Vd – Garret has been drifting for years before his arrival in Las Vegas. He recently came in first in round 2 and second in round 1, making him the current points leader. Ok, tell us about yourself and what motivated you to start drifting.
GN – I’m 26 years old, I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I’ve been going to drift events since 2004, I got my first 240 cause I wanted a fast car, once I did that, I couldn’t control it, it rains and snows, the roads are always unpredictable. I wanted to learn to control the limits of the car. I searched around and found out Beaver Run, a track 2 hours from my house had drift events. Once I had an open course to practice, and with help from a couple friends, 2-3 months later I drifted everywhere…which was really stupid. The roads there are very dangerous. There was only a hand full of really dedicated drivers there, a few traveled to Laughlin for pro-am in 2005 and got shut down. I realized that if I was going to take drifting seriously, I needed to be closer to important events, I decided back then, that I wanted to drive, I didn’t wanna be a machinist or a repair mechanic and work a 9-5. I thought I could make a living drifting some how, and now I do. I left my hometown like most kids go to Hollywood to make it big, except i came to Vegas, and I wanna melt tires, I’m not there yet, but i have an amazing driving program lined up for this season, thanks to M7 Japan, and Get Nuts Labs, and I’m very excited with the results so far.
Vd – First off, congratulations on your victory at round 2. You laid down some impressive and consistent runs throughout the event! You have recently teamed up with M7 Japan as well as Get Nuts Laboratory. Give us a recap of your season so far.
GN – After a lot of time practicing through the off season, and with Forrest constantly pushing me, I made a dramatic improvement to my driving. Forrest recognized it, and wanted to do whatever he could to make sure I was representing Get Nuts lab for the 2012 season. We began building what will be my 2013 car, but with the timing of the first round, completing the car in the time frame we had wasn’t practical. So with some modifications to one of Forrest’s chassis, I donated my engine to the cause and that combined with a whole lot of sleep deprivation is how the Nuts 1j car came to be. Its a proven and amazing driving chassis, while its slightly under powered at a lousy 300whp its fully responsible for the my performances this season. The car is setup and tuned by a 12 year drifting veteran, it really shows. Round 1 was very difficult, I had not gotten a lot of sleep, I was nodding off on grid. Also, I had a very hard time getting the line i wanted with the power I was putting down. Hats off to Andy, he gave me a hell of a final battle. Forrest’s support, and the get nuts crew got me through with what I thought was a pretty good first performance for the season. M7 witnessed the performance, and talked to me on the podium about their new USA drifting program. There support is amazing, and so are their products. They back such famous D1 drivers as Orido, Imamura and Suenaga. These are the guys I looked up to in drifting for many years. The fact that they considered us for their driving program is nothing short of flattering. Just goes to show, the level of pro-am has increased greatly, you cant expect to stand on the podium with a home made drift car anymore. The Get Nuts team put everything that we have into both cars you’ve seen out competing this season, all of our years of experience show. It’s important to keep in mind, what it takes to have a winning drift program these days. You need a killer team, they have to be on point, know whats going on, keep everything organized. Without my team, I’d definitely lose. I learned this from watching Josh Guild, and DDS. Another major overlooked factor, is setup. Everyone thinks they are a know-it-all when it comes to drifting setups. My advice, find someone who’s doing well and try out what they are doing. If you don’t have enough speed, and your not qualifying, this is the first place I’d go. Ask anyone at the lab, we would be more then happy to set up anyone’s car, and we have the test facility for you to try it out, as well as spindle kits and anything else you’d need that’s putting me on the podium. Thirdly, and possibly the most overlooked factor is style. Drifting is all about style, wheels, paint and aero are all important. Rattle can paint, and fake wheels don’t work. Lastly, and certainly not leastly, support. I mentioned it last, but having sponsors like M7 japan, and their entire lineup of products at my disposal, as well as major support, think about it. If you watch Fd, you hardly ever see anyone doing good without a great sponsor behind them. All this combined is what was witnessed for round 2, the 2012 M7 japan, Get Nuts Lab driving program is in full force. It was a lot of work, and once again, it was a very difficult journey. After XDC, we spent a lot of time practicing, and testing. We took the cars even further with more time and real competition experience. The event day was a great example of our teamwork. We worked the cars too hard in previous weeks and had to spend some time repairing them on race day without missing a beat. I even broke an axle demo driving, and the team Mike, Mikey and Jason, had it replaced in under 20 minutes. Got in at 1st and 2nd, went out to compete, set phazers to stun, and took 1st and 2nd. It was a great day, a lot of fun battles, close calls, and burned tires. What a celebration!!!!
Vd – You mentioned that you gained most of your experience in Pittsburgh, Pa. What is the scene like out there?
GN – Most of my experience came from Pittsburgh, and Arizona. When you decide to pack your things into a drift car and drive across the country, it takes a long time to get on your feet again, I spent a couple years in Arizona building the m30 before i came up to Vegas.
Pittsburgh is an undeveloped scene, there is a ton of problems, first of all, cars rust. In 2003, it was hard finding a rust free 240 out there. I can only imagine now. Secondly, rear wheel drive vehicles don’t do so well in the snow. AWD cars and rally is very followed, as well as bro-truckin’ except there they call it muddin’. Also I’ve recently been informed Beaver Run is closing. So, drifting there is very uncertain. People there, just don’t have money like out here. It’s a very different place. Its also amazing, I go back whenever I get the chance.
GN – I thought this out… Yas Marina Abu Dhabi, Dubai. Someone told me it was pretty cool.
Vd – What would you say is a budget friendly setup for someone just starting to drift?
GN – Buy any RWD car, I’ve used Volvo’s mustang’s q45′s corolla’s 13′s 14′s, even escort wagons on skateboard decks. if your just starting, drive something fun. Oh, and my most recommended car for beginner drifters is any turbo Volvo with a manual trans, fat angle, LSD, plenty of power, cut the springs down weld it up and do sick drifts. if you master some of that stuff, hit us up at the lab, we are always willing to help anyone improve.
Vd – Well Garret, thanks for the interview, and we’ll see you at VegasProAm round 3 on June 15-16th. Are there any sponsors or friends you would like to thank or mention?
GN – Oh yeah, thank everyone for the support, Vegasdrift, and all their staff for the events, M7 Japan, Get Nuts Lab, Drift Motion, Godspeed, Stance Suspension, 702 graphics, my dad, Forrest, Christina, mike pipe, Mikey, Dustin, Robin Ho, UNCLE BENNY!, Phil, Odi, Brennan Lang, Brandon Wicknick, all the media and photographers, Justin Yadao, oh and don’t forget Rainer, for always making a tremendous scene, oh and any fe-male that thinks drifting is cool.
Photo Credit: M7 Japan