Is All Star Bash The Best Grassroots Drifting In The World?

I was thinking about something the other day… Having watched a lot of racing over the last couple of years, I’ve come to the conclusion that professional drifting is pretty much the greatest motorsport to spectate.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching GT cars zoom by while my ears bleed, but there’s just something about a controlled oversteer at triple-digit speeds with more smoke than you’ll ever need to see, that makes my heart beat.


I love drifting, but as the professional side of the motorsport grows, the stress levels increase too. And not just for the drivers, but for almost everyone working the events (like me). Because of this, I tend to enjoy grassroots drifting every now and then; the whole stress-free environment is very calming and relaxing. One event I like to attend is All Star Bash at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park, hosted by the guys over at Just Drift in Southern California.


It’s held the weekend after Formula Drift Irwindale, so along with novice amateur drivers, All Star Bash (ASB) always brings out many Pro and Pro2 drivers who just want to unwind after a hectic season.


I’ve attended ASB for a few years now and it seems to have literally doubled in attendance since 2012.


One great thing about grassroots drifting is the diversity in the cars that compete, mostly because the entry regulations aren’t as tough. I mean, I’ve never seen a Fox-Body Mustang and a Tacoma tandem together outside of Just Drift.


ASB also brings out mythical surf creatures that have been hiding from the spotlight, like Matt Powers. With the number of people that show up now, ASB is basically a drift festival that brings everyone in the SoCal drifting community together.


It’s been two whole seasons that Matt has been out of Formula Drift here in the States, but he’s still actively sliding his S14 all over the place. As active as he still is, and as big as his fanbase remains, I really hope we can see him back in FD competition in the near future. Also, no one else can rock a tuxedo racing suit like Matt can.


Dai Yoshihara is no stranger to ASB, and along with his usual S13 beater, this year he brought along his wife, child, and Subaru BRZ.


Dai wasn’t the only FD Pro driver that went all out. While Justin Pawlak didn’t bring out his Pro-spec car, he and his shop, Hot Line Performance, turned up with three FC Mazda RX-7s and his fifth-gen Ford Mustang.


The rad guys from RAD Industries were also out in force.


The Flying 86 was slaying tires as well. The last time I saw Taka Aono in action was at last year’s ASB, so watching him thrash the car put a smile on my face.


Three champs – a rare sight indeed. With the momentum that Alex Heilbrunn is carrying, I think he’ll make his way up the Pro ladder and eventually become a potential championship contender. It might not be next year (Gushi for life!), but definitely in the near future.

All About The Fun

Hands down, the biggest fan at this year’s ASB was this dog. I want to imagine his name is X-Wing Drift Master @ Aliciousness.


Never before at Willow Springs have I ever seen clouds in the sky (natural ones at least), so this year definitely made for some amazing Norwegian-like images.


It was a weird experience to say the least. I’m so used to sweating every time I come to this track, so not sweating is like buying an order of small fries but getting large fries instead. It was really nice.


The Hoonigans are no stranger to ASB, and both Rob ‘Chairslayer’ Parsons and Hert Eugene Jr. were hooning and tire-slaying like no others.


We featured Hert’s Street Shark a few years ago, which you can check out here.


Along with the Hoonigans, there were some animals with a lot of style out in force. Animal Style has been around for a bit now so they’re definitely not new to the scene, but with Final Bout‘s sudden rise in population, there are more and more drift crews being formed.


What’s great about ASB is that both the Streets of Willow and Horse Thief Mile road courses are open to the drivers. Two full tracks to slay tires on? Please, sir.


It’s that damn Hansel Mustang, he’s so hot right now! I remember watching a video of Vaughn Gittin Jr. saying that the Fox-Body Mustang is one of the best kept secrets in drifting, and it seems to be true.


What’s ASB without a drift train?


Animal trains?


Although Larry usually brings his Ole Orange Bang 240Z out to this event for camera car duties, this year it was being used elsewhere. So, hesitantly, he brought out and rigged up Project 996 Turbo instead.


It was definitely well worth it though, because the resulting images are amazing. Larry also made a small little Instagram video to go along with the above image that you can check out here. I suggest lowering your volume just a bit…


ASB wouldn’t be possible without the man behind it all, Mr. Just Drift (aka Charlie).


He is the reason why Just Drift exists. He is the reason why we have awesome drift trains at Willow Springs. He definitely had an impact on drifting in Southern California when it first started, so we can all thank him for making great events like All Star Bash possible. The 10-year anniversary of the event is only a few years away – I wonder what he has planned for it…

Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Additional Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Cutting Room Floor


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Im live in Norcal but can't make it to socal. Yet there are people from japan making to socal. WHAT IS THIS???


I'm happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but Final Bout is the best grassroots drifting in the the world! It doesn't have the longevity that ASB has, just this year there were teams from both coasts and Canada. And the crowds double in just the two years they've had it. 

That being said, I'd be happy to go to either. I'm not the biggest drift fan, but the grassroots stuff is awesome. I don't think I could ever get tired of grassroots drifting.


I don't feel like big events like these should count as grassroots. Here in Indiana, we have "D1MC" as we call it. Just a bunch of guys and gals sliding as best they can in a large lot normally parked up with drag cars/trailers. No crazy pro drift cars, nothing way out there. Mostly pieced together broken bmw's and s-chassis. a few hachi's here and there, and a few misc. thrown in. I just personally dont get the grassroots feeling from events like these, although drifting is still drifting :3


So can someone please tell me who the guy in the mustang is? I have tried and tried to find out who he is. I wanna know info on that car!!!


Final Bout is now the best grassroots event IMO, but the Ebisu/Nikko grassroots events are are a close 2nd.


Larry can we get a full feature on X-Wing Drift Master?


CharlesChris15 Step your game up.  Build a normal car like these guys did.  Just because your starting out in a beat up stock car doesn't mean your more hardcore or legit. you're still just cutting your teeth.


EricSeanDelaney Let's just agree that there are way more awesome grassroots drift events now than ever. You do have to admit that ASB started the whole "bash" thing.


takahashitothetop done.




ummm...FINAL BOUT?


Lone Star drift has the best drift trains.


fuck no its not


@Byron H CharlesChris15 "normal" isnt a 400hp fully built drift car. I never said anything about stock btw. and last time i checked, grassroots events normally dont involve big name high horsepower sponsor cars. I also never mentioned anything about being more hardcore or legit, so i suggest you read my comment before making false assumptions.


Please please please do a story on that mustang.


Calls it a grassroots event but only posts pics of pros and pro-am drivers smh.


Bigger isn't always better and alot of pro drivers don't make it better either , I'm not saying this wasn't fun though


Goodluckae86 Take it from a grassroots drifter, the pros are better for the camera. They run stickier tires and make more power, which yields many more rad pics. I don't blame Larry Chen for posting mostly sponsored and shop builds, that is what get the views.


Just because a pro skater shows up at a skate park, doesn't make it the X-games, or Dew Tour. Everyone seems to be focusing too much on the names, and the equipment, rather than the intended purpose of this; having fun, and spreading the good word of drifting. Just because your local event, course, cars, or drivers can't compare to this, doesn't make it any less important or fun; nor does it take away from the "grassroots" feel and intent of something like this.
I didn't see one picture of any sponsorship tents, not one energy drink girl, no podiums, or prize money with a champagne shower. What I did see, was people who looked like they were having fun, drivers in t-shirts (not full race suits), and the sickest drift dog to date. Seeing a picture of top level drivers a local event like this should inspire people to want to be out there, sliding WITH them, not sitting behind their computers talking about how drifting "used" to be.


In America? Maybe, that's definitely possible. The WORLD? C'mon man.


Exactly. The topic title is inflammatory. SH crew whine and whine about negativity in car culture. Then big note themselves as the "best in the world".
Its proven a million times over in every sport and past time.
USA has the population to have an awesome scene in just about everything. But per capita, they really don't shine so bright.


Larry Chen Oh for sure. Grassroots has grown a lot and it's the best form of drifting to me. And I'm sure it did, I just haven't been lucky enough to make out there to experience it yet. I already have East Coast Bash and No Star Bash done. I need to get out there to finally check this off the list.


I see the photo's content and I already knew the photographer.




Lol, final bout isn't even grassroots. You have to be invited to be on the track because everyone is so anal about their car's "style". This isn't TAS, it's a race track.


Why haven't we seen a feature on that Mustang?!


Notice how these guys aren't using automatic transmissions but you signed off on need for speed... An insult to the car culture you bragged was in the game... Ugh


@Matt R Good point. However, I'd argue Final Bout with it's focus on team drifting and style as well as driving skill has more of a claim to the title of "best grassroots drifting in the world"


That tacoma is SICK!!!!!!! All the cars are sick


YoDonny you have to be invited because they don't want shitty looking cars and people with no skill showing up, and there is a limited number of cars that can even FIT on that course! there are no pro drivers, no high dollar budgets, just GRASSROOTS enthusiasts who bust their asses and break their bank accounts to make it all the way to what i think is currently the best GRASSROOTS drift event in the U.S. Maybe next year you should make the trek up to green bay and check it out for yourself!


Japan still has the best grassroots drifting. :)


JosephAnimusCruz You really want to waste time signing up to SH just so you can whine about this over and over and over and over?  Me thinks you REALLY want to leave that chip on your shoulder, but hey if that's what you want to do with your time ..... knock yourself out.


JosephAnimusCruz less videos games more real driving. Thats what u need


JosephAnimusCruz Why even bother typing that. Oh, wait - I know - because you are one of those people who sit at home on the Xbox or whatever "driving" instead of actually going out and doing it. 

Go play Forza or something, armchair racer.


I'd love to see a feature on that (seemingly) gorgeous Fox hatch.


Features on mustang and taco!?!?


the car was very good 
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