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Lineup finalized as NASCAR drivers and drifters battle in the 'Mopar D1 All-Star Duel' this week
CENTER LINE, Mich.Irwindale Speedway race fans will witness history Thursday as NASCAR stars and Drifting hot shots battle in the "Mopar D1 All-Star Duel presented by ShiftIntoGear." The exhibition is the first-ever to feature Drifting and NASCAR stars in head-to-head competition.
The lineup features the best of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and D1 Professional Drift Grand Prix Series. Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger and a four-time winner this year on the Nextel Cup circuit, will be joined by past Cup champions Matt Kenseth and Bill Elliott, along with Greg Biffle, Robby Gordon, Scott Wimmer and Casey Mears, driver of the Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger. Team Mopar's Samuel Hubinette will lead the drifters into battle, with stars such as Rhys Millen, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Tanner Foust, Ken Nomura, Tatsuya Sakuma, Toshika Yoshioka, Takahiro Ueno, and Hideo Hiraoka. "This is a win-win for both the NASCAR guys and the drifters," said Hubinette. "We have the opportunity to raise money for the Kasey Kahne Foundation and raise the profile of the sport of drifting. It really shows how popular drifting has become. The bonus is that we get to have fun while doing it. But make no mistake, the drifters want to win this competition." In preparation for the exhibition, the NASCAR drivers practiced their drifting skills last week in the parking lot of Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. Driving instructor and professional racer Chris Cook, co-owner along with Pennsylvania businessman Chris Evans of ShiftIntoGear, Inc., instructed the NASCAR drivers on drifting techniques. ShiftIntoGear, Inc., is one of the world's premier personal training and coaching resources for established racing professionals and young, up-and-coming development drivers. Cook, a driver in the NASCAR Busch Series, will also compete with the NASCAR stars in the "Mopar D1 All-Star Duel presented by ShiftIntoGear." At the practice session, NASCAR driver Biffle raved about his time spent drifting. "I had a blast out there," said Biffle. "It [drifting] is definitely on the rise and is here to stay." The exhibition will feature drivers from each series competing against one another in the NASCAR vs. D1 Challenge, with the NASCAR stars piloting drift cars provided by D1. The drifters will also test their mettle against one another in the D1 All-Star match race, then go at it again with their Nextel Cup counterparts in a NASCAR vs. D1 tire-smoking competition. Fans will not want to miss the D1 All Eight tandem drift, which will showcase all eight D1 drivers drifting simultaneously in a full-bank formation on the Irwindale track. Fans will also be able to take part in a brief autograph session with the drivers. Shawn and Donna Waldrop will see the event for free, as winners of Modified Magazine's online contest to attend the "Mopar D1 All-Star Duel presented by ShiftIntoGear." The two will receive free airfare and accommodations, as well as passes to the event and the Mopar hospitality area. The Waldrops will also take part in a ride-along with Mopar's Hubinette. For more info on Modified Magazine, log on to www.modified.com All proceeds from the event will benefit the Kasey Kahne Foundation, which raises and donates funds to charitable organizations that care for chronically ill children and their families. The Foundation is also committed to positive cultural changes, focusing on diversity awareness and providing at-risk youth ample opportunities for success. The event Web site, www.kaseykahne.com/drift, is also now online. The site has up-to-date information on purchasing tickets. Visitors can also find press releases on the event; check out driver information; and view action photos and videos at the site. For complete post event coverage, log on to www.driftlive.com. Gates for the event open at 4 p.m. this Thursday, August 31. Tickets for the event are still available, and can be purchased online at www.irwindalespeedway.com. For information on Hubinette, Kahne, D1, Irwindale Speedway, Mopar, ShiftIntoGear, or the "Mopar D1 All-Star Duel presented by ShiftIntoGear," log on to www.samuelhubinette.com, www.kaseykahne.com, www.d1gp.com, www.irwindalespeedway.com, www.shiftintogear.com, www.christinemariemotorsports.com, www.motorsportsmanagement.com, www.mopar.com or www.moparspeed.com. Mopar is based in Center Line, Mich., and is the exclusive original equipment supplier of parts and accessories for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.