Final Bout Coverage (Part 1 of 3)

It’s possible that describing Final Bout to the uninitiated may be an exercise in futility. To understand why these particular three days at this particular patch of concrete in this particular tiny town in Wisconsin are being called “historic”, “monumental”, or “epic” takes a bit of inside knowledge of drifting both as it is now in the US, and as it has been for decades in Japan. Simply put, drift style and culture in the US and in Japan are on progressively deviating trajectories. While some in the US are happy to participate in the US “way of things”, there are many of us that have grown up admiring the drifting that we saw in Japan, and are still inspired by our heroes there today. Names like A-Bo-Moon, Burst, 326 Power, Hoshino, Dart Izumi, Sexy Knights, and so many others still give us goose bumps.

Final Bout was created to pursue that aura, here in the US. With the help of some of the most experienced drivers and organizations in America, Final Bout set out to allow fans of Japanese drifting to live out their dreams. One of the oldest drift organizations in America- ClubFR- worked with USA International Raceway and three of the most respected names in US drift culture to give drivers an environment that would support incredibly stylish cars and wild driving.

Drivers and judges came to Shawano Wisconsin from all over the US and Canada to drive together, and although a team tandem contest was the claimed focus for the event, everyone in attendance knew that our real reason for being there was to enjoy drifting in its most pure form. Every time I rode a bike through the pits to announce a driver’s meeting or track start time I saw smiling faces and people who were ecstatic simply to be in the same place at the same time.

It’s possible that my take on this weekend won’t begin to describe the significance it held for every attending driver. It’s possible that people reading this article won’t understand, and will be confused as to why so many have called Final Bout the best drift weekend of their lives. Looking back at the Final Bout weekend, I can say one thing with confidence- 20 teams came from thousands of miles away having never met some of their fellow drivers, and left Final Bout with 20 teams’ worth of new brothers. Please enjoy these photos, presented by Brad Sillars and JDM Chicago. Part 2 and 3 will hopefully be dropped before the end of the weekend. 

-Ilia Smolov (Team Proceed)


ShaDynasty came all the way from Seattle with their awesome mix of cars. The X83 Cressida has a 500 horsepower 2JZ engine, while the Celica and Mango are both using 3S Beams engines with individual throttle bodies, making 200 or so horsepower a piece.

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I love the Celica and the Mango. They’re both incredibly unique cars, and with the 3SGE engines are not something you see much in the US or Japan. Combine that with the fact that Mark, Paul, and Matt are amazing drivers, and ShaDynasty made for a super exciting team to watch.

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The guys from GoldStar came all the way from the Sacramento area to drive Final Bout. One of their drivers didn’t bring a car and took professional truck driving classes, just to get a CDL so that he could drive their amazing rig out to USAIR. Talk about dedication… You can see the tan HotBoyz cars in the background of the second shot, too.

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The HotBoyz S13 look great all weekend with its Julius aero and 326 Power wing. The car is 1JZ powered and he had no trouble riding the wall. Tyler (pictured in the bottom photo) drove his kouki aero 180sx all the way from Los Angeles, across the entire US. When the HotBoyz needed a 3rd driver for the team tandem competition, Tyler was happy to help.

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Animal Style made huge waves with their amazing matching livery and super bright paint colors. Ryan Kado’s car was built specifically for Final Bout, and just in time for the event. These guys are amazing drivers and were huge fun to watch!

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Even though Josh Buado and Ryan Hanlon did not get to drive at Final Bout, they still came to support their friends and team-mates from Tracker.

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Bosstown brought three incredibly stylish cars to Final Bout- two 180s in matching red, and a Cressida in a similar red color. These guys looked absolutely perfect rolling in to the pits on Friday.

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Opposite line from Canada brought out an extremely stylish S14, an R32, and an A31 Cefiro. Each car was very clean and made tons of power.

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The Breaking cars had great team unity with matching blue color, vinyl, and wheels. These guys have been a team in the Midwest for a while now, and we wouldn’t have had a complete Final Bout without them!

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High Fade came out with a huge bang with four super clean and very stylish black V8 powered cars. Their driving was incredible all weekend!

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Brad also decided to take a photo of my Cressida. It’s not the prettiest car at Final Bout, but I love it for its comfort and amazing 1JZ sound.  Be on the lookout for Part 2 for some real action!




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