Dennis Mertzanis came off the 2011 season with his best career finish in the series. During the off season, a new car and a wildly more extreme Chevrolet Performance Parts engine set the stage for Round 1 Streets of Long Beach this past weekend. His new car is a 1991 Nissan 240sx with a S14 kouki front end. The car started its life as a www.fuelculture.com
project car and was publicly debuted at the 2011 SEMA Show in the Kenda Tire booth.
New to Mertzanis Racing for the 2012 season is www.fuelculture.com
which is a virtual car garage where users can come and rate, review, and price compare aftermarket parts for their car. Another great website coming into the picture this year is www.rentreporters.com
which is a great innovative service that allows renters to report rent payments to the credit bureaus. Everyday, they are helping renters build credit for something they are doing every month already! SPEC Clutch has come on board to provide us with the best LS clutch technology that money can buy. Rounding out the new sponsors is BodyArmor which is a superdrink packed with antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients on top of being an all natural beverage.
The new chassis features a Chevrolet Performance Parts crate engine LS3 which is producing over 500whp and receiving all of its fuel needs from Aeromotive parts. We are running VP Racing 100 octane fuel to reach this horsepower output. We teamed up with KW Suspension and SPL Pro Suspension parts for the most lightweight and adjustable suspension you can throw at a Nissan 240sx. Dennis still remains on Kenda Tires for 2012 and continues to run the Kaiser KR20 using Konig Miligram 18 inch wheels which are lightweight thanks to MAT technology. And rounding out the return sponsors, Dennis continues to support Petfinder.com
to help great dogs and cats find a forever home.
When Dennis hit the Streets of Long Beach, it was his first official drift event with a V8 engine and he couldn’t believe how the torque helped him keep up around the track including that drag race to the first turn. He was able to keep up with any car on the track when following in drift including the event winner Justin Pawlak during practice.
When they lined up for qualifying, the Mertzanis Racing team was still working on some setup changes to the car but qualifying had to go on! After watching 40+ car runs in front of him, it was time to put on a show! Dennis sadly missed the 53mph minimum trap speed with his qualifying pass but managed without 10 points for speed to lock him in for 32nd place. This meant lining up in the main event against Ryan Tuerck who was the events number one qualifier.
During Saturday morning practice, our support team Ryan Clemens and Dave Epifano made some extreme suspension changes and we found the car now running through the speed trap at 57mph which is over 8mph faster than where we qualified. Now facing off against Ryan Tuerck, the team threw everything we could at him during competition. Dennis was so solid through Turn 10 of the LBGP course, he caused Ryan Tuerck to make a huge correction and straighten out. It was a hard fought battle and the judges actually had to go through deliberation before declaring Ryan Tuerck the victor. This moved Ryan into the Top 16, ending the weekend for Dennis Mertzanis. The team is set on doing a few more test sessions this month to be ready for a huge finish at Road Atlanta in front of the team’s hometown crowd.