Cars X Hype Exclusive Interview with Chelsea DeNofa

Special Thanks to Chelsea DeNofa and Chris ‘Sideway’ Suan
Apparel by SWAY GEAR

How did you get into drifting?
Drifting came into my life at the end of 2002. I was watching web videos and drifting in video games until I bought a 91 240sx Coupe. I was only 14 at the time so going to drift events was the only legal way for me to drive. My first few events were with Ter-Tech, a local shop that was putting on events at circle track called Hialeah Speedway.

How did you get good at drifting?
Well, I’d like to think I was “good” to begin with? (laughs). Anyone who could drift a single turn was RAD back then! Honestly, I just kept driving as much as possible. In the first two years I was out drifting (in a secret place in Mexico) 3 or 4 nights a week with the Aero K guys and driving every event in FL. It was a little more difficult back then for everyone to progress. We didn’t have steering mods, fancy coilovers, and torque filled high horsepower engines mated to nascar gear boxes, let alone events every weekend! For me it was a little tough because I was in High School trying to fund my drift car while driving it to work and school caged, slammed and boosted.

Who are your biggest influences in drifting?
I am influenced by many drivers. Drifting is awesome because its very clear that everyone has their own style and way to get around the course. You can watch the drivers that come from other racing backgrounds and see how they use a lot of braking and clutch work. While the guys who go into drifting first use more of the throttle and shifting to different gears. Anyone who is out there to progress the sport has my attention.

Who’s drifting style do you think yours most resembles?
I’m asked this question a lot and its a tough one. I attack each track and situation differently as most serious drivers do. In reality we all do whats best for us as drivers at competition and whats best for the fans at demo’s. Who do you guys think my driving resembles?

What else do you like to do for fun?
When I am not out drifting, I like to keep my pace up by riding my bike, wakeskating, hanging out with friends, wrenching on cars, and whatever other gnarly stuff is going down.

What’s it like being one of the only drivers in XDC using a European car?
It’s definitely awesome. I love to be different, I started out competitively drifting a Miata. Really the only downside is the replacement parts selection in the pits, but hey SR20 parts are even hard to find at the track now!

What are some of the specs of your Bimmer?
98 BMW M3 – 2497 lbs – 500hp/500tq – 60 degrees of steering angle Technica Motorsports Build S52 with a Precision 6262, NST Pulley set, Secret Services Auto turbo accessories and Southbend Clutch mated to stock M3 drive train. A Toxic Fabrication Roll Cage stiffens the chassis as BC Racing Coilovers allow Nexen Tires to stick like glue and last forever. Level7TUNE handles all the steering angles for a nearly un-spinable car. Nevrslo sponsored GM Plum Crazy Purple Paint over the chassis and Level7TUNE flares.

What was your favorite moment of last season’s XDC?
The whole 2010 XDC season was awesome. Firebird Raceway was really rad because of awesome tandem battles.

I remember earlier this year there was a contest for being the next driver for Gardella racing and you were in the running (I voted for you), what happened with that?
According to all of the fans on I should have taken the spot… Gardella Racing is an amazing team that makes leading decisions, so we will see if they made the right choice with the Irish lad. I wish the best for the team and new driver, even though I should be driving that roadster! (laughs).

A couple years ago, did you at all think that you would be where you are now?
Honestly not much as changed. I am thankful to have a new car and a championship under my belt, but I am still funding most of it on my own and do not have the budget to drive FD. I do learn more and more every year tho. Maybe this year I can tie it all together and find a marketing partner that realizes the 30+ events I drive every year with my one man band circus! As for now I will continue to surround myself in the sport and drive more events!

What changes have you implemented for the 2011 season?
With the help of my product sponsors we have put together and awesome car this year that is 11 times better then the last hoopdee. Also I am really taking the time to research what events are going to have the best ROI for myself and marketing partners. This year will be filled with a ridiculous amount of media exposure, and a more rugged approach to drifting.

What kind of thoughts were going on in your head during Round 1 at Irwindale?
The main thought was the car, in 58 days it went from a fully optioned out bmw to a full built race car. You can imagine all the little things like “did we tighten the brakes down at 4am 2 weeks ago?” or “why isnt this boost gauge working?”. All in all the build was an amazing success, it ran and drove great right out of the box, so Irwindale was a great enjoyable weekend.

What can everyone expect from the 2011 season?
They can expect to watch out. I am gunning for a win at every event! Watch out for a ton of new media, fun and exciting off track events, and an overall dream season!

If someone wanted to find out more info about you, where can they look?
Check me out on facebook under Chelsea DeNofa. We will have another website posted by the end of this month as well, so keep an eye out for that.

Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Hell yea! Id like to thank everyone who had hands in the build, Mike at Nexen Tires hooked me up with a truck load of their fresh tires, Bret and Jordan at Technica Motorsports built an awesome motor tuned like factory, Josh at Nevrslo supplied a clean shop to work on and a ballin paint job, Collin at designed and fabricated the cleanest e36 cage, Mike from NonStopTuning supplied the venue for my primeire and helped fund the build, BC Racing Suspension for a set of killer dampers and awesome support, Aaron and Jimmy for getting their hands dirty, Ashley from Sideways Vinyl, as well as the Awesomeshop owners Mike Peters and Dereck Rodgers for helping out before Irwindale. Thanks so much for your time, we all forward to seeing you represent and do your thing!

One Response to Cars X Hype Exclusive Interview with Chelsea DeNofa

  1. [...] unfamiliar with Chelsea DeNofa, check out Carsxhype’s exclusive interview with him HERE. Posted in: Clothes/Kicks, [...]

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