SUMOSPEED

Performing and Style

Sumospeed is an automotive enthusiast club based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

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Two of the founding members of Sumospeed, Nick and Brandon Gressley from a photo shoot in 2007

Sumospeed is an automotive enthusiast club based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. It was founded in 2005 by four friends as something of a joke between the founders as a representation of their views toward clubs in the area at the time.

Sumospeed continued to grow in size over the first few years slowly, but by 2008, the club had enough numbers and cars to start gaining a positive reputation locally. With that reputation, Sumospeed teamed up with Team Top End, another local car club, and held a charity car show, drawing out a large number of cars and local car enthusiasts. This show helped to shape Sumospeed’s ability to organize events and continue to reinforce a positive reputation for the club.

Sumospeed members and other patrons attending the club’s first car show in 2008

The remainder of 2008 and 2009 was a period of growth for Sumospeed. The club hosted two more successful car shows, held annual poker runs, toy drives, and supported the USdrift organized Driftwater events, in Moyock, NC. 2009 also saw current club member Jared Hageman’s 240sx featured in Super street magazine, a major milestone to anyone building a car.

Left: Club member Dan Summers drifting his 240sx at a Driftwater event.  Right: Image from club member Jared Hageman’s 240sx Super Street Magazine feature from 2009

Sumospeed experienced some real highs and lows through 2010. With the success of the three Sumospeed car shows as a foundation, the club hosted the first incarnation of its current flagship event, Springfest. It was held at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia, and like the three shows before it, was a huge success, allowing for the continued growth into the current version of the event. 2010 also had its share of lows, with club member Stephen James being diagnosed and battling with a cancerous tumor in his brain. Obviously his well being and treatment were paramount to anything car related, putting his 240sx drift car build on the back burner. Stephen’s close friend and fellow club member, Danny Domenech, presented the idea of the club finishing the build, without Stephen’s knowledge, and presenting it to him when his treatment was completed. Sumospeed pooled it’s collective resources, using all of it’s members individual talents on the car and organizing donations from club supporters for missing items and assistance. Stephen completed his treatment, and was presented with a complete, freshly painted car that would see many track events upon it’s completion. It was a special moment for the club and brought everyone very close through the process.

Stephen James with his 240sx, built by the rest of Sumospeed, most of which pictured behind the car.

2011 brought on more success for Sumospeed as a club. Springfest 2 saw more growth and the realization that a new venue would be needed, and the club started a new monthly meet, the Sumospeed Ice Cream Socials. The socials moved to various ice cream parlors in the Hampton Roads area, and provided family friendly, automotive based, gatherings. One of the club members, Mary Williams, also recieved a feature on Klutch Republik’s website, with her Volkswagen Jetta. 2012 marked a few milestones for Sumospeed. Springfest was moved from its original home at Harbor Park, to a more spacious abode, the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The event saw even more growth and began drawing vehicles from outside the Hampton Roads Area. The club was also extremely proud to have two of it’s members, Stephen Knoop and Tim Florio, get their vehicles featured in Modified Magazine. This was a statement to the quality of vehicle the club’s members were producing and would continue to produce moving forward. The usual Sumospeed poker runs, toy drives, and ice cream socials, saw continued success.

Stephen Knoop’s 240sx image from Modified Magazine feature

Tim Florio’s 240sx image from Modified Magazine feature

2013 was kind of a “status quo” year for Sumospeed. Springfest was a success again, as were the usual Sumospeed events and meets. One major milestone that 2013 provided for the club was coverage of Springfest for the first time, in a printed magazine. Import Tuner provided a great article on the event which the club feels contributed to further growth to more of the east coast and the US as a whole. Another one of the club members, Reid Fraser, also received a feature on the website Stanceworks, for his 240sx.

Shot by Faiz Rahman for Import Tuner Magazine coverage of Springfest 2013

2014 was a busy year for Sumospeed. Club member Danny Domenech had started his business, 945 Garage, in late 2013, and was putting together and driving his RX-7 in preparation to compete in US Drift, Stephen Knoop sold his world famous and magazine featured 240sx and was beginning to make plans for a new project, and many new faces and cars were coming into the club. Springfest achieved a new level, changing venues again, and into one that brought an indoor element to the event for the first time, The Virginia Beach Convention Center. Super Street provided the club’s second magazine feature for the event, and it was a huge success. The ice cream socials grew to a size that began to cause problems, the toy drive was a successful as usual, and the poker run began to fall off a bit numbers wise. Many builds that were in process were coming together and new club cars were coming into the fold, promising a big 2015 for Sumospeed.

Left: Club members James Beck and Mike Torres’ cars in the display hall at Springfest 2014. Right: Club member Danny Domenech in his 945 Garage RX-7 drifting at Englishtown, NJ

2015 began with a lot of club builds coming to their completions in preparations for the upcoming slate of events for the year. First up was Hyperfest, which took place at Virginia International Raceway in May. Sumospeed operated the car show portion of the event and club member Daniel Summers worked the drift portion of the event with his organization, US Drift. The club used the opportunity to promote for Springfest and sell merchandise. May 2015 also brought a new event under the Sumospeed umbrella, Night Moves. Acting as a replacement for the ice cream socials, which grew to the point that the normal venues at which they were normally held could not handle the quantity of vehicles. These new meets are being held at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The first Night Moves Meet, and all that have followed since, have drawn in 600+ vehicles, featured food, music, RC drifting, and vendors. With June brought Springfest, again being held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The event was the largest yet and featured the strongest showing for the club in terms of it’s own vehicles, since they began. The event was also covered in an issue of Super Street Magazine, making it the third straight year of magazine coverage.

Sumospeed is a tight knit automotive club that holds events, supports charities, and are a family. It will continue to flourish and grow for years to come.