Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Louder: Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack 5 2014

Article by Ryan Randels. Photography by Ryan Randels and Jay Kim.

Bigger, stronger, faster, louder: this is the only way that we can describe last weekend’s fifth chapter of Shift-S3ctor’s Airstrip Attack in Coalinga, California. One sold-out event, one half mile, two days, and eighty degrees in the middle of the desert. Completely booked Best Western. Two hundred drivers. Twenty-two world-class sponsors. Seven hundred spectators. Fifty media personnel. An average of fourteen hundred horsepower. One hundred seventy mph average trap speeds, and one three-way twerk team. Records were broken, engines were blown, heads were lifted, and GTRs were flipped. This is the event known as Shift-S3ctor’s Airstrip Attack. This is an event you cannot miss.

This time was a little different for us. Instead of the usual fly-in-and-cover-an-event-like-an-outsider routine, we instead had an opportunity to peer behind the scenes of the processes that make this event so unique and cohesive. With our own selfish reasons for bringing the Shift-S3ctor crew to Colorado (who wouldn’t want to?), we knew that we needed to experience first hand the controlled chaos that is the Airstrip Attack. This meant full-immersion: get ourselves out to California and finally get inducted into the Shift-S3ctor family, in all its glory.

Covering these events the past couple of years, it was always an unspoken understanding that "these guys are absolutely insane.” The crew all comes together in the middle of the dessert, completely takes over the local airstrip and hotels, rages until the sun comes up, heads to the airstrip to drive the daylights out of their massively-overpowered cars, returns back to the hotel, and starts all over again. The only difference is that now we’re part of that crew. We got to experience it the way any journalist should. So instead of telling you our interpretation of the events that unfolded, we’ll try to provide you with real, hard concrete facts about what happened. Just joking. This will be our account of how we saw it through our lens, how we experienced one weekend of blurry vision fueled by tons of coffee, Monster Energy drinks, and pure adrenaline.

It all started Thursday with our flight into LAX to meet up with the Shift-S3ctor organizers, Ryan Fisher and Jason Huang. With a few discussions about our strategy for the upcoming Colorado event, the focus quickly turned to the last-minute dealings of managing late arrivals and verifying event logistics for the weekend.

Early the next morning, the crew met up as one massive caravan at the local gas station in Sylmar and made the spirited trek through the Grapevine to emerge on the dessert flatlands of central California.

When we arrived in Coalinga, first things first, we needed to establish the event sitemap and confirm all utilities were on-site. It’s always fascinating to see how countless days of preparation all come together over the course of a couple of hours.

Organizer Jason Huang: "Alright team, this is what we need to do.”

Brent, the timing guru, worked diligently to chalk-out all the sponsor locations. Fitting that he would choose the "Laguna Seca Blue” chalk for the Lab22 spot.

I was slightly thrown back when I turned around to be confronted by a three-way twerk team. Definitely a first, but this event was full of firsts.

This isn't the first time we've seen Kalon's E46 LS7-swapped M3, and we're positive it won't be the last. Each time it comes out it's more refined and tears it up, but we're extremely excited to finally see it finished. This car, without a doubt, is feature worthy. Just need to get past the primer stage!

Our boy Dean’s fully-built AMS Performance Alpha 9 turbo makes 750 to the wheels on E85. Riding with taste on those nasty BBS LM's, it’s hands down one of our favorite GTRs from the weekend.

Gidi, title sponsor and owner of Diamonds by Wire, showed up with his gorgeous storm-trooper white Alpha 10 GTR. This color looks amazing in person and this shot simply doesn’t do it justice.

Fisher’s sleeper AMG E-Class daily was a great contrast against Marisa’s new (to her) Corvette C6 sitting on some blacked-out Forgelines.

When our daily duties were complete, we left the barren airfield ready for the weekend; for tomorrow it will transform into a bustling epicenter of automotive power.

But first, the girls want to take a #selfie.

When we arrived at the Kettlemen Best Western, we wasted no time getting down to business.

The Lab22 crew made an early appearance with their renowned lineup of E46 M3s.

This would be the proverbial calm before the storm.

The event started promptly the next morning as the sun crested over the foothills. Airstrip Attack 5 would be run nearly identically to the previous event.

The field is split into two groups: drivers and competitors. While both groups run simultaneously and against each other, only those that opt into the trophy competition (known as competitors) will have their trap speeds applied to the trophy competition. Every driver is handed a slip containing their trap speed and the competitors are recorded doubling as their qualifying times for Sunday’s event.

Competitors are required, at the time of registration, to choose a trophy class. This includes FWD Unlimited, RWD Unlimited, AWD Unlimited, Naturally Aspirated Unlimited, BMW/AMG Unlimited, Sedan Unlimited, Overall Trap Speed Champion (Saturday) and Overall Roll Race Champion (Sunday). A few extra fun trophies were also handed out to really amp up the level of competition.

Saturday kicked off with open runs throughout the day allowing drivers to line up against whomever they wanted. They’re also allowed to do solo runs if they’re shaking down their cars or simply don’t want the distractions that are associated with side-by-side roll racing.

Saturday kicked off with open runs throughout the day allowing drivers to line up against whomever they wanted. They’re also allowed to do solo runs if they’re shaking down their cars or simply don’t want the distractions that are associated with side-by-side roll racing.

When Armik, the owner of the infamous Black Mamba Ford GT, found out that he had literally run over his front splitter in one of his first couple of runs, his response to his support team was simply, Can I still run?”

The Castro Motorsport 5-Series wagon definitely stood out from the crowd. Making more than 500 whp, it’s definitely a sleeper, and toss in that nearly perfect stance, it’s the ultimate grocery getter.

There were a few of the new BMW M6s on the scene. This was our first time setting eyes on this platform, and between this and the new 4-Series, we can confidently state that BMW is moving in a great direction.

Chris Bialy, you’re "underrated.”

It’s true, we do.

And yes, "We Out Here”.

Without the entire Shift-S3ctor crew firing on all cylinders, this event wouldn’t happen.

My turn for that runway #selfie.

As with many airstrip events these days, the field was dominated by Corvettes and GTR’s. Nothing would be any different here as, between the two platforms, it covered fifty percent of the competition.

English Racing does it again. When we met them (for the tenth time) at TX2K14, they brought out some serious projects. Last weekend was no different.

Myles Kerr’s "little teggy that could,” pushing 750 whp at 10,200 rpm, ran an astonishing 187 mph in the standing half mile.

Lucas English’s shop GTR was yet again a contender for the top speed runs, but lost fifth gear in the competition.

Three Evo 8’s and the 10 that English Racing brought out kept our attention all weekend. Setting records and upping the ante, these builds were nothing short of what we expect from a world-class builder--amazing work gentlemen.

Zach Morgan, technician and tuner over at English Racing, getting down on some relaxing yoga before their pass.

Myles was just about to tell me how good of an idea it would be to remove his stock spoiler. "It does more bad than good,” he said. He later went into full-pucker as the backend danced beneath his feet at 180 mph.

As expected from the California Airstrip Attack, there were a handful of Ford GTs on hand, none of which were stock.

Really wish we could have seen more from the Cunningham Motorsport Z06. Just something about it screamed radical power . . . not sure what it was.

Jason doing what he does best: relaxing and caravanning media to and from grid.

It was great to see some more Ferraris out there this time. Fred from goldRush Rally brought out his fully stocked 458.

And when we say stocked, we’re referring to his trunk being full of the necessary articles of clothing.

Alex Murtaza striking a pose while he carefully focuses his Carl Zeiss glass.

This ‘dorable couple shall forever be known as "Hollywood.”

Saturday concluded with the trap speed competition; the drivers with the fastest trap speeds in their respective classes were awarded trophies.

After rolling out of the airstrip, the city of Coalinga invited the crew down to take up a section of Main Street and put on a show. There’s no doubt this addition was enjoyed by both the crew and the locals. Whereas before Shift-S3ctor was seen as just a group of people that would mob into their quaint city and take over their airport and hotels, this was a chance for everybody to mingle and talk shop over a few pizzas and pitchers.

Not everybody was enjoying the music of our people. But nonetheless, the entire family came out and enjoyed Sunday’s event as spectators.

Happy birthday to this Coalinga local. . . Lookin’ pretty excited to be enjoying some seat time in Greg’s Ford GT.

Sunday brings back more open runs allowing new drivers to work out the kinks and push the limits of their builds. If competitors have opted in to the Roll Race competition, their qualifying trap speeds are used to enter them into the competition bracket. The individual class brackets behave similarly to a tournament bracket where higher-seed competitors are initially matched with lower-seed competitors.

Birthday boy Charlie Rose from Speed Society was out there throwing down. His entire social team, including Gordon Nekic (founder of Fueler Inc), was out covering the event, capturing a crazy amount of social video.

Lab 22 always rolls into this event in style. Why would AA5 be any different?

These candy apple red Advan Racing GT wheels were the highlight of GTR experiences. SP Engineering, we like your style.

The boys from Gintani, the BMW class record holders from October’s Airstrip Attack, came out to try and maintain their status. Unfortunately, a faulty idle control valve would prevent their slick-prepped E92 M3 from securing the class trophy or a new record.

Another one of our favorites, Jimmy’s 950 hp C6 was clocking 170s all weekend, even with some ridiculous heat soak. Nothing like eighty-plus degree weather to really put a strain on the blower.

Caliber Customs returned with their Camaro, trapping a speed just shy of 200 mph.

Even the spectators brought out some clean rides. Being from Colorado, we kind of wished that this guy would run his Subaru STi just to see how it would match up.

The plates on this 1969 Camaro SS resto-mod read "700HUNDO.” Thought that was fitting.

First person to comment whose signature this is at the bottom of the article will receive a free T-shirt. Go.

There were some impressive media contraptions in use all weekend. Looking forward to the footage from this RC gimbal!

Did we mention that we had our Colorado event flyers on hand? Apparently they also double as fantastic plates.

Clearly not everybody came for the races.

This machine was the highest-hp, all-electric vehicle at the event. After fixing a couple shorts, it was time to capture some footage.

There’s always work to be done.

Every now and then we run into a car that we need to chase down across the paddock. This Fairlady build was no exception. Really wish we had more time with her.

LS-swapped FD RX7 was posting some impressive trap speeds all weekend.

Brett King Designs was on hand with their immaculate artwork. Be sure to check out some of their work as Michael Essa is adorned in their work this year with his Formula Drift livery.

Brett King Designs also provided a couple of custom miniature helmet trophies. Who wouldn’t want to have this sitting on their office desk?

Sunday’s roll race is a touch different than Saturday’s trap speed competition because competitors must match both speed and position before crossing the starting line. When both cars are side-by-side and they cross the starting line, it’s full throttle to the end, whoever crosses the finish line first is deemed the winner.

2014 Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack 5 Event Results

At the end of each day, it all comes down to the competition. Who puts it all on the line to make their passes that much faster? Who has the brass to push it to the limit and take home the victory?

Below are the results for the Shift-S3ctor’s Airstrip Attack 5.

Saturday AA5 Results

AWD Unlimited
1st Place - OB Prestige - TT Heffner Gallardo (218.23)
2nd Place - English/ETS GTR (215.93)

1st Place - Armik Aghakhani - TT Ford GT (196.51)
2nd Place - Caliber Customs Camaro (194.13)

1st Place - Myles Kerr - Integra (184.57)
2nd Place - George Ortiz - Civic (149.8)

1st Place - Michael Robles - C6 Z06 (165.68)
2nd Place - Kevin Linnell - (161.40)

1st Place - Austin Oakes - Evo 9 (176.xx)
2nd Place - Bryce Diamond - SRT8 300 (172.81)

1st Place - Marcus - Lab22 M3 (181.15)
2nd Place - Kenton - Lab22 M3 (174.96)

OB Prestige - 218.23

Sunday: Roll Racing

1st Place - OB Prestige
2nd Place - Draw: ETS and Diamonds By Wire

1st Place - Armik Aghakhani
2nd Place - Jason Lab22

1st Place - Myles Kerr

1st Place - Dennis Palla C6 Z06
2nd Place - Chris Napolitano C6 Z06

1st Place - Austin Oakes Evo
2nd Place - Steven Sawaya Evo

1st Place - Drew Johnson
2nd Place - Dallas Berry

OB Prestige

Fastest trap speeds of the weekend (Sunday) were OB Prestige (222) and ETS/English Racing (219).

More drivers, more spectators, more sponsors, more drama—Bigger. Higher average horsepower—Stronger. Higher trap speeds across the board—Faster. Deafening exhaust notes that feed our passion—Louder. Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Louder. This is the Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack and there’s no doubt in our minds that this event gets better and better every year. Make sure you’re at the next in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the drivers will be battling it out for the title of Mile High Victor. Until then, we’ll be daydreaming about the controlled chaos that is Shift-S3ctor.


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Randy Wong4/24/2014

Camilo Pardo, "Chief Designer" of the Ford GT. (correct official job title should perhaps get a T-Shirt, over Mr. Hott, no?)

Chante Hovsepian4/24/2014

Camilo Pardo. Damn I need to move to USA and bring my GT with me.

Vince Hott4/24/2014

Camilo Pardo. Head Designer of the Ford GT!

Rockysds's Profile Image

Very nice Vince! Shoot us an email to and we'll get you hooked up

Ed L4/24/2014

I know the signature on that Ford GT. But it's my car. Can I still get a shirt? lol