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Flashback: The Night Before Formula Drift Long Beach Season Opener 2010; Update From Ron Bergenholtz

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Seeing as the 2011 Formula Drift season is right around the corner, I wanted to re-post this which was originally posted on Enkei’s blog. It’s hard to believe an entire year has passed since I took these photos. I was in Long Beach last year and had the chance to experience the Bergenholtz team preparing for the season open. Ron Bergenholtz was kind enough to give us a play by play below and also recently sent a quick statement on the upcoming season! – Alex

Looks like the 2011 Formula Drift season is right around the corner and I am excited to get out there with the Full Tilt Poker Mazda Nitto Drift Team. Joon has got one year under his belt with the Mazda RX8 (New Girlfriend) and I feel very confident he will do well in 2011. We made some major changes in reliability and I know Joon is going to really put the hammer down on the competition. In my heart, I feel it is not a matter of “IF Joon can podium this year”……..”It is a matter of WHEN”. Even beyond his potential to do well in Formula Drift he is above all a great friend. Can’t wait to get to Long Beach. It will be a lot of fun! C-you all there! – Ron Bergenholtz

Previously: A Call From Ron Bergenholtz of Bergenholtz Racing

—————————————– Originally posted on April 13, 2010 —————————————–

long beach formula drift with joon maeng ron bergenholtz and crewI was at the Bergenholtz Racing facility with Ron, Joon and the rest of the crew. During media day, a couple days before, they blew the motor out. So they were up for three days rebuilding.

These pics are from Thursday, the night before Formula Drift qualifying day at round one in Long Beach.

The Bergenholtz team, including Joon Maeng, was crazy focused and though I’m sure everyone was frustrated and tired, Ron and the guys were having a good time and getting things done. Ron’s little son was running around trying to help too so it helped lighten up the mood.

Hanging out around the garage that night gave me a great look into the preparation these guys have to go through every time before each event. Though I’m sure I only witnessed a small part of that preparation, I understand better how much work it takes to be part of a world class team. I also learned these guys love what they do and only the people who do will last in the motorsports arena.

A big thank you to the Bergenholtz team for having us out!

- Alex

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Here is the night explained in the words of Ron Bergenholtz.
ron bergenholtz mazda speed rx-8 joon maengI’m checking to see if the dry sump is properly scavegenging oil out of the dry sump tank. Thank you Joon for your nifty LED light to see in dark areas. Sure beats the traditional flashlight.
joon maeng rx8 formula drift season openerArgh!!!!!!!!!!!! Joon on media day went out on track with a guns firing. Unfortunately there was some new tire barriers that were implemented in the left sweeper of the Long Beach track that Joon did not know were there. Our quarter panel obviously met those barriers. Thanks to FD for removing them.

mazda zoom flag rx-8The blessed Mazda flag. To add some pizzaz for media day, Derek our team engineer and mentor implemented this cool flag on the back of the Mazda RX8. Go Mazda!!!!!!!! Zoom Zoom!

As the night rolls on and the work becomes more intense I seem to overheat so the shirt comes flying off as the night progresses. I like to feel somewhat comfortable when I work on the car. As you can see my son Andrew is outback attempting to polish out the tire rubbing accident from media day. That’s my son!!!

That’s our Crew Chief Brian Benson getting a little tired maybe.. He is one of the most die hard crew guys I have ever worked with. He does’nt give up. He is constantly thinking of performance and trying just about everything. It is truly an honor and blessing to have him on our team. That’s Andrew again at the front of the car. I have no idea what he’s doing there. Maybe he’s trying to keep uncle Brian awake???

joon maengNo matter how much we told Joon to go home and go to sleep he would not listen. He was in the trenches with all of us all night long. He wanted to be there with us and do whatever he could to help. He is just about as crazy as the rest of the team. I must admit our team is compromised full of die hards. “Never say Die!”

ron bergenholtz nitto tire full tilt poker rx-8That’s me again making sure the dry sump setup is working properly. My brother Ed Bergenholtz is the man behind the laptop. You obviously can see his behind in dockers and white dress shirt. He is a computer geek by day and racecar by night. He came over to the house right after work. He comes up with all the data analysis as well as engine tuning analysis and adjustment. I can’t believe how long Ed and I have been doing motorsports and amazingly enough we have got along quite nicely after 20 years of racing.

Back in the days of our drag racing career, we always made it a rule for the driver to name the motor. It is always named after a woman. A woman can either break you or make you very happy so we asked Joon to name his motor. He obviously named the motor after his long time girlfriend and spotter Amy Song. I for one, hated her all night long. Heheheheheh Just kidding Joon.

joon maeng with mazda rx-8 at bergenholtz racingWe were at it for like 6 hours trying to troubleshoot our dry sump problems. Sometimes, you gotta step back for maybe an hour and just reflect to come up with a proper solution. Looks like Joon is praying for an answer here. Hehehhehehe. Hey Joon, God answered our prayers that morning at 5 am. Argh! God sure puts us to the test.

Mark Manansla bergenholtz racing internThat’s Mark Manansla. Ernie Manansala, dropped him off to us as an intern to help out and learn. He’s a young buck and learned a lot this weekend. He observed first hand that motorsports aint easy. He witnessed the ultimate sadness as well as happiness that occurs with a race team. He was my right hand from the moment he landed in California all the way to the end when we dropped him off at the airport to go home. Thanks a million Mark for all your help this weekend!

I thought I was living the whole night in that passenger seat. Troubleshooting is both fun and nerve-racking. The guy in the driver’s seat is my cousin Mario Bergenholtz. It’s a family affair at Bergenholtz Racing. All my cousins came over to the house to help out. they did whatever they could to pitch in. It’s always great to have close family and friends in motorsports. They are always there with a helping hand.

enkei pf01 on mazda drift rx-8Can’t beat those Enkei PF01′s and NT05′s!!!!! It is really cool to be working with Alex Nunez at Enkei. It’s like having a new family member. Not only do they have a kick ass product but the people behind Enkei are just like the wheels. HIGH PERFORMANCE! Besides great products, people are what makes racing and products great and successful. Can’t forget Nitto either. We have been with Nitto for 14 years. The personel at Nitto have become more than just close family friends but personal mentors.

joon maengNo matter how bad the situation is, Joon always seems to crack a smile. I told him we are going to nickname him: “SMILEY”. Despite how challenging and nerve-racking the night was, Joon stayed in high spirits. We are truly blessed to have a driver like Joon. He always says it’s an honor to drive for Bergenholtz Racing but I feel it’s an honor for Bergenholtz Racing to have Joon Maeng. I love you Joon.

Hmmmmm, I don’t know what to say here than, that front suspension was a pain in the ass to build. That’s it.

enkei pf01That’s my cousin Mario Bergenholtz cleaning the Enkei PF01′s. Even though he was on the sidelines in the garage, he would find something to do unless, we called on him to assist us. He kept busy cleaning tools, getting tools, waxing the car etc. Thanks Mario!

I have had that red tool box for over 20 years. My dad gave it to me when we first started wrenching on bicycles in 1986. Ed and I have been doing motorsports in a two car garage for the past 20 years. There is some serious old stickers on that toolbox. The “Club Homeboy Sticker” is at least 25 years old. Time sure flies by.

Brian Benson looking pretty tired especially with his stance in front of the car. We almost gave up a couple of times but I think Joon prayers kept everyone focused in solving the problem.

Again, that tool box is hella old. Believe it or not all the drawers till work to this day. I guess with it being 2010 that tool box is: 25 years old. Older that our crew chief Brian Benson. Hehehhehehe… Almost as old as Joon.

enkei pf01 with nitto nt05 tiresInevitably, the whole car is ultimately connected to the ground by the Nitto NT05′s and Enkei PF01. The performance and combination of rim and tire combination is crucial to performance. Gotta have a lightweight wheel and grippy tire. Enkei and Nitto rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Ron Bergenholtz

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