis
404 642 2690
dennis@dennismertzanis.com

East Coast Bash is Simply Amazing

June 1st, 2010

There are reasons why I still feel attached to E-town like I do.  Is it Petty’s craziness, or Tim’s? is it the beer? is it the wonderful new jersey skyline? the drifting maybe?  The tattoos?  Its all these things and more.  I may claim the ATL as my home and the place where I started to drift, but E-town I where I became a man.  I love going back.  I havnt been back since I left nearly 2 years ago and the drivers have really stepped it up.  I am seriously impressed with the quality of drivers and cars in the area.

Enough said, THIS is why I love Club Loose events

Love ya petty

Awesome weekend……..seriously.

Meet Team Kenda/Mertzanis

May 19th, 2010

May 19th, 2010
Team Kenda/Mertzanis has announced the operational breakdown for the organization.
We are still a small and growing team so all members will have crossover and hybrid roles in order for the team to function efficiently and effectively. We are also very lucky to have the support of our sponsors, fans, friends, and families.

For the 2010 season, the team members consist of:
• Driver - Dennis Mertzanis

• Manager - Eugene Chou

• Crew Chief – Jelani Winston

• Photographer - JC Robinson

• Videographer - Mark Lenardon

• Spotter – HaterDan Bailey

• Interim support : Brooks Church, Thomas Hammer, Jonathan Strack

Current 2010 sponsors include:
• Kenda Tires – http://www.kendausa.com

• Strack Inc – http://www.strackinc.com

• Konig Wheels – http://konigwheels.com

• Competition Clutch -http://competitionclutch.com

• Extreme Dimensions -http://www.extremedimensions.com

Thanks again to our sponsors and we hope to see all of our fans during the 2010 Formula D season!

Team Kenda/Mertzanis Team Member Update – Eugene Chou as Team Manager

May 17th, 2010

May 17th, 2010
Team Kenda/Mertzanis has announced Eugene Chou as Team Manager for the 2010 season. As Team Manager, he will be directing the public relations and marketing aspects of the team as well as the operational activities and strategic long-term goals of Team Kenda/Mertzanis. Eugene, Team Manager said, “I am very excited to be working with Team Kenda/Mertzanis for the 2010 Formula D campaign; My goal is to ensure that the team has the resources and direction it needs to operate smoothly throughout the entire season as well as preparing for the upcoming season. “
Eugene has a background in import/drift/show scene beginning in the mid 1990s’ and is currently involved in drift event promotions/operation (.:driftmechaniks:./DMGGMASD) in addition to being a Southeast Drift Formula D Pro-Am judge in the South Eastern US region for the 2010.

JerseyStreets.tv Video of Me at FD Round 2 – Road Atlanta

May 17th, 2010

First of all, Thanks to JerseyStreets.TV for the love.

This run was my best qualifying run, but later on during practice I started staying in 3rd gear longer to avoid the rev-limiter action shown in the video. I learned a TON that weekend and I cant wait to go back next year.

Dennis Mertzanis 2nd Qualifying Run At FD Atlanta from Jersey Streets on Vimeo.

And this is me getting schooled my Mr. Tuerck, good for him. Hes a great driver but he dosent listen. I told him to go easy on me and look and this…..BLASTED YOU SIR, I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE!!!!!!!

Just kidding, this guy is awesome, super nice and his driving is good too.

Dennis vs Tuerck Top 32 2nd Run from Jersey Streets on Vimeo.

Formula Drift Round 2 Road Atlanta Recap

May 11th, 2010

May 6th, 2010 – Braselton, Georgia.

The second round of the Formula D champion race hosted at the famous Road Atlanta road course was a homecoming of sorts for Team Kenda/Mertzanis. Atlanta being the hometown of freshman driver, Dennis Mertzanis, excitement as well as anticipation of a strong performance were high.

In the weeks before the event, the team picked up another new sponsor, Strack, Inc., a pipeline contractor based out of Atlanta, Ga. The principals of Strack, Inc. are huge supporters of the automotive racing and sport culture. They generously provided additional equipment and logistical support to ensure that the team has everything they need to continue to perform the rest of the 2010 season.

Thursday began with the Formula D practice and Media day. This was the 2nd time that the Team Kenda Nissan 240sx and Dennis Mertzanis has drifted this track (previous year as Pro-Am) so the day was positive with no incidents. Practice went smoothly, the team rested up for the practice and Top 32 qualifying to come on Friday.

Arriving early Friday morning, the crew checked over the car and all related equipment to ensure performance. The afternoon practice session was a scorcher due to the Atlanta heat and humidity; it did not go without rewards though, the team was able to make some important adjustments to the car setup so that Dennis could perform well during qualifying. Laying down two consistent runs with scores of 60.6 and 62 points; Dennis was able to secure the 31st qualifying spot in the Top 32, earning him a spot for the main event.

The day of the main event, it was apparent that many of the fans came out to cheer for their hometown driver. The Driftmechaniks and Team Rowdy had a large and ‘rowdy’ cheering section equipped with homemade signs to cheer on their favorite drivers. The afternoon practice session went smoothly until an unexpected failure of a suspension component put the Team Kenda 240sx on a tow truck back to the pits right before the Top 32 competition. “Coming down on the rumble strips going backwards on the track and down towards turn 10b is the same effect as hitting curbs at a high rate of speed. That is definitely what caused our right rear upright to break”, said Dennis. Upon reaching the pit space, the crew swarmed around the car and with replacement upright from Matt Powers and assistance from Matt Foerst of Foerst Motorwerks; the car was repaired in a short period of time and ushered back onto the racetrack to the cheer and applause from fans.

Dennis’ qualifying position on Friday matched him against the 2nd place qualifier and friend, Ryan Tuerck. Tuerck was a seasoned driver of the FormulaD series and his Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice was a formidable competitor. This was not going to be an easy battle, but Team Kenda was upbeat and positive. After two rounds, Ryan Tuerck continued on into the Top 16 competition, completing an exciting the weekend for Dennis and the Team Kenda 240sx.

This homecoming weekend ended up being a very important and exciting weekend for Team Kenda/Mertzanis. The team was able to show that top level drivers do come out of Atlanta, Ga., put on a good show for all the local fans, and promote their sponsors. Thanks to all the sponsors, Kenda Tires, Strack, Inc., Konig, Competition Clutch, Extreme Dimensions, and M&R Products, for helping make this season happen.

Team Kenda/Mertzanis is looking forwards to another strong performance in round three of the Formula D championship at Wall Speedway in New Jersey on June 4th and 5th.

For all our fans and followers, keep it sideways!

-echou

New Sponsor for 2010 – Thanks Strack, Inc

May 4th, 2010

05/04/2010: Dennis Mertzanis of Team Kenda/Mertzanis has picked up a new sponsor for the 2010 FormulaD drift season: Strack Inc.

While Strack Inc.’s business is vastly different from motorsports, the principals of the company are great supporters of automotive culture and sports.

- Strack Inc. has generously provided logistical/transportation support for Team Kenda/Mertzanis as well as additional donations for the 2010 season.

Thanks Strack Inc.!

-echou

www.strackinc.com

NOW IT IS OFFICIAL

April 30th, 2010

COLUMBUS, OHIO (April 30, 2010) – Kenda Tire and Formula D driver, Dennis Mertzanis, have teamed up to compete in the Formula Drift Professional Drifting Series for 2010.

Dennis, a freshmen in the Formula Drift Series, has been drifting for 6 years.  With 30 competitions and 19 top 5 finishes in Professional and Amateur events across the country, Dennis is no stranger to the pressure of competition.  “During testing, the Kenda KR-20 performed better than expected, superior traction and fantastic control are just a few of the advantages this tire has to offer”.

To follow Kenda Tires and Dennis Mertzanis’ effort for the 2010 Formula D season, point your browsers to: http://www.dennismertzanis.com

Kenda, a leading manufacturer of automobile, bicycle, motorcycle, ATV (All Terrain Vehicle), golf cart, lawn mower, industrial and trailer tires in the world, has maintained its North American headquarters in Columbus, Ohio for the last three decades. Since the inception of the company in 1962, Kenda has operated on core values of honesty, innovation, quality and customer service. For nearly 50 years, Kenda has continued to develop and expand its product selections to meet changing market demands.

Visit www.kendausa.com for more information.

-echou

Kenda Tires Video Recap of Formula Drift Long Beach by Mark@MakeShift Films

April 27th, 2010

Mark from MakeShift Films is in my crew for the FormulaD 2010 season and made this awesome recap video of the Formula Drift round 1 Long Beach.

Dennis Mertzanis at Formula D, Long Beach from Mark Lenardon on Vimeo.

Formula Drift Round 1 Long Beach Recap

April 13th, 2010

First of all, I’d like to thank my sponsors for the support this year and giving us what we need.

The FormulaD guys are top notch.  They really made us feel at home before, during and after the event.  We arrived early on Tuesday during the celebrity ride-a-longs and Tony Angelo was nice enough to get us through tech without incident.  We made our way to the pit area and got setup.  Due to the last minute deal with Kenda, there wasn’t any room in the main paddock area, so we were located at turn 9 of the main course (the first turn for our course).  We did get some press that day posted on Wrecked Magazine for the new tire sponsor Kenda Tires partnering up with me for FD.  Thanks Joey…

http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2010/04/07/new-tire-for-2010-kenda-tire-with-dennis-mertzanis/

The course we used for the event was a section of the same course used for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 16th – April 18th.  It consisted of a fast entry, only to slow down for the sharp right-hander.  Then you accelerate into a left hander, trying to get the car as close to the 2 walls as possible.  This was hard if you didn’t get the entry speed just right.  Then you slow way down for the tight right hairpin turn to the finish.

We started practice on Friday and the course was daunting.  A blind highspeed entry with very hard walls on both sides of the course was a bit unnerving.  I found the line and got straight to work trying to perfect my runs.  After the practice, there was no shortage of curious people looking at the car and asking about Kenda.  Most reactions consisted of a familiarity of the Kenda brand in other industries like bikes and atvs, but they were very surprised to find out Kenda made tires for automobiles.

After practice we got right to work with qualifying.  Out of a 55 car field, I believe only 50 cars were able to turn a lap during qualifying.  I ended up qualifying in 30th spot, not bad considering there were some top drivers that didn’t make it to the show.  Unfortunately, the 30th qualifying spot paired me up with JR in the new 2011 Ford Racing supported Mustang.  This would not be an easy tandem.

JR and I talked about the tandem cause he knew he was going to be much faster out of the hole.  He was going to hang back a bit and then shoot by me during my following run so I could stay close to him into the first turn.  I felt I did pretty good, but deep down I knew that I lost, but I did have 2 of my best runs of the weekend.  Its always possible to choke under the pressure of competition and I did not, I actually did alright.  A great showing for a rookie driver at his first FD event….or so I’m told.  Every time you don’t win, you feel you could have done better.  Also, an interesting fact was that JR went on the win the entire event, so it seems no one was able to beat him, I was just the first.

I’ve attached a link so you can see my top 32 tandem runs against Vaughn Gittin Jr.

Fast forward to 1:03:00.

Formula Drift Round 1 – Long Beach Top 32

Check out the gallery for the event.

http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2010/04/11/2010-formula-drift-long-beach-main-event-gallery/

Road Atlanta is next and I cannot wait.  The Atlanta fans are the best and I know they will blow last year out of the water.

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