by: Stephen Florino
HALAWA (KHNL) - The sounds of screeching tires and smell of burning rubber filled the Aloha Stadium parking lot. It was the long awaited and first ever drift event in Hawaii.
The green flag drops, officially launching the sport of drifting in hawaii.
"It's been a long, hard battle," said Sean Oliberos, of the Xtreme Drift World Tour.
The group battled over a year to hold this event, and drivers were ready.
"Kinda nervous, more excited about everything," said drifter Gary Ganotisi. "I just wanna go out there and once I get in the zone, I'll just go off and I don't know what's gonna happen."
The biggest concern -- safety for both drivers and spectators. The hundreds watching were well protected behind water-filled barriers.
"Those are full of water and they weigh approximately a ton a piece, so I don't think a car is gonna move that," said Oliberos.
The course was also laid out so cars would spin away from the crowd, giving them a great view of every slide and burnout.
"Hot days. Nice whips. They're fantastic," said one fan.
"It's different from any other thing that you do, cause you not only smell the burning rubber, but the gas, and you hear the turbo spewing off, it's great," said Tim Slayton, another drift fan.
Tracy Arakaki, president and CEO of the Xtreme Drift World Tour called it a "great day" for Hawaii. He said the stadium now provides a location for drifters to practice their sport, since Campbell Industrial Park -- the only racetrack on Oahu closed.
"We're hoping to continue grow and Hawaii could be one of the mecca centers for a new motorsport, drifting worldwide," said Arakaki.
Saturday's event was a qualifier for local drifters.