Torque Insanity

Jason Jiovani's active drift racing blog with videos, pictures, and build up information.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Selling a Nissan.... no, not mine!

My life was changing, a new wife and... a new job?

Yep, finally found a new job to try out. A local Nissan dealership was hiring and offered training with a guaranteed pay plan for the first 3 months. I compared it to my current job and I would actually make more, trying it and failing, than not trying.... so I applied. 

I got hired and went through training. My first WEEK off training, I made what I used to make in a MONTH of substitute teaching, AND I did not have 12 year old kids cussing at me! 

I am still working there and so far, I really like it. The job itself is not what I expected and I can still be my friendly, helpful self, not the typical 'car salesman', and be successful. My first month on my own, I was number 4 out of 16 on the salesboard. Not bad for a fresh fish vs some real vets.

So far so good, we will see where this takes us.

Jamaica Mon!

It was time again to send our cars overseas. This time madman Harri Tervola hooked up with some Jamaicans who wanted to bring the sport of drifting to their country!

With Ter-Tech having a name for itself, NuGen Motorsports got together with Total, JRDC, and Seaboard Marine to bring us in. The title of the race weekend was dubbed "Drift Invasion" and it was held at Dover Raceway.

First day of practice, I was dead tired from doing an morning news interview. 2.5 hours each way drive to talk for 1 minute. REALLY wished I had slept instead.

Anyways, the 2nd corner my mind wasn't all the way into driving and the car kicked back right at a guardrail. I was faced with stuffing it head on, or trying to save it by giving the back end up. Well, it sort of worked.... I hit rear first and spun the front back into the rail and came off still smoking tires. The handling seemed perfect still, only real issue was a small leak in the radiator and some broken fans. Rest of the damage was all cosmetic, but DAMN.... my poor s15 headlights and 180sx tails :(

As the day rolled on the car was doing fine. We learned the layout and as we left our practice day, we were feeling good. Just ready to explore the country too. We had some local food. Festival (above left) is a delicious bread, I forget what Bammy is, but it was also good. Most places cook chicked directly over wood (even road side food stops) and keep it smoke with some tin roofing covering it all. VERY good. We had a few Red Stripes on this trip as well; luckily the local hosts NuGen Motorsports like to have a good time and had no problems kickin back with us.


What surprised me the most was the amount of elevation and mountains here. Most of the country is a 2 lane, 2 way, winding road. It takes a LONG time to get most places. From the to the airport was over 2.5 hours to the home away from home.

From the villas we stayed in, another 30 minutes or so to the track. A short walk from those villas put us right on an AMAZING beach. So pure and clean, puts our Florida beaches to SHAME.

Local money is roughly 1/100 of ours. So $1US = $100J. Lugnut had no issue throwing up his $30,000 stunna pose. Which brings me to the custom made rasta hat we had hand made for this trip. That's right, no store bought here- ordered and made from Kristin Whitehead. She did a fantastic job, fitment was on point!!

The event itself was pretty awesome. The crowd was huge, and very supportive. Friendly faces everywhere. When we went out I think the spectators had no idea what they were in for. They are some CRAZY people. Hanging out on the cliffs and rocks that overlook the track, inches from 50-100ft falls. All over the stands and garage buildings, just everywhere! The media there and the live radio broadcast were all happy to have us there as well. We did some great driving for Jamaica and despite having the damage, our car was simply rippin.

Toward the end of our driving, we were able to give some sponsors ride-a-longs. I had a magazine photog Koolie Ras in my car for one, and Peter Rae (a well known Jamaican race driver, RX7 FB) jump in my car. In his own words, "I was like spaghetti in there!" He was very shocked to see the wall coming at him, he even joked he never noticed the banner there until today! He was extremely respectful and even told of the experience during a major awards ceremony 2 days later in Kingston with all the media and drivers and sponsors present.

Back to the exploring. We took a day and found a river rapid to do as a group. 3 boats full of our crazy asses went down a realtively calm river, but we had some demo derby action too. There was even a rope swing mid-river we were able to enjoy. At the end of the journey, we got to sit beach side at a tiki hut with some more Red Stripe. Moments like this.... you have to capture how perfectly beautiful this opportunity was. Breathtaking.

Next day we visited the track again, able to play on the entire course before packing up the cars. A customs agent jumped in Bill's car, and Dolly from NuGen was in mine. We were able to link the back section coming in blind over a hill, it was intense but insanely fun. Big elevation change in a short technical section made for some pure joyful fun. My car was showing some wear. Anything right handed the fuel cut out, and there seems to be about 100hp+ missing from the car. It was very hard to link anything, but we got it done with about 1% left in the tires... allowing the car to transition without fuel HAHAHA.

The last day before we left we visited a big attraction where you climb up a series of waterfalls. They recommend water shoes, but we are too smart for that.... TERRIFYINGLY SLIPPERY were the rocks. I have no idea how I did not face plant, though I had about 10 reallllllly close calls. Afterward my feet were on fire and my knuckles hurt from the fear grips I had on the rocks.

Following the waterfalls, we headed for Kingston. Our last night was dedicated to be an awards ceremony for the race weekend. We had some drinks, some food, and watched as about 100 trophies were handed out. They had a special moment for the Ter-Tech team and we were honored to be a part of this special night. We headed to a nearby hotel, where we would stay so we were near the airport in the morning.

On our last trip in the crazy Jamaican traffic, all I could think about was how this is another grand adventure and how lucky I was to be a part of it. I have a second family with Josh, Bill, Ryan, Bert, the Ter-Tech team, and all my new friends in Jamaica. I cannot thank Harri Tervola enough for everything he does, I can't wait to see where we go next...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. Jiovani

Back before I first started out driving I met Hazel. For many years we dated, as she watched me spend countless time and energy and money into drifting. Finally I popped the question in December of 2012. We Set a date for March of 2014.

After months of endless prep and planning, finally it was close. Her family in from Cali, mine from Michigan- it was a great party! 

Of course, Lugnut was there, dressed to the nines!

Friday, January 31, 2014

New kicks! Square G8s = yes please!

So if you have been following J1Nracing for a bit, you may have noticed that the car has ALWAYS been 4-lug setup. We always wanted to step up to the 5-lug benefits of wheel selection and strength but the stars never aligned.

EnjukuRacing stepped up huge for us at the end of 2013 and now we have our coveted big boy pants on.

With some ISIS Performance conversion hubs, the installation was actually incredibly easy.

Logically, you can't goto 5 studs and use the same 4 stud wheels, unless you're really special or really dumb. So we went with the sick new styling of the Square G8 from Square Wheels USA through Enjuku Racing.

These wheels are 18x9.5 +12 and have a great design and finish on them. At the SAME time we also were got on board with VIS Racing for our new aero partner. We were in need of a serious facelift and with the paint matching from Jim's BodyShop we got it done!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Return

Orlando Speedworld is back in operation!

After the closing of CFRC, our new home in Orlando is going to be OSW. This is a old drift venue from the days of Florida's start. 2005 or so OSW started hearing the squeals and seeing the smoke from drifters as we tried to learn what the hell we were doing. Not much knowledge of car setup and low powered cars made for a crazy time. SR powered cars were half way rare and RB was no where to be seen. LSx swaps were not even a dream yet. The famed BANK made many drivers who they are today while also destroying countless cars and hopes as it swallowed mistakes into the wall.

Fast forward to 2014 and there is a healthy mix of engine and chassis setups. The bank is still large and in charge, but drivers have a high level of respect for such a treacherous route. I was a little nervous as it was the first time back since 2008. I used to rip the banks in the SR with little fear, confidence I had no bearing on with the LS. I realized in the 4 years I have had the V8 torque, never have I faced a bigger bank. Closest thing was the Beech Bend Park for Holley's LS Fest (where I took first in 2012).

My first run I decided to take it easy before pulling out on track. I went down the sloped straightaway and turned around with a snap of the ebrake. Still skidding the u-turn, I let the throttle rip in 3rd gear- instantly spinning tires. I have resorted back to used tires at this point and there is little confidence in grip. It is very obvious how low grip these tires have since I was spinning 3rd gear while moving at around a mere 5 mph. Strangely, this gave me almost and instant comfort as I headed for the first corner. Suddenly, all the thoughts of playing it safe flew out of my head and I tossed the car into the big bank.

Riding the steep bend around, I flicked back on the straight away with some more throttle. Already I am at the next bank and whip back to the left and more bank action... it was like I was back in 2008- no worries, no problems... Now I just wanted to run the wall.

We were running pretty low tire pressures to overcome the terrible quality. Some transitions from infield to bank have a small 1-2 inch lip and I hit this spot (unknown to me until post-event) with the low pressure setup and the tire was actually pulled of the new Square G8 wheels THREE times this day. Thankfully, this issue is being fixed when the infield is repaved in the next few months.

Due to the sketchy grip, and the 3 different sets of random used tire setups, we never ran a consistent wall line, but did manage to get a couple of passes where I could feel the hair on my neck standing up. WHAT A RUSH!

OSW should prove to be the new, best spot for drifting in Florida.


Central Florida Racing Complex has been a tremendous venue with a huge investment in Florida's drifting culture. Over the 4+ years in operation, CFRC had expanded multiple times to give us a better "home" than ever before. Sadly, all good things can't last and due to the government shutting down the drag strip portion, the facility was slowly dying. In late 2013, CFRC announced they would not be open in 2014. The final event was to be held a few days before New Year's Eve and I was DETERMINED to drive it.

At the same time, I was in desperate need of a new helmet, and inspired by Chris Forsberg, I bought a helmet mount for my GoPro. Here is a quick video we put together of some of the runs we got in on our most beloved track, giving her a good send off.

Here is OMGDrifts video of the end of CFRC:

Observe a moment of silence for our fallen venue as you check out some snap shots:

Still, not all is lost. Orlando Speedworld has reopened its doors to drifting and the CFRC owner Donnie, who has been 99% of the reason CFRC was as awesome as it was, is taking over as track manager for OSW. He is bringing the drift program there and is ALREADY planning new paved sections to improve this O.G. drifting venue.

We will be at the first event here in January. See you then!

HIN and wDrift

This year has brought me some new and some familiar opportunities. Hot Import Nights new brand called wDrift, was one that was both of those. A new competitive drifting series of events to replace the defamed XDC Circuit, wDrift aims to bring ProAm level competition to new venues and areas that normally don’t have it. I was brought on board to judge during the 1st round and ended up continuing to run the drifting side of the 3 events series as the year progressed as head judge.

There was no points series so it was not a championship this year, so there is no pressure to travel several states unless a driver chose. Each event was a standalone competition that was bringing drifting action to the car show aspect of HIN.

Many car enthusiasts mod their rides and like to show them off. Many more like to come see the tricked out whips and get new ideas or just be dazzled. Having drifting as part of these gatherings, really helps grow the sports impact among more everyday people. Drift events alone only bring in drifting fans, and unless you are a fan, many times you don’t even know about the events.

The first event was in Orlando, FL at the well-known drift track at CFRC. We had a full Top16 field to run, but the Florida skies opened up and made the competition very interesting. Holding on to his 1st place qualifying spot, Pat Goodin defeated all and became the Champion of wDrift Orlando with his NA- LS 240sx.

The second event was held in New Hampshire, close to HIN’s title sponsor Sylvania. The drifting group up here is relatively small, but they have an organization called “Drift Spot”. With their help, we setup a pretty challenging decreasing radius first corner that had some of the better drivers struggling at first. Soon, they were all doing great and we had  a competition on our hands. At the end of the event, Tanner Munson in his boosted LS powered 240sx took the top spot.

wDrift did not perform at every venue that HIN visited, so the 3rd and final round for 2013 was held in Fontana, CA. This venue, AutoClub Speedway, was once open to drift events, though only briefly. The drift event they held years ago had its issues and the facility no longer was friendly to drifting groups. Having HIN bring the wDrift competition here, with the help of Adam’s Motorsports Park crew, we turned around the perspective of the venue. They were so impressed by the crowd and the organization of the drifting portion, they invited Adam’s crew to start a relationship to possibly hold future events. This was our greatest success this year, improving the respect level of drifting and helping the community by gaining a new venue.  Back to the driving--  The course was similar to the CFRC course but with a longer first 2 corner section and then a smaller end section. The drivers that locked in their line, using the outer clipping zones, shined early and kept on laying down great runs. When the smoke cleared, Tyler Wolfson had driven his rotary FD Rx7 to victory.

2014 wDrift is up in the air where it will go and what they will do. Hopefully, we can keep improving and I can try to bring some legitimate events to new venues and drivers with HIN. I am not trying to make a series to compete with FormulaD, but to be a part of a travelling show that is enhancing the drifting scene and reputation….. sign me up.